The World of Harry Partch is a seminal survey of the arch iconoclast’s efforts in consolidating the myriad voices which made up American 20th century music.
Collecting three of his famous shorter works, Daphne of The Dunes, Barstow, and Castor & Pollux, this LP is a perfect portal to Partch’s peculiar and radical fusions of Orientalist themes with African percussions and Hobo language. Most importantly it omits reference to the traditions of Western, European music which he believed constricted perceptions and definitions of a “true” American music.
It’s best described in his own terms, as ‘ritual’ or ‘corporeal’ music, which both refers directly to the original intentions of the music he drew from, and to its physical nature, which eschewed electronics in favour of his self-built instruments and their tactile capacity for unique tunings. Of course, you can listen to these recordings without any prior knowledge of their provenance and totally enjoy them for their alien familiarity, but when taken in context of Partch’s philosophy, they really take on a whole life of their own. Dive in!
“'Daphne of the Dunes' (1967) is a side-long update of 'Windsong' written for dance. The melodic segments are given more emphasis than usual for a Partch piece, and harmonically this is one of his best with arpeggiated glides/cries of the Harmonic Canons evoking our sympathies. Meter changes almost measure by measure, with one section in 31/16 meter; another (polymetric) section consists of 4/4-7/4 over 4/8-7/8! Needless to say, while being very physical, Partch's music isn't something you can easily tap your foot to. What's most important is that it works. Partch was not one to introduce musical complexity merely for its own sake, another factor that separated him from his contemporaries. Not only are the rhythms complex, but they are performed at a frantic pace unequaled by any music I've hard (save perhaps the inhumanly fast player piano pieces of Conlon Nancarrow!).
This is characteristic of most of Partch's works, though I think 'Daphne' is one of the most successful and exhilarating. 'Barstow -- Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California' was composed in 1941 as part of 'The Wayward.' It offers such statements as 'Go to 538 East Lemon Avenue for an easy handout' and 'Looking for millionaire wife...' This charismatic piece is successful due to the contrasting of Partch's intoning voice with others in the ensemble and to increased instrumental emphasis. Last is 'Castor and Pollux' in a more modern performance than From the Music of Harry Partch, with greater vigor and fidelity. The World of Harry Partch is an excellent introduction to his works that comes highly recommended." -- Surface Noise
Ben Frost convulses a new EP of original solo material recorded with Steve Albini. Vast systems - unstable, overloaded, and on the verge of collapse were fed into an array of amplifiers inside a cavernous studio. Behind the glass, Albini committed this to tape, slashing at it intermittently with a razorblade and more than two hours of music was recorded. The Threshold Of Faith EP is the first release of music from those sessions.
Frost fully bares his teeth on five tracks inside, entering with the electrical storm and depth charge detonations of the title track, and hunting down an apocalyptic muse throughout the rest of the EP, from the nerve-gnawing string convolutions of Eurydice’s Heel (Hades) to the chromatic chamber vision of Threshold Of Faith (Your Own Blood), and with shuddering, tempestuous torque in The Beat That Don’t Die In Bingo Town. The finale climax, Mere Anarchy errs a bit to heavy into his cheesy side for us, though.
Integral to the ruptured flow of the album, All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated (Albini Swing Version) catches a quietly dynamic moment from the master engineer, rendering a hyaline cloud of intensely bright and sparse tones that could shatter at any moment, whilst Janus member and Björk remixer Lotic sends the same elements flying in corkscrewing militant drum rolls that sound like Chino Amobi’s wildest dreams.
Brandon Hocura’s Séance Centre pull out Sam McLellan’s sublime 1982 new age opus Music Of The Five Elements for this invaluable first vinyl reissue. Devised as ‘healing music’ designed to “balance the energy levels of the body”, this, the first of three sought-after volumes, borrows from the ancient Chinese philosophy of medicine now used in acupuncture, to riff pentatonic on guitar, synth, piano and ciao (Chinese flute) in a seamless, rolling suite best consumed in one go for best effect. The A-side is focussed on the cyclical guitar strums, while a much stronger 2nd side focusses deeper on the synth, keys and vocal treatments.
“Acupressurist and electronic composer Sam McClellan's Music of the Five Elements is a work of perfectly tuned healing music. A deeply felt distillation Minimalism (in the Tony Conrad / La Monte Young school), American Primitive guitar (Fahey & Basho) and even psychedelia. The album is a continuous sound voyage for voice, synthesizer, guitar, bowed bass, piano, effects and ciao (Chinese flute) all played by McClellan himself. Although divided into sections, the journey is best undertaken as a whole, without distraction. As McClellan himself wrote on the original liner notes:
"The optimum effect of Music of the Five Elements will be achieved if each side of this recording is played through, from beginning to end without interruption. Music of the Five Elements, when used as a meditational or body work tool, rather than entertainment, will increase in effect over time. Overplaying or improper use, however, may eventually diminish its designed effect.”
Devotional Songs marks a necessary and refreshing change of direction by Shackleton; collaborating with London-based Italian castrato-style singer Ernesto Tomasini to sound like some lost Coil recordings.
The whirligig drawbar organs of Shackleton’s releases since 2012 are still in effect, but tempered in balance with Tomasini’s remarkable vocal range and some really lush, almost Detroit-style synth harmonies and ritual atmospheres whilst his signature palette of bass and drums hints at some Far and South East Asian influence in the vein of Sleazy’s Threshold HouseBoys Choir recordings.
It’s a beautifully self-contained project covering a broad range of esoteric topography from the detoxing vibrations of Rinse out All Contaminants to the sweepingly epic resolution of Father, Yiou Have Left Me, whilst unmistakably referencing some of Coil or Current 93’s most haunting moments in the chiming harmonic haze, swelling chorales and operatic drama of You Are The One, and the spirit-rousing string arrangements in Twelve Shared Addictions.
Hundebiss bossman Simone Trabucchi - a pivotal figure of the Italian scene - debuts his STILL alias on PAN with a batch of banging, multi-layered dancehall tracks inspired by the complex historical links between his hometown, Vernasca, with Jamaica, and Italy’s colonial past in Ethiopia.
Part of a wider visual arts project, Invernomuto, helmed alongside Simone Bertuzzi, and comprising a series of sculptures, installations, a book, and a long-feature experimental documentary under the title ‘Negus’‘, Simone takes cues from a “cleansing counter-ritual performed by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in the Vernasca square where 80 years earlier, an effigy of Haile Selassie I was burned” to cook up a madd set of dancehall tracks voiced by six Milan-based, African-Italian vocalists and singers.
The results weigh in remarkably close to the colourful, plugged-in dancehall art/science of Equiknoxx, effectively pulling together the diffracted aspects of his project into a direct yet psychedelically-charged set which strongly reverberates with its roots.
Keener observers will be quick to identity the amazing Nazenet (Wasp Rhythm) as a vocal version of STILL’s uncredited Untitled riddim from Halcyon veil’s Conspiración Progresso compilation, but unless you’ve been listening to Bill Kouligas DJ sets, the rest is all new and exclusive, taking in the weightless prayer of Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip, wobbly acid hall knocks in Bubbling Ambessa, and the meter-messing flux of Rough Rider along with style recalling that Vipra ace on Presto!? in Banzina, plus the warped Bionic Ras bumps of Gozpaal and some seriously salty dubbing in the plasmic squeeze of Mangrovia
Coil’s unearthly garden continues to bloom posthumously with the Astral Disaster Sessions - including a whole bunch of previously unreleased and rare cuts from the Un/finished Musics recordings finally seeing the light of day, transferred from analogue tapes onto Gary Ramon’s Prescription label a year after the remastered original sessions crept out on vinyl reissue.
Notoriously recorded in the former debtors prison-turned-Iron Maiden studio beneath the River Thames, on Samhain, 1998, the Astral Disaster Sessions - Un/finished musics serves a haul of previously unreleased or hard-to-find versions of tracks from the original Astral Disaster [1999/2016] LPs, which are widely regarded a seminal highlight of Peter Christopherson, Johnn Balance, Drew McDowell, Thighpaulsandra and Gary Ramon’s time together as Coil.
On the A-side you’ll now find swirling raga-noise meditation The Sea Priestess (Early Mix) next to a sublime, previously omitted Part 2 tract of The Mothership and the Fatherland, and a skinnier, plasmic Alternative mix of The Avatars, but we imagine the big attractions for Coil fiends will be the Instrumental mix of I Don’t Want To be the One, which was previously only found on a rare 1999 promo-only Prescription sampler, and most particularly the ghostly and invasively psychedelic 14 minutes of Cosmic Disaster, which was the original working title for Astral Disaster, and has never been released on any format.
After a slew of acclaimed releases by Equiknoxx, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Shinichi Atobe and Mica Levi in 2017, Demdike Stare’s DDS start 2018 in typically unexpected style with a remastered reissue of the little known second album from Move D’s Conjoint ensemble. Late night listeners ’n lovers of Miles Davis, Tortoise or Jan Jelinek’s neon Jazz minimalism will love this - in our eyes a total classic.
Conjoint was the little-known but hugely regarded ensemble founded by David Moufang two decades ago, featuring techno pioneer Jamie Hodge, Deep Space Network’s Jonas Grossmann, acclaimed jazz guitarist Gunter Ruit Kraus and, most intriguingly - Karl Berger (Jazz Pianist and Vibraphone player for Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and George Clinton to name but three).
Earprints was recorded in 2000 and followed their acclaimed self-titled debut album from 1996 (a record hailed by The Wire magazine as worthy of comparison to Miles Davis’ ‘In A Silent Way’) - and this time round the ensemble were accompanied by Andrew Pekler, Anna-Lena Fiedler, Burkhard Höfler, and Kai Kroker, among many others.
Together, they flesh out a full-frequency spectrum of instrumental and electronic timbres, precisely yet louchely coalescing a timeless and cool blue sound that is entirely respectful to its roots, yet dares to imagine them in an altered context. In that respect it’s an influential, memorable precursor to Jan Jelinek’s acclaimed Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records that was released the following year.
Democratic in its construction and flush with pregnant, contemplative space between and around the notes, the lasting impression made by Earprints is indelibly classic, quietly awaiting immersion by a new wave of listeners who will no doubt marvel at its deep, layered charms. In other words - if you ain't familiar with this one - get acquainted.
Lee Gamble’s UIQ welcomes Sim Hutchins to the hyperprism with Vantablank Stare, an insightful A/V project born from a personal discontent with the vacuous repetition of 24 hour rolling news coverage, and presenting a critical response to, in his own words; “the daily bombardment of news items on corruption and our societal inclination to be ‘in the know’ about current affairs”.
Aesthetically, the EP’s three tracks of roiling post-junglism and fractured dub techno tessellations most acutely recall the tumbling designs of N1L and Lanark Artefax 12”s but, its conceptual drive is closer to Sam Kidel’s Disruptive Muzak in the way it extracts from current socio-political issues ubiquitous to nearly all our lives, and especially for anyone living in the UK right now.
The dissection of its subject is most literal in the accompanying video, presenting stark, stock CGI representations of those coldly contemporary news studios that we’ve all seen too much of in recent times, with accompanying banners ribboning fake “statements” and “breaking news” that, on first glance, are almost indistinguishable from the ‘real’ thing, yet coolly subvert the text to their own end, exposing its function as a tool for public control.
However, the music is less literal and more elusive, abstract and metaphorical, using samples of radio waves, covert signals and intercepted E-Comms as the raw material for an impressionistic tussle of invisible forces, translating as head-stretching recursive phase shifts and disembodied jungle structures in Some Men (you) Just Want to Watch the World Burn and as an allegory for passive, anxious textural attrition in Nescience Is Not Ignorance on the A-side, whilst the B-side unfurls a knottier tract of warped, quicksilver dub techno with Some Men (me) Just Want to Let the World Burn, which, you’ll notice, contrasts with the title of the A-side, and lays bare the artist’s paradoxical dilemma; highlighting the difference between disrupting the system and sitting back and waiting for its inevitable demise.
Giuseppe Ielasi (Inventing Masks, Bellows) & Giovanni Marco Civitenga’s Rain Text yield this lovely suite of willowing keys and hushed house rustles on Bedouin’s Bastikaya Tapes following the duo’s warmly received 2016 début with Skyapnea Records.
2 teases out Rain Text’s charmingly woolly and drizzly sound in four new tracks, quietly getting into gear with the icy piano notes and dust-mite dance of 2.1, before twisting off the bone into bendier, viscous electro-dub in a style only shades away from Ielasi’s Bellows gear, but with ruggeder appeal for the ‘floor,
Flipside, the vibe gets more inclement with the minor key chords and brittle wooden drum hits of 2.3 resembling an imagined groggy collab between Pole and Burial c. 2002, and 2.4 drifts off on a more wistful bent with sliding loops bringing a sense of sun coming after the rain.
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto’s soundtrack to Alejandro G Iñárrritu’s The Revenant is one of the most haunting we’ve heard in years. It should be filed in that rarest category - OSTs which are both inseparable from the imagery they drive, and which also stand tall on their own...
Following Iñárrritu’s use of Sakamoto’s music in Babel (2006), the Japanese composer was commissioned to write this full score but, owing to the fact that he was was in recovery from throat cancer, he opted to bring regular collaborator Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto)on board alongside The National’s Bryce Dessner to realise the vast scale of the project.
They’ve doubtless done a sterling job, exemplifying a minimalist mantra of saying-it-without-saying-it where so many other composers tend to erect huge emotive signposts reading “FEEL SAD…. NOW” or “ROOOOMANCE!!!!!”.
Whether frosting Emmanuel Lubezki’s widescreen cinematography with a nail-biting timbre, or looming behind the close-ups on a ravaged Di Caprio, the effect of Sakamoto’s sweeping string gestures and Alva Noto’s electronic auroras is beautifully, subtly intangible yet breathtaking.
After decades in the making Finders Keepers present the first-ever pressing of Serge Gainsbourg’s most elusive and coveted soundtrack studio recordings – co-written, arranged and orchestrated by the genius Jean-Claude Vannier (Histoire De Melody Nelson) during what many consider to be the dynamic duo’s most definitive creative period.
Its the first time on vinyl for this previously unreleased Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtrack to a saucy, psychedelic gallic classic starring Jane Birkin and Gainsbourg in leading roles. Interesting for its forays into traditional sub-continental styles, and one track of heavy petting, alongside the usual Gainsbourgian string arrangements and smoky winks.
Believed to have been lost in a studio fire by Gainsbourg enthusiasts for over forty years (a myth that also shrouds Morricone’s lost Danger Diabolik soundtrack) the misplaced master-tapes for the drug-fuelled/Mai 68 cash-in/road-movie Les Chemins De Katmandou have been widely considered the final audio jigsaw piece in an immaculate discography/filmography thus earning this soundtrack bone-fide Holy Grail status amongst the most avid disc detectives.
Featuring the original crack team of Paris based players now recognised as French library music royalty, this LP epitomises the inimitable musical direction and expert psychedelic pop musicianship that graced classic Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtracks like La Horse, Cannabis and Sex Shop. Laying the stylistic, future-proof foundations for subsequent decades of forward-thinking Gallic funk mastery. Comprising Vannier’s signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-micced drums, biting Clavinet and Eastern influenced strings and percussion (and a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation) the soundtrack to Les Chemins De Katmandou (aka The Road To Katmandu or The Pleasure Pit) captures Vannier and Gainsbourg in the first year of their creative partnership capturing their unique embryonic energy.”
Beatrice Dillon & Call Super toy with the dance in two supple, slinky riddims in a killer collaborative push ’n pull for Hessle Audio.
With both producers really coming into their own over the last few years, Beatrice with an acclaimed run of 12” and LP issues for our 12X12 series, The Trilogy Tapes and Alien Jams, and Call Super for Dekmantel and Houndstooth, these two new collaborations firm up the strongest dance moves in either artist’s catalogue.
Inkjet is a proper UK-meets-Berlin gem lodged somewhere in the system between T++’s dynamic steppers and the kind of grubbing grooves explored by Batu and the Timedance lot, persistently mutating with a darkside dancehall-techno science that recalls a synaesthetic analog of PKDick’s scramble suits.
In sweet contrast, Fluo works with a more tempered sort of deep garage swing, dialling in hovering jazz chords on the nimble first half before unexpectedly switching into a rolling tribal house groove with cascading bleeps and lovely resolution.
Space Afrika spool out a 2nd collection of frayed, intimate house and ambient electronics for Where To Now? following 'Above The Concrete / Below The Concrete' (2014).
The four tracks on 'Primrose Avenue' distill a decayed, narcotic strain of house from elements of NYC garage swing, Berlin dub house and that Manc-y basement aesthetic, all shaded in deep delphic tones and ferric clag..
'Contemplation' opens with a phasing grey skied ambient panorama, giving way to the gritted Fred P-style gait of 'Resolutions' and setting a poised midnight momentum that carries thru the blunted swang of 'The Way Home' and the dawning, bittersweet morning-after vibes of 'The Sudden Walk'.
DJ Nigga Fox goes hard on the heels of Nidia Minaj and CDM with his 2nd 12" for the amazing Príncipe label.
Pushing arguably the most exciting dance sound in the world right now, Rogério Brandão aka DJ Nigga Fox is all about sinuous rhythms and mad technoid sounds, coiling the legacy of Angolan and Congolese drum patterns with up-to-date electronics in the styles known as Batida, Tarraxinha, Funana, Kuduro. They're dynamite on the 'floor, wrecking a body between the triplet techno tumble of 'Um Ano' and the incendiary builds and twysting vortices of 'Apocalipsiii' on the A-side, before running the wildest acid breakbeat torque with 'Tio Kiala' and bringing it right down with the sensuous Tarraxinha, 'De Leve'. Like everything else on the label, it's hugely collectable and a crucial addition to any outernational DJ's artillery.
If ever a phonographic accomplishment could encapsulate the precise modus operandi of Finders Keepers' Cacophonic label, then the ‘Expériences Musicales’ sessions made by French born painter, sculptor, music maker, wine merchant and founder of the Art Brut movement Jean Dubuffet would be a prime candidate.
"Originally released as an impossibly rare six record box set containing Dubuffet’s first long anticipated forays into sound sculpture and spontaneous artistic noise, these intimate early 1960’s recordings show a lesserknown side of this important artist’s personality. From an original promoted artefact (which can now command fees of up to 5000 Euros complete with its original art-prints intact) this highlighted version of ‘Expériences Musicales’ is now available again on authentic vinyl to the wider public.
Finally released to a wider audience and presented complete with Dubuffet’s signature style artwork, this abridged vinyl edition includes specific selections curated by the artist himself, in conjunction with experimental music pioneer Ilhan Mimaroglu."
Music For Installations’ is a collection of new, rare and previously unreleased music, all of which was recorded by Brian Eno for use in his installations covering the period from 1986 until the present (and beyond). Over this time, he has emerged as the leading exponent of “generative” music worldwide and is recognised as one of the foremost audio-visual installation artists of his time.
"Eno's recordings and other collaborations are endless and endlessly known, however his visual experiments with light and video covers an even longer span of time and have been exhibited all over the globe - from the Venice Biennale to the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, from Beijing’s Ritan Park to the Sydney Opera House. Eno's installations are the fertile ground from which so much of his other work has grown and continue to parallel his musical career. Music For Installations is a collection of these original recordings from installations with new and unreleased work covering the period from 1986 until the present and beyond. 50% of the music contained in the box set has never been available in any format and the rest has only ever had very limited CD release direct to consumer release."
Doris Norton was Apple's first music "endorsement" and Roland affiliate, and is one of the most important female pioneers in the use of synths and in the early electro / computer music field. ‘Personal Computer’ showcases some computer game-style workouts along with some really canny cuts in the tricksy metrics of ‘Caution Radiation Norton and the psychedelic wig-out ‘A.D.A. Converter’...
“In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera "Under Ground". Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), PC (1984) – whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo – and Artificial Intelligence (1985).
While the beat-oriented style of Norton’s music aligns her with such global fellow-travelers as Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk, her championing of the personal computer as a tool for self-sufficient musical creativity also connects her to more artsy musicians such as Pietro Grossi, Laurie Spiegel, and the League of Automatic Music Composers. Norton’s predilection for the bright, glossy timbres of early digital instruments also recalls Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader’s bizarre 1982 one-off Erdenklang.
Later, her talent and expertise attracted the attention of IBM, who in 1986 named her as an official consultant. Already the reigning queen of the Italian electronic scene, she recorded two CDs for IBM: Automatic Feeling and The Double Side Of The Science. Influenced by her son, the musician and producer Rexanthony, Norton brought her fascination with the early days of techno into the 1990s, when she released three volumes of Techno Shock on Italian trance/hardcore label Sound Of The Bomb.
While her music remains largely out of print and inaccessible, Norton’s early records have recently begun to receive the inevitable rediscovery treatment.
"In the late sixties I had already conceived computers as “personal.” I have always trusted in the benefits of solitude; [being] alone means freedom… What’s better than a “personal” computer for materializing ideas, by oneself" (Doris Norton)”
Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
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.
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
Elysia Crampton’s eponymous opus - their 4th official album - is a peerless study in sonic ontology, exerting a psychedelic spin on notions of roots & future in a studiously conscious and intricately woven yet immediate manner that’s core to Elysia’s oeuvre. We’re really feeling this one; reckon you might, too
“Dedicated to Ofelia aka Carlos Espinosa, china* travesti revolutionary (*femme in Aymara). Elysia Crampton’s self-titled album marks her 4th official release.
The Amerindian musician draws on various Andean styles such as kullawada, huayño, tarqueada, quirqui / tundique, khantus, & morenada, together with genres like metal, psychedelic, & jazz fusion, to tell a story of her movement in the world— performing her history, both sonically & corporeally, as a means to gain economic access & agency.
With this album, Crampton further situates her work within a long Aymaran musical legacy* that implicates cultures & sites beyond the Andes (following trajectories of dispersion through the literal migration & interaction of bodies & in the circulation of Aymaran concepts, images, music & goods via the world market after the conquest).
Building upon the ancient notion that Aymara culture is something sustained through movement & contact with others (recall the 'S' meander sign in Andean art) rather than soley being defined in stasis, segregation & linear time, Crampton's work retains the sensation of a belonging in spite of its so-called promiscuity, continually carrying a sense of origin amidst constant motion, which from a Aymara relation to space-time (nayrapacha or 'past' related to the ocular & resides in front) is an origin that also lies ahead, not only behind.
*This legacy extends well before 900 B.C., but one should note that it was particularly during the mid twentieth century (60s & 70s) that Aymara musicians began building the agency to travel the world themselves (their culture or "cosmovision" had already reached Europe through the expansion of the Spanish market as early as the mid-sixteenth century, informing the European imaginary before the French Revolution), performing their identities through music & dress for audiences in countries like Japan, France, & The United States. It was this movement that would shape not only the national identities of countries like Peru & Bolivia, but would also become the definitive sound of so-called world music today (while shaping other globalized genres like "new age”)”
Mick Harris launches a snarling breakbeat techno assault on L.I.E.S. as Fret with the Silent Neighbour EP in the wake of his destructive Over Depth album on Karl Records, and some 23 years since the OG Fret 12” on Downwards’ Resonance sublabel.
Where that original Fret 12” differed from Harris usual output in terms of its space and relative minimalism, the current Fret sound incorporates more typical Mick Harris tropes, working a dense and noisy roil in Silent Neighbour, and a crushing industrial dub lurch on List Is Full, while Same Pegs unleashes a furnace blast of hellish noise techno figures, and Closed Syndicate does its thing with ravishing force.
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.
Brusque, Ballardian EBM techno and industrial clangers from Oliver Ho in his Broken English Club style.
The A-side’s Accidents & Romance clamps down with rottie-toothed 16th note synth snarls and back-breaking kicks whilst the owner chats like a man possessed, somewhere above the escalating madness.
B-side, Country Life bucks up some recoiling and lustrous EBM funk that burns on contact, backed with a descent into crushing industrial torpor with Private Death.
Following the reissue of his timeless Loop Finding Jazz Records last year, Jan Jelinek returns with a transitional new album ‘Zwischen’, which is made up of versions of pieces recorded for German public broadcaster SWR2. It includes twelve sound collages which make use of fragmented interviews provided by public figures including John Cage, Lady Gaga, Stockhausen, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Duchamp and others. Jelinek uses fragments of each voice to create highly evocative soundscapes, a conceit not unlike the use of Jazz loops on his much loved classic.
Jelinek focuses on intonation, umming and ahhing, silences, pauses for breath and hesitations which dictate the pace and mood, the resonance and tone of each interviewee providing the textural core of each piece. These same vocal fragments also control synthesized sound, creating overlays that merge with the voices to make twelve synthetic/acoustic structures.
As Jelinek explains "We all know the speaker’s fate: you falter, you mispronounce, there are breaks, silences and false starts. This results in delays, a language noise compared by Roland Barthes to the knocks made by a malfunctioning motor. Such gaps can be disconcerting, standing as they do for a failure of the speaker’s rhetorical skills. But what happens when they become a constitutive, poetic factor? Zwischen consists of twelve answers to twelve questions. The answers were all recorded in interview situations. From the speech of the interviewees – all eloquent public figures – the pauses are extracted and edited together. The result is a series of sound collages of silence.
But this silence is deceptive, as it is only meaning that falls silent. What remains audible is an archaic body language: modes of breathing, planning phases, seething word particles in search of sense that can break out into onomatopoeic tumult or drift off into sonorous noise. In a further step, each of the twelve collages controls a modular synthesizer via its amplitude and frequency. Supposedly defective speech acts conduct synthetic sounds and the speakers regain their composure – not via the spoken word, but through sound. The opening questions in the various interviews are answered by: Alice Schwarzer, John Cage, Hubert Fichte, Slavoj Žižek, Joseph Beuys, Lady Gaga, Ernst Jandl, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Marcel Duchamp, Friederike Mayröcker, Yoko Ono and Max Ernst.
Gábor Lázár mutates 2-step, grime and electro prisms with economic yet ravishing effect on Unfold, his solo début LP proper for The Death of Rave. Following an acclaimed split LP with Mark Fell ( which was deployed to stunning effect in Aphex Twin’s live/DJ sets of 2017), the Hungarian artist has harnessed the scything contours and mentasmic vamps of his earlier releases into 8 inexorably funked up frameworks set to brilliantly mess with modern ‘floors. Big recommendation if yr into Errorsmith, SOPHIE, Jlin, AFX, Lorenzo Senni...
Kerning classic styles with devious ballistics according to a mutant syntax reflected in the LP’s bespoke sleeve art, Gábor galvanises his signature flux of zinging mentasms and hyper rhythms with a cyber-mongrel gnash in Unfold. Drawing from the deeply affective and rude ends of South Yorkshire, Detroit and South London technous for inspiration, Gábor consolidates their mutual aspects by trimming the excess and stressing the funkiest points of syncopation with razor sharp, inventive edits. Whilst instantly recognisable as Gábor’s work, his grooves are more pronounced, and this time unusually riddled with melodic gestures that lead to moments of unexpected emotive relief.
In the contemporary field, Unfold firmly lives up to comparison with the sexy retro-futurism of Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus, the advanced playfulness of Errorsmith’s Superlative Fatigue, or the fluidly knotted syncopation of Jlin, but does so with a singular mesh of style and pattern that Gábor can patently declare his own. Heard in context of the album cover’s bespoke GL sigil designed by Dániel Kozma, Unfold becomes an ultimate gesamtkustwerk whose audio-visual play of sensual/cutting contours and elegant brutalism resonate as much with the work of his idol, Mark Fell (SND), as the ultramodernist vectors of SOPHIE, the lush technicality of Second Woman, or the ballistic proprioceptions of Jlin.
In other words, it’s one of the most forward dance music records you’ll hear in 2018.
Tape-head-to-tape-head, Marta De Pascalis and Howlround share this split side of coruscating recordings made in a former Buddhist Monastery for The Tapeworm’s vinyl (and other formats) sister label; The Wormhole.
The results are, as they describe them, “dramatically un-Zen”. Up top on Her Core, Italian artist Marta De Pascalis coaxes her tape loops into a swelling tempest of white hot harmonic anguish and guttural bass waves, sustaining and stressing the intensity ’til the thing burns itself out like the condemned final eon of a celestial object.
After that lushly exfoliating experience, Howlround’s side offers an excellent contrast, using four slightly battered Uher tape recorders and two loops to pinch the soundfield and get right up yer nasal cavity for a properly hypnotic blowhole buzz which soon enough expectorates a flood of spectral ectoplasm and wretched pulsating noise.
Standout début album of dream-like, avant garde pop and electronic variants that properly introduces Rome-based Montreal artist Mélissa Gagné aka CECILIA after guesting on Rabit’s Les Fleurs Du Mal album last year and releasing an EP for Yves Tumor's Grooming label. Devastatingly restrained yet ravishing songs with haunting English, French and Italian vocals, huge recommendation if you're into Yves Tumor, Félicia Atkinson, Rabit, Teresa Winter, Portishead, Leila...
Cecilia wrote and produced Adoration, with accompaniment by mutual spirits such as her friend Jasmine Pisapia and the poet activist Griséldis Réal, who help to render a stark yet subtly gilded cross-section of her psyche, which places the listener as dark interpreter to a series of tumultuous inner dialogues - “One is summoned to whisper truth, beauty, tragedy to demon ears.”
Incubated for one and half years between Montreal, Toronto and New York, Adoration reads like intimately diaristic pages recalling an amorphous lucid dream. In that phantasmagoric headspace she meditates on loss and romanticism, using a shifting backdrop of highly visual stimuli to frame her thoughts and bring them to life with an uncannily immersive effect perhaps not felt so strongly since Félicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand LP.
Electronic bass and percussion are shadowed with traces of synth and guitar improvisations, but the one consistent element is the female voice. Sometime detached, glossolalic, and at others uncannily familiar, plaintive, the voice’s presence is integral to the album's quietly absorbing atmosphere, and even if the listener can’t understand their direct meaning, they connote so much more through abstracted inference and ambiguity.
Following her early forays made with the Charity Whore EP for Yves Tumor’s Grooming label, and previous work as DJ/producer Babi Audi, along with her hybrid stage works, Cecilia ties all those strands into an illusive yet highly distinguished work set to resonate with listeners from myriad backgrounds and disciplines. It's no doubt one of 2018’s most haunting, beguiling LPs.
Bittersweet, crystalline hybrids of IDM + R&B with ambient AI ideas...
“Welsh producer Odeko first appeared on Mr. Mitch’s forward-looking Gobstopper imprint with the A.I. influenced EP “A History With Samus” in 2016 immediately snagging a “producer to watch” tag from Fact magazine and a premiere at SPIN. In early 2017, his second EP “Digital Botanics / Construct Conduct” arrived confirming his sound and setting the stage for him to start working on this – his debut album “Rose Tinted Vision Implant” that is set in a post-Ballard, post-Gibson, post-Miéville, alternate reality. “Rose Tinted Vision Implant” sees the Bath-based producer creating a cutting edge sonic world inspired by “speculative fiction, time/reality shifting stories and dystopian shit.” The entire record is structured around, and expands upon his passion for the “future,” underpinning the music via a underlining narrative.
“Rose Tinted Vision Implant” starts with “The User” (aka the listener/ protagonist depending on your perspective) of the ‘Optic.Rose’ going through the process of getting an implant is made by a mega corporation, (think “whatever Elon Musk’s legacy will be 200 years from now” says Odeko “not necessarily evil or good, just a world owning superpower.”). And then we follow “The User” who has unfortunately received a bad egg through stages of that devices degradation. Sonically we’re there to observe. We open (“Anomaly Detection”) with a precursory scan and move onto installation (“OpticRose_0_1_Installation”)
through to a battery change and a recalibration. From this point, the ‘presence’ begins to take over the implant and the tracks verge into a more cerebral range.
Odeko notes “its a bit of a satire on corporate brands pushing these great products that everyone is obsessed but that are detrimental to both the world, and how we perceive reality. Our relationship with social media and tech could go down a dangerous path if we loose sight of things. I’m going quite far here for the sake of the concept, but things like VR, AR, the want for body tech, mixed with our desire to be connected, emotionally, digitally, physically, wirelessly could lead us to a world where everyone has implants, or some kind of tech built into them.”
Sonically its a record that explores a post-IDM, post-Grime, post-Ambient, post-Glitch, post-Retro-House, post-Instrumental Grime, take on electronic music, like Gobstopper’s Mr. Mitch himself and his label mates Orlando, Lloyd SB, Tarquin, Clu, rAHHH and Loom, Odeko is making a kind of post-genre music. Yes its a cerebral concept under the music but as popular shows like Black Mirror have shown – critiquing our new future can be fun, unusual and highly rewarding. Welcome to the world of Odeko”.
Optimo highlight the burned-out blues growls and chops of their favourite singer-songwriter Jacob Yates
“Optimo Music is thrilled to release the new album from Jacob Yates. Not only is he one of our all-time favourite artists from Glasgow, but he is one of our favourite artists from anywhere. Criminally unknown except to a few who have been long transfixed by his recordings and performances, we hope this release will open a few more ears to his wondrous musical world.
“The Hare, The Moon, The Drone” is the third album from Jacob Yates. This recording finds the band exploring dark hawthorn hedged lanes, moors and suburban, new build estates. There's something more earthy about the songs but the menace and darkness remains. Musically there is a big shift on this album, a field recording of a folk band from a dark, pine filled glen. The opener, The Car sets the scene for the rural side of the album, dank and stone cold. The tracks then shift through the woods, people turn into animals, we pass a sunlit glade, do you hear a love song? Cassie Ezeji closes the side sweetly lamenting in Gaelic as the snow falls.
Side two is a more urban affair opening with despair in a bedroom in Belgium, we visit a faith healer and drop in on your lonely mother. Lovatt recounts the story of a karaoke addicted murderer before we finally go home to our new build just outside of town where the pylons tower over Michael and his sister Rachel. It's a journey you can go on, looking out of the window of the bus, glimpses of lives glide by, cards on seats promise to help you. Ding! It's time to get off.”
Quick on the heels of his last 12” with Young Marco’s Safe Trip, Darling blesses the label with two nimble electro beauties here
Loosely working around the groove with latinate suss in the lush swerve of Sim and locking off some superb, whirring electro syncopations and chirruping alien voices in Moon Fleet.
First ever official reissue of the very rare Butterfly LP, recorded in Tokyo in 1979 by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock.
"Due to its super-rare status as a Japan-only release, this exquisite collection of covers never got the recognition it deserved at the time, despite incredibly inspired performances from Kimiko, Herbie and the supremely talented musicians assembled for the project. From heavenly drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis to bassist Paul Jackson, reedman Bennie Maupin and the master percussionist Bill Summers, the legendary performers crafted amazingly good vocal versions of Herbie / Headhunters jazz-funk. Unsurprisingly, it has been heavily in demand for many years.
The LP opens with Kimiko's highly desirable version of "I Thought It Was You", an elegant take on Herbie's own anthem. Other superb re-workings include the delicately soulful "Butterfly", jazzy groover "Sunlight", the smooth and sexy "Tell Me A Bedtime Story" and the beautiful ballads "Maiden Voyage" and "Harvest Time". A wonderful example of perfectly understated and masterful jazz-funk soul fusion that shouldn't be missed, the set closes with a jaw-dropping version of Stevie Wonder's "As"."
David Moufang's catalogue must be one of the deepest and most sprawling in electronic music - he has been involved with so many projects, for so many labels, with so many different sounds over the last 2 decades that it's impossible to know where to begin - taking in elements of Techno, Jazz, Drone, House and ambient music along the way.
His collaborative venture with Benjamin Brunn started out life on the Raster Noton related Bine imprint, but it's this amazing set for Smallville that's really got pulses racing with anticipation. "Songs from the Beehive" features 7 extended tracks that take in disparate elements from across Moufang's career, merging them into an immersive wash of sounds that drive around padded beats designed for the floor, yet surrounded by sound fragments and tapestries rarely associated with Techno music.
The opening "Love the one you're with" is a case in point, over 12 minutes the track evolves from a hazy stew of audio shrapnel and loose samples to a deep and bouncy shuffle full of scattered keys and funked changes. The fact that it takes the kickdrum almost 5 minutes to make an appearance tells you a lot about the pace and compositional attitude of these tracks - slowly taking time to unfold and unravel, revealing new dimensions with every repeated listen.
"Honey" makes a welcome appearance, while the immense "Come In" exudes a breathless elegance that's all midnight keys and angular motion - it's just impossibly lovely. With really quite sublime artwork from Stefan Marx, this really is a treat for followers of Move D and great electronic music generally - we urge you to check it out.
Tasty reworks of Robyn & Kindness, with Wolfgang Voigt diffusing the rich pop sentiment of Who Do You Love into a slow tumpin’, diaphanous Gas style with Robyn’s vocals beautifully shielded by sheets of mist, then evaporated altogether and letting the strings take over in his New Romantic Mix.
Mad Professor meanwhile makes it sound like the early ‘90s with a rolling, High Voltage steppers’ dub of Electric.
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.
Jan Jelinek’s iconic album 'Improvisations And Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001’ is finally given a vinyl issue for the first time. It’s another deep blue mood piece full of fragmented Jazz loops which will be essential listening for those of you enamoured not only with 'Loop Finding Jazz Records’ but also his quiet masterpiece 'Personal Rock’, released under ther Gramm alias. If you’re as obsessed with that album as we are, this reissue is a must.
"For the original 2002 CD on Soup-Disk and Sub Rosa (Audiosphere), Jan Jelinek and the Japanese trio Computer Soup (Satoru Hori – trumpet, Osamu Okubo - toys & electronics, Kei Ikeda - toys & electronics) presented eight tracks all recorded one afternoon in the trio’s living room in Tokyo. They are excerpts from a joint group improvisation that subsequently underwent rudimentary editing, on which Jelinek and Computer Soup worked separately.
Jelinek met the three musicians at his first concert in Japan in 2001, at Tokyo’s Yellow club, where Computer Soup performed as the support act. Delighted by their free improvisation on pocket-sized electronic toys, trumpet and oscillators, he arranged to meet Hori, Okubo and Ikeda a few days later for a session at their apartment. The resulting three-hour recording, made on their living room floor, formed the basis for Improvisations and Edits. A few days later, Jelinek returned to Berlin. Over the following months, they separately chose passages from the recording that were then edited and assembled into an album.
Formed in Tokyo in 1996 as a quintet (including Shusaku Hariya and Daisuke Oishi), Computer Soup began by performing with acoustic instruments on the streets of Shibuya. Ikeda und Okubo soon switched instruments, and from then on the group’s minimalistic but densely woven sound was defined by electronic toys, oscillators and Satoru Hori’s trumpet. Their first album was released in 1997 on the Japanese label Soup Disk. Eight further releases followed."
Jamal Moss turns to his brightest moniker for the astral trajectories of The Anticipatory Organization on Pedro Vian’s Modern Obscure Music
These are some of the more intense, freaky Jamal Moss workouts in recent memory, gettign into orbit with the acidic glissandi and head-warping phasing of The Things We Don’t Know, then staying out there with the oddly bass-less and heady pressure of The Disbelief Habit, until you’re suitably prepped for the blinding white light jackers intensity of The Achievement Factory, one of those real golden moments in the Jamal Moss canon.
Soul Jazz’ latest album ‘Yoruba! Songs & Rhythms For The Yoruba Gods In Nigeria’ is newly recorded in Lagos, Nigeria. The album is co-produced by label head Stuart Baker and Laolu Akins (founding member of the legendary 1970s Nigerian Afro-Funk/Rock group Blo).
"Yoruba!’ features an array of local master drummers led by Olatunji Samson Sotimirin and singers (featuring the lead vocals of Janet Olufanmilayo Abe) performing heavyweight Afro-rhythms, with talking drums, Bata and Dundun drums and a mass of percussion in these deep spiritual and sacred songs used to honour and worship the traditional and ancient Yoruba gods in Nigeria, West Africa. The enormous impact of Yoruba and West African music and culture is worldwide - from the first Afro-centric explorations of African- American jazz musicians in the 1950s such as Art Blakey, Randy Weston and Dizzy the explosion of Nu Yorican Latin music in New York City starting in the 1960s - Mambo, Boogaloo, Latin funk and soul - through to the sacred and powerful Afro-derived music of the religions of Santería in Cuba, Candomblé in Brazil and Voodoo in Haiti, which all came into existence on account of the Atlantic slave trade which began over 400 years ago.
On a wider scale West African music remains the primary root of all African-American musical forms - from New Orleans jazz to Bronx rap, gospel, soul and more. This album features songs honouring the Nigerian gods of the Yoruba traditional religion - Yemoja, Obatala, Ogun, Sango and others - as well as a selection of instrumental cuts focusing on the Bata and Dundun drums."
Hugely sought-after techno classic originally released on Berlin’s legendary Chain reaction and out-of-print for 15 years, now newly remastered from vinyl by Matt Colton at Alchemy.
A massive personal favourite of Demdike Stare's, Shinichi Atobe's 'Ship Scope' was Chain Reaction's penultimate release in 2001 and, with the benefit of hindsight, also one of the legendary label's most sublime offerings.
Phase fwd to 2015 and DDS rightly put it back into circulation with this necessary reissue arriving in the wake of Atobe's much loved archival salvage, 'Butterfly Effect', which caused quite a ripple in late 2014.
Notable not only for its unusually sweeter, dreamier ambient tone - especially when compared with the rest of the CR#'s - but also for its happily lost-at-sea feel, connoting a deeply romantic and almost shoegazy late '90s / into-the-'00s deep techno aesthetic that would essentially become washed away with the advent and normalisation of mnml techno's pristine production values.
Quite simply, it's a must-have for followers of the romantic streak in Ross 154, Convextion and classic Chain Reaction - do not miss!
With his own label and last year's feature on Alix Perez's newly conceived 1985 Music, Compa still found time to delver his 3rd MEDi release.
"With no signs of slowing down his mission to produce and share music...."
Proper, shoulder-barging D&B rufige from Artilect
Following up last year’s UVB-76 split alongside Skitty with the sidewinding tekkers of Blurring The Line, then the canny spectral breakbeat dynamics of Concussion, before holding down the ravenous beats of Zero Time, and on a fierce tech-step flex with Blink.
Tint is an intently focussed showcase of the sound sensitivities which have made Joe Talia a cult figure in contemporary electro-acoustic and avant garde circles. If you’ve ever been caught by the work of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Andrew Chalk, John Duncan or Jean-Claude Éloy, you need to clasp ears on this album!
“Tint is the first new solo recording from Joe Talia in over a decade. Australian-born but now based in Tokyo, Talia is known to many listeners as a drummer (frequently collaborating both live and in the studio with artists such as Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke) and as a recording and mixing engineer responsible for dozens of releases across the fields of contemporary experimental music, wayward pop, and jazz. Alongside James Rushford, he is also responsible for one of the most legendary releases in the Kye records catalogue, the creaking electronic morass of Manhunter (2013). Lovingly crafted over many months in his tiny Tokyo studio, Tint is an album-length electroacoustic suite that brings together Talia’s expertise as percussionist, studio engineer, and performer on analogue electronic instruments (primarily modular synth and Revox tape machine).
Ranging from minimalist austerity to kosmische lushness, Tint refreshingly refuses the dark and moody sonic palette of much contemporary electroacoustic music in favour of an airy, at times almost weightless sound-world of gliding tones, skittering percussion, and burbling field recordings. Drawing inspiration from Jean-Claude Eloy’s epic concrète love letter to Tokyo, Gaku-No-Michi, Talia makes extensive use of his own recordings of his new home, but removes any sense of audio verite, abstracting them into transparent glosses of outdoor ambience or unidentifiable chimes and creaks. Flowing seamlessly between distinct episodes, Tint is compositionally controlled while retaining a sense of played spontaneity, eventually building to a maelstrom of analogue synth zaps and tape manipulated percussion that reflects Talia’s deep engagement with the relentless yet constantly shifting dynamics of free jazz.”
Ahhhnd relax with this creamy instrumental suite of ambient cover versions of Arthur Russell, Brian Eno, Roedelius and Robert Wyatt. Heart melting music
"Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1 is a collection of ambient works - from the likes of Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, Roedelius and Robert Wyatt - arranged for clarinet and piano. Having met at music college, Black and Jones went separate ways creatively. Black delved into pop, recording albums and touring extensively under the guise of Sweet Baboo, as well as working with Cate Le Bon, H. Hawkline and others. Paul leaned into the piano and pursued a career as a jazz pianist and experimental musician. He played with Keith Tippett, formed The Jones O'Connor Group, performed with noise improv bands and composed orchestral and chamber music.
Reconnecting years later, the pair discovered that their musical tastes, bizarrely, met in the middle. They have a shared love of The Beach Boys, Ghost Box Records, Messiaen and Angela Morley. They both like ambient and new age music, bubblegum pop, Artie Shaw, Moondog and the Songs in the Key of Z.
Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1 is the spontaneous, beguiling culmination of this friendship. Cutting out the post production and keeping overdubs to a minimum, the clarinet and piano were passed through guitar stomp boxes and other analogue effects to enable processing and manipulation directly in performance. The result hums with the ghostly energy of sound pioneers Joe Meek and Martin Hannett, while mbira and drum machines are sparingly deployed amid enveloping folds of space echo.
Like Virginia Astley or Simon Jeffes, Group Listening tread the overlap betwen classical and experimental music. Perhaps most startling here is the breadth of material arranged as one atmospheric whole. The pieces range from the ever-spiralling, fractal phrases of German composer Roedelius to the haunting rasps of game and Hollywood soundtracker Disasterpiece and the pioneering sonics of early electronic inventor Raymond Scott. Somehow, shot together through Group Listening's electro-acoustic lens, these works evolve into something supremely calming, poignant and new.”
The surrealist ambient/avant-pop experiments of Anticlines form the most significant solo release to date by Lucretia Dalt. It follows her releases with Human Ear Music, Care Of Editions and Other People - all dispatched prior to 2015 - with her finest, poetic study on the relationships between time-based arts, a.k.a music, and the time scales of geology.
Thanks to the inclusion of her own vocals and a tendency towards simple, melodic leitmotifs, and despite its heavy conceptual roots, the results find a fine line between experimental savouriness and pop sweetness, knitting Latin rhythms with her poetic gestures in the first side, before the 2nd side cannily finds those ideas fragmented, stratified into finer graded layers.
"Anticlines is a volume of poetic theory and sound contemplating the bodies of self above and beneath the earth’s surface. On Anticlines, Dalt conjures a sonic space of speculative synthesis and spoken word where South American rhythms rattle contemporary composition recalling Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, and Annea Lockwood. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase will be charitably designated on behalf of Lucrecia Dalt to Tierra Digna, an organization dedicated to the defense of Colombian communities affected by economic policies that violate human rights and devastate the environment. tierradigna.org. Come! Mend!"
Vive la Void is the new solo project of Sanae Yamada, co-founder and keyboard player of Moon Duo. RIYL Stereolab, Broadcast, Fever Ray...
"Yamada wrote and recorded the self-titled debut album over roughly a two-year period, during windows of downtime in Moon Duo’s substantial touring and recording schedule. The dense, shape-shifting atmospheres of the seven songs grew out of late-night basement experiments in the layering of synthesizer tracks, a process that also led to meditations on the changeable nature of memory and perception. The result is an undulating blend of ethereal swirl, low end thrumming, and electric crackle, buoyed by Yamada’s understated but captivating vocal melodies and her striking lyrics.
“The lyrics were a way of reckoning with my own memories and also of trying to process my reactions to the human situation,” Yamada explains. “I wanted the voice to have a kind of ghostly quality, to emerge from and recede back into the song, or to pass over it like weather. It’s one of many layers of sound, which are meant to blend together in such a way that on one listen you might hear one thing, and on another listen you might hear something else, so the music seems to change even as it stays the same.”Yamada has spent the last decade as a working musician, moving between semipermanent home bases whenever she isn’t living in a tour van. In some ways, then, it feels inevitable that Vive la Void became a meditation on the strange rhythms of long-term touring, constant relocation, and the accompanying stream of brief but compelling encounters. It’s a testament to her empathy and creativity that these songs feel both specific and universal, familiar yet tantalizingly unknowable.
“I feel like the movement of life in the sphere of consciousness is this process of trace-leaving,” Yamada reflects. “Wherever we go, whomever we interact with, whatever we touch, we leave and absorb these invisible traces, this residue of memory that lingers. I wanted the sonic textures of this record to explore that state of being there and not there, of something being with you but not tangible.”
Boli Group present their keenly anticipated début album, N.P.D.S. on Posh Isolation. A suite of classicist chamber arrangements for Piano, Cello, Violin, Alto Sax & E-Max infiltrated by sparingly used synths, this is the sound of rarified contemplation in breezy white rooms, hovering between stately solemnity, urbane spirituality and ornate ennui...
"Hartvig is perhaps best known for his work with the group Synd Og Skam. And though less known, Brynje 1&2 is just as exceptional. Taking both technology and classicism as allegories, each group charts routes in and out of pop music, somehow arriving at an observer's distance to the distinct stylistic choices in the process. The label Visage has published the best of this, and the logic has certainly been carried into 'Boli Group LP,' the latest offering from Hartvig and his distinguished ensemble of Nina Cristante, Holger Hartvig, Thea Thorborg, and Cæcilie Trier.
There is a nearly unendurable fragility to 'Boli Group LP.' It's as if Hartvig has let the complexities of his themes stand in mourning; his narrator taking a moment to themselves behind sunglasses, exhausted for the rose-tinted lens of the prepared script. The album is willingly dramatic, though it never plateaus into melancholia. Hartvig pirouettes at the edge with the sorrowful string arrangements and the pristine timbre of the piano, the immediacy of the acoustics always binding the listener tightly to the risk. Pastoral and meditative, the electronics don't tamper with the delicate fabric being woven. They always register as supportive and understated. The synthetic hum, occasionally yielding a doleful melody as it does, manages to imbue a naiveté to this contemporary and subtly idiosyncratic chamber music.
Though the track titles lead us on, in time the examination the album provokes is that of the tension in transparency. The album's secret, barely kept through the minimalism, is its distinct folk noir quality in holding it. "boli group creating new chamber folklore embracing the playing of instruments, not the played, but that which is playing for the sake of future focus and edit into the very minerals of instrument, intuition, emotion, fragility underlying, the warning, always pulsating acts of drama, wet leaves, asphalt, pan to right, agriculture and electricity poles a container ship, lonely in horizon hoping for a clear thought, but everything existing as conspiracy the sound of a search, uncertain and always asking, for certainty is false, showing sceneries changing permanently and forever narrating, like a panorama of grey clouds, keeping humidity levels high, heating up before the release of water and lightning investigation for folk instruments. What are their songs and where will they go, over time, woven together like a piece of fabric created to stand against the lethal winds”
Persistently at the edge of wave cycles for the past decade, Matthew Weiner brings his TWINS project to Mike Simonetti’s 2MR label with a ‘floor-ready and generally easier to grasp sound in That Which Is Not Said, which is to say the acronym of his name spelt out for those who don’t know.
Eight songs variously touch on yelpy, snappy EBM recalling DAF/Suicide (Glass Breaks Glass), the cold synth-pop smarts of Depeche Mode (Taset of Peppermint), The Cure (Stuck), along with side-spins into mutant disco (Before This Runs Out) and John Bender-esque styles (The Sky Remains The Same).
Root Strata co-owner Maxwell August Croy and Jared Blum (Vision Heat) fully commit to YMO and Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo styles for this session of far eastern electronics and spare ambient jazz gestures clearly intended for fans of YouTube recommendation algorithms.
In 16 succinct pieces, each as lovely as the next, they rotate a kaleidoscopically colourful sound that variously touches on ‘80s computer game and film soundtracks as much as the sophisticated, searching 4th world styles explored by Haruomi Hosono and Yasuaki Shimizu, or their antecedents such as Visible Cloaks in the modern sphere.
The addition of Jonathan Sielaff (Golden Retriever) on bass clarinet and Adam Hill on double bass lends proceedings a trustingly loose and expressive aspect that differentiates Kagami from their field.
Stephen O’Malley serves Ragnar Johnson’s transcendent recordings of sacred flute ceremonies in New Guinea on his amazing Ideologic Organ label. Johnson’s Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea: Madang / Windim Mabu album was previously reissued on Ideologic organ in 2016, and was recently sampled on Björk’s Utopia album. This collection, featuring an array of mostly unaccompanied flute recordings, is equally spellbinding and worthy of your close attention.
“Crying Bamboos is a translation of the pidgin description of the sound of sacred flutes: “Mambu i cry, i cry, i cry”.
Sacred flutes are blown to make the cries of spirits by adult men in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea. Pairs of long bamboo male and female flutes are played for ceremonies in the coastal villages near the Ramu River. There are seven male initiation flute cries from Bosmun, four flute cries from Bak: Borai with occasional single garamut percussion and two flute cries from Kaean, one with vocals and hand drums. The flute players were of the last generation to have learned this skill during a complete cycle of male initiation. These previously unreleased recordings were made in 1979.”