A charming take on Arthur Russell’s A Little Lost
Performed by Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Paul Jones a.k.a. Group Listening, and taken from their forthcoming album; Clarinet & Piano: Selected Works Vol.1.
AnD shelve the kicks for a minute and prang out under their Shadows alias for Opal Tapes
“Brutish, noise-inflected modular machine music from the Shadows duo of Andrew Bowen & Dimitri Ploumpidis (AnD)
Unlike the big-room sound of their usual hard-techno as AnD, Shadows explores a hinterland of radioactive waste. The six tracks within cover free-form experimentation and more propulsive fare as geiger-rhythms shell outward caked in liquefying synthesis (Pulsar, Waveshaper).
Complete malfunction is achieved on some tracks as fully bugged electronics scream away in derailed union (The Arrival, Galactic Traveller) and near intelligence is found amid the toxicity in the ugly purring of "Cuthands" and closer "Badman" which calculates a primitive digi-dub smeared and smudged.”
Pan Daijing lends a cyber punk pop pucker to AS Chaos, the first signal from AS Scanner since their AS Truth mixtape.
Radiactively buzzing electro riffs, mechanical trills and Pan’s shouty, warped vox add up to something best compared with SOPHIE meeting ATR at a fetish club.
The Kingston/Manchester axis comes correct with a killah family affair from Equiknoxx and Swing Ting.
On the nice ’n nasty Rum & Buckfast Riddim, Rtkal, Shanique and Fox trade bashment commanding bars in a mix of classic but up-to-the-second party vibes.
Diskotopia’s dreamer of the dream BD1982 unveils an oneiric sequence of memes pulled from garage, boogie, ambient electronics and game music to resemble something like a sonic version of Google’s deep dream AI...
Phoebe Guillemot’s RAMZi returns with an exotic kiss of tribal rhythms and 4th world electronics in Pèze-Piton, her keenly anticipated first record for 12th Isle and a fine follow-up to a string of roundly acclaimed excursions for 1080p, RVNG Intl, Total Stasis and Mood Hut in recent years.
Sounding out a unique ecology of ethnic inference and armchair mystic swerve, RAMZi realises one of her most potent, absorbing parallel dimensions with Pèze-Piton, scrolling sideways into an impenetrably layered and humid no-man’s-land where she’s free to imagine and conduct Dr. Doolittle-meets-Black Zone Myth Chant style experiments encouraging a system of harmonious interspecies communication.
The trip contracts and expands with pineal-pinching magick, travelling from the cloven-hoofed arabesque of MWI Intro and the lilting flutes and tablas of Backin to what sounds like Equiknoxx after a dish of psilocybin on the dancehall enigma Safe, before twisting left and drifting thru the psychedelic cumbia of Fly Timoun.
Turn over and the trip spaces out with the cosmic breeze of congas and melting guitars lines on Brazili, then goes eyes-down in the dance like SKRS Intl on a dembow flex with In Shed, chasing the voodoo down ancient, folkwise gunnels of the mind in Nofo, to the swarming disco at the end of the rainbow in Ptitye Zelda.
Another sterling pick from Sacred Summits, Morgan Fisher’s charmingly playful 'Inside Satie'  sees its first ever vinyl reissue on Lindsay Todd and Stuart Leith’s cult label.
Morgan Fisher has had a storied career as part of ’60s one-hit wonders Love Affair, thru to playing keys for Mott The Hoople in the ‘70s, and working on ambient, improv and soundtracks in the ‘80s alongside Yoko Ono, Haruomi Hosono and Dip In The Pool.
Inside Satie was recorded in Japan following Fisher’s move from the UK in the mid ’80s. Perhaps a perfect fit for the sophisticates of Tokyo at the time, the album adapts Satie’s timeless minimalism to a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments, highlighting and feeding into the similarities between Gnossiene and Gymnopedie and the new age ambient zeitgeist of Japan in 1985.
As a meditation aid, a coffee table staple, and a historic artefact, Inside Satie is a beautiful and warmly satisfying document totally worthy of reappraisal in 2018.
Hypnotic new EBM techno project from Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant and Ori Ofir, highly recommended if yr into Nitzer Ebb, DAF, Boy Harsher, Phase Fatale!
Juan Mendez a.k.a Silent Servant finds his ideal EBM vocal foil in Ori Ofir under their Sterile Hand moniker. The duo’s first vinyl round for Not Waving’s Ecstatic label is a dark and sleazy run of deviant industrial techno and pugilistic EBM cuts made over the last year.
Following Silent Servant’s killer split 12” with Not Waving and Pye Corner Audio in 2017, and two fierce 12”s with Marcel Dettmann and Phase Fatale in 2018, the L.A.-based artist behind Sandwell District and Jealous God is at the apex of his game right now, combining EBM and techno in faithful but inventive new ways. If there was anything previously missing from Silent Servant’s music, it’s only become apparent thru the seamless and natural incorporation of Ori Ofir’s classic-styled but unique vocals.
The two L.A.-based artists push each other down tightening alleys of EBM and industrial techno, with Ofir’s stark, blunted declamations haunting and highlighting the most fetid corners of Mendez’s rolled-steel productions. It’s a style that works to cryptic, head-turning effect in the Voigt Kampff-like probe of Personality Test, then with increasing dancefloor force in the Nitzer Ebb-esquer flow of The Hunter and the punishing, gnashing bite of Security, whereas Listen For Water and the creeping figures of Untitled explore the esoteric powers and parameters of Sterile Hand in mesmerising psychoactive detail.
Pure Country is the uncannily incisive début LP from Peter Boothroyd, a highly touted UK composer who’s built a unique rep around his Idle Hours 12” for Tri Angle along with curveball grime productions for Maxsta, Maniac and Trim.
By many measures, a record with this many sunset EDM guitar licks and Roseanne-style mouth organ vamps is definitely a guilty pleasure, but what he’s doing with the aspirational commercial memes of modern day Britain and America is akin to James Ferraro on his classic Far Side Virtual, but, for us, with a p1ss-funny British grasp of sarcasm/sincerity
It takes a special kinda artist who can genuinely absorb and reflect the uncanniness of the contemporary climate, and for us right now that’s Boothroyd. Under a wickedly polysemous title that we could take myriad ways, he maps the naughtiest country tropes to the kind of R&B-trance-EDM backdrops often used to try and sell you shite, basically attempting to manipulate your emotions in the context of bad TV or YouTube adverts trying to lure you in under 5 seconds. The results have us genuinely LOL-ing, but also marvelling at the way he riffs on that banality of affect, and ultimately finds something worthwhile within it.
In effect, Pure Country’s EDM subversion is antithesis to IDM in the same way V/Vm was in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, but Boothroyd uses its language of loaded gestures in a subtler way, oscillating Tourist board-montage memes in Pure Country with hilarious Shameless-soundtrack style mouth organ vamps in Blue, and saltier licks of soft trance on Rinsed, while a pinched riff on his Mare Street Dick Head cut here as Dry gives a quick poker face reset that slips into a smirk with the Springsteen-style solo on Jeep, and the most loved-up smize on the final run of Sunset Ibiza, Gap and Balearic Horse, which are the sort of tunes you’d imagine Arthur Russell to write if he were coming thru now.
A major milestone and bucket list ting from Swing Ting, serving six head-turning collaborations with Jamaican, UK and Eire vocalists and producers; Alexx A-Game, Blvk H3ro, Gemma Dunleavy, Gavsborg & Shanique Marie (Equiknoxx), and JP aka Without Understanding.
Coming nearly one year after Fact Magazine bestowed Swing Ting the honour of Best Label of 2016, the label captains Samrai and Platt comfortable take the wheel on Junction, cooking up strong flavours for all street raver between the Soup Kitchen anthem, Free Up Your Mind feat. Alex A-Game, thru a slinky link-up with Blvk H3ro on Can’t Wait, to the exquisite feminine pressure of addiction with Gemma Dunleavy, and the simmering slow jam, Contagious starring Manny’s own Fox and Tyler Daley in classic voice.
Special mention to the Equiknoxx-starring cuts, too. Shanique Marie sounds like an R&G angel on the rude-but-smooth bashment, Turn It Up, and Gavsborg’s sincere answering machine message on Gavsborg Meets JP becomes part of a jazzy cherry on the pie.
Autechre follow their excellent 'Exai' album with this four track brace of further productions.
Like the last album, it's largely squashed-funk Autechre: 'Tac Lacora' vaults and fragments in spine-reassembling spurts and spats, whereas 'M39 Diffrain' is wormholing steppers' techno concrète. 'Osla for n' is purely awkward arrhythmia perhaps intended to re-programme your bones in 4D and 'Newbound' offers some slightly more conventional harmonic and melodic comforts in their beautifully oblique manner..
Cam Deas is a guitar virtuoso who has switched to modular synth and computer productions resulting in these staggering studies in polymetric, mercurial and dissonant tunings - hugely recommended if you’re into the work of Autechre, Rashad Becker, Roland Kayn, Fis, Coil, Xenakis.
Time Exercises is a complex study in amorphous polymetric rhythms by Cam Deas for The Death of Rave. His first album composed solely for modular synths and computer, Cam’s follow-up to the acclaimed String Studies for Luke Younger's Alter label marks a headlong tilt from acoustic to electronic spheres with a staggering effect resulting from meticulous research and process. It sounds as advanced as Xenakis or Roland Kayn superstructures, with the rhythmic displacement of FIS or Autechre, and with a grasp of slippery, mind-bending timbral dissonance comparable to Coil and Rashad Becker records.
Cam’s six Time Exercises form both a bold break with - and an extension of - the avant, folk, blues and outernational traditions that he’s worked to deconstruct and fluidly syncretise over the past decade. In the past four years he’s stepped away from the guitar as a compositional tool, turning to electronic hardware in a focussed effort to consolidate myriad tunings and meters with a precision that had previously eluded him in the acoustic sphere.
Severed from the tactility and sentimentality of instrumental inflection, Cam’s disembodied music plays out a thrilling dramaturgy and syntax of alien dissonance and disorienting rhythmic resolution. Harmonic shapes as densely widescreen as those in Roland Kayn’s Cybernetic Music roil in unfathomable fever dream space, where massed batteries of synthetic percussion swarm like an orchestra of Cut Hands in viscous formation, and where polychromatic mentasm figures converge like cenobites laying siege to Rashad Becker’s utopia.
On Time Exercises Cam articulates a synthetic musical language that speaks to the listener in myriad, quantum tongues awaiting to be deciphered by keen ears everywhere. It’s an outstanding record for lovers of forward-looking but deeply rooted electronic music.
Will Long X DJ Sprinkles’ journey to the heart of deep house culminates in the third and final volume in a series of three, offering the broadest yet most subtle, spine-tingling session of the lot, presenting the former’s raw and ‘floor-ready originals backed by the latter’s inimitably sumptuous overdubs.
Conceptually rooted in the queer, black politics of NYC’s late ‘80s and early ‘90s house scene - where Terre Thaemlitz cut her teeth as DJ Sprinkles - the series can be viewed as a vital reminder of that scene’s original values and sense of social democracy, especially when contrasted with the glut of contemporary, commodified representations of that music which sorely miss the mark, or weren’t even aware of the scene’s provenance to begin with.
Make no mistake, though; this is no lecture or snub at younger producers making deep house. Rather, it is evidence of the original form’s latent potential to still generate rare, precious feelings which have been lost or glossed over with subsequent, detached and over-produced translations of its original syntax and intent.
“Deep” is the key word here on many levels, from their poignant use of historical samples by civil rights pioneers Bayard Rustin, Jesse Jackson and Kathleen Cleaver, to the unfiltered innocence of Will Long’s productions and Sprinkles’ corresponding, pensile overdubs, which make utterly incredible use of the frequency spectrum to reveal acres of space in the upper registers and, on the other hand, an honestly breathtaking application of layered subbass tones that are just impossible to describe.
This one's a little bit special...
Darling coughs up the light-footed 1st of 2 new 12”s for Young Marco’s Safe Trip, chasing the vibes of his début for Voyage Direct and the JPS session into frothiest headspace.
When She Hates Me rolls out on a lissom, uptempo flex with nimble arps and spumes of cosmic melody fixed to an effortlessly cantering groove. On the other hand, Isle Of Red works out an adroit, percolated sort of Afro-techno chiming with avian thumb piano melodies and beautifully melancholic chord developments sure to get the ‘floor in a lush lather.
Hunee plucks out a bouquet of peaches cross-bred from boogie edits, outernational grooves, and deep house and techno for Hunchin’ All Night.
It’s all killer no filler packed with highlights including Hunee’s uptempo edit of Belgian beauty Trance Fusion by Mappa Mundi, Ron Trent’s sexy AF beat down remix of Blak Beat Niks’ Ritual Of Love, and the pendulous subbass and sublime chord washes of Larry Heard’s Burning 4 You.
Tresor’s 300th release is a 15 track anthology of the Scopex label, a hugely coveted late ‘90s UK electro imprint whose releases by Simulant and Pollon now fetch triple figures for 2nd hand copies. When this set was announced a few weeks back, we could practically hear the collective relief of a thousand night owl neeks hooting at the moon and salivating at the prospect of fresh vinyl editions of Simm City, Out OfEther, and Electratech, all newly remastered from DATs and included here inside.
Right up there next to classic Drexciyan Storms and the black secret technologies of Ultradyne in the pantheon of 3rd/4th wave electro, Scopex releases defined ’90s electro at its tightest and mercurial best with a blend of razor sharp production and concise, sci-fi vision that’s rarely been surpassed.
In chronological order, you’ll find diamond-cut new pressings of Simulant’s Simm City , which is perhaps most noted for its Stinson-esque strengths in New Machines and the rare charms of Musical Box, or the low-lying missile Wav. Form (Mix), before Out Of Ether  dispenses some of the nastiest electro-funk to come from the UK in Knife Edge and the clenched swing of Access Future Audio (Mix).
Pollon’s Electratech  follows to open the 3rd disc with the tense angles of Lost Souls, as deployed by Objekt on his Kern Vol.3 mix for Tresor, and also included in a banging alternate Mix beside the epic Lonely Planet, while the previously unreleased, slow-mo sci-fi electro grunge of Optimal Flow completes the set and sees the label to its final resting place in one piece.
Come git it!
Sublime, highly evocative collection of location and field recordings incorporating music made by Stephen O’Malley and others for a collage-based audio journal designed for deep immersion. Huge recommendation if you're into Elodie, Virginia Astley, Chris Watson...
Pali Meursault engrossingly plays with conventions in this abstracted collage of location recordings making great use of the Échos festival's unique alpine environment and acoustics as well as performances captured from varying vantage points around and outside the valley site. It forms a collaged survey of music made by Stephen O’Malley, Clara De Asís & Laura Vasquez, and Bear Bones, Lay Low, among many others, seamlessly incorporating traces of natural sound sphere knit with and around the artists’ gestures.
Despite being impressionistic in nature, the recordings create a duet with the landscape and its uniquely reverberant dimensions of mountain sides and steep valleys, where sounds leave the players only to return mutated, taking on a life of their own.
The result is at times a gentle, at others steeply psychedelic journey; a sonic topographical reading where wildlife bleeds into the same soundfield as the artists, adding into a variegated space of reception and perception in flux between earthly and unearthly delights, conjuring an illlusive metaphysical matrix that’s a total pleasure to wander and become enmeshed in and enchanted by.
A Late 80’s slow digital dancehall killer; malevolent, sick and paranoid - prob the most essential and sought-after selection of dubs you'll ever have the pleasure of copping.
Replay Version is basically like a JA variant of Ramelzee & K Rob's Beat Bop, Once Bitten is a deadly variant featuring more detuned-synths on top of a pure skank, while "Senci Pipe" on the flip is just out and out minimal digital sorcery.
"Sides like these announced a new era in reggae... Replay Version sets the mood - malevolent, sick and paranoid, but haunting, and funky like a train, with cruelly brilliant effects..."
Second in a series of three releases, a 45 Minute doublepack featuring some of the most engrossing House music you’ll likely hear this year or any other...
We’re still dazed from the 1st volume, but Will Long and DJ Sprinkles have already cued up their 2nd session, with Mint / Clay landing handsome on Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse.
The format and aesthetic remains the same as Vol.1, namely two raw pieces by Will Long, backed with extended overdubs by Sprinkles amounting to thee deepest house this side of Larry Heard’s nuclear love bunker, all subtly executed and held up as a comparison to the aesthetics and intentions (or, ironically, the excess and lack of) of that sound in relief of current, conceptually-detached takes on the original NYC deep house sound which Sprinkles was instrumental in shaping as a downtown DJ during that formative era.
Again, Will Long, who’s best known for his experimental ambient work as Celer, proves that it ain’t what you’ve got but what you know and can do with it that matters. Under-Currents places sparing samples of T.R.M. Howard - a mentor of Jesse Jackson - amidst a dream sequence of carbonated hi-hats and lingering chords urged by a plump bass drum, whilst Get In & Stay In nods to civil right activist and current Georgia congressional representative John Lewis in a lush haze of crepuscular chromatics and loping swing.
On the flipsides, DJ Sprinkles contributes another pair of incredible overdubs, lending Long’s minimal elements a richer, fleshlier feel, whether with additional breakbeats or nimbly lowering the bass and layering up spirited flutes and Rhodes. Suffice to say, they’re absolute mind-melters.
Quite crucially, the concept never gets in the way of the music, perfectly demonstrating the symbiotic nature of the music and politics in the way we imagine they intended; I mean it’s not like they want you to sit in a corner of the club pondering their ideas, but they’re definitely worth bearing in mind, especially for the DJs, dancers and promoters who act as gatekeepers for this music.
Hospital Productions present one of their foundational influences, Merzbow’s holy grail Noisembryo  subtitled 'Psycho-Analytic Study of Coital Noise Posture', on its first vinyl edition - now newly edited by Masami Akita and expanded with the rare 'Travelling' taken from the 'Noise Forest' ' compilation. The original album notably features a rare appearance of Akita’s vocals woven into the maelstrom, while the bonus track unusually features steadier drum machine rhythms and shoegazing sort of harmonic distortion. The real deal.
The label says: “the holy grail, not only of merzbow’s obsessive discography, but of the entire 90’s noise movement. you’ve heard the stories surrounding the infamy of this release, but beyond that stands the depth and wild energy over two decades later that ‘noisembryo’ encapsulates.> high speed loops, roving automotive bass and cacophonic drum machine gel together with the surprising inclusion of a sound rarely heard within merzbow’s many years...masami akita’s own voice.> akita’s surrealism of the past stands prominently relevant to this day. edited and remastered for vinyl by masami akita with a bonus track from the equally as infamous ‘noise forest’, appearing for the first time on vinyl with unseen classic paintings and collages of masami from the original ‘noisembryo’ sessions. packaged in an exquisite gatefold with color vinyl.”
Everything, as David Lynch would say, is never quite what it seems.
Bohren and Der Club of Gore's intense blend of heaving doom reductions and late night Badalemanti style midnight jazz has bought them a fanatical following in both the Avant-Metal and Jazz communities. Their sound really can be best visualised with reference to the 'Bang Bang' Bar in Twin Peaks, all sleaze, unease and glamour in the archetypal Lynchian sense.
The members of Bohren started out in various Hardcore outfits, but when the band formed in the early 90's they soon settled on a blend of Metal, Ambient and Jazz that confounded and confused most listeners. Almost two decades later and Bohren enjoy something akin to a secret members following, with the likes of Mike Patton being so into the band that they are now signed to his own Ipecac imprint in the states. 'Dolores' is their first album since 2005's 'Geisterfaust' and is their most beautifully realised album yet, oozing mystery and atmosphere with a more muted take on that super luxurious sound.
Opening track 'Staub' unfolds with a solitary mournful organ, eventually coupled with that unmistakable, spine-tingling Fender Rhodes played so ably by Christoph Clöser. The track continues with spacious, staggered percussion and Vibraharp, whirling through 8 minutes of mystery and wonder. At the other end of the album 'Welten' closes off proceedings with a monkish drone most suitable to a Sunn 0)) opening, before once again those shimmering keys create that kind of immeasurably addictive confusion between darkness and light that could be said to be Bohren's calling card.
'Dolores' is a stunning, mesmerising minute journey into that sh*t that lurks beneath the surface, confusing, confounding and oddly uplifting all at once. A wonderful album that comes to you with our highest possible recommendation.
45 Minute doublepack featuring some of the most engrossing House music you'll likely hear this year or any other - First in a series of three releases pairing original material by Will Long with DJ Sprinkles’ overdubs.
Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long and DJ Sprinkles, present sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’.
It begins a series of three vinyl sets and eventually a 2CD package that effectively compare deep house’s original, economical aesthetics and function as the soundtrack to marginalised society, with its current position; repackaging and overproducing the same old ideas with empty sloganeering, operating as the catalyst of social trends, rather than an agent of social transformation.
They both make their point subtly but clearly. Two sides feature extended 10+ minute tracks by Will Long, created using relatively minimal means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords, and rack sampler vocals, while the other two sides provide overdub Sprinkles versions.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, in this case from Jesse Jackson and Rap Brown, rather than current vogue for showmanship and more-as-more arrangements.
DJ Sprinkles' overdubbed contributions quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate that intention, tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness thru deftly applied daubs of glutinous subbass pressure, airy strings and subtly shimmering FX, really offsetting Long's trax in a whole other dimension; and via disciplined, stripped-down, full-bodied production values that rank as perhaps the deepest yet in Sprinkles’ already perfectly formed canon.
They could be taken as a call for humbleness and meditative efficiency over cliched buildups and preening vanities, perhaps a comment on “deep" house as the equivalent of a fresh tattoo or sweatshop t-shirt slogan.
Because, you know, it really does stand for a lot more.
The artist f.k.a. Cosmin TRG tests out textured ambient techno abstractions for Opal Tapes on his latest release as Cosmin Nicolae
“Over the last decade the work of Cosmin Nicolae has been a cresting force of forward thinking electronic music. His TRG alias formed the inaugurate release on the peerless Hessle Audio with the Put You Down / Broken Heart 12” (HES001). His music has featured across Tempa, ~scape, 50 Weapons, Hotflush, the list goes on. In essence he forms an important part of the story of the cross pollination of UK “bass” music with techno and his hard work and craft has seen him maintain his fixture as a sought after talent, both producing and as a DJ.
One element which always amplified his work beyond that of many other peers is Cosmin’s dedication to crafting interesting sound from scratch, a process which precedes his production and has it roots in home- brewed experimentation with instruments, electro-acoustic process and improvisation. With this debut release under his actual name, Opal Tapes has provided a space for Cosmin to have free reign to display another, looser and more experimental side of his repertoire.
Opening track “Semnal” peers slightly at the UKG influence he has worn in his early career, the track swings forward, percussions align, but the palette of sound at use here is one of moist rustic underfloor. A forested garage, humid and rotten. “Demolare” is the first of several pieces which constrain to use an ultra-simple motif, on this occasion a bone-rattling formant beat which convolves and vibrates as gaseous synths light the way. “Simultan” evokes the Clicks & Cuts comps of yore, randomising and rearranging itself as modular systems attempt to speak a common language. “Sector Acuamarin” see’s honey sweet trembles and pin- sharp percussion dot around the stereo in another rural retreat from the science lab the remainder of the album often conjures. “Distors Util” once again revolves around the one take, the idea, allowed to bleat and operate alone in a conjured malfunction. Auxiliaries flow out to spring reverbs enriching the mass. Our A side closes with “Autopilot Escapism” where metallic membranes pip and pop atop a gorgeous perfume of digital choir, certainly one of the albums highest points.
The B opens with “Secvente” where the factory is turned back on with just enough power to clear the damp. “Jos” thumbs an ugly beat of bleating module against a harrowed soundscape, pulling back the curtain just in time to see the machines start to really fry. Odd dub shapes are thrown around during “Vapori” before “Iele” bottoms out into a dread-scape of factory churn and gut-bumping delays as the whole damn Gamelan is thrown at hyper-speed into the blender to terrifying psychedelic effect. “Sulfuric” and “Swept” close the album out with a double down of acid-burn and defected skwee.
In many ways, an impossible album to classify, it feels as if it’s creating itself at points. The ideas therein are the genesis of so many fully “functional” songs but hearing them like this brings us so much closer to someone else’s mind and fingertips.”
Hospital Productions yield a tape recording of Regis DJing the label’s 20 Anniversary session at Warsaw, Brooklyn, on November 5th, 2017
Covering the gamut of North African guitars thru the sludge funk of World Domination Enterprises and Sun Ra’s Nuclear War, this tape catches Karl O’Connor perfectly not playing to presumptions of blistering techno, and instead exploring the post-punk tributaries and lesser trotted outsider ginnels of his sprawling record collection in a way we haven’t heard him do before.
Suffice it to say listeners should expect the unexpected in a class meeting of Hospital Productions and Downwards styles.
The return of Terre Thaemlitz / DJ Sprinkles with a first solo vinyl release in over five years, features an exclusive 17 minute vinyl edit of 'Names Have Been Changed’ from the Deproduction album and DJ Sprinkles’ incredible House Arrest mix - which totally destroys us each and every time...
Asking pertinent questions about the hypocritical nature of relations between LGBT agendas and Western Humanist notions of the nuclear family, Terre’s Deproduction sensitively yet unflinchingly broaches topics usually considered taboo by a mainstream who are all too happy to pick and choose parts of radical, fringe culture to fetishise, while swerving the bigger questions proposed by those niches.
In the vinyl edit of Names Have Been Changed, exclusive to this LP, Terre contracts the original, 43 minute blend of strings and unsettling scenes of domestic violence into a 17 minute version, beautifully suspended in the cut at 45rpm in order to best represent the work’s unique democracy of frequency - from the muffled row heard next door, to its hyperrealistic avian chirrups and modestly spare, foregrounded strings.
On DJ Sprinkles' extended House Arrest mix on the B-Side, Terre’s ideas feel even more radical when juxtaposed with a sublime deep house production, placing them in context of what was and still can be a radical artform when done with insight and consideration. The result is one of this decade’s most sublime yet unsettling house tracks, bar none.
Bringing vibes for days, if not decades, Peacefrog with a first ever vinyl reissue of Moodymann’s Silence In The Secret Garden  to slake the thirst of DJs and dancers the world over.
Slotting between Forevernevermore  and Black Mahogani  in the scheme of things, KDJ’s 4th album is a peerless distillation of Detroit house DNA and party flavours, working a masterful balance of simmering house party funk and technoid depth that could really only come from one man and the city he reps.
Party-building aces such as People share space with rolling deep techno works such as On My Way Home, and rugged club abstractions like Silence in The Secret Garden hold ground beside sultry Afro-Latin numbers like Yesterdays Party Watta Bout It, demonstrating it’s all part of the same thing in a way that KDJ has exemplified for over 20 years.
Cop on sight!
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.”
Oren Ambarchi offers a necessary new vinyl edition of his 'Grapes From The Estate' classic on Black Truffle. Out of print on any format for years, it’s a pleasure to see and hear this new reissue in the flesh, and to be reminded of when its floating harmonic tones first deeply seduced us and our friends. True to say its lost none of its capacity to soothe and absorb listeners like few other records we can think of. A proper modern drone evergreen.
“Oren Ambarchi's third solo project for Touch [after Suspension and Insulation] sees him reaching beyond the work for electric guitar that he's become recognised for, expanding his palette and taking his investigations into another sphere entirely. Grapes from the Estate features new instrumentation (strings, tuned bells, percussion and others that can only be guessed at), but the singular and unmistakable influence that Ambarchi exerts on these new materials is what makes it such an indelible work.
There is a reconciliation of his love of song-based music and his determination to deal in pure sound. The result is a work that truly eludes such arbitrary definitions. Grapes From The Estate is an all consuming experience that draws the listener out of an ordinary sense of time, into a world beyond it.
On more than any other release, his entire body of work to date can be experienced in a single statement. There are the seemingly random tonal structures that are such a large part of his vocabulary, the playfulness and humour of his formative noise schooling, his love of free jazz, of pop music, and rhythmic elements, perhaps subconsciously derived from his Sephardic heritage. Another outpouring of personal, intimate and enduring music from Oren Ambarchi.”
Antinote pull out a ruggedly bittersweet pair of bleep techno swervers by Slowglide, a new artist hailing from Reims in the middle of France’s Champagne region.
Worry not though, this is not champagne music - it’s much better suited to garys and a bottle of Evian. On Reign he percolates a rude groove of pinging bleeps and rolling, wooden bass heft akin to Beneath but giving way to a dead sweet breakdown and vocal ident that recalls The Connection Machine (jeeez when are they going to reissue that one!) in the best way.
Haipa is dreamier, infused with a dusky melancholy that coins thru beautifully in a way reminding of Huerco S, but on a swung groove built from blunt drums definitely rooted in UK swagger styles a la Batu and pals.
Pulsating, psychedelic deep space techno probes from Metro Skim
Expanding on the hypothesis of his début EP Identifying Possibilities with an hypnotically effective batch of Mills-type mutations for Steve Bicknell’s 6dimensions label. Make sure to check out the mind-bending dynamics of Hidden Powers and the iridescent wormholer, Monotony.
Mixed bag of nuts on the 1st Online Conversations release
Turning from SZCH’s flimsy jungle thing Ana’s Theme to D. Tiffany’s ghetto-tech acid play Hoppin’ In (Craig’s Vocal Mix), a scratchy sort of CBA house push named U Make My Head Spin from Saki, and Tlim Shug’s whizzed-out boogie Dream Control.
The stream of killer South African house gems continues with this double-header...
...pairing Volcano’s deep house kwaito bewt Vanonyana Lava with the sultry swagger of Chappies (Reluctant Mix) by The Beat Gangsters. File between the reissue of Nicky Love’s amazing Nobody To Love, that lush SA bubblegum compilation, and the later styles of DJs Mujava and Spoko et al.
Among the most stunning and musical electronic works ever produced, these five compositions represent the complete electronic works of Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim (1931-2010).
"Beautifully presented reissue of classic archival electroacoustic works, first released on now very obscure vinyl in 1974. It contains some of the most exciting, shimmering and crystalline electronic sounds to be unearthed in quite a while.
Born in 1931 and highly active, Arne Nordheim is considered by most as the greatest living Norwegian composer, his chamber music, orchestral and various other work spanning a 40 year period. He started to get international recognition in 1960 with his orchestral work ‘Canzona per Orchestra’ and soon after began to explore the use of pre-recorded tape as part of the compositions. His electronic works were recorded in Warszaw between 1967 and 1971, and have strangely enough not been available on record since the 70s.
This releases brings together the collected electronic works of Arne Nordheim, pieces that were furiously dismissed in academic circles in Norway when they first appeared almost 30 years ago, and in a way that have put an effective stop to weaker souls. Compared to some of the more ‘famous’ electronic composers, Nordheim distinguish’s himself by his sheer musicality and sense of structure...Electronic boxes, electric instruments and recorded tape glide in and out as a natural part of the orchestra, in constant pursuit of magical and spellbinding timbres. The orchestral parts reveal how working with mixers and tape splicing have influenced the development of musical ideas in more traditional arrangements.”
Madrid’s Bawrut curls off the bendy house slomp of 4x4 for Ransom Note
Following up his Rumba EP and Ciquita / 1-2-3-4 12” with four tracks of kinky, percolated grooves between the frothy frolics of Three Sounds, a sloshing disco samba called More Cowbell, and more crooked, intricately woven arrangements of synth voices, wiggly acid and samples of grubbing traditionals in I Hear Voices and Ghettoscar.
Proper disco tech from Juju & Jordash, kicking off the “No fuss DJ/dancer friendly outlet” Slack Trax with three percolated, swinging beauties pressed on white label.
Bellboy SLACK encircles the A-side with a super fruity sort of Chicago wiggle punctuated by class ‘80s horror bells which give the track its title, and levitated with lushest synth pads and arps. Think Boo Williams and C2 meets Jamal Moss in a Medusas mood.
B-side, on Space TG SLACK they lock into a more fluid momentum recalling an dreamt meeting of modern Rob Hood and Jeff Mills, whereas Cherry SLACK swerves to a cannier sort of Afro-Cuban syncopation reminding of Aardvark and DJ Qu.
Yves Tumor’s debut for the PAN label offers a perfect distillation of everything the label stands for, filling another as-yet-unnamed niche between the eyes of hypermodern styles. It’s an album that takes you from the most beautifully produced earworm one moment, to the depths of sonic experimentation the next - making for easily one of the most impressive and memorable albums of the year.
The Tennessee-raised, Turin-based artist has sown seeds across the contemporary field in visual as well as musical fields over recent years with releases for NON, Janus and Halcyon Veil issued under an expanding roll call of names, as well as visceral live work for LA's Hood By Air earlier this year. However, it’s under the Yves Tumor moniker that he commits his most personal and noteworthy work to date; the result of three years of creative discovery, drawing from a deeply emotional, vulnerable place to grapple with themes of social anxiety, paranoia and missing loved ones to present one of this year’s most staggering albums.
Serpent Music covers the full bandwidth of Tumor’s far-flung aesthetics, navigating from lushly organic yet elusively distanced instrumental textures in the opening strokes of Devout and the homesick soul ache of The Feeling When You Walk Away, before more oblique, abrasive drums and layered electronics begin to infiltrate the airborne keys of Dajjal, and with Role In Creation he incorporates the east African motifs heard in his Bekelé Berhanu output, but with a much gentler, more optimistic effect.
But just as you begin to get a grip on his slippery scales, Serpent I rushes into a ferocious tribal battery, resolved with the stentorian pastor and doom echo chamber feels of Serpent II, and he really starts to let his mind drift with the conflated pastoral and darkroom noise vibes of Seed, and the eastern-facing Alice Coltrane nod, Spirit In Prison, skizzily returning to smokey vapour trails in Cherish and Face of a Demon, to wash us up on the lonely, distant shores of Perdition.
Alongside the likes of Dean Blunt or Klein, Yves Tumor is patently rewiring the conventions of soul music and psychedelia according to his own, twisted schematic and modernist insight, making this album feel vital at a point where conservative sensibilities seem to have permeated the spirit of so many “independently" minded creators.
Jim O’Rourke is ready to talk to you again with his first pop album since 2001.
"Simple Songs’ is an amazing record of musical song entertainment because Jim O’Rourke knows what he wants and how to get it. The range of sounds and songs that have turned Jim’s head are numerous enough to have crushed together into something that is unmistakably his. The music is played so immaculately by so many instruments and most of them by the creator’s hand.
‘Simple Songs’ was worked over, from source material to finished mix, for five years or more now. Jim’s writing is rooted in the approach of ‘Insignificance’ - frosted pop tarts that leave a darkly bitter aftertaste. Let ‘Simple Songs’ seep into your brain, as a musical expression and a statement of animal motherhood. It may help you get your bearings in a world gone hopeless."
Cult noise alchemists Skin Crime leave a fresh mark on Hospital Productions with 'Ghosts I Have Been,' following the label’s 20CD boxset release Case Studies In Early Taxidermy . Emerging at a fecund juncture in the Hospital Productions’ catalogue, Skin Crime’s latest miasmic pall serves a disciplined and elemental definition of ‘noise’ dynamics at their abstract, affective and invasively visceral best.
“Ghosts I Have Been is the first album from the supreme atmospheric noise band Skin Crime since their colossal 20-CD box set collection on Hospital Productions in 2015. Anyone who attended the Hospital Productions 20 Years Festival in New York City and saw Skin Crime perform their first live show in nearly 15 years will understand the deep masterful balance of tension, texture, and dynamism that has been the signature since the early '90s of this cult and collectible project. A defining characteristic is the fact that Skin Crime is a band with multiple members which brings live space and intricacy to a genre otherwise isolated to the confines of stagnation.
Ghosts I Have Been exhibits the usual mix of concrete sounds with raw electric noise slowly and seamlessly building into crescendo. Unlike the early obsession with various forms of butchery, Ghosts I Have Been shows the darker more austere side of the subject matter of decay, small rural towns, an antique shop with an uncanny selection of dusty old books of stories you might rather not know about, or an old library which seems eager to open its doors to readers but reluctant to open them.”
Timo Van Luijk meets percussionist Kris Vanderstraeten for an enchanting exploration of liminal psychoacoustic space and animist, lower case sounds, which have been imperceptibly edited and mixed by Vincent De Roguin. Like with all his releases, this one comes with the highest possible recommendation if you’re into the most evocative strains of drone/Ambient music, and especially anything from The Necks to Leyland Kirby.
The album consists of field recordings captured at Lac Chimère, a lake in Mensono, where many unknown and untouched sound creatures reside. Within that alternate dimension Van Luijk and his co-venturer wander freely, unimpeded by convention, in a somnambulant sequence of acousmatic occurrence and ever shifting temporal parameters, thanks to Vanderstraeten unique meter and the elusive/illusive plasmic qualities of Van Luijk’s haptic rustle and and shadowy timbres, which are rendered in uncannily seamless yet amorphous form by De Rouguin, who’s previously been responsible for bringing out a similar effect in Æthenor records.
Beautiful, Quiet music.
“A musing on popular standards and an all-instrumental down mainstreet, USA. Come for the history lesson, stay for the coming of age statement! Jim's pop epic is a personal message, personally from Jim to you.”
Jim O’Rourke’s much loved country rock album Bad Timing  is now repressed on vinyl for the first time following its 20th anniversary of release. Recorded at Steamroll, the same site as his more explicitly avant-garde conceptions, this album is a subtler exploration of acoustic country rock proper, where O’Rourke only occasionally flashes his experimental teeth, gently ruffling the feathers of America’s sincerely loved down-home style in four breezy, extended works of lyrical guitar playing.
In case you hadn't noticed, the gurning genius is back with 'Syro', his first new LP since 'Drukqs' (2001).
Culled from his legendary trove of recordings, it's apparently "about a fifth" of what he's done in the last 10 years, "…one album out of many possible ones", according to his interview with Rolling Stone.
After a couple of whizzes thru, we'd say it lands somewhere between 'Drukqs' and the Analord series of 2005 - no real surprises there, then - leaning heavy on trademark breakbeat funk and hyper-jazzy/classical arrangements for the most, and saving one saunter into pastoral piano realms for the vinegar strokes of 'aisatsana'.
If we're playing favourites, then the bittersweet breakbeat fugue, 'XMAS_EVET10 [Thanaton3 Mix]' is up there, as is the epic centrepiece of 'CIRCLONT6A [syrobonkus Mix]', and we can definitely imagine the bruk-techno torque of 'Produk 29', and the refractive, penultimate junglism 's950tx16wasr10 [earth portal mix] both getting a good rinse out in the wilder dances. Essentially he still seems to be cursed with the most profitable form of compositional ADD, which is bound to register with mad scones and boom loons the world over.
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
Pivotal player in Vancouver’s ambient/deep-house scene, Project Pablo makes his 2nd transmission on Ninja Tune’s Technicolor with There’s Always More At The Store
Showcasing the breadth of his sound in five parts exploring a spectrum of wonky house (Napoletana), hi tek jazz house pressure (Remind me Tomorrow), ambient soudnscaping (Last Day), broken electro-dub (Less and Less), and pendulous ambient electro-house (I Heard You Breathing).
Renowned and revered for his improvisational abilities, his contributions to the lexicon of jazz standards, and his many innovations in composition, it's no wonder that Thelonius Monk's catalog is one of the most recorded of all time. (Topped only by Duke Ellington.)
"An eccentric and quirky pianist, Monk's recordings were marked by strategic dissonance, abrupt key changes, and the usage of silence as an instrument, a style which was not fully understood in its time, (One jazz critic referred to Monk as "the elephant at the keyboard") but would prove highly influential to the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Mulatu Astatke, Chick Corea, and even his contemporaries like Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. In 1964, Monk released his seventh album with Columbia Records, simply titled Monk, featuring a lineup of famed jazz session greats, including Larry Gales on bass, Ben Riley on drums, and Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone.
Monk only featured seven tracks, only two of which were original compositions, but Monk's style can be heard all across the 46-minute collection. With cool jazz and hard bop spins on showtune obscurities like "April In Paris" and "Just You, Just Me", jazz standards like "(Just One Way To Say) I Love You" as well as Monk's own works like "Pannonica" and "Teo", a tribute to Columbia's legendary jazz producer, Teo Macero."
Now 55 years old, the John Cage Christian Wolff LP is perhaps best known to avant-garde and noise fiends for inclusion of Cage’s Cartridge Music , which was the venerable composer’s attempt at presenting a live performance of electronic music.
With no disservice intended to Wolff’s side (we’re just not that into it), Cartridge Music is the big attraction here, yielding an unstable tract of fractious small sounds gathered from recordings of various objects pushed, scraped and jabbed on a turntable’s cartridge. The results on record are a superimposition of four performances by Cage and his regular collaborator David Tudor, each working within the chronologic parameters of Cage’s composition, but each slightly different and resulting an unpredictable series of events in time.
Taken in contemporaneous context, Cartridge Music was a bold attempt at opening the story of live electronic music performance, and while it’s maybe fair to say that it seems totally primitive by today’s standards, theres’ still a haphazard klang and magick to the work which still resonates today.
Berlin-based Tobias Lisius débuts his fearsome Liziuz alias with this bleak AF 2 hour invocation of ambient techno noise for his neighbourhood cranks at Hospital Productions.
On Disc 1’s Interaction Personelle (Ambient Version) he pursues an elusive mixture of industrial and kosmische ambient techno themes in a seamless, viscous roil of ideas, easy on the distortion but full of scurrying detail and noxious space. Disc 2 yields a farther 50 odd minutes of material that skulks around the idea of techno as dance music for the first half, before picking up momentum with mucky synth swill and clustered beats in the final third.
“After a series of committed live performances in Germany, Berlin-based producer Liziuz delivers his stunning debut album for Hospital Productions, Geschichten Des Lebens. Presented on two discs with two interpretations of the same epic track with one in ambient form and one in techno form. Geschichten Des Lebens is an album that requires patience with deep rewards. Liziuz is a new name emerging from the contemporary Berlin electronic underground. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Liziuz has isolated himself in solitude, meticulously crafting long-form landscapes simultaneously industrial and psychedelic. RIYL: Dedekind Cut, Gas, Lussuria.”
Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams) customarily dispenses Lolina’s yearly report with Lolita, a self-released white label of warped bleep-techno-pop and clipped dembow bump.
Arriving a year on from her Lolin & Scratchin’ mix CD with DVA for BUS Editions, Lolita ‘fesses a perfectly uneasy trio of aces taking in the title track’s curdled dancehall tones and slippery lyrics on the A-side, while the flip sets her lilting, off-kilter vocals to dissonant dembow knocks on Keep It Movin’, whereas Plot Twist is the EP’s lone, wriggly neon instrumental, like some half-cooked prototype that crept out of Errorsmith’s studio when he wasn’t looking.
A powerful reimagining of Henryk Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony masterpiece (also known as The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) by the multi-instrumentalist as part of a 12-piece ensemble also including Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire), Greg Fox (Liturgy), and Rebecca Foon (Saltland, Esmerine), among others.
Faithful to the original composition’s notation - of which he is intimately familiar - Stetson utilises an alternate palette of instrumentation, (naturally) heavy on woodwind, plus the addition of synthesisers, and electric guitars, as well as the more typical string section, to firmly replace the piece’s repetitive structure and modest lack of harmonic progression closer to black metal and early electronic idioms, whilst also strongly representing his own, indomitable corpus of saxophone music.
It’s no mean feat to undertake such a culturally, politically-loaded and popular piece of contemporary classical, and one by one of the 20th century’s most revered composers, but the execution proves that Colin Stetson is one of the most capable and visionary instrumentalists and arrangers of his time.