Grandiose synth compositions from the Posh Isolation barracks...
“Cut from the same cloth as last year's double-cassette, 'Like All Mornings,' Vanessa Amara's new album trails shorthand piano pieces and wilted strings through magnificent, electro-acoustic surrounds, often settling into buzzing, syncopated reveries.
'Manos' takes its name from an abbreviated term of endearment. Spoken in this form, it's an affectionate and inclusive gesture from friend to friend, or indeed from gang member to gang member. Vanessa Amara seemingly take their cues from either usage. Their new album feels hesitant to reveal its parts, and is perhaps a document of the limits of what can be revealed, a memorial to its own process as it winds itself in and around its delicately hued landscape.
Though beginning with a morose gait, the album quickly turns over. And revealing its softer self, the clarity of the moving string arrangements hang in the air like fine mist. Everything settles against surfaces as the day breaks, opening up the space, though eventually condensing into the unnerving crescendo of the album's final piece. A recurrent, gentle whirring, much like a gramophone’s needle, tracks through much of 'Manos.' It carefully steadies the listener into a mode of measuring duration, a meditative self-awareness that delivers Vanessa Amara's world.
Always intricate, and effortlessly tender, 'Manos' is an album as textural as it is melodic, and it is certainly the most exquisite suite of works to have been presented by Vanessa Amara thus far.”
Birmingham’s deep and rugged house producer Jayson Wynters follows his début for Mr. G’s label and the head-turning Double Standards EP with a 2nd EP for DBA delving into more experimental structures along with his patented darkside house styles.
On three of four cuts Wynters explores a sophisticated blend of vibes from NYC, Chicago, Detroit and Berlin mixed with a ruggeder UK flex, resulting something like Batu meets Kareem in the scowling synths and dark swagger of Beta (Version), or with a more roguish swingjack momentum on Into The Void, and like Ron Trent meets B12 in the lush, sub-heavy roller The Kansei Method.
However, the palpitating pressure of One Hundred N Forty is the one for us, reminding of some classic Chain Reaction reshuffled by The Detroit Escalator Company, or something.
Chino Amnobi, Nkisi and Angel-Ho’s NON let off the first volley of vibes from NON Worldwide Compilation, Vol. 2 with a Pt. 1 checking 14 brilliant new and established artists from the African and Black Atlantic diaspora.
London wunderkind Klein opens this volume with a dizzying smudge of R&B glossolalics in Brother, Bonaventura keeps the vibe upfront with the pinched, salty riffs and needlepoint drill flex of BLACKFACE, and Embaci soars Elysia Crampton-style on Hymnal Pine Heart.
Meanwhile the rest comes from relatively or properly new artists, including strong highlights in the likes of DJ Lady Lane’s pendulous, twysted beast Bad Habits, the bubblegum-sticky bars and bump of Ban Man by Gita, and Richard Kennedy with what sounds like an R&B a cappella written by Jon Hassell in Men Are Weak.
Pivotal techno pioneer Susanne Kirchmayr a.k.a Electric Indigo presents a filigree detailed début album of high-end techno electronica with 5 1 1 5 9 3 for Robert Henke’s Imbalance Computer Music label.
Mainstay of the Berlin scene since she moved there from Vienna and took a job at Hardwax in the early ‘90s, Electric Indigo’s name and output is synonymous with the city’s leading edge of clubs and sound art thanks to her uncompromising aesthetics and vital work with the Female:Pressure group, which she established in 1998.
After some dozen 12”s with her name at the top, including a recent turn on the Berghain 08 EP, Electric Indigo now offers a definitive cross-section of her sound in 5 1 1 5 9 3, combining her praxes in the ostensibly opposing but often interrelated spheres of academic sound art and club music, in 10 uniquely twisted permutations of computer music, electro-techno and electro-acoustic styles.
While unremittingly greyscale in tone and minimalist in structure, 5 1 1 5 9 3 still possesses a depth of colour and striking variation of pattern within those parameters. The result is Berlin techno music at its probing, icy best, especially in the rhythm-driven highlights such as the recursive electro-noise vortex of Excursion, the purist pressure of 4.31Hz and quite strikingly in the Anne-James Chaton-esque rhythmic vocal cut-up of Trois, and to neck-cricking degrees with the immense spatial proprioceptions of The Landing.
For their 2nd Transformations meeting, DeepChord & Fluxion work to a more subtle shadowplay of vibes
Starting with the stealthy roll of Bona Fide Pt.1 recalling Moritz von Oswald’s memorable remix of 2raumwohnung, but sans the vox and pads, while Pt.2 melts out into more languorous and dusky balearic styles.
Wisconsin’s electronic gremlin Chants reenters The Astral Plane with a taut, stripped down brace of bangers dilated and porous to trends in new and far flung rhythms.
RED (Off My Chest) establishes Chant’s dancing room with a catty, claustrophobic vocal by BE3K set to bolshy ballroom knocks; Diptych finds him feathering solo piano gliss into cavalcade of roiling Batacuda drums; Airtight follows on with pranging percussive dynamics like Rian Treabor doing it for Príncipe, and likewise Madh made comes off like a strobing DJ Nigga Fox piece. Gage is prime nomination for the remix of Red, turning in a pent-up and asymmetric rework cut-up with scything chops.
Will long returns with a second volume of 'Long Trax' following that incredible first run alongside DJ Sprinkles.
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement.
Also featured is a sensitively raw and low key spin on the style with gauzy samples of Angela Davis laced into the 12 minutes of keening float in The Struggles, The Difficulties and Richard Pryor and leading Black Panther Ericka Huggins in two more signature, raw, extended deep house grooves.
Marie Davidson & Pierre Guerineau’s Essaie Pas duo pay tribute to PKD’s classic sci fi novel A Scanner Darkly with a dark, suspenseful cinematic and driving suite of electro and synthscapes for DFA.
New Path finds the duo mirroring the book’s themes of mass surveillance, voyeuristic technology and drug culture thru a range of evocative strategies, both literal and oblique.
From insectoid rhythms emulating the effect of narcotic psychosis in Les Aphides to the record’s titular reference to the New-Path rehab clinics, the results are riddled with inference and explicit nods to the book, resulting in some superb highlights in the duo’s nerve-riding hot-stepper Les Agents Des Stupas, where they make great use of the Ensoniq ESQ-1’s sharp tones, and also the pendulous, shadow-strafing killer Substance M, with the cinematic depth of New Path providing neat closure to their short story.
Advanced UK soulboy Steve Spacek keeps it flowing for Eglo on four classically-rooted but forward-leaning aces
Awanging out the hi-tek-jazz duet of Mov Clsr, the SND-esque pointillism of Garage Days, a fudgy bleep ’n bass number named Boo Boo Step, and the starry-eyed footwork flux of Nano Nights.
Equiknoxx’s debut album proper, following the hugely acclaimed 'Bird Sound Power' (Number 2 in both RA and FACT albums of the year 2016), featuring 13 brand new nuggets recorded over the last 12 months and featuring darker, more psychedelic, starkly dubbed perspectives on up-to-the-second dancehall. Well worth checking out if you’re into anything from Lenky to Haruomi Hosono, RZA to Errorsmith...!
Colón Man is the exceptional debut album proper by visionary Jamaican dancehall artists Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) and Jordan Chung (Time Cow) plus their extended crew, aka Equiknoxx - once again for Demdike Stare’s DDS label. Where their widely acclaimed Bird Sound Power primer compilation, issued on DDS in 2016, brought the rest of the world up to speed with the music produced between late ‘00s and 2015, their first album now brings a 2020 sound into sharp, technoid focus thru a baker’s dozen steely, heat-seeking riddims galvanised with clinical electronics and a Midas Touch approach to sampling.
The record’s title, Cólon Man refers to a Jamaican tale (and song) about a mysterious character, whom, like Marcus Garvey, was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Cólon on completion of the Panama Canal - regarded among the greatest feats of engineering known to humankind, physically connecting the greatest bodies of water on the planet. In context of the album, Gavsborg and Timecow take the story as a metaphorical foundational for a roots and future sound, acknowledging the vital groundwork of previous generations of producers, whilst soundly contextualising their mutant new advancements of Jamaican Dancehall.
Recorded between December 2016 and June 2017, Colón Man forms a stark, stripped down and conceptually blinding record. In tone and texture, the duo favour far colder, more abstract sounds, crucially lit up with sparingly used samples that lend the record its dissonant, harmonic colour and bittersweet hooks, stylishly feeding forward their playfully weird sense of humour into a rugged, nutty and even noisily imagineered set.
Bookended by the gauzy, Detroit-compatible synth looks and acid hall grind of Kareece Put Some Some Thread In A Zip Lock, and the mesh of Motor City sleekness with Far Eastern strings on Waterfalls In Ocho Rios, they distill and diversify their bonds in myriad ways across the album. There’s a killer dancehall/trap hybrid in the percolate chorales and man trills of Plantain Porridge, along with the secretive dub-into-dancehall transfusion of Addis Pablo’s melodica in the belly rolling Melodica Badness, while Ceremonial Eating Dog and the hyaline designs of We Miss You Little Joe - a tribute to their pal Alty Nunes - are arguably the most fwd Jamaican riddims you’ll hear in 2017, and Enter A Raffle… Win A Falafel uncannily recalls the clockwork mechanics of Haruomi Hosono’s Alternative 3, from his S-F-X  LP.
No matter what electronic box or boxes you subscribe to, Colón Man is a hugely inventive, compelling album for the ages, a remarkable iteration of Black Secret Technology for 2017 and far beyond.
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
One of the most unique, ambitious and experimental game soundtracks ever made. Now on vinyl for the very first time.
"Similar to the task of condensing Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima’s abundance of ideas into a Mega Drive cartridge in 1994, it feels impossible to convey the influences, technical achievements and sheer ambition of their masterpiece into a single paragraph today. By combining automatic composition methods, custom programming languages and a complete sense of artistic freedom, Koshiro and Kawashima transcended their medium and created something so incomparable that it’s hard to believe it came from any games console, let alone a 16bit one. Streets of Rage 3 is urgent, demanding and a complete rejection of the notion that video game music is either pedestrian or predictable. We are honoured to be releasing it."
The flipside to his acclaimed 'Good Luck' album, Alessio Natalizia a.k.a. Not Waving provides an inverse sister album of sorts with Bad Luck; a cranky-70 minute selection of new and old unreleased gear.
If Good Luck was Not Waving’s most concerted pop record, then Bad Luck is the place to go for his more esoteric and wayward ideas, finding the London-based Italian artist combining occult electronics with voyeuristic location recordings and mad samples in a playfully endearing, half-cut and psychedelic style.
It’s all made in the freestyling spirit of those subterranean early ‘80s artists whose tapes dominate Alessio’s collection and continue to inform his output. Adapting their creative license to his own ends, he juices out the oddest little avant-pop hooks and synth gremlins in an unpredictable trip just as likely to jab you to dance as it is to leave you scratching your head and wondering: how the fxxk did I get here?
As far as we know, there’s no digital for this one, so think quick if you want Bad Luck!
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
This month’s edition features The Wire Tapper 46, including 21 tracks by artists from across the globe.
Improvising jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson is on the cover and in discussion on her challenging, innovative music. Also features on Pirate radio DJ sets, Richard Youngs does the Invisible Jukebox, a global ear on Murmansk, and articles on The Mover, Eva-Maria Houben, Coby Sey, plus all the usual news, reviews and listings.
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, ambient maestro Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Making an apt statement against over-production in dance music that applies to society in the widest sense, the Royal Blue / Mustard instalment lands on Smalltown Supersound.
The A-side’s Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement, You Know?
Calendar Crowd was the duo of Alan Heaton and Terence Tiernan who met in their hometown of Widnes, Cheshire as schoolboys and played together in various bands in the '70s. In the '80s they formed a 6-piece band called Room For Humans and recorded one single "Telephone Telephone / Girlfriend".
"When the band split and Alan and Terence continued as Calendar Crowd in a more experimental direction. Their influences were wide reaching: Kraftwerk, Neu, Cabaret Voltaire, Eno, PIL, and Joy Division. In 1982 they released their debut single "Perfect Hideaway/Perfect Hideaway Dub" on 7". Guitarist David Knowles joined them as they toured the UK and recorded and released their follow up EP "Listen in to the Heart" in 1985.
A reviewer at the time called Calendar Crowd "A Moody Merseyside trio with strong atmospheric tunes and haunting lyrics." For this reissue we've compiled both singles on one EP featuring all four songs. Perfect Hideway is a evocative and dreamy, the music escorts you on a tour of icy landscapes, with Terrance's deep, rich vocals guiding the way accented by bright brass stabs. Meanwhile the Dub has stripped back the vocals, added delayed samples and heavy pounding drums. On the B-side "Listen in to the Heart" and "Questions Answers" are darker electronic rhythm tracks with layers of ethereal keyboards and guitar melodies."
Early ‘90s ambient techno gems resurface on the Nacht En Nevel label, featuring Mappa Mundi’s keenly sought-after 11-minute beauty Trance Fusion, and the rolling breakbeat suspension system of Quin².
Mappa Mundi’s Trance Fusion is a firm favourite of ours. Taken from the Musaics album which also includes the masterful Sexafari, this 11 minute roller is a prime example of the 2nd layers beyond dancefloors of 1990, plumbing a lushly meditative space somewhere between Detroit, Antwerp and Goan beaches. Fair to say you might want to get a hold of the CD or original (hard to find) LP version for louder cuts, but this one will do nicely until Going Good’s Brian Not Brian follows up on a reissue of the full album.
Quin²’s side is a more obscure find from slightly later in the ‘90s, working somewhere between FSOL Lifeforms vibes and Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra with crisp, rolling breaks and strings beautifully suspended in the mix.
First ever reissue of the wild duo jag between pioneering UK improvisor Bailey and his cello-playing Canadian foil...
“Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey.
Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow".
Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.”
Their third album, ‘Treasure’ also debuts Simon Raymonde on bass and finds the band scaling new heights in the most emotionally raw way imaginable. Impossible to overstate just how influential and well loved this album is - from the quietly anthemic Pandora (For Cindy) - probably played in every bedroom by every teenager in 1984, to the sublime 'Beatrix' and 'Otterley' - tracks that were played on Autechre’s Disengage Kiss FM show in the early 90’s and which gave us our first introduction to one of the most magical and timeless albums ever made.
"The band returned to being a trio in 1984 with guitarist Simon Raymonde joining their ranks in time for third album, Treasure. Produced by Robin Guthrie and featuring tracks ‘Lorelei’, ‘Ivo’ and ‘Persephone’, Treasure is often celebrated as one of the band’s finest works. As Pitchfork put it when including the album in their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, “Treasure was titled simply enough. An adjective for the endlessly inventive melodic lines you'd find buried in these songs, and a verb for what you'd do with them for years to come.”
Recorded in Liverpool back in 2003, this improvised performance unites two of the UK's foremost improv exponents (Tony Bevan and Paul Hession) with two pioneers of modern free music, the multi-talented guitarist, turntablist and noise artist Otomo Yoshihide and the late, great Derek Bailey.
The performance shuffles into first gear during the speculative, tentative first throes of 'No Hiding Place / Softly Softly', establishing a ruthlessly abstract sound world from the outset, only to tighten up slightly for 'Morse', which welcomes a far more full-blooded, often swing-influenced approach to percussion, accompanying Bailey's lightly overdriven, spidering guitar lines.
The remainder of the set introduces some charged-up, visceral reed work, sounding surly and untethered on 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' while Bailey playfully plots a more welcoming path.
Cute Heels is the project of Victor Lenis, a contemporary electronic artist living in Berlin, Germany. He grew up in Bogotá, Columbia during the 1990s, surrounded by the radial punk scene.
"Over the years, Victor's passion and fascination for synthesizers and drum machines to produce and compose resulted in his debut album "Spiritual"" for Dark Entries in 2014 as well as the "Third Skin" EP in 2016. Inspired by equal parts Liaisons Dangereuses, Drexciya and Black Devil Disco Club, Cute Heels connects the dots between Detroit techno, early Chicago house and Belgium electronic body music. "State of Mind" is a 4-track EP featuring the vocal talents of Berlin artist Aga Wilk, of electro-punk projects Walkman Music and 77TM, on the the title track. On the A-side are two fresh compositions recorded in New York and Bogota between 2016 and 2017.
Victor says, "State of Mind refers to the subconscious as dominated by real facts, natural, unnatural ,metaphysical or virtual and dynamism of the body as physical shield." The track is a slow building foray into techno, elegantly suited for intangible moments. "Golden Tears" kicks off with Cute Heels' signature metallic EBM funk played with punchy, percussive analog synths. On the flip we present two banging club remixes. The first is from LA-4A, techno DJ and producer Kevin McHugh aka Ambivalent, who adds a strong kick drum and lacerating hi-hats that build up to a mind melting breakdown with a full on acid squelch attack. The second remix comes from Noncompliant, Midwest US-based producer Lisa Smith aka DJ Shiva, who creates a raw, thumping exercise though off-kilter mechanics and punishing percussion."
Lullabies For Insomniacs pluck out another overlooked peach with Dino J.A. Deane’s For Leena - a survey of previously unreleased works for the choreography of Colleen Mulvihill; 10 tracks crossing paths between ambient electronics, 4th world new age atmospheres and theatrical soundtrack dimensions. Deane was a member of Indoor Life alongside Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras. RIYL K. Leimer, Rex Ilusivii, Angelo Badalamenti, Muslimgauze
“Beginning his professional career at the age of nineteen, as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, flutes, keyboards, percussion), Dino J. A. Deane worked in funk bands around Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco in the mid 1970’s, where he became involved, as an improvising artist, in the diverse communities of dramatic theater, modern dance, free jazz and punk rock.
In the early 1980's Mr. Deane pioneered the use of live-electronics, live-looping and live-sampling in three distinct genres that heavily informed his later compositions: As a member of art-punk band Indoor Life, touring and recording with fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell and as an electro-acoustic percussionist in the Conduction orchestras of Butch Morris.
During this period Mr. Deane also worked as a sound designer for theater, with directors Sam Shepard, Julie Hebert and Christoph Marthaler. He maintained a long-term relationship in the world of modern dance with former Olympic gymnast and choreographer Colleen Mulvihill, creating and performing numerous dance and music works for her. The couple met in San Francisco in 1979 through his good friend Bruce Ackley, whom was commissioned to compose a score for one of her solo pieces. Colleen, was a member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and was planning to move to New York City to set out on her own as a dancer and choreographer. Their paths crossed again in 1980 when Dino moved to NYC with Indoor Life, during this time they began a long term relationship both on and off the stage, which continues to this day.
“Mr. Deane adjusted his electronics with the glee of a villain in a science fiction epic and raised his trombone as if it were a weapon. He could have been a sorcerer and Ms. Mulvihill could have been someone lost in a realm of black magic.” The New York Times.”
Something special from DDS - the long awaited album debut of avant-Dancehall mutations from Jamaica’s Equiknoxx, already tipped by everyone from Jon K to Mark Ernestus, featuring productions dating between 2009-2016, mastered and cut by Matt Colton, all on vinyl for the first time ever...
Equiknoxx are one of the weirdest, most innovative dancehall squads from Jamaica right now; Bird Sound Power is their debut collective show of strength, packing 12 avant, crooked riddims by core members Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus Bobby Blackbird and Kofi Knoxx, with vocals by Kemikal, Shanique Marie and J.O.E. (R.I.P).
The set was parsed and pieced together by Jon K & Demdike Stare , and now thanks to link ups via Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai (a longtime livicated supporter), it’s issued on Demdike’s DDS imprint, replete with Jon K’s sleeve design.
Easily identified by the squawking bird idents peppering their cuts, Equiknoxx productions have been big in the dance since Gavin Blair a.k.a. Gavsborg produced Busy Signal’s billboard hit Step Out in 2005, followed by key instrumentals for Beenie Man, Aidonia, Masicka, and T.O.K.
Bird Sound Power is weighted with the potential to open up perceptions of current dancehall thanks to the mad character and broad reference points of its producers, encompassing King Jammy’s foundational digi-dub and Dave Kelly’s Mad House sound as much as rugged New York hip hop and the wigged-out, feminine pressure of Virginia Beach’s Timbaland or The Neptunes.
The oldest tune inside dates to 2009, but the rest are recent dancehall mutations, including a number of exclusives produced in the last 12 months. Each one reps for Equiknoxx’s unique aspects, such as Jordan Chung a.k.a. Time Cow’s brilliantly bizarre, layered arrangements of sawn-off hooks and digi-tight beats, also a result of their distinguished family vibe.
Bird Sound Power exists in a paradox, utterly fwd but classic, and with as much potential to turn new heads onto current JA sounds as Mowax’s Now Thing set back in 2001, which remains a key touchstone for so many contemporary producers. It’s one of the sharpest, most crucial DDS issues yet, check the clips and get sweaty...
"The hypnotic new single from Daphne & Celeste sees our heroes going for a night run, only to encounter a bizarre creature who alters their very existence. Alarms is backed with Hi-Fidelity, a vibrant reworking of The Kids From Fame dancing-around-the-musical-instrument-shop classic.
This record comes on premium quality turquoise vinyl with a unique “pop-out” centre like 7” singles of yesteryear that gave buyers the option of putting the record into their jukebox."
A notoriously jaw-dropping folk-funk classic, long treasured by the Balearic fraternity, the self-titled LP from the brothers Batteau nevertheless remains a criminally underheard gem. Appealing to fans stuck on Ned Doheny's scorching blue-eyed soul as well as Gene Clark's rich country-rock, it's an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of proto-Yacht-Rock.
"Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux's eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren't better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time - well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance - whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records.
Throughout, the beautifully penned tracks hold traces of Jimmie Spheeris, America and Seals & Crofts. The immaculately orchestrated percussion and additional instrumentation (electric piano and fiddle to name a few) are performed by perennially celebrated West-Coast cats including Tom Scott, John Guerin and Andy Newmark.
It's no surprise that the heavenly "High Tide" is such a Balearic touchstone. A free soul aqua-space groover, its sophisticated rhythms predict the swing of CSN's canonical "Dark Star" by a full four years. An alternative measure of its enduring magnificence can be gauged by MF Doom sampling Paul Horn's wonderful version, subsequently used by Ghostface Killah.
The highlights are many and memorable. Gorgeous opener "Tell Her She's Lovely" is the perfect example of the addictive, melody-driven songwriting which really should have earned them stardom. Moody ballad "Living's Worth Loving" is nothing short of heartbreaking whilst the chugging elegance of "Wake Me In The Morning" showcases their bewitching harmonies. The hypnotic yearning of "Lady Of The Lake" is an exquisitely string-drenched, piano-laced favourite that achieves a peculiar strutting-funk. It's that good.
This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket - their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design - and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored."
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."
"The golden record was a gift from humanity to the cosmos. But it is also a gift to humanity. It’s a reminder of what we can achieve when we are at our best-and that our future really is up to all of us..."
"In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Attached to each of these probes is a beautiful golden phonograph record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. This enchanting artifact, known as the Voyager Golden Record, may be the last vestige of our civilization after we are gone forever. Curated by a visionary committee led by Carl Sagan, the golden record tells a story of our planet expressed in music, sounds, images, and science. Etched on the record’s gold-plated aluminum jacket is a diagram explaining where it came from and how to play it."
Reissue remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.
“Fantasy Life was a one-off Italo disco studio project that consisted of various producers, songwriters, and vocalists from Turin, Italy. The line-up included Lorenzo Avico, Maurizio Camoletto and Sergio Bergamin. They recorded their only single “Over and Over” at Minirec Studio in 1985 with mixing engineer Gigi Guerrieri. It was released that same year by Thick Record a sublabel of Il Discotto Productions and became one of the most coveted Italo Disco 12”s. “Over and Over” is a parable that describes the story of a girl growing up, comparing her life to the changes of the moon. Signature Linn drum and Simmons drums create the driving rhythm track that hauntingly sways back and forth.
The vocal version has a nearly two minute extended instrumental break in the middle of the song heightening the dramatic pace. On the B-side is a Dub Version with extended instrumental breaks, bass lines and occasional vocals.”
Very necessary reissue of Derek Bailey’s astonishing Guitar - Lot 74 Solo Improvisations, a completely captivating slab of improvisations recorded by Martin Davidson in 1976 for a single-sided pressing on Bailey and Evan Parker’s Incus Records. Now, more than 50 years later, Honest Jon’s have done a sterling reissue job, sending the tapes to Abbey Road for transfer and roping in Rashad Becker at D&M to get Bailey’s dynamic range, including those amazing tremulous highs and the biting point distortion of ’Together’, sitting just right on the record. This is the sh*t, this is!
"In 1974, when Derek Bailey was planning his second solo LP on Incus, he decided to include a side-long solo using his stereo electro-acoustic set-up. Unfortunately, he never seemed to have a 20-minute stretch of time free of interruptions in his home, so he asked if he could record it at my place. After a fairly lengthy drive across London on the arranged date, he discovered that he had brought all his gear except the actual guitar. So he had a cup of tea and a chat, then drove home again. He came again about a week later, on May 13th, this time with everything. I set the level too high for the first two takes, not quite allowing for his enormous dynamic range (which really was not suitable for analogue recording and reproduction equipment). The result was too much distortion for his liking. The level was corrected for the third take which was the one used as the title track on the LP, even though he preferred the music on the earlier takes.
All but one of the short pieces on the second side of the LP were recorded by Bob Woolford around the same time, probably at Derek's home. (The exception, 'Improvisation 104(b),' was recorded the previous year and originally released on one of the Incus TAPs -- mini reel-to-reel tapes that were an attempt to bypass the technical problems of going from tape to vinyl. They were reissued by Organ of Corti.) 'Pain In The Chest' and 'In Joke (Take 2)' feature the unamplified 19-string (approx) guitar, which was probably the only instrument that Derek modified -- he otherwise used standard guitars.
There was a shortage of good vinyl at the time, making it difficult to get decent pressings. (The original pressing of the solo Steve Lacy Emanem LP sounded as though it had been recorded in a hail-storm.) We were recommended to go to a pressing plant that specialized in 'classical' music. (At the same time that Derek was trying to get Lot 74 pressed, I was also working on his duo album with Anthony Braxton.) The first test pressing of Lot 74 was very muffled, and we discovered that the cutting engineer had played the tape up-side-down, so that the music had been filtered through the tape backing (used on professional tapes to reduce print-through). The cutting was subsequently redone correctly, resulting in an acceptable test pressing. However, the plant manager was completely incredulous and perplexed, as he was used to checking pressings using his library of scores of Beethoven sonatas and the like. How could he tell if the vocal and feedback howls at the start of side two ('Together') were correct?
Over thirty years later, advances in technology have eliminated most of the technical problems we had then, so that this magnificent music can be heard sounding better than ever. Every so often, I get someone asking me to issue things on vinyl -- my response is usually not very polite." Martin Davidson
Although often overshadowed by the more popular ‘Treasure’, 'Head Over Heels' is perhaps the most influential album in the Cocteau Twins catalogue and one that continues to confound 35 years later.
The band’s second album, it was recorded in 1983 mostly as a duo of Fraser and Guthrie, and was the first album to make a real feature of Liz Fraser’s made up, oddly intoned vocabulary. More hard-edged and loud than Treasure, Head Over Heels is also a marvel of production - the way the guitars stay submerged in the mix while the drums pound, those sudden key changes, small flourishes etched into eternity.
Coming not long after original bassist Will Heggie had departed the band, the chemistry between Fraser and Guthrie moved the band on from the starkness of their debut; they were now making the music that would help them define the decade ahead; her wordless, dreamlike vocals a powerful instrument over his lush, textured guitars.
They just don’t make them like this any more (although Demen tried).
Afrikan Sciences & Ari Robey-Lawrence present the first studio recordings of Old Shady Grady & The Neighbourhood Character on Jordan GCZ’s Off Minor label after a series of live showings at Freerotation and elsewhere since 2015.
The Tangle Transmogrifier EP catches Eric Porter Douglas (Afrikan Sciences) switching tack in the jazz-techno cosmos from his Les Graciés duo to a more far-out style thanks to the ruggedly rooted touch of Berlin’s Ari Robey-Lawrence a.k.a The Neighbourhood Character.
With effortlessly intuitive verve, the duo move in elegant formation thru four asymmetric grooves, firstly synching splintered broken beat bumps with bittersweet, keening string cadence in The Queen Of Bubbles, then with a more fluidly metallic diffraction in the melancholic dub grubber, Of Two Minds.
The flipside meanwhile brings the ‘floor firmly into play with a scratchy 3-step ace called Fig Jam, before they do some inimitable voodoo on ya with the darting rimshot punctuation, jazz chords and surging noise figures of Woman’s Heels, in a way recalling Howard Thomas ghosting jazz blues.
On the 3rd of 3 new 12”s, Will Long (Celer) nods to Richard Pryor and leading Black Panther Ericka Huggins in two of his signature, raw, extended deep house grooves for Smalltown Supersound.
Unlike the 2016 batch of Long Trax released on Comatose, there’s no Sprinkles dubs this time, but Long capably goes solo with the lean, longing jack of That’s The Way It Goes features a key sample from Richard Pryor stating “I just think it’s part of capitalism to promote racism”, whilst samples from Ericka Huggins are woven into the bittersweet chords and subtly treated groove of We Tend To Forget.
Master drummer Jaki Liebezeit was very pleased that the craft of drum making has not changed much over the course of time. Be it that a skin is stretched over a drum with cords or bolts or be it that the skin is out of plastic or animal hide - the principle remains the same: Either enclose a hollow space without which there would be no sound (just imagine a drum filled with clay!).
"The same applies to the perception of rhythm. Everything is reduced to the essential: the hollow space in the centre. It is the invisible that matters. All tracks on the second DRUMS OFF CHAOS EP revolve around this vacant space in the middle. A centre that is filled with - nothing.
The focus is on abstract, grooving drum music. Rhythms are reduced to their elementary nucleus to such an extent that they can be perceived as clearly singular but also as universal. And something emerges that follows universal laws such as gravity, ergonomics and acoustics.
Play what the drum demands, was one of Jaki's sayings. Together with him, DRUMS OFF CHAOS took this to heart. The album centres on rhythms that are based on simple numerical relationships allowing their richness to unfurl from within.”
Reissue remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.
“Dark Entries Editions is proud to reissue “Ghost Town” the 1984 debut 12” single by Mono Band from Italy. The project was conceived by producer Rene 'D'Herin and Massimo Fantinatiti aka Fantenax. They teamed up with songwriter and guitarist Luigi Venegoni aka Svengile who had previously worked with progressive and jazz-rock bands Arti & Mestieri and Venegoni & Co. as well as cosmic disco group Stratosferic Band. Treading the lines between Italo Disco and the darker side of New Wave, the trio crafted a mysterious sound. Melancholic arpeggiators, a throbbing baseline, stuttering samples, and the classic Linn drum machine run throughout the track.
Vocals were handled by an uncredited Carlo Rossi who raps about a ghost town filled with fear. When female vocalist Elena Sansonetti begins to softly whisper the chorus one might get goose bumps. The trio were joined in the studio by DJ Mike aka Michele Paolino of Make Up/Mike Up, DJ Moody, Fabrice Bellini of Art Fine and producer Miceli. The song was recorded in a few days at Dynamo Sound Studio in Turin and originally released on the popular Discomagic Records. This reissue includes the original vocal version, backed with a longer dubbed out instrumental “Ghost Version” on the B-side.”
Slow Sundown, Holy Motors’ debut full length release, finds the estonian dreamcatchers utilizing a sonic palette ranging from dark psychedelic pop to shoegaze-inflected western music.
"Thematically the album is comprised primarily of sad love songs centered around the idea of motion – the motion of a satellite orbiting a planet, the motion of a passenger riding shotgun in a car – as it relates to stellar-scale and existential isolation. produced by merchandise’s carson cox and recorded at brooklyn’s kutch1 studios when the band was visiting the us on tourist visas, slow sundown is a beautiful alien artifact that definitively delivers on everything we have been promised by holy motors’ work to date."
Angela Davis and Samuel Block feature on the 2nd of 3 new 12”s in his Long Trax deep house style for Smalltown Supersound following his widely acclaimed set of releases for DJ Sprinkles Comatose in 2016.
Sprinkles doesn’t appear on this new series, but Long is now firmly into the deep house swing, placing his own, sensitively raw and low key spin on the style with gauzy samples of Angela Davis laced into the 12 minutes of keening float in The Struggles, The Difficulties on the front, then doing something similar with the 10 minute, No More on the B-side.
Dark Entries keep plugging the gaps in our New Wave knowledge with reissue of Intense Molecular Activity’s obscure, belting 4-track single I.M.A. plus four tracks from the same era which have never appeared on vinyl, ’til now.
Caught in flux between proto-EBM and New Wave/NDW jerkiness, Andy Blinx and Don Hünerberg’s short-lived but vital unit effectively specialised in their own form of industrial disco under the name Intense Molecular Activity between 1979-1981.
Blinx sang and Hünerberg did the beats and noise on their sole release proper, an 8” flexi-disc which features as tracks 1-4, or side A on this new reissue. It’s perhaps best known, or recognised for the clattering, angular lead track Blurb, which provided core sample to Keep On Waiting from DJ Hell’s NY Muscle album, and also features some supreme porto-techno styles recalling Visage’s Frequency 7 int he likes of Points In Space and Just Testing, while the cavernous Blinxong comes off like a cut from Basquiat’s Gray EP beefed up by Kraftwerk - seriously!
The other tracks are bob-on, too. Beat Street is a proper dancefloor rocket - like some mad template for disco-metal alloys - while Battery Life unleashes a proper charge of percussion and processed vox shades away from Craig Leon’s Nommos, and The Look hits a wicked stride of militant snares and glancing, dissonant electronic stabs.
Lushly balanced ambient house and breaks trips from Adam Feingold’s Ex-Terrestrial alias
Making his first outing on Vancouver’s Pacific Rhythm with a warm and friendly sound teeing up hazy new age pads and breaks in Urth Man, slippery ambient acid on Everybody Dreams, and early Warp/SoYo breaks vibes in Water Walk, which also appears as a cannily percolated ambient rework by Priori (Jump Source, MSL), who also mixed the EP.
Midnight Shift draw cuts from Gramrcy & Hodge, Mark Forshaw, Harmonious Thelonious, INNSYTER, Terry Lamborghini, Amato, Thermocline and Knuttson-Berg for their latest label compilation.
It’s a mixed bag, chucking up some highlights via the Brazilian rufige of INNSYTER on A Last Time For and the pounding Gramrcy/Hodge number Barnohl, beside the giddy disco-tech of Mark Forshaw’s Power Grab and Knutsson-Berg’s bouncing acid-electro bomb.
Remastered (by Matt Colton) reissue of Juan Atkins' (and Marty Bonds') sought after ambient techno gem, originally released in 1992.
'The Passage' is a classic piece of Detroit breakbeat techno science flush with celestial synth arrangements and powerful electro/breakbeat techno torque buffed up for 2014 on the A-side. Flip it for the darker techno-pop drive of 'Mind Changes' and the midnight sci-fi mission, 'Vessels In Distress'.
Amorphous electronic producer Broshuda shapeshifts ambient styles for Milan’s Haunter Records with Jemi, perhaps the sweetest yet elusive iteration of his sound which has previously found its way onto the Videogamemusic, Phinery Tapes and Jheri Tracks labels.
Working shades away from the fractal structures of uon or Wanda Group, or like a more dazed and weightless Zomby, the Berlin-based artist pulls from myriad styles to form his own genteel ecosystems of coarsely grained but spaciously diffused electronics, each riddled with silvery hooks and tilted to the horizontal.
The enigma of Rex Ilusivii becomes deliciously mistier with this remarkable recording made at The Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, 1983. We’re going to get used to saying this; it’s yet another amazing record from the Offen Music label outta Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs…
This is a truly freakish slab of sounds, combining Suba’s background in classical composition (although he never finished his studies, becoming seduced by synthetic sounds and therefore not allowed to finish his degree under Rudolf Bruci), with a headlong taste for electronic music and a unique cache of ethnic and folk recordings made by his travel writer father, Radomir Subotic.
Factor in a fascination with emerging Latin-American sounds, and Suba was clearly out on his own at this time in what was then known as Yugoslavia, where he was employed at Radio Beograd’s state-of-the-art Sound Workshop as a freelance engineer and composer exploring the potential of their Synthi 100 and learning from the maestros of “radiophony”, Arsenije Jovanovic and Ivana Stefanovic.
Predating the sounds on his sought-after Disillusioned! LP and In The Moon Cage, the Koncert SNP 1983 performance renders Suba at his most liminal, unquantifiable, twisting and turning in seven parts between starkly minimal, primeval synth music to hypnotic, pulsating vocal arrangements and Ghedalia-esque worldly psychedelia, plus a number of shorter pieces of gristly knots and abstract whorls, which are almost concrète dub in effect and bear no small resemblance to current, deconstructed club musics.
We love this label, and much like everything we've heard from them thus far: this is a buy on sight kinda deal.
Feel the yacht torque on this! Proper, pendulous electro-jazz-funk from Spain, 1987, blessed with the power of a 50 footer tacking in a refreshing Mediterrean breeze. Keep your mojito loose but steady…
“Respuesta Alternativa or the Alternative Response was the project of Spanish musician Jesus Mª Catalan, created with the help of Julián C. Pérez.
As the title implies the music was generated in response to traditional music notions of the time, and reflects how Jesus Mª Catalan would challenge these traditional ideals using a fusion of styles and his unique vision. Jesus laid out his synths and drum machines, while other musicians played traditional instruments over the top. This unique approach worked to create atmospheric tracks capturing simple themes, with each influence being carefully thought of in the joint result. As he explains “each instrument weaves independently throughout a passage in a curious game where the listener’s attention goes from focusing on a keyboard, guitar to bass or percussion. Previously only released on a cassette album in Spain, Left Ear have polished 5 choice cuts for a 2018 12”.”
Debut album by the new creepy and romantic basement organ project of Romain Perrot.
“The other night I dreamt about a parallel universe in which Klaus Schulze had some sort of government-paid job installing contact mics and analog synths (which I suspect was mainly to annoy Tangerine Dream) in all the big European cathedrals to "modernize" the pipe organs. I told him how they used to make cobwebs in the early Dracula movies; you punch a small hole in a yogurt pot full of liquid latex attached to an electric drill, point roughly where you want the cobwebs to go, shut your eyes and hit the trigger.
This got ol' Klaus drooling, and pretty soon every church (not to mention cemetery) ceiling in France was dripping with stringy latex goo. He also decided to add more gargoyles (inside, on the altar) and impose a black metal warpaint dress code for Sunday mass. Roro worked part-time as the Hunchback (every church had their own, so as well as Notre Dame there was The Hunchback of The Sistine Chapel, The Hunchback of Unarius, and even, controversially, The Hunchback of Scientology) and also hung out in front of Pere Lachaise trying to get people to sign a petition to change the name of the cemetery to "The Dario Argento Museum".
Reclusiveness aside, Romain and I sometimes like to meet up near Notre Dame at a Japanese restaurant run by one of the members of Les Legions Noire, serving "necro-sushi" and so on... One sunny afternoon, sighing as he removed the fake Quasimodo teeth and the cushion stuffed into the back of his shirt, he handed me the new Trou Au Rats LP, cursing the backache which was the result of his job. "Give this to Klaus" he said, in a deep voice a few octaves lower than usual. Now, dear reader, let me assure you, I don't know and I don't want to know what kind of entities he'd done deals with in his basement catacomb, but a few days after Klaus heard that album, Roro got to lay down his hunch for the last time, and scored his dream job as full-time organist. Mind you, dream job or not, he does still have to wear the plastic vampire fangs, somehow managing to remain the perfect gentleman, even if they do make him talk funny. Now, if you are aware of his other projects (Vomir being one), chez Roro there's no such thing as a coincidence, and there's always a lot more going on that meets the eye... That might explain why, shortly after his promotion to organist, as if by majic(k), weird record shops called things like "Bimbo Tower 2" started opening up all over Europe in the tiny streets round the backs of cathedrals or near to old cemeteries (and even inside pyramids, or so I was told), right next to where the crazy old witches sell gory upside-down crucifixion dioramas and Free As Dead tshirts in the most happenin' European cities. Which must be why you are reading this right now”
Andy Bolus (Evil Moisture, Royal Sperm) Paris January 2018
T H I S album - jesus. Stunning collection of torch songs and electro-acoustic dramaturgy - hugely recommended if you’re into Scott Walker, Élg, Félicia Atkinson, Ghédalia Tazartès or Mica Levi. Easily one of the most striking, rewarding albums of the year so far.
The King is a remarkably absorbing collection of enchanted orchestrations and abstract torch songs by Cee Haines aka Chaines, a Manchester-based artist in possession of a starkly singular sonic language, who has collaborated extensively with the London Contemporary Orchestra and had their work performed at The Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Printworks and Tate Modern.
Leading a thematic expansion of Chaines’ OST debut from 2015, their 2nd solo release yields a phantasmic and richly evocative soundtrack-esque series of works written over the past three years, including exclusive versions of commissions by the LCO and Union Chapel, all serving to frame an intimate yet beautifully elusive portrait of a unique artist coming into their own.
In eight parts, Chaines draws a mercurial line that connects the almost bestial intimacy of purring strings and whispered vocals in For Your Own Good to something like Scott Walker-invoking-Fantasia in Eraserhead, conjuring a mutably surreal and mystic atmosphere that keeps listeners teetering between knife-edge suspense and sublime relief as they scale from delectably detailed avant-garde psychedelia in Knockturning to a bout of Grouper-as-spectral-Jazz diva styles of Population 5120, and all in a way that makes the exploded hyaline castles in the sky dimensions of Airship seem totally feasible next to the cavernous avant-techno impulses of Carpathia. Never following a linear path, Chaines are as likely to incorporate doom-laced chamber motifs and asymmetric techno rhythms as operatic vocals and microscopic sounds, always with a sensitivity to the metaphysics of space and spirit which coolly sets their work apart.
Chaines find themselves amid exemplary, boundary-morphing company on the Slip label, whose diversity finds a common strength in the will to express something of a pathos beyond easy comprehension, yet which can be felt and understood immediately and instinctively by anyone with an open mind and a thirst for the new.
Add one feral vocalist to salty rhythmic noise by a L.I.E.S. rogue, engineered by a Hospital Productions don, and you get Wetware. File next to: Factory Floor, Alberich, Group A
“New York City has had a long history of dance music fused with confrontational performance. Whether it came from within the late 70’s No Wave canon projected through venues like the Mudd Club or the downtown avant-garde galleries such as The Kitchen, the feeling that influences and infects Brooklyn-based duo Wetware’s overall being as a cohesive and confrontational unit is as much enigmatic as it is familiar.
Formed in 2015, Wetware eased into its performative role with their live shows around their home base of Brooklyn, NY. Vocalist Roxy Farman, whose familiar voice was last heard on Drew McDowall’s “Unnatural Channel” album, stole audience’s attention immediately, using her body in tandem with her voice as a weaponized vehicle for the band’s anxiety filled performance. Matthew Morandi cut his teeth in the electronic music world through his solo tech-industrial project Jahiliyya Fields and partner to Inhalants, the techno collaboration of Morandi and Max Ravitz (Patricia). The synergy that’s developed between Farman and Morandi has been explosive. Wetware’s live antics and behavior has caused alarm amongst their local audiences, making Wetware the group to “not be missed” on any particular bill that they are allowed to take part in.
Wetware stepped out from their live persona and self-recorded a selection of songs that viewers had grown accustomed to and were debuted on the flawlessly curated Primitive Languages imprint. Shortly following their recorded premier was an EP collection of demo recordings on the much praised Bank NYC label. Once the band reconciled with documenting their work, they set out, with the help of engineer Kris Lapke (Alberich / Hospital Productions) to formalize their most recent output in the context of their first full length album entitled “Automatic Drawing”.
Given Wetware’s penchant for endurance, as displayed by their 3 hour long production at Koenig & Clinton Gallery in NYC in the Summer of 2017, one would expect the usual restlessness on Wetware’s debut full length. All of the apprehension and unease in Wetware seems to have been channeled into a string of cohesive electronic statements found on songs “Frequent Dreamlands” and “Ode to Joe”. Industrial dance rhythms bounce around Farman’s poetic stance on “Where Ever You Were”, causing flashbacks of an early 80’s dystopia that jumps around a confusing, uncomfortable backdrop. Interspliced with modular electronic instrumentals like the album’s opener “Pantomime”, Wetware’s devastating portrait is that of a society in peril.”