Crafty IDM/electronica by Thomas Pujols’s Nebulo on Calum Gunn’s excellent, exploratory label, Conditional
After a ruck of LPs to his name for Hymen since the mid ‘00s, Nebulo returns from hiatus since ’16 with a remarkably fresh sound that appears to jump off from Arca’s ‘&&&&&’ and into hyperpresent terrain shared by TCF and CY AN.
‘YYY’ gets off to a breezy beginning with prickly, windswept arps showing a flair for free dynamics and melody, while ’448BPM’ accelerates up-to-the-second with flashcore-esque levels of intricacy but sans fibrillating kicks, before the staggered meter and expressively bittersweet flourishes of ‘BND Rose’ and the nerve-wringing emotion of ‘ASCII Snake’ most closely reflect Arca’s genius for off-kilter, melodic arrangement.
Kevin “The Bug” Martin frames Miss Red in an OOBE-like haunted dancehall style for his Pressure label.
A dominant force on the label already, and a central muse for Martin, Miss Red returns to supply a forlorn, ghostly presence with ‘The Four Bodies’ EP. Her shatterproof tenor floats sweetly over the minor key menace and dembow bumps of ’Shut In Your Head’, before ‘Loco’ pulls her fwd, nagging on a revving, sputtering piece of heavy riddim machinery, ‘Loco’.
But from there it gets very maudlin with the dread lament of ‘Don’t Text Back’ sung in a cracked and detached patina of voices over synthetic nyabinghi, and ‘Prayers’ jettisons the riddim entirely to vapourise Red into a hall-of-mirrors, glossolalic drift, something like Burial meets Grouper.
Disciples dig into the teenaged, pre-4AD years of Detroit’s Warren Defever and come out with the first signs of gold in ‘F Choir’, a flighty synth miniature that sets the tone for a very promising retrospective revolving His Name Is Alive
Crispy and trippy electro/B-more breaks and Batucada rhythms from K-Lone for the Wisdom Teeth label he runs with Facta
Strong stuff end to end, rolling out in a fine declension of pressure between the fiercely sharp, whirring electro-breaks mechanics of ‘Sine Language’ and the slinky belly tuck and swivel of ‘Batucada’, to go super minimal and hypnotic with the mercurial flow of ‘Missed Calls’, and the pastoral dub of ‘Bells’.
Masquerading under aliases for the last few years, Luke Blair coughs up gritty techno mutations on the Twisted Blood EP for his Glum label.
Each cut sounds like it was captured mid-mutation or formed from reactive substance that burn on contact, convecting the oxidising garage-techno torque of Twisted Blood and the submerged techno stress-test of Another Victory for Furniture for more adventurous dancefloors, along with more knackered, impish alien folk dance with crooked budge of The Yips, and something like a corrupted pastoral ambient scene with Doom.
Bokeh Versions light up a necessary reissue of Tradition’s long-lost outer-dub oddity Captain Ganja and The Space Patrol, pressing up a damn fine and deeply psychedelic reminder of North London’s contribution to the worldwide dub sphere c. 1980 - years before Scientist and Jammy battled the space invaders.
As a secretive and sought-after outlier in Tradition’s catalogue of lovers rock and dub aces, Captain Ganja and The Space Patrol represents the group’s most esoteric and experimental urges in full effect, springing dub’s mutable framework with a sample bank of crying babies, radiophonics and library soundtrack FX and then swirling the whole thing in Paul Thomson’s cosmic synths and keys.
From the red-eyed bachelor lounge vibes of of The Breathtaking Blast thru the lush recoil and tumble of Subaquatic Swerves and the pealing oddness of The Creepy Crawl to the bawling infants perfused around Rocket Repairs’ warbly melodica and decaying drums, it’s clear to hear how this album provides perfect context for Bokeh Versions’ previous releases, from the loose schematics of Seekersinterntional to the plasmic plong of Jay Glass Dubs, and even the label’s colourfully warped charisma on the whole.
It’s totally primed for a long, hot summer…
Another sterling collection of Parmegiani’s “lost tapes” spanning 1966-1990, ‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ circles 17 poetic and versatile works from the legendary GRM and ORTF artist/technician’s sidelines into work for TV, film and theatre choreography, expanding the themes of his recent ‘Rock (Bande Original Du Film)’ and ‘La Soleils’ reissues
Whilst deeply appreciated for his pioneering efforts in shaping electro-acoustic music at the GRM (with best results found in his priceless ‘L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD’ set), Parmegiani first cut his teeth at ORTF, France’s national broadcaster, and also wrote a lot of sound for theatre and contemporary dance choreography.
‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ offers a vital bridge between Parmegiani’s more academic, concert-based works for the Acousmonium system at GRM, and his artistic/commercial endeavours, documenting a body of work where his razor sharp skill in editing and illusive spatialization meet more melodic gestures and brilliantly proto-technoid rhythms.
There were clear hints of this style in the ‘Bande…’ OST, but they most captivatingly come to the fore in this follow-up, most notably on the pulsating brilliance of ‘Versailles… Peut-Être II’ , one of the sharpest pre-echoes of the ‘80s we’ve ever heard, along with the inimitable clarity of his pranging percussion and highly visual editing on ‘Image De Marque I+II’, and the Black MIDI-esque spirals of La Guerre Des Insectes I’ , for example.
Highly infectious breakbeat garage vibes from NYC’s Falty DL and his south London counterpart, Benny Ill ov Horsepower Productions
Falty steps off with a signature volley of infectious 2-step with wild subs and simmering chords in ‘Ill Bent’, which Benny Ill reworks inna tuff-but-sweet jungle fashion on his ’Straight up III Mix’, and on a ruder, dubbed-out tip in the ‘Fat Larry’s Revenge Mix’, along with one of his inimitable originals in the cutthroat London rufige of ‘Is It Safe’.
Howes slugs two grubby house and dancehall trax on ‘The Weathertenko’ 7” for Andy Lyster’s Youth label, following their ace CDs by Hiroshima Anniversary and FUMU
Taking a minute out from running his Cong Burn label, Howes really gets into Youth’s cyberpunky mindset on both sides: firstly with a soggy bilge pumper that sounds like an early MDR or Silent Servant grinder, c.2009, then with a brilliantly unexpected slice of slow, electroid dancehall torque on the B-side, all rub-and-tug bass and cold, ceramic dub FX.
‘Science <> Religion’ is a glorious new example of the slow burning drone ecstasies explored by Téléplasmiste, an inquisitive collaboration between Michael J York (Coil, Cyclobe, Shirley Collins) and experimental UK stalwart Mark Pilkington (Strange Attractor Press)
Invoking references to seminal works by composers including (and not limited to) Robert Ashley, Steve Reich, and Alvin Lucier, the tape operates with a compellingly traction in two 20 min+ parts primed to recalibrate your chakras.
In the first, ‘Science’ they entwine gently keening microtonal sine waves with floating organs and mantric tape loops intoning “love is the law” over primally persistent percussion with a richly meditative effect that draws the ecstatic moment out to near infinity (or 24 minutes), before the 2nd part descends on a more astral sound full of spuming synths, bittersweet bagpipe tones and lonely accordion with a more wide-eyed and spaciously suggestive appeal that glacial transitions and resolves in pastoral, earthly realms and impishly intoxicated synth pulses.
Beautiful Swimmers gather a lovely set of obscure boogie, house, new age soul and electronica gems for the 2nd compilation from Croatia-based festival, Love International
From Plunky’s sweet sax bleat in ‘Africa Sunset’ to Spirit Garden’s plush piano house, the set covers all the right bases with nuggets to be scored in Harlem Gem’s mid-tempo boogie-soul-house ace; Mark Goddard’s new age house bubbler ‘Tiny’s First Journey’; KW Griff’s unmissable B-More soul winner ‘Be Ya Girl’; and the crystalline, rude UK techno/electronica of 1995’s ‘Whiddon On Down’ by The Horn.
More unknowns than you can shake a cocktail stick at. Must check!
Akira Rabelais has long been in our list of the most interesting, overlooked producers in electronic music. His early material for Mille Plateaux offshoot Ritornell was nothing short of revelatory, a mysterious, complex maze of elaborate layering that genuinely sounded unlike any of his contemporaries, or anything we've heard since. He was then picked up by David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint and released an incredible, career-defining head-scratcher of an album in 2004 called "Spellewauerynsherde' - one of the most spectacularly odd and brilliant electronic records of any description you'll likely hear - seriously - seek it out.
Anyhow, that preamble is just to set out the extent to which we're all Rabelais fanboys here - so this new double album, the first disc in collaboration with Harold Budd no less, has arrived here with much excitement, offering his first new recordings in over five years.
The Little Glass breaks down clearly over two discs; the first containing four plaintive solo piano parts by Budd and Rabelais, followed by a 2nd disc presenting Rabelais’ hour long, inharmonic, electronic transformation of the preceding material.
Rabelais has collaborated with Budd before, he provided his own incredible side-long second CD to Budd's majestic Avalon Sutra album, and while the piano pieces that make up the first CD here are bloody lovely and all, pardon us if we do hurry on to the second disc, because, well, you know this is going to be special.
With a deliquescence touch perhaps best compared to William Basinski, the L.A.-based artist renders the original improvisations as a breathtaking hour of glistening tone clusters and mid-air melting partials growing in complexly yet naturally as fractals experienced under the lens of DMT, or a time-lapse image of ice crystals forming at the edge of moving water.
To be quite honest, we haven’t the foggiest as to what process that he’s using to achieve these results - it may well be his trusted Argeïphontes Lyre software but, we can’t confirm this - however that matter only ratchets the sensation’s enigmatic appeal - if ever there was a more acute application of the word.
It’s the sort of music that gives us involuntary rapid eye movements, as though we’re in sleep mode while awake, making time feel plasmic and space almost tangible in a sense that you could almost huff up his starlight and recline in his hyaline webs.
The Little Glass is evidently, achingly, beautiful but, don’t take our word for it; drink deeply and ye shall see, pal.
As the pig flies out of London and Jai Paul’s legendary album officially drops, the pop enigma gives wings to a pair of new beauties and the world is (kinda) ok again
Arriving in the slipstream of ‘Jai Paul’ come two slices of his signature soul-pop delicacy, bedding down the juicy FM bass synth and slow sizzling drums for his heart-warming falsetto harmonies, shared with Fabiana Palladino (who appeared on a Paul Institute 7” in 2018), before ‘He’ turns up the funk with roving, holo-‘d out bass and Linn drums, saving some of the best moments in the reprise’s killer chrome-rip synths and studio gremlins.
Davy Kehoe fronts this mesmerising krautrock crawler for the cult Wah Wah Wino crew, flanked by fellow winos Brendan, B Man, and Morgan Buckley, who also mixed and edited the thing.
So yeh while it’s Davy’s name at the top, as with all Wah Wah Wino releases, it’s really a group effort and not hard it hear the influence of more than one cook up in the mix. Up top they saddle up for a long and meandering trek, high plains drifter style, with Davy manning drum machine, organ pedals, harmonica and dubbed-out vocals, along with B Man on percussion, guitar and organ by Brendan, and Morgan on fretless bass.
Together they mesh out a hazy, swaying grind that intersects haunted dancehall vibes with drone rock hypnosis, with a traction and time-slipping lilt that hits square between the 3rd eyes of Can, Tony Conrad and Black Zone Myth Chant. Allow the Roseanne style harmonica, though. The flipside is quite a different matter, effectively like a watery imprint of the A-side, with everything rubbed to a gauzy nub of scratchy rhythm and desiccated bass.
Michael O’Shea’s sole, breathtaking album ranks among our favourite of all time - yet hardly anyone seems to have heard of it. Produced by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis at the Dome studio in 1982, it’s an utterly singular work of magick meshing myriad, worldly modes into music that rarely fails to reduce us to tears. It’s one of those albums that basically sounds like nothing else - the only record we can draw some parallels to is Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s life changing 'Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’, despite it coming from the other end of the world.
First brought to our attention by Blackest Ever Black at the start of this decade, we’ve gradually developed an obsessive fascination with its sublime, rapid dervishes and warbling rhythmelodies, so it’s a pleasure to see it finally made easily available to everyone who we’ve ranted about it over the years (2nd hand copies have been historically pricey and hard to come by!), and especially replete with its enlightening new sleeve notes by archivist and writer Failed Bohemian.
A busker among other trades, O’Shea was an itinerant soul who, after a childhood and formative years spent between Northern Ireland and Kerry in the south of the country, and extensive travel between Europe, Turkey and Bangladesh, created his own instrument - an electrified dulcimer known as Mó Cará (Irish for ‘My Friend’) - which he performed on at Ronnie Scott’s, before later playing on bills with everyone from Ravi Shankar to Don Cherry, and also recording with The The’s Matt and Tom Johnson.
Aside from his two contributions to the Stano album, ‘Content To Dine In I Dine Weathercraft’ (also recently reissued by Dublin’s Allchival), O’Shea’s first and only album is the main point of reference for this unique artist. Like some eccentric expression of ancient Indo-European voices channelled thru a Celtic body, Michael O’Shea’s improvised acousto-electric music intuitively distills a world of styles into singularly hypnotic works. Using his self-built instrument; a hybrid of a zelochord and a sitar, made on a wooden door salvaged in Munich, and with the crucial addition of electric pick-ups and the ‘Black Hole Space Box’, O’Shea would absorb sounds from his travels like a sponge, and relay them back thru the instrument with effortlessly freeform and achingly lush results as elaborate as a Celtic knot or elegant as Sanskrit text.
The mercurial flow of syncretised styles in 15 minute opener ‘No Journey’s End’ catches your breath and doesn’t give it back, leaving us utterly light-headed and feeling something akin to religious experience, before his ’Kerry’ vignette most beautifully limns the epic coastline he hails from. The plasmic swirl and phasing of ‘Guitar No. 1’ is perhaps the one piece that time dates the LP to the post-punk era, even if it could have come from ancient Mesopotamia, while the album and artist’s underlying metaphysics bleed thru most hauntingly in the timbral shadowplay of ‘Voices’, and the rapidly tremulous, animist voodoo of ‘Anfa Dásachtach’.
Noted in his lifetime, not least by himself as; “…joker, transvestite, inventor, psychonaut, actor, catalyst, community worker, musician, traveller, instrument maker,” Michael O’Shea’s life was, by all accounts, every bit as colourful as his music, which only makes his untimely death in 1991 all that more tragic, as we’d practically give an arm to hear what he could have made in the early techno era, as he was purportedly getting heavy into London’s rave scene before he was taken.
Honestly no other record has cast such a strong spell over us in recent memory - to the extent of sending us on wild goose chases on the wrong peninsula in Kerry - so please pardon the gush ‘cos we can’t help but share love for this life-affirming disc and Michael O’Shea’s beautifully transcendent music.
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
In print once again in all its glory - little introduction needed here, Skam number 008 repressed several times and still a collectors item, 6 tracks wide, every one a classic...
This 35 minute EP from BoC is arguably their most complete outing, having landed a couple of years before ‘Music Has The Right…’ album and including some of their best material - the brooding Detroit inversion ‘See Ya Later’, the Colonel Abrams inspired ‘Nlogax’, the career-defining “Everything You Do Is A Balloon’ and ‘Turquoise Hexagon Sun’ which would later appear on ‘Music Has The Right’.
Unlike so many of their peers from the era, this stuff has aged well. Perhaps it’s the inherent nostalgia built into these productions, but for our money ‘Hi Scores’ is still the finest half hour of music ever produced by Sandison and Eoin, now bolstered by a remaster and repackage job which feels a bit like dusting off your favourite old jacket and taking it for a whirl.
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
Agent of disruption, Sam Kidel simulates a free party in a Google data centre and baffles Amazon’s Alexa on ’Silicon Ear’, his superb follow-up LP to our AOTY 2016 ‘Disruptive Muzak’
The Bristol-based composer and music teacher now turns his subversive “analytical artistry” towards global corporations. Where his ‘Disruptive Muzak’ piece adapted the early hacking technique of “phreaking” - manipulating telephone exchanges - his two new works logically follow with a signature mixture of mischief and uncanny insight, suggesting super crafty ways to subvert AI voice recognition and simulate a rave in a server centre.
“First exhibited at EBM(T) in Tokyo, Live @ Google Data Center trespasses in Google’s data centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa to perform electronic music amongst the humming banks of servers and endless cable runs, without actually breaking in. In a process he describes as “mimetic hacking,” Kidel used architectural plans based on photos of the data centre to acoustically model the sonic qualities of the space. The resulting acoustics on Live @ Google Data Center simulate the sound of Kidel’s algorithmically-generated notes, rhythms and melodies reverberating through the space, as though a bold illegal party was being held in the maximum security location.
The generative audio patch Kidel used to make the B-side, Voice Recognition DoS Attack seeks to disable the functionality of voice recognition software by triggering phonemes (the smallest units of language). The project, first developed for the Eavesdropping series of events in Melbourne, exploits a weakness in voice recognition that cannot distinguish between individual voices. When you speak while the patch is playing, the cascading shards of human expression mask your speech and thus protect you from automated surveillance, questioning our vulnerability in the face of global data giants. In amongst these displaced sounds, Kidel fed additional musical elements into his patch to create the version of the project heard on this release.”
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo. We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way.
"Mango Walk / Mango Drive" was the second release on the label and, for many, remains its finest moment. The a-side features an original production from the Wackies vaults by Azul & Bullwackie recorded in 1979, with an incredible 9 minute revision from Mark and Moritz on the flip. The version that appeared on the Rhythm & Sound 'Compilation' is over two minutes shorter.
Dome’s groundbreaking debut album ‘1’ is finally available as a standalone vinyl reissue via Editions Mego. Comprising Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, Dome formed during Wire’s 1980-84 hiatus, creating their own recording space in Eric Radcliffe’s legendary Blackwing Studios (Depeche Mode, Yazoo), where they would pursue and recombine myriad musical interests to become one of post-punk’s most definitive, influential and endlessly inventive bands.
Truly taking to the idea of studio as instrument, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis used their Dome set-up to generate some of the uncanniest music of their generation. Using the usual guitar and drums, plus synths and lots of tape manipulation, they effectively combined avant-garde experimentation with a pop nous, resulting in strikingly unique songs such as their incredible, signature ‘Cruel When Complete’ featuring the haunting vocals of Angela Conway aka. A.C. Marias, along with oblique noise sculptures such as ‘Ampnoise’ and seminal freaks like ‘Rolling Upon My Day’ which do it all in the space of one track.
‘Dome 1’ was the first of three Dome LPs released on the band’s eponymous label between 1980-81, along with other notables such as the incredible Michael O’Shea album and A.C. Marias’ ‘Drop / So’, which all bore the spooky, spacious hallmarks and air-bending tones of Dome’s studio. It catalogues the first experiments of what, to our mind, was one of the most intriguing and esoteric bodies of work from the early 80’s, combining the artschool sensibilities of Gilbert - who was in his mid '30s by this point - with a post-punk awareness shared by Lewis. They captured the ideal - shared by so many yet achieved by so few - of reaching a kind of avant-pop utopia. 40 years later, it still sounds like nothing else.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
Raw poppunknoise by an all-female trio from Montréal
“Montréal trio Lungbutter serves up an exhilarating and relentless barrage of astringent noise-punk driven by the ferociously wide-screen tri-amped guitar squall of Kaity Zozula, the brawny pummel of Joni Sadler's drums, and the wry subliminal/phenomenological sing-speak of vocalist Ky Brooks.
Brooks, Sadler and Zozula have all been mainstays of the vibrant experimental noise/rock community in the city for several years, having put in time as members of numerous bands including Femmaggots, Harsh Reality, Caymans, Nennen, Wreckage With Stick and Nag – as well as the Misery Loves Company tape label, La Plante collective, and the campus/community radio station CKUT. Lungbutter has been their main jam for a while, playing frequently in Montréal and with sporadic excursions to DIY spaces around eastern North America. Honey is their first full-length album, following the self-released Extractor cassette EP from 2014, which Big Takeover described as “thick neanderthal sludge, stream of consciousness yelps over lawnmower riffs, a dweeb-metal triumph” and Weird Canada praised as “confident, artful, intense”.
Lungbutter’s minimal guitar-drums-voice configuration is rooted in a visceral, ascetic punk idiom, refracted variously by free-noise, sludge rock and slowcore. Zozula marshals chaotic motifs of full-spectrum distorto-guitar, occupying a huge tonal space from low-end bass to paint-peeling treble, redolent of blown-out Melvins/Flipper fuzz and equally indebted to the frenetic dissonance of Keiji Haino or Merzbow (as in the thrilling passages of warped noise on “Solar” or “Veneer”). Song structures coalesce around guitar riffs of shifting tempos and the backbone of Sadler’s muscular, deliberate drums, while Brooks’ voice – at once mantric and declarative – deconstructs one brilliant lyrical theme after another, dancing along the knife-edge of dispassionate acerbic examination and wide-eyed cathartic revelation.
On Honey, live favourite “Vile” glories in a swampy martial stomp before lifting off into its propulsive, danceable stride. The slow burn of “Intrinsic” finds a doomy three-note pattern of guitar crud and slow, caustic vocal lines to build thick tension, careening towards explosive release punctuated by Brooks’ most impassioned and full-throated shouts. “Honey” and “Veneer” are both marked by guitar intros highlighting Zozula’s marvellously biting tone and technique, with buzzsaw static and freeform noise workouts prefacing the lurch into pounding primeval beats, the likes of which also drive standout tracks “Solar”, “Flat White” and “Dépanneur Sun”.
Honey is 33 minutes of satisfyingly searing, sharp-as-tacks, scum-tainted art-rock from one of the city's finest and most uncompromising bands.”
Wickedly stripped down rhythms and sounds from Melbourne’s Jon Watts, leaving his debut mark on SUMAC with styles running in parallel to minimal techno, quasi-acid, and mutant electro rolige
“Jon Watts is Melbourne based producer, DJ and musician. Over the last decade Jon has traversed a number of styles as a live performer, including no-input mixing, free improvisation, and hardware techno experiments. As a DJ, Jon is a staple of Australia’s East coast warehouse party scene, and has forged a unique style that seamlessly combines styles from free Jazz to hi-modern composition, minimal techno, house, jungle, UKG and everything in between.
On this EP Jon presents 7 tracks of stark, minimal, well-starched, emotionally ambiguous, yet functional techno experiments. Jon is indebted to the no-input mixer experiments of Japanese artists such as Toshimaru Nakamura and Sachiko M, as much he is to techno luminaries such as Jeff Mills and Kotai. He has patiently combined the sounds of malfunctioning circuits with cold acid inflected arps, home recorded analogue drum machines, and classic rhythms. Steeped in hardware, but never beholden to its standardised logic, these tracks channel the sweaty focus of the club, into refined loop-based compositions that occupy a hazy zone between unfinished idea, DJ tool, and avant-garde reduction.”
Brooklyn’s superb Blank Form Editions follow peaches by Catherine Christer Hennix and Maryanne Amacher with a first vinyl edition of pioneering free improv jazz rippers from 1975 Japan. Hugely tipped to fans of Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey and Keiji Haino!
‘April is the cruellest month’ is taken from 1975 recordings destined for ESP Disk which remained unreleased due to the label’s collapse in 1976. It’s understandably hailed as a missing link between Western jazz and Japanese noise for its joyously unhinged, thrilling levels of abandoned form, and begs the question; how would an international understanding of Japanese noise be altered if it had been issued as and when intended?
Until the late ‘60s, Takayanagi, who cut his teeth under Lennie Tristano, was an accomplished player of cool jazz, but his mind was blown by Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘Free Form Guitar’ in 1969 and he turned his back on the Japanese jazz scene, infamously calling them “a bunch of losers” in the music press. Shredding solo, and with saxophonist Kaoru Abe, he would dextrously yet elegantly lay waste to convention and effectively arrive at similar, iconoclastic, and expressive conclusions to the likes of Ornette Coleman, Peter Brötzmann or Derek Bailey at the other ends of the world.
In key with the revolutionary spirit of late ‘60s Japan, and the world for that matter, Takayanagi’s shapeshift into “free” zones was cemented with ‘April is the Cruellest Month’, where they inquisitively splay the jazz atom into atonal quarks and bestial chatter in ‘We Have Existed’, and a cranky smear of brass and diffused percussion recalling aspects of Gruppo in ‘What Have We Given?’, before the B-side’s catalcylsmic 20 minute charge ‘My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart’ truly lets rip with unearthly intensity, Takayanagi’s guitar intrepidly blazing a trail thru the gurning, ecstatic maelstrom in an every-direction-at-once aesthetic that clearly predates Masami Akita aka Merzbow, who wouldn’t debut until 1979, or the Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha, who emerged in 1978.
Eyebrow protection required - this one’s a 100% scorcher!
Special Request exerts hardcore Yorkshire G-Force while wearing his Y-fronts for the raving joyride of ‘Vortex’ with Houndstooth
Paul Woodford’s 4th album under the Special Request guise is also his loosest and nuttiest, monkeying around all aspects of his cumulative rave knowledge to draw zigzagging lines between electro, Detroit techno, breakbeat rave, jungle-tekno, and rushing hardcore trance in his own style.
On a handful of highlights he appears to crack out the same software FX employed on his Bobby Peru classic ‘Erotic Discourse’, namely in the mazy, AFXian electro chicanery of ’Sp4nn3r3d’, the Tango-flavoured hardcore nosedrip of ‘Vortex 150’, and his ruthless fast couplet of ‘Fett’ and ‘A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere’, while the best of the rest draws on a very ‘90s sort of electronic dance music soul in the likes of his Luke Slater-esque techno buzz ‘Memory Lake’, and the rude rave rolige of ‘Fahrenheit 451’.
Mick Harris kicks off his 2019 with this 5 track EP of tar-black, bass heavy sonic violence.
"This EP features 5 reworks of “Salford Priors”, one of the heaviest tracks from his return-to-form album “Over Depth”, the first by Mick Harris himself, and 4 more by his longtime collaborators in the production guises of Fausten, Stormfield, Monster X and Scald Process. The EP begins with an apocalyptic, dubbed out violent reworked by the man himself, creeping in with a cold, calm eerie drone that quickly goes from zero to 100%, blasting into a full force attack of artillery percussion and strafing, shrapnel textures atop the landmine subs and characteristic Harris snarling mono-bass. Julien Caraz has caused much distress over the years with the sheer rage and precision sonic assaults of his Monster X project.
Here he eschews his usual frenetic tempos for a solid 130BPM, a sleek techno destroyer built for giant spaces and huge soundsystems in mind. The Combat Recordings boss has worked audiovisually with Mick since the Scorn AV at Bangface Weekend in 2011, toruing with Fret AV in 2018. Here he switches back into audio mode to rework Salford Priors into a hard electro assault for the Stormfield remix. Fausten is the shadowy, twisted collaboration between Monster X and Stormfield. Having released a staggeringly twisted album on the legendary Ad Noiseam, Fausten went into hibernation as the pair pursued their own projects, with only a few sporadic tacks surfacing over the years. The pair have been putting together an album’s worth of new material for 2019, beginning with a powerful remix of Salford Priors. Taking Fret back into it’s aquatic, fathoms-deep sonic territory, this remix is a behemoth work that moves at quarter-step tempo,allowing for more physicality and dynamics, the profound pulse of each profoundly deep bassdrum like an underwater volcanic explosion, with skittering percussion the resonates in the stillness."
Titans of UK rave culture, Fabio & Grooverider look back on ’30 Years of Rage’, their seminal London club night, with the 2nd of four volumes charting the ultra-classic and hard-to-find foundations of hardcore, jungle and D&B - the UK’s greatest gift to the world of the past generation.
As the label explain, their RAGE night was arguably the ground zero for Jungle. "The party was started at London's cavernous Heaven club by Fabio & Grooverider in 1988, at the height of Acid House fever that was making it's way up and down the motorways, slip-roads, fields and warehouses of the M25 and further beyond every weekend, troubling the nation, the police, your parents and the press as it went. RAGE was a different beast, it certainly channelled some of that Acid energy but pitted it against the new and exciting sounds emanating from Belgium, Amsterdam, Detroit, Sheffield, Essex and Hackney and in turn created a new style, a new sonic attitude and energy in the process. Rumbling bass-lines, narcotic synth rushes and roughly chopped and sped-up breakbeats all merged into a style that we now know as Jungle."
This first volume is a tour de force of early rave pressure, charting a course from Leftfield’s deep 1990 bass massage ‘Not Forgotten’ thru Lennie De Ice’s all-time jungle cornerstone ‘We Are IE’, the London mash-up styles of ‘Dubplate’ by Wots My Code, Foul Play’s artful jungle masterpiece ‘Being With You’, and the bawl fwd hardcore of ‘The Future’ by Noise Factory, saving Fallout’s lip-smacking classic ‘The Morning After (Sunrise Mix)’ for dessert.
On volume 2 of 4, ravers are spoilt for choice with a selection running from Derrick May’s metallic Detroit funk in ‘Emanon’ to Q Project’s jungle foundation ‘Champion Sound’, taking in Richie Hawtin’s hoover techno classique ‘Technarchy’ as Cybersonik, Ecstasy Club’s acid house anphem ‘Jesus Loves The Acid’, Nightmares On Wax’s Yorkshire bleep ’n bass staple in ‘Aftermath’, and the deadly feminine pressure of ‘Just 4 U London (Kuff Mix)’ by Bodysnatch.
Essentials, the lot of ‘em.
Lena Willikens highlights original material from three female Japanese artists, Kopy, Tentenko, and Miki Yui, in a diversely groove-driven plate including her own ‘Megamix’
The ‘Paredo’ EP is a result of Lena’s 2017 trip to Japan at the behest of the Goethe Institut, where she and her artist partner Sarah Szcesny developed their Phantom Kino Ballet at a residency in Kyoto. While there, they also caught live performances by Kopy and Tentenko which lead to their appearance here.
Kopy supplies the punchy kicks and dry but gunky electronics of ‘2NP’, and Tentenko swaggers on some bolshy triplets, while Düsseldorf-based Japanese artists Miki Yui follows her Realistic Monk collab with Carl Stone and last year’s LP for Salford’s Cusp Editions with the weightless trickle of ‘Tromb’. Combined by Lena’s mitts, the ‘Megamix’ consolidates all three pieces in deftly swingeing form, cannily dancing in between their patterns to come up with something like a rogue Batu number.
Leila Hassan and Francesco Cavaliere’s Sea Urchin blow new age kisses and woozy thought bubbles about Egyptian martial arts in a Arabic and Italian over crimped cubist computer dub and ambient styles.
“Tahtib is food for your mystical post-exotica musical landscape - hand drums played by computers fall with a squelch into the swamp, horses neigh at dub bassists, there’s water everywhere full of urchins and tarot cards and just when you think you need to breathe this record breathes for you. Tahtib’s future ambient glyphs are matched with the rapid-fire staccato "taks” of imaginary tahtib sticks (tahtib is an Upper Egyptian martial art which was enjoyed and practiced by Leila's grandfather Baba Aly). Leila Hassan sings seamlessly between Arabic and Italian (and possibly more) breathing pure soundart alchemy across Francesco Cavaliere’s library of sound effects and textures.
You remember Sea Urchin? They added their signature aquatics to Osaka-native 7FO’s 7” for Bokeh back in 2017. The duo of Leila Hassan and Francesco Cavaliere debuted a totally unique expression of ‘library music as future music’ on a series of small run cassettes before their proper debut LP Yaqaza was released on legendary Belgian imprint Kraak (Pan American, Limpe Fuchs, Typhonian Highlife). This caught the ear of Bokeh designer svengali Patrick Savile, who adds his vision to the LP cover. Francesco has also released solo explorations on Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane) and Edições Cn (Dolphins Into The Future).”
Ricky V takes N.O.W.’s chill-out bar vibe to the terrace in two bendy tech-house remixes
Taking the opener to 2018’s ‘Shape The Future’, Villalobos returns a rolling swell of symphonic soul strings, voice-in-your-head patter, and sibilant hi-hats to guide your limbs on the 10 minute 1st mix.
The 15 minute-wide 2nd version is craftier, coaxing a wormy electro groove into squirming permutations around over-the-shoulder vocals, while the groove very gradually straightens out into a supple 4/4 with Villalobos’ patented sleight-of-hand.
‘Buntús Rince’ translates from Irish as ‘basic rhythms’, and this new compilation explores how Irish musicians were influenced by strands of different genres of music from around the world, merging them to create their own unique sounds. The compilation features some of the most innovative and talented figures in the history of Irish music and includes rare Irish jazz, fusion and folk outliers from the 1970s and early 1980s from musicians relatively unknown outside of Ireland.
"Often regarded as a musical backwater, the 1970s finally saw Ireland begin to make its mark on international music. The nature of this feat is all the more commendable, considering how isolated and conservative the country still was in the middle of the last century. The emergence of acts like Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and Van Morrison instilled in budding young Irish musicians the belief to dream big.
Unlike many other European countries, Ireland had not benefited from the cultural impact of immigration. Pioneering Irish musicians did not have access to the type of vibrant music scenes ubiquitous to most European cities at that time. With no talented players or even in some cases recordings of the music, they had to cultivate and invent their own small scenes.
A jazz scene had begun to blossom in Dublin in the late 1950s. Self-taught players like Noel Kelehan and Louis Stewart emerged as the Irish standard-bearers. Their level of musicianship saw them play with some of the world’s most renowned artists. The 1960s would see the emergence of the ‘beat’ scene in Ireland, with groups like Granny’s Intentions, Taste and Eire Apparent finally challenging the hegemony of Irish Showbands. Change was in the air. The late 1960s also saw many Irish emigrants returning home, bringing with them inspiration from the new styles and sounds of London and further afield. The arrival in the late 1960s of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline, new music magazines and the availability of music on vinyl meant that different genres were now becoming more accessible. The musical landscape of the country began to transform and evolve, influencing a new generation of musicians in the process. The 1970s saw advancements in studio technology. 8-track studios began appearing in Dublin, offering more opportunities for groups to record singles and albums. Synthesizers and other instruments were also becoming easier to acquire as the younger generation turned to electric jazz and fusion music. While the level of musicianship was high, the levels of opportunities in Ireland were still very limited. Many groups and solo musicians had to emigrate to try and succeed. Thankfully for those who remained, this new emerging scene didn’t go totally unnoticed and local labels began to take a chance on more obscure Irish groups. Labels like Mulligan and also producers like John D’Ardis and Terri Hooley championed and documented music from the Irish underground of the 1970s.
Their valuable work is a common thread which connects many of the tracks on this compilation. From the soaring flute playing of Brian Dunning, to the swinging piano of Noel Kelehan and the sonic force of Jolyon Jackson’s synthesizers; ‘Buntús Rince’ lifts the lid on a vastly underappreciated period of Irish music history. One for the collectors."
In ‘Border Ballads’ Richard Skelton draws inspiration from the rolling landscapes of the Scottish Borders for a moving instrumental panorama coloured with a melancholy palette of piano, bowed cello, viola and burnished electronics. It’s some of the most focussed and direct work of an already fascinating career.
Blessed with his usual knack for limning the atmosphere of a place so well it feels familiar even if you’ve never visited it, ‘Border Ballads’ beautifully channels wide open spaces, lush green pastures fringing on moorland, most crucially, experienced without a soul in sight, leaving listeners comfortably isolated in the elements. While there’s no detectable human voices in the recording, Skelton's strings possess the haunting cadence of the region’s rich folk music heritage, which quietly seeps into the album’s abstract yet gripping, underlying narration.
"Richard Skelton has spent the last two years living on the rural northern edge of the Scotland-England border, a boundary demarcated by various watercourses - among them the Kershope Burn, the Liddel Water and the River Esk. This hinterland topography has informed a series of musical recordings which, in their brevity, stand in stark contrast to the longform compositions for which he is more usually known. Nevertheless, there is a sense that these twelve miniatures are fragments of a larger whole, such is their unity in tone and timbre.
In some ways, ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as a revisiting of certain compositional processes first encountered on ‘Marking Time’, over a decade ago. The sparse, overlapping bowed notes, for example, or the solitary, bell-like piano. But there is something different at work here. Whereas ‘Marking Time’ felt aeolian, shifting, fleeting, this new work, with its persistent cello undertow and its low, tremulous viola, feels telluric, grounded, earthen. Perhaps ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as the embodiment of a desire for certainty after a prolonged period of upheaval, but that ever-close riverine border, at once both fixed and fluid, is a disturbing presence. A darkness that cannot be ignored."
ELLLL beautifully spreads her wings with three buoyant ambient/bass/techno flights in the wake of her aces for Glacial Industries and All City
ELLLL smartly proves what the fuss is about here; the A-side’s ‘Flowers’ offers 10 minutes of Satie-esque, windswept melody underlined with a sonorous, booming kick like some imagined meeting between Villalobos and Gas, while the B-side’s ‘Ride’ spirals off with feathered piano plies propelled by percolated subbass with a poised sort of feminine pressure, and ‘Glisten’ jettisons the beat to leave decaying subbass contrails and wind-played keys floating in sublime space.
A must check if you like Ciel, Gas, Automatisme.
Valerio Tricoli commits his latest electro-acoustic masterpiece to Second Sleep, offering a steeply hypnagogic experience inspired by and employing the Intonarumori (Noisetuners) invented by Futurist pioneer Luigi Russolo.
The follow-up to Tricoli’s contemporary concrète classic, Miseri Lares (2014, PAN) keeps with the searching spirit of much great Italian experimental music, with an underlying appreciation of the occult and of mental and physical states undergoing alteration; between waking and dream life and the odd interstices between those dimensions or realities.
Vixit quite literally occupies analogue space - 1/4’ tape, analogue synthesisers, home-built instruments - channelling and organising its chaotic uncertainties into something tangibly detailed yet deeply, subconsciously elusive, representing something that exists beyond our peripheral hearing and experience of the everyday.
This material may be cleft from Russolo by a century, but, beyond the mere use of of the same instrument, it shares much of a mutual imagination for the abstract, the dreamlike, and the unknown in its surreal arrangements of ephemeral, phantasmic sound sources and aesthetics. The possibilities of the unknown held a great fascination for Russolo which is shared here by Tricoli in a subtle but apparent way that too many artists nowadays seem too cynical towards. The result is a highly absorbing, almost surreal listening experience that comes highly recommended to followers of Tricoli or those of you looking to get lost in a dense and dreamlike soundworld...
Luke Slater’s late ‘90s evergreen ‘Love’ remixed by Burial, Silent Servant, Planetary Assault Systems, Marcel Dettmann, and Lucy
The 1998 original’s lump-in-throat pads and MDMA bairn naivety of ‘Love’ provide sublime source material to a clutch of producers who’ve mostly emerged since the song was first written.
Following his and Kode 9’s use of Slater’s ‘I Can Complete You’ on Fabriclive 100, Burial proves a natural selection to rekindle ‘Love’ with his patented, smudged palette of crackling embers and nite cafe ambience, while Slater himself takes its essence out into orbit with a 16 minute long, The 7th Plain Collage remix, and the stealthily decreed gratification of his PAS version, and Silent Servant’s samba-styled overhaul recalls the OG, 1998 remix by Salarymanned.
Striking debut from Jtamul, a Turkish artist expressing themselves in a post-Arca style sonic vocabulary of curdled, bittersweet dissonance, Sote-like harmonic convolutions, and Holly Herndon-alike vocal processing, on Lara-Rix Martin’s excellent Objects Limited.
“It’s 2019 and we are on the verge of great change, unease and turbulent futures. 2019 sounds like the future doesn’t it? It’s the year we would have quoted for a sci-fi. Objects Limited have found some music perfect for these times. Let’s introduce Jtamul, a 21-year-old linguistics student and producer who grew up among the woods of North-East Turkey. ‘Lubuni’ reflects those solitudes of being in natural surroundings and of going against societal norms.
‘Lubun’ means queer person in Lubunca, a secret slang that has been used by the LGBTQ community in Turkey. “‘Lubuni’ is the name of that solarpunk fairy princette I’m trying to portray in the EP. I’m trying to open up a virtual space for myself to portray the being I always dreamed to be. A portrayal of myself as a digital fairy princette, who is showing off their vulnerable and tender side as an escape from the strict norms and forms of society that I live in at the time.”
Jtamul has brought the future and it is an ocean of tongues, a sweet cacophony of incidental human noises lulling you somewhere into the dreamscape. ’Tsiqvi’ opens ‘Lubuni’ with a throat clearing choir and gentle synth lines swoon the listener, leading into “Bulanik” a track that conjures up imagery of an android learning human speech.”
“a low dangling cigarette of psychedelic folk.”
"First Songs is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time—a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind that is absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room...
Despite her last name, Anna St. Louis was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up a painter and singing in punk bands, eventually leaving her hometown to attend art school in Philadelphia. After graduating she made the move to Los Angeles where she began teaching herself guitar, writing songs and recording them on her own in her bedroom Listening to this collection you can feel the sun coming in through the window.
St. Louis on the foot of the bed with a guitar on her knee, finding her voice. She wears her influences well—think Patsy Cline singing over John Fahey—but has a style all her own. And while one can take the artist out of the midwest, one can’t take the midwest out of the artist—so let this be known: this is Midwestern music ran through a California filter. Anna St. Louis will have many more releases in her lifetime, but let it all begin here—First Songs."
First ever compilation focusing on the musical career of Julie Coker, the queen of Nigerian television, collecting seven of Julie’s most sought-after Afro disco and hauntingly-beautiful Itsekiri highlife recordings, accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before- seen photos.
"After gaining fame as Miss Western Nigeria 1957, Julie began her career in the Nigerian entertainment industry as the country’s first ever (and Africa’s second) female television presenter, as well as a popular national radio host. In 1976, having been surrounded by close musical friends including Fela Kuti and Kris Okotie, Julie entered the Nigerian music scene with the now-invisible psychedelic highlife album ‘Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)’, followed in 1981 by the highly sought-after disco-centric ‘Tomorrow’ to great acclaim. Both now fetch eye-watering prices on the rare occasion that they become available for sale.
The set includes four recordings from ‘Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)’ and three from ‘Tomorrow’, all as contemporary-sounding today as they were when first released forty years ago. These include Julie’s ‘Ere Yon’, which was recently re-interpreted by Anderson Paak on his latest album ‘Oxnard’ released on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath imprint, and the lost Afro disco classic ‘Gossiper Scandal Monger’."
Ekoplekz knuckles out a suite of dancehall cranks for Seagrave - his first release proper since 2017
“With releases on Mike Paradinas' Planet Mu label and Seattle-based Further Records amongst others, Nick Edwards' Ekoplekz project remains an insistent and inspirational force. As motorik and surging as it is by turns fragile and melancholy, the Ekoplekz sound shuffles and thumps, stutters and collides as much as it breezes and glides across a diverse range of imaginary terrains.
This collection of previously unreleased studio fragments (or 'shrapnel' as Nick himself described the tracks) are assembled here under the notion of 'Kirlian Visionz', or Nick's figurative take on auric photography. Whether or not the notion of auras and their utility to medical research proves absurd or bogus, this curious symptom of cold-war science suggests an evocative album title, lending an affective backdrop to the specific yet unrelated intuitions that originally inspired the tracks.”
Burnt Friedman frames his latest album in the vein of the nonsuch explorer series, with a musical look at Central Europe, specifically Berlin, and its intersection of artists, dancers, musicians still moving to 30 year old techno and house while constantly investigating and discarding novel new forms...
“Burnt Friedman with Explorer Series Vol. 4, original ethnic music of the peoples of the world/full spectrum stereo dominance. With such a complicated amalgam of races, religions, and language as there is in central Europe, it is not surprising, that the musical life is endless in variety. Before the upheavals engendered by immigration policies, the introduction of 5 G technology, and the gaining of maximum self-expression, the separation of cultures must have been even more noticeable, yet now in the sphere of music one can see them drawing more closely together.
This is especially true of an under-populated melting pot such as Berlin, where the sense of beauty is innate and one hardly meets a white male or a woman not being a painter or a dancer, or a musician. The system of scales, and also the fact that the western central Europeans rely on recorded or written script in order to conserve the themes of their music, could lead us to look upon it as a form of art music. Remarkably enough, traditional house or techno which existed 30 years ago, still flourishes today. Moreover, all the time new forms and musical styles are being discovered, tried out and eventually overlooked. The present record can offer but a modest sampling of extinct splendors, political or individual sufferings, gloomy sadness, love, resentment, exquisite delicacy, laughter and delectable wisdom of rural and urban central European music. Burnt Friedman's essential function is to perform music that ensures the repose of the dead and render their ghosts harmless; in the case of whole communities, to dispel evil spirits and restore to Berlin its pristine purity; and in the case of individuals, to expel the demands of possession.
Despite the limited scope of sound carriers, these ten highlights of central European culture contain an emotional force and documentary value of inestimable importance. Although it would be incorrect to consider the various selections contained herein as authentic ethnological documents insofar as the performances were for the most part "mystified", on the other hand one can certainly consider them significant examples of the attempts of white males to develop their own modes of expression and communication.”
Modeselektor’s Monkeytown herald their 10 year anniversary comp with a gruff banger by Shed
‘Rigger’ catches René Pawlowitz (Wax, Hoover, etc) gunning for the big rooms with bolshy, distorted breaks and clambering dub chords.
‘Sirens’ is the barely-there but utterly compelling solo debut by Kevin Richard Martin aka The Bug; the eminent soundboy veteran whose uncompromising music resonates with myriad strains of contemporary extreme music, from dub to noise and across the abyss between...
“When I was 22 I managed to acquire Techno Animal’s Demonoid 12” at a local record store, Rocking Horse Records. I can still recall the intensities of sound that marked the first moments of listening to it. The sense of bass as a tactile surface, that rolling groove and the howling sine waves and dub sirens that scorched with a type of sonic burning sensation that to this day makes my hairs stand on end. A year later I heard Ice’s Bad Blood, from there I discovered The Bug through a release on Wordsound, a band called God, a sound movement called isolationism and much more; all of these projects had one nexus point - Kevin Richard Martin.
In 2015, Kevin and I book-ended a series of concerts at Berghain for CTM festival. For his performance, Kevin debuted a new work I’d heard very little about called ’Sirens’. I remember two things distinctly about the performance. The first thing is he opened the set with a blazing passage of bass and dub sirens that instantly transported me back to those initial moments of encountering his work. The second was the feeling of absolute, crushing bass. Not before, or since, have I felt a sense of sound pressure like this. Unlike his other work with The Bug for example, the consistent bass carrying in the space was literally breathtaking and there were moments when it seemed difficult to see clearly as my eye sockets were vibrating in a way I’d never experienced.
Sirens, which documents the intensities surrounding the delivery and early days of his first child, carries in it a sense of deep affect. The album, unlike the live work, traces out a dynamic sound world that is both tender and caustic. It charts the emotional rollercoaster that is the arrival of parenthood, heightened through the complex circumstances of his wife's emergency procedures during the birth and two further life threatening operations for his son, in the first month of the child's life. Within each piece, microcosms of sensation unfold, Kevin clearly and deftly manoeuvres us through the tumultuous journey. Seconds become hours, and hours become seconds; Sirens somehow creates a sense of time that is without anchor and is foggy in a way that is profoundly unique (and frankly pleasurable).
Kevin Richard Martin has remained a point of constant inspiration for me over several decades now. To have the opportunity to share his first ever solo recording, one that arguably opens an entirely new side of his practice, brings me the utmost pride. His work has impacted so very much on me at various points and I know I am not alone in this situation. His new work, Sirens is a life journey transposed into sound that is truly personal, but effortlessly universal. It is the start of a new chapter for Kevin and one that I know will only strengthen his place as one of the critical voices in contemporary electronic music.
Lawrence English, March 2019”
The Upsetter rejoins Adrian Sherwood for ‘Rainford’, where he packet spools over languid and even lysergic riddims from the On-U Sound ringleader. If Perry’s own production of late have been a bit, erm, wacky, Adrian Sherwood gets the right balance of letting Lee do his thing while making sure he doesn’t look daft doing so. Make sure to check it for the experimental madness in ‘African Spaceship’, the balmy dancehall of ‘Let It Rain’, and the rocksteady blues dub of ‘Autobiography of the Upsetter’
““It's the most intimate album Lee has ever made, but at the same time the musical ideas are very fresh. I'm extremely proud of what we've come up as a piece of work". - A.M.S
This new set is the culmination of over two years work and recording sessions that span Jamaica, Brazil and the UK. Determined to craft a work of lasting power, Sherwood likens to the album to the work that Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series, a deeply personal work (the album title refers to Lee’s birth name) and arguably the strongest batch of original material that Perry has released for many years.
From the atmospheric field recording and wah-wah guitar of album opener “Cricket On The Moon”, to the gothic cello embellishment on “Let It Rain”, the chopped-and-compressed horn section of “Makumba Rock”, to the layered, carefully arranged backing vocals like a heavenly chorus throughout the record, this is an album with true love, care and attention poured into it’s every groove. It culminates in the truly extraordinary “Autobiography Of The Upsetter”, in which Scratch narrates the story of his life from growing up on a plantation in 1930s colonial Jamaica to becoming a worldwide musical superstar.
The story of Lee Perry and Adrian Sherwood collaborating stretches back to the mid-1980s, and a fortuitous meeting brokered by underground broadcasting legend Steve Barker between the dub innovator and UK upstart. This led to the creation of On-U classics such as Time Boom X De Devil Dead and The Mighty Upsetter, as well as Lee gracing Dub Syndicate records with some vital vocal injections.”
Ben Frost, Ian William Craig, Lotic and Abul Mogard rework pieces from the 2nd solo album by Polish cellist Karolina Rec aka Resina
The original mix of Karolina’s jagged ‘Trigger’ fronts the suite, sitting in stark contrast to the way Abul Mogard’s remix diffuses all the tension into a widescreen, glacial swell that eventually becomes engulfed by its blackened bass undertow. Ben Frost also electronically renders a cinematic drama from ‘In In’ with his billowing designs, whereas Lotic reworks the same original elements into a sloshing and curiously curdled sort of 4.1 world expression of bittersweetness, and Ian William Craig is perhaps most faithful to the original material with his patented, distressed distortion and additional vocals buried in the mix.
Exclusive cuts from Peggy Gou’s DJ-Kicks mix, including her blend of South African bubblegum groove and Far eastern melody in ‘Hungboo (DJ-Kicks); the pulsating disco-techno drive of ‘Pert’ by Hiver; and I:Cube’s woozy ‘Cassette Jam 1993’
Heads-down chug, mystic new beat and squashed teutonic swagger from Parisian, Cosmo Vitelli, leading on from Decha’s ace side for the Tel Aviv-based Malka Tuti label
Listen up for winners in the elegant shimmy of ‘A Brand New City’ with its droll female vocals, and again for the Dirk Desaever-like New Beat trot of ‘Kuldip’.
Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? introduce Russia’s Regular Citizen with an engaging debut album of filleted arps and mutant dance rhythms not dissimilar to the deco-trance lord’s distinctive style
Hailing from Nakhodka in Russia’s remote east, waaay closer to the Koreas and Japan than Moscow, Ivan Olegovich aka Regular Citizen has evidently arrived at similar conclusions to Lorenzo Senni in his playfully paradoxical style of composition. Notably marking up the first Presto!? release signed from a demo, his ‘Sleeping Unique’ probes a flux of emotions associated with dance music, but not reserved to it.
Like Lorenzo Senni’s run of underground classics since ‘Quantum Jelly’, he finds a sublime tension or deferred gratification with his clipped-wing trance lines, but takes it a step further than Senni thanks to a devilish tendency to asymmetric rhythms, adding a scratchy awkwardness and rhythmic unpredictability to the PointillisticT formula that locates his music somewhere between Lorenzo and the disruptive, highly visual rhythmic patterning of Rian Treanor.
This triple tape box set collects two albums of new, original RSE recordings alongside Low Jack’s 45 minute continuous mix of vintage RSE scenes...
On ‘Panama Canal Left-Hand Path’ Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement locks its attention to “the bloodshed and blind economics of the (panama) canal and its consequences and absurdity, then and now” in one of the project’s finest dispatches since its early days, With uncanny effect the music evokes its subject with soberly transfixing sound design, explicitly taking cues from Basic Channel’s hypnotic bass undulations to highlight and power a series of rotting electro-acoustic soundspheres, never quite fully letting on, but bringing the sense of trudging linearity and humid menace thru suggestive inference.
In ‘Hunting Down Individual Mosquitoes’ he evokes the feeling of dread with tense, lurking pads offset by natural bird calls - half sleepy, half acutely focussed - before ‘Isthmus Dark Arts (Electricity Arcs Through Rain)’ brings nightfall with screeching parakeets and a booming heartbeat. ‘Demons Tour The Canal’ then finds the perfect tension between blissed synths and distant, warning rhythms, priming for the extended isolation of ‘The Mountain Didn’t Want’ in two parts.
The additional ‘Simulated Thunderstorm’ is Phillipe Hallais’ (Low Jack) seamless 45 minute mix of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement recordings (same programme plays both sides), originally realised as part of Hospital Productions’ CDMX earthquake benefit. Following his role in the heavyweight ‘Venus Flytrap Exotica’ 7” and the ‘Red Ants genesis’ LP, Hallais proves the logical pick to mix RSE’s febrile vibes, slowly sequencing and layering 45 minutes of material from the project’s earliest to most recent releases.