‘NTS Session 1’ is the first of four Autechre albums broadcast by NTS radio station back in April in 2018
Developed during live shows over 2017 and in the studio following release of ‘Elseq’, these are the first two hours of the total eight hour broadcast, which was originally split over the course of four weeks.
Following the lead of ‘Elseq’, here they also favour longer track lengths, giving room for their ideas to fully play out in a durational, amorphous manner that echoes the generative scapes of Roland Kayn, but heard thru the prism of abstract rave music.
A few highlights stand out from the batch, most notably for the dancers in the plasmic electro hydraulics of ‘four of seven’ with its gloopy bass and piquant top line, and also the tumultuous hardcore rufige of ‘north spiral’, but if you’re after that Ae melancholy, run check the diffractive hyaline dimensions of ‘32a_reflected’.
Official reissue of the original soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 film noir classic Le Cercle Rouge composed by French soundtrack master Eric Demarsan, drawing from the orchestral spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet, abstraction and minimalism to create a hypnotizing audio landscape. The album boasts the participation of celebrated jazz players Guy Pedersen (bass), Daniel Humair (drums), Georges Arvanitas (piano), and Bernard Lubat (vibraphone).
"Starting as a collaborator of François de Roubaix and Michel Magne in the 60s, Eric Demarsan went on to become a mainstay of French cinema soundtracks, composing for directors such as Jean-Pierre Mocky, Costa-Gavras, and Patrice Leconte among others. He also recorded the cult album Pop Symphony (for Pierre Cardin in 1970) under the Jason Havelock pseudonym.
This is the original soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Melville's classic crime thriller Le Cercle Rouge, as scored by Eric Demarsan. Apparently, Melville requested that the music should give the feeling of being trapped by fate. Not the easiest notion to represent in music, I'm sure you'll agree, but the claustrophobic, complex jazz crescendos of 'Vogel S'Enfuit', and 'Sur Les Toits's pregnant tension certainly enforce an atmosphere of menace and impending peril. There are a few easier going jazz ensemble numbers littered throughout the disc ('Avenue Paul Doumer', 'Barrage Policier') but Demarsan's at his best when he's creating tension on pieces like 'Cercle Desincarne' or 'Le Parc'. This is one of those soundtracks that's eminently listenable as an album in its own right, divorced from its intended context, so comes highly recommended."
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Cotton Goods) channels paranormal music in a hypnotic eulogy to infinity and ephemerality on the Tape Loop Orchestra’s penultimate Instrumental Transcommunications volume, a sublime choral treatment that comes highly recommended if you’re into Ian William Craig, Jóhann Jóhannsson or Max Richter.
Return To The Light’ emulates a cumulative swell of Electronic Voice Pheneomena imaginatively intercepted from the ether and arranged into a hauntingly affective symphonic chorale. Sharing conceptual roots with his peer, Sam A McLoughlin’s ace Tongues of Light project, ‘Channelled Messages at The End of History’, TLO presents himself as a sort of conduit, a spiritual lightening rod or a dark interpreter, who absorbs the messages encoded in the frequencies of ancient light and the electromagnetic spectrum, in order to transduce and limn their meanings to our mortal, temporary vessels.
The results are wonderous, otherworldly, blessed with the aching vulnerability and fragility that many listeners have come to adore in Tape Loop Orchestra’s music.
Enchanting introduction to the exquisite, smoky melancholy of a Japanese jazz and blues singer/songwriter/composer who collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and penned some 30 solo albums, yet is scarcely known in the West.
Born in 1942 in a small, northern Japanese fishing village, Maki grew up during the era of American occupation and cultural imperialism, eventually moving to Tokyo and nurturing a passion for the records of Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson, which would lead her to perform on US military bases and cabarets and subsequently cover many US traditional folk and blues for the Japanese market.
With her distinctive voice she's seemingly possessed by the spirit of her heroes - Billie, Nina, Mahlia among them - and apparently had the mysterious countenance to match her unusual aesthetic.
We'll have to take that for granted from Hitoshi Jin Tamura's photos and Alan Cummings' enlightening liner notes, but Maki's music remains the best gauge of her character, taking in big band experiments along with an amazing, sitar-lead psych-out, plus runs into modal, spiritual jazz and the kind of lounge styles that prompt imagery of Bill Murray or some lonely salaryman clutching a single malt in the shadows of a Tokyo bar.
Electro-acoustic maestro and noted mastering engineer Stephen Mathieu commits a decade of spellbinding work to ‘Radiance’, collecting 12 album length discs (total: almost 13 hours!) revolving around the concept of stasis, the unfolding of time and sustained frequencies, deep listening, and immersive soundscapes. We've barely touched the sides with this one but, boy, it's a compelling, deeply immersive ride...
Completing Mathieu’s most significant cycle of work in his twenty year oeuvre, ‘Radiance’ operates in a push and pull of reflection and absorption, using heat and light as metaphors for the synaesthetic qualities of sound, and how it is perceived by the listener not just thru ears. The title itself ‘Radiance’ also connotes a vast scale of timelessness, but also one prone to fade away, decay, and its from these polysemous readings that Mathieu draws a remarkable spectrum of interrelated yet variegated compositions.
As ever, Mathieu is effectively dealing with the metaphysics of sound, using an array of electronics and electronic processes to divine new life in old instruments and samples, getting right down to their grain and accentuating their normally imperceptible peculiarities and latent spirits. In a sense he’s tactfully highlighting the lustre of his sounds, brining out their unique qualities for the ear to feel.That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all shiny and seductive. Rather, the pieces’ textures range from blingy to coruscating and every integer inbetween, sharing a feel for and fascination with the infidelity of acoustic, mechanical, and electronic sounds perhaps only comparable with the likes of previous collaborators, Akira Rabelais and the GRM’s Kassel Jaeger, or Leyland Kirby, for example, within the contemporary field.
All 12 albums in the set were individually a year or so in the making, and thusly require patient, committed listening for full comprehension The time we've spent with it so far is enlightening, rendering truly sublime passages and moments in the multi-timbral shimmer of ‘Sea Song I’, and likewise in the tantalising, prickly haze of ‘The Answer VII’’, while the longer pieces naturally give broader room for his ideas to grow, and beautifully so in the likes of his heavy-lidded and keening drone panorama ‘First Consort’, while ‘To Have Elements Exist In Space (GRM Version)’ patiently and exquisitely evokes a state of weightlessness, and, at its longest, the hour long breadth of ‘Feldman’ operates with deeply uncanny, surface level tonal reflections, which, as glib as it may read, recalls to us the magick of looking out a bus window at night, where the internal reflections and external street lights create refractive, illusory dimensions to get totally lost in.
The slow gaze is key to this amazing suite, as it purposefully pulls away from the time-constricted demands of contemporary music consumption to offer a wide, open space where time moves differently and perceptions are readjusted, becoming malleable in the process. It’s not quick fix music, but when applied properly, the results endure.
Belgian composer Ssaliva strips it all back to essentials with poignant ambient pop results
After a string of his filigree detailed works for Ekster, Bepotel and Collapsing Martket in recent years, he’s clearly saved some of his sweetest stuff for Jj funhouse, where he fits very snugly amid the likes of Mittland Och Leo and Milan W.
According to the label, all 11 pieces on ‘Unplugged Vol.1’ were written on a “fake nylon-stringed koto for an imaginary court of internet angels”, and the vibe is effectively a sort of modern ambient chamber music, a flawlessly elegant and refined sound full of fleeting emotive prompts and gently curious melodic gestures that cannily blur distinctions, to our ears at least, between African likembe, Japanese koto and baroque harpsichord within its glassy imaginary space.
Continuing their ongoing mission to seek out old records and boldly go where no crate digger has gone before, Finders Keepers have excavated another essential piece of cinematic history.
"It has been exactly ten years since Finders Keepers Records rst liberated Luboš Fišer’s immaculate soundtrack music for Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (Valerie A Týden Divu) from the vaults of the Barrandov Studio in Prague. As the inaugural release of an ongoing discography of previously unreleased scores from the hugely creative “Film Miracle” that occurred during and after the Czech New Wave (CNW), this score will always retain a special place in the heart of the label as well as our listeners who consistently request an updated repress of this signi cant vinyl milestone. Having grown in status from an obscure and misunderstood socialist-era art house oddity, via the hands of risqué foreign uff merchants, to nally and its rightful audience as a bona de surrealist cinematic masterpiece of world class standards, this 1970 lm adaptation of Vítezslav Nezval’s 1935 avant-garde novella (a lm that literally cross-pollinated Max Ernst’s A Week Of Kindness and Lewis Carols Alice In Wonderland) has garnered widespread critical acclaim.
Inspiring ongoing generations of visual artists, musicians, writers and lmmakers - all of whom regard this truly individualistic and inimitable surrealist lm poem to be an indelible in uence - Valerie continues to impregnate their daily artistic referential fabric."
The seventeen songs collected here come from The Fall’s Brix Smith era, aka “the golden era of Fall releases.” This is a perfect introduction to the band, and as legendary critic Robert Christgau said, it’s “The only Fall record any normal person need own”.
"The band’s legendary and notorious frontman Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year at the age of 60. The band’s output since they formed at the height of the punk rock movement in Manchester in 1976 was prolific to say the least. It’s hard to be exact, but in their four decades, The Fall released 31 studio albums, 5 part-studio/part live albums, 32 live albums, 40 compilations, and Mark E. Smith also released two spoken word albums. Another high number is that of former members of The Fall. There were over 60 different band members over the years. Their high volume of quality work over the last 40+ years had an enormous influence which was extolled greatly after his death..."
Reissue of heavyweight boogie-disco produced by John Rocca in 1985, dished up on suitably heavy wax
On Be With Records’ 2nd Pink Rhythm reissue this year, make sure to listen up for the full fat disco of ‘More and More;.
Some time around 20 years ago, Dub Surgeon made an absorbing album of beautiful dub infused with ambience, found sounds and horizontal rhythms. 'The Lost Future' was recorded at the former Amsterdam Film Academy, engineered and mastered by Ricardo Villalobos who put it through several vintage mixers and recorded it to 2 inch tape. Then, tragedy struck: a storm surged and ignited a fire that ravaged the studio. The master copy was thought to have been lost forever.
Dub Surgeon stopped making music and disappeared into the shadows after just two EPs on Future Dub in 2002/3. But one day, 15 years later, and totally out of the blue, he received a demo of The Lost Future. "Pay attention to this," it said.
Attached was a demo version of the long lost album which now, finally, has found a home on Dubai's Ark to Ashes imprint, so named in homage to the story of Lee "Scratch" Perry burning down his Black Ark studio to rid it of demons.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker, the album adopts its full form as a killer dub excursion which, with hindsight, can be marked up next to other electronic dub classics of its era, arguably right up there with the first two Pole albums, but also wickedly prescient of wilder, out-of-the-lines styles to come from Jay Glass Dubs to Seekersinternational, and even flashes of Hyperdub and Burial’s more abstract, introspective moments.
Toronto/Berlin’s Nathan Micay, a.k.a. Bwana, returns via Whities. Sleek, rolling and tremulously optimistic, on the A-side he works with the agility and grace of a ribbon twirling rhythmic gymnast on ‘First Casualty’, whereas the B-side’s ‘Beginning Ballads’ is a teasing display of deferred gratification, rolling to cusp-of-the-peak tech-trance styles.
"Nathan Micay (formerly Bwana) steps out under his own name for the first time with a pair of glistening panoramas well-primed for those exultant hours of the early morning. The 12” opens with 'First Casualty’, aka *that* track played by Avalon in her Printworks set last year, before heading into deeper territories with 'Beginning Ballads’ on the flip. In Nathan’s words: "These are without a doubt the most personal tracks I have written to date. I made them as a sort of exercise in self-therapy during my first few months in Berlin. As time has gone on, more meanings have unfolded with each listen. For me, these tracks are a rebuttal to the endless churn of negativity in the news and online. They have become my battle cry in the club, something to mobilize while also offering a chance to escape it all, even briefly."
Ramp Recordings’ Tom Kerridge a.k.a. Girls of the Internet on a low-key deep house tip, backed with an ace Finn remix
Check for Finn’s remix, one of the craftiest, teasing workouts in his small but growing armoury of aces.
ARP wraps up inspirations from Japanese ambient, 4th world electronics, jazz and kosmiche synth music into a luxurious suite of loungey psychedelia
“A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, unlikely convergences, unfixed constellations, ZEBRA, Alexis Georgopoulos’ – aka Arp – fifth full-length album, is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics, emphasizing points of connectivity between far-flung traditions. ZEBRA is as naturalistic as it is alien, disrupting outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Using forward-looking production techniques and an idiosyncratic instrumental palette — analog synthesizers, double bass, Fender Rhodes, electronic and acoustic drums, flute, vintage harmonizers and tape delay — Georgopoulos proposes a vast, shimmering prospect, floralizing an array of styles and smiles — Fourth World tremors, vibey Cosmic Jazz, 80s Japanese production, floating kosmische drum atmospherics.
Emphasizing ‘points of connectivity’ in a time when reactive and fractious isolationism threaten in divisive ways, ZEBRA is the sound of interaction. ZEBRA seeks something beyond definition of singularity perspective and division. It is constructive instead of flippant: ecstatic instead of wallowing; clear-eyed instead of opiated, romantic instead of cynical.
Like the zebra, Georgopoulos’ latest album revels in contrast / duality – Naturalistic + alien. Urban + rural. Calm + unsettling. Lucid + mysterious. Bold simplicity + fiendish complexity. The result is a portal to a more curious world that compels repeat visits.”
Vital collection of vocal versions from three 12”s, plus three new and exclusive pieces, outlining the current, heavyweight Senegalese mbalax of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, who’re now five years into their unique streak of stripped down drum, vocal and guitar syncopation. The production on this one is just ridiculous...
Forming a totally logical next step in Mark Ernestus’ pursuit of outernational rhythm & dub sound dimensions, in Yermande he basically channels, edits and diffracts highly complex drum patterns by cracks hot Sabar drummers with floating, earthen vocals in six arrangements that bristle with a discipline and energy which has been deeply preserved and learnt thru the ages; in effect helping to knot the loop of influence between West African drum traditions, Caribbean synthesis and diffusion, and digitised Detroit futurism.
If you’ve kept up with the series so far, then you’ve probably worked out set moves to the remarkable, ricocheting depth charges of Walo Walo and tussling B-line and poised vox of Mbene Diatta Seck on wrestling anthem Lamb Ji, which are both included in their original mixes here along with the sprung tri-step hustle of Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix) whose bouncing dub chords perhaps betray Ernestus’ earliest work strongest.
But, whether you’re new to the project or not, the three new parts are previously unheard; convening a duskier respite in the beautifully breezy prowling space of Simb (which was paradoxically ‘the most difficult one to mix’ according to Mark Ernestus), before Jigeen (meaning ‘Woman’) unfurls the most limber, stepping’ and rollin’ groove that swinges into the filigree hi-hats and grubbing traditional guitar chops of Niguel, last spotted in its deadly Groove mix, now with the calligraphic vocal signature of Mbene Diatta Seck.
Beyond redundant dichotomies of world music as happy/dark or raw/polished, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force are making music that matters from myriad emotive and physical aspects, relatable to your own rituals and feelings.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Hugo Massien on a deep ’n rugged UK flex for E-Beamz following trips with XL, Tectonic and 17 Steps
Carving his own path thru the scorched ground of rave’s past, Massien keeps the pressure simmering and potent between the brooding breakbeat hardcore of ‘Where Your Body Begins’ and the beautiful weightless rave thizz of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ on the A-side, while the flip brings a sort of pendulous acid-electro style in ‘Alien Shapes’, along with the pirouetting arp vignette ‘Circles (Going In)’, and the floating acid stepper ‘Faith In Chaos’ with its perfectly poignant vocal for the negative ecstasy crew.’
The ginger loon is back with some prime if fairly unsurprising material in ‘T69 collapse’
A classic AFX workout riddled with nanoscopic edits, time-signature switches and wild key changes, but somehow not collapsing under the madness of it all. If you haven’t already, make sure to check the video, too.
The groundbreaking 1971 debut album by Meredith Monk reisuued on vinyl.
"Composer, singer, director/choreographer, creator of new opera, musical theater works, films and installations, Meredith Monk is one of the most unique and influential artists of our time. Awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2015, Monk has blazed her own influential trail through music and movement over the past 50 years. Pitchfork noted in a recent review of her latest ECM release, ‘On Behalf of Nature’: “Meredith Monk’s influence as a singer and composer extends through Björk, Joanna Newsom and beyond.”
‘Key’ contains Monk’s earliest compositions for voice, composed and performed from 1967-1970. In her words: “In ‘Key’ I wanted to create a constantly shifting ambience. Each song dealt with a different vocal character, landscape, technical concern or emotional quality. I was trying for a visceral, kinetic song form that had the abstract qualities of a painting or a dance. I knew that I didn’t want to set music to a text; for me, the voice itself was a language which seemed to speak more eloquently than words. I chose certain phonemes for their particular sound qualities. In a sense, each song became a world in itself with its own timbre, texture and impulse.”
Killer compilation from Honest Jon's focussing on the dancehall vocal and dubs that the Unity Sounds label and sound system dropped to mad effect in the mid eighties. Recorded by a cast of talented amateurs on a Casio keyboard and four-track recorder before being tested on the Unity soundsystem...
The album was recorded by the Unity Sound label workers after the introduction of the early digital sound system, later supplemented by vocals and overdubs in the studio.
Genius throughout with spot-on mastering from Moritz von Oswald at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Informative liner notes, lush high quality sleeve makes this as essential a comp as 'Darker Than Blue'.
Legendary material, reissued with love.
Very necessary re-build of Experimental Products all-time synth-pop belter ‘Glowing In The Dark’ from EchoDroides on Traxx’s Kode, a sublabel of Nation
With the original pressing simply dead expensive, and the V-O-D reissue lacking in punch on big rigs, EchoDroide have helpfully stepped in to rebuild the synth-pop classic from scratch.
A-side is the all-new, shiny remake of the original - vocal and all! - delivering everything where it matters, while the B-side is a straight played instrumental, primed for the flounce.
UK R&G from garage fiend Murlo & ascendant hip hop producer S-Type
Vacuum packed and brightly lit, ‘Make Believe’ pushes the formula of helium vox and slow-fast groove to breathless degrees for peak time deployment.
Rave-guaranteed belters from Roza Terenzi & DJ Zozi on the eagerly anticipated 1st 12” from Vancouver, CA’s Planet Euphorique
Launched the same week Canada legalised the weeeeed, Planet Euphorique plays up to the vibe in four parts of crystal cut, shine-eyed rave goodness produced by PE’s proprietor, D. Tiffany a.k.a. Xophie Xweetland a.k.a. DJ Zozi together with her pal, Roza Terenzi.
A-side warms up on a slow garage tip, like some melted Bigshot Records obscurity, before Half Moon Bay steps up the emotional and physical energy with lush pads and mercurial freestyle electro inflections also carrying that ’89 into 2019 swagger.
B-side, the 12” really comes into its own with the triple deep Detroit and early UK AI styles of Strobe Fountain and the feminine jungle pressure of G Step.
Lip-smackingly good stuff. Don’t sleep!
Back in 2010 we said....
Ask us about Shangaan Electro a week ago and we'd ask you to speak slower. Ask us this week and we'll rave about one of the most astounding records we've heard this year.
The erstwhile and intrepid ears of Honest Jon's Mark Ainley and Hardwax/Basic Channel legend Mark Ernestus have been following this niche style from Soweto, SA, for a hot minute, long enough anyway to pick out twelve extraordinary examples of 180bpm, marimba-laden, afro-dance diamonds hewn from rickety drum machines and keyboards shaped into dazzling fillips of pure dance energy. We almost couldn't believe our ears on first listen, or the tenth. It was perhaps only when we witnessed the accompanying videos on youtube that it started to settle into place, watching liquid hipped Shangaan dancers scuttle and stomp like folk possessed by something untold but completely comprehendible.
It's not a large punt to draw distinctions between this and Chicago footwurk or Caribbean Soca styles, from the high tempo velocity to use of basic equipment all deployed with the intention of eliciting faster and more furious dance moves from the participants. Essentially this is a continuation of traditional styles, only plugged in at the studio of Nozinja Music Productions to become utterly electrified and electrifying. But these aren't simply instrumental rhythms, they're also songs with passionate, soul wrenching vocals and head-rushingly sweet synth melodies. Four exemplary contributions from the scene's lynchpin Zinja Hlungwani are worth the entry price alone; from the gripping hypertension of 'Ntombi Ya Mugaza' to the warbling duet of synthesized and human soul in 'Nwa Gezani My Love', or the alien harmonics of 'Nwa Gezani', you're paying to experience a mesmerizing sound that you simply can't hear anywhere outside of Limpopo or low-res youtube clips.
Nozinja is responsible for the breakneck speed of Shangaan Electro, responding to public demand for faster rhythms since opening his studio in 2005, even creating "boy bands" like the boiler-suited and clown mask-wearing Tshetsha Boys and producing for the rest of the artists included here. To be fair, this music is still a totally niche prospect, but initial reactions from friends we would never expect to like it have been as immediate as the music itself and there's no denying this will be one of the years most lauded albums among adventurous listeners.
This is genuinely some of the most exciting music you'll hear this year, and alongside the Footwork/Juke craze currently taking hold, you'll have heard little like it before.
Unsung West Coast maverick Carl Stone is subject of a necessary 2nd retrospective on Unseen Worlds following their Laurie Spiegel/Don Christensen and Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom releases.
As revelatory as the first volume Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties, the temporal shift into the ’80s/‘90s in this 2nd collection opens four hallucinatory new planes of ambient enquiry yielding some of the most interesting electronic music we’ve never heard before.
Progressing farther along Stone’s timeline we find him refining the flow of his practice in four prime examples of his work within the parameters of real-time electronic music performance and process. With computerised sleight of hand, all four works reveal a magick of metamorphosis, demonstrating how fixed elements can become im/perceptibly changed over time.
In Bantreay Srey we hear a lone vocal slowed down into evaporating helixes of floating tones, while the percolated glassy chain of Sonali appears to predate the playful brilliance of his glitching pop cut-ups in its keening, frothy drive leading to a secreted Mozart chorus.
Woo Lae Oak follows with a sublime play on tension between levitating flute lines and a backdrop of strobing, hyper electronics keeping us rapt for its 23 minute lifespan, before another extended number Mae Yao aligns the senses in a sort of digitally windswept segue from hyperventilating female vocals to shimmering shoegaze radiance hinting at gamelan music, but never quite resolving at either.
To be honest, we’re still nowhere near getting our heads around Carl Stone’s body of work, but this and the last volume are a great place to start probing, and likewise his Al-Noor CD if his more popwise aspects take your fancy.
Pure Ork fuel from Belgian rave bastard DJ David Goblin a.k.a. David Coquelin, one of the nutters behind the brilliant PRR! PRR! label - close affiliates of Low Jack’s Editions Gravats
Going ham with nobs of new beat, EBM, hardcore techno and gabber, DJ David Goblin has just cooked up one of the maddest CDs that you’ll hear in 2018. It’s unmistakably daft in that suddy, sozzled Benelux style; the type of gear that could feasibly trigger an outbreak of St. Vitus Dance in modern day Brussels.
There’s two shorter cuts that should come in handy with certain DJs, namely the hi-tech folk pounder ‘Squigpipe’ for the Nkisi fans, and the relentless breakcore choppage of ‘Mordor Fuka’, but the main bulk of ‘Ork Muzik’ is two longer, megamix-styled cut-ups; 20 minutes of drunken master swagger and potty rave leads called ‘In The Klub (Goblinized Traks)’, and the mad patchwork of ‘In The Street (Goblinized Traks)’ cutting from bombed out electronics thru early Shackleton, collapsed rave classixxx and fluoro outernational soundsystem styles.
Grade A bangers!
DJ Sotofett plays out a pack of deepest house aces on his debut album, accompanied by Gilb'r and Phillip Lauer, plus some jazzy Finns and an angleic voice from The Ivory Coast.
As you might expect, there's no fuss and no fight to 'Drippin' For A Trip (Tripp-a-Dubb-mix)'; it's a laidback, party-friendly showcase of Sotofett's seductive charms and easy way with a collaboration, whether keeping the sun up with the tribalised drums and colourful bird calls of his 'Drippin' For '97' side with Gilb'r (a.k.a. Chateau Flight), getting his deepest New York smush on with the weightless beauty of the 'Space Dub' and Nimbus Mix' with Phillip Lauer (a.k.a. Tuff City Kids), or linking with Jaakko Eino Kalevi for the New Age-meets-Afrobeat sweetnuss of the 'Ibiza Dub' and 'Main Bar Mix' side.
Shocking 909 driven dancehall banger from Dug Out, the label run by Honest Jons and Hard Wax
Ruffest shot of 1988 ragga-techno from Tiger at his maddest. Nuthin' but a rattling 909 riddim topped by incendiary, unhinged vocal and that's all you need! Seriously, we've never heard anything quite like it, the groove sounds like some one-off bleep techno experiment from Sheffield gone AWOL and discovered by a manic Jamaican.
In addition to being one of America's most persistently interesting avant-garde percussionists, Jon Mueller has in recent years carved a niche for himself among more mainstream company, working with Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and perhaps most notably of all, Volcano Choir, the acclaimed Bon Iver-related side-project that features Justin Vernon.
One way or another, Type seems to have made a habit of capturing established experimental artists at a career-defining moment or a point of creative breakthrough (something that could be argued for the label's releases of Grouper, Yellow Swans and Clams Casino albums) and once again, they seem to have snapped up Mueller just as he's poised on the cusp of taking his music to a new peak.
Having released Metals and Physical Changes for the Table Of The Elements label, The Whole finds Mueller looking outward; delving into the culture of quilt making and the Shaker crafts in his pursuit of forming his work around a fresh sense of earthy simplicity. Mueller's palette is comprised of a relatively sparse set-up: a snare, low toms, hammered dulcimer and voice, yet with these constituent parts he forms a unique vision that's equally enriched by folk traditions as it is the contemporary experimental music scene.
'Hearts' is an epic of intricate, clockwork drumming that combines with tranced-out vocal mantras and interjections of harmonised dulcimer to great effect, culminating in a thrilling final sequence that finds Mueller putting his own uniquely skewed slant on the double-time kick sounds of thrash metal. 'Hands' is another captivatingly complex and powerful drumming exercise, punctuated by deep cymbal splashes and some beautiful tom work through which you can really hear the full, booming curve of the drum's vibration.
The album is bookended by 'Remembered As' and 'Remembered' two pieces that place emphasis on the melodic potential of percussion, coaxing haunting passages from the dulcimer that really spring into life - particularly during the latter piece which embraces gong-like chimes and swelling metallic resonances.
Overdue but well on-point, Kassem Mosse’s 2nd solo album proper - his debut with Honest Jon’s - is a time-and-space bending set of ancient yet modern-sounding techno deviations that makes the rest of his field seem like frustrated, gridlocked passengers.
Blending the drum machine of Jeff Mills with the hi-tech jazz chops of Mad Mike and a wondrous feel for plasmic radiophonics and dustily organic textures, Disclosure is patently KM’s definitive artistic statement, largely steering shy of any easy anthems in favour of pursuing a mystic, abstract muse deep into the wires.
No doubt at all it will piss off the bro’s fishing for big tuna, but for anyone else who can dance outside of the lines there’s stacks of crafty time-signatures, alien electronics and loose-limbed patterns to get with, from the bitter dissonance of Stepping on Salt to the frayed bustle of Drift Model and the sun-melted techno of Galaxy Series 7, whilst Monomer trades in Tevo Howard-style Chicago class and it’s hard to deny the Memphis-style percolations of Aluminosilicate Mirrors or the Molecular Memories’ Africans With Mainframes-esque projections.
Two of Constellation's acclaimed solo instrumental artists join forces on this tremendous album of original compositions for horn and violin.
"Stetson and Neufeld first began playing in duo formation while on tour together as soloists in 2012, joining each other on stage for one or two of their respective pieces. Duo compositions for their debut album emerged throughout 2014, and were road-tested that spring with performances at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (Canada) and Moers Festival (Germany). The album was recorded without overdubbing, looping, sampling, cutting or pasting at their farmhouse attic studio in rural Vermont by Hans Bernhard and mixed in Montreal by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire).
Never were the way she was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album's expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative. From the filigreed ostinato polyrhythms of “The sun roars into view” and “In the vespers” to the stately long tones of “And they still move”, the dark drone-inflected sea-saw waltz of “With the dark hug of time” to the growling, pulsing thrust of the album’s epic centerpiece “The rest of us”, Stetson and Neufeld offer up an incredible (and impressively diverse) integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture while holding their respective instruments in sparkling juxtaposition.
Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts."
Lårry debuts with a slick brace of sci-fi electro on Uncertainty Principle, following their ace first release by FFT in 2017
Reportedly the first in a series of 12”s from Lårry, ‘sys_001’ starts out furtive with shortwave transmissions infiltrating the icy bleep matrix of ‘Systems_Hyperthread’, before sicking the turgid robo-beast of ‘Systems_Obfuscate’, while ’Systems_Online’ shows off his sound designer skills in vast negative space, and he goes Monolake style with the pinsharp percussion and subbass surges of ’Systems_Encoder’.
DJ Apres Ski returns from jollies on the slopes with four low slung electro tunes as Melly for Dublin’s Major Problems
Uptown, he arrives with the fluttering arps and airborne glitter of ’Shrubbery’ for the weightless movers, then leans in heavier with pendulous syncopation in the electro groove and delayed dub chords of ‘Health Is Wealth’.
Downtown he tucks it in-the-pocket on ‘The Beds’ for a natty, angular sort of electro-dub strapped with iridescent arps, and the tight latinate shuffle of ‘Mineral Water’ sees to the runout and a very canny locked groove for the DJ hypnotists.
Jürg Frey’s first work for string quartet, composed in 1988 and focussed on perceptions of audibility, here realised by Quator Bozzini in five parts recorded between 1988 and 2000, and originally issued in 2006.
It is worth the admission alone for ’Streichquartett II (1998-2000)’, a spectral 29 minute work with an uncanny presence that feels between worlds, inhabiting a gripping, liminal meta-space of timbral perception where the strings eventually appear to be singing, and we mean genuinely sounding like vocals, although there are none on the recording. It’s beautifully, deeply unsettling and spellbinding music
“"Material can be anonymous. Consider, for example, the middle voices in medieval hymn books: unadorned, not artful, a simple handiwork, a leisurely alternation of single notes. It might be a scale, or, beyond music, the stones of a wall, not artfully stacked, but simply and properly, the formal idea being nothing other than that of a wall.
When I was working on the String Quartet (1988), I encountered the painting of Agnes Martin. I saw clear-cut forms, not overgrown with rhetoric and figuration. Instead, sensuality, radiance and intensity gripped the entire space. There was a kind of visibility to her art, which I felt corresponded to the audibility in my music. Audibility: the moment when sound waves move in space and the air touches the body. The eardrum is the sensory connection between the outside and the inside world: we hear the sound and the composition.
Over the years it became more and more clear to me, that there is no anonymous material - each material has its shape, and as soon as it exists in space and time, it carries a distinct handwriting. Anonymous material is rather an idea that brings the work to a point where concentration on what is essential becomes possible, and allows one to feel that he is starting from zero."
Jürg Frey, translation: Michael Pisaro”
Smiling C gone done it again with this super sweet Euro-house peach from Karya, outta Czechoslovakia, 1991
A true cult collectors number, the original 7” is highly sought-after on the 2nd hand market, making this brand new, remastered 12” cut hugely desirable to people with ears and turntables.
Up top, the original ‘Muž Ze Skla’ works a slow and sexy sort of Euro-house with swanging groove, angelic synth chorales and breathy vocals inflected with a patina of classic early ‘90s spirituality.
On the B-side’s remix they drop the breathy vocal, letting the synths do all the work with mesmerising effect.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Droopy techno abstraction from Yard, making the maiden voyage on the meandyou.-affiliated Youth label.
In four parts the Portland-based producer coaxes out a greyscale spectrum of machine mumbles and squirmy 303 graffiti; testing your patience with the wobbly nothings of Void, then descending into the claggy dub-house and silty acid piece, White Fog, before giving you something to dance with in the effluent flow of Canopy, and finally ripping out a stripe of caustic 303 modulations in Marshall Acid.
The third volume of electronics-savvy saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare album series, and if you ask us, the most pungent and poignant of the lot - thanks in no small part to the dab hand of Ben Frost, who recorded its 11 tracks in single takes and has done a splendid job of capturing the molten intensity of a Stetson live performance.
Pre-release chatter has focussed on the presence of Justin Vernon, who handles lead vocals on four of the tracks: particularly noteworthy are the pulsating, cyclical opener ‘And In Truth’, which sounds like Philip Glass's 'Floe' sung by the Beach Boys, and a cover of Washington Phillip’s gospel song ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’, in which the Bon Iver mainman comes over like a spiritually wracked Randy Newman (i.e. you have to be in the right mood, to say the least). Vocals appear elsewhere throughout the record, but as more of a spectral, gaseous presence supplying texture above all else; but of course it’s Stetson’s extraordinary sax-playing that’s the star of the show, providing as it does rhythm, tonal colour and flights of aching, jazzy lyricism, often in the space of a single piece. It’s impossible to separate the instrument from the musician: Stetson’s sax feels like an extension of his soul,if you'll forgive the cliche, possessed of a fluency and fire that demands your full attention.
We’re particularly blown away by the aptly named ‘Brute’, a grinding, propulsive industrial blues that conveys more violence and viscerality than a hundred blown-out noise sides, but are getting just as much succour from the gothic melodrama of ‘To See More Light' and the more plaintive chamber-style pieces like ‘Among The Sef’, which summons 70s John Surman and even the Michael Nyman Band - though the tremulous calm of the harmonies contrasts with the sound of Stetson’s fingers furiously gunning the keys. It’s incidental details like this, not just Stetson’s profound virtuosity, that make this record such a worthy proposition.
Dry your eyes, mate; if you missed out on the aRSeD vinyl edition, Metalheadz have you covered with this digital delivery of Goldie’s Inner City 2017 and its hauntological redress from Burial.
The 2017 rebuild from Goldie and Ulterior Motive is a nice idea but unnecessary if you’ve got the original already, but at the very least it pays respect to Diane Charlemagne’s soaring vocal - which surely remains a definitive, enduring highlight of ‘90s UK pop culture, up there with Shara Nelson on Unfinished Sympathy.
However, the Burial version is a massive bonus. Pretty much evacuating all original elements bar the vocal, which itself is pitched and processed to get right on the nerves of the Dilberts anyway, the prodigious one perfectly captures that ‘90s music video aesthetic of running-thru-tunnels and dark warehouses quite literally with a rush of running man breaks and sharp-cornered scene cuts held with a near-breathless tension, kinda like those few minutes before the garys kick in and you’re about to be sick/fly around the club, which basically kicks in with the final minute’s head-spinning pivot on the cusp of happy/dark ‘ardcore.
“But you can’t play it in a club?!” oh fuck off and do your hot-nobbing clown step where we can’t see you.
A hauntingly spirited minimal/progressive/new age classic from 1978 with liner notes by the author and Kieran Hebden.
"Lino Capra Vaccina's immense 'Antico Adagio' was originally intended to be a double album, but was eventually scaled back to a single disc, self-released by the author in 1978; and thanks to the breadth and scope of Die Schachtel's excavations, the second unreleased album from the 1978 session is now available.
"Before an aberrant idea of progress and workaholic ethic ludicrously sped up our daily lives, even in the hectic city of Milan it was possible to "play slowly" – with no pressure, simply following the path your art was showing you. After a classic artistic journey and an experimental stint with Aktuala and other brilliant fellow musicians (like Franco Battiato, above all), Lino Capra Vaccina, near the end of the 70s, recorded Antico Adagio. It was an amazing album, anticipating countless future experiments in the field of new age and world music but also in avantgarde and electronic music.
Apart from a few violin parts and the extraordinary vocal lines (sung by Vaccina himself and Juri Camisasca), Antico Adagio is an album fully built on percussions. But, at the same time, it's the farthest thing from the typical idea of percussions. You won't find a single trace of African or primitive beats: instead, this is a collection of rather long, subtle and thoughtful compositions, crafted with vibraphones, marimbas and gong. Together they create a work which will remain unique – both in Capra Vaccina's discography as well as in a more general sense."
A new label from the Sofrito family; classy new wave rumba hybrid from mid ‘80s Paris, compatible with early ‘80s Detroit styles. A very promising start for the Ambiance label
“4 tracks spanning rumba, disco, new wave and reggae experiments from Congolese singer Albert Siassia and his group Tokobina, including two previously unreleased tracks taken from original demo tapes.
Originally from Pointe Noire in Congo, Albert Siassia came to Paris in the early 80s as part of the Ballet Nationale du Congo and joined forces with a young French reggae group called Dread Lion – a band he re-christened “Tokobina” (Lingala for “let’s dance”). Keen to broaden their audience the group played a mixture of reggae, rumba, disco and new wave styles, often using drum machines and synths.
They released one 12” EP, further altering the spelling of the name – “Tokobina” was phonetically anglicised to “Talk-Hoby-Night” in an unsuccessful effort to increase international sales. The record failed to make much of an impact and soon after Albert Siassia moved back to Pointe Noire to become an evangelical preacher. He passed away in 1999.
Dancefloor sureshots Mama Africa and Pointe Noire are taken from the group’s only 12” release. In the world and Sangui are taken from demo cassettes from the archive of drummer Franck Benhamou. Sangui was originally scheduled for release on a 7” but the release was withdrawn due to a pressing fault.”
Holy mother of noise, what the devil have we here? Superior Viaduct cough up the 1st ever vinyl reissue of Basil Kirchin’s mind-blowing experimental masterpiece Worlds Within Worlds, which has bafflingly somehow escaped wider attention until now. While Trunk Records have done a fantastic job of returning Kirchin’s work to critical acclaim since their issue of Quantum in 2003, this very necessary reissue inarguably and surely reasserts the British jazz drummer and composer-cum-studio experimentalist among electronic music’s greatest pioneers. Trust, this is a record you’ve been looking for forever, but just didn’t know it existed!
Conceived as the follow-up to Kirchin’s Worlds Within Worlds parts 1 & 2, which were discernibly scored for a jazz sextet (including Evan Parker) and various bird, animal, and amplified insect sounds, and released on LP by Columbia in 1971, Kirchin’s 1974 follow-up of the same name contains parts 3 & 4 and finds him combining similar instrumentation with the sounds of a Gorilla, Hornbills, and Flamingoes in a heavily abstract, tape-processed style that’s just completely messing us up right now.
If any LP deserves the mantle “lost classic”, it’s this one. From the first seconds of distended, hellish moans and flanging analog artefacts in Emergence (Part 3) you know this is going to be a serious trip and it never once sells the listener short. For the next 20 minutes he unspools a fantasy tableaux of warped, grainy harmonics and warbling sonic oddity, smudging samples of autistic children in a Swiss community with the sounds of the docks in Hull, where he lived, to forge a practically unprecedented alternate dimension of atonal, arrhythmic immersion that genuinely feel like a transmission from the other side, much in the best way of music from Aphex Twin thru to Broadcast or NWW.
On the B-side Evolution (Part 4) follows suit into the void without the handrails of convention, effectively landing somewhere between the combustible, metallurgic experiments of Gottfried Michael König, Annea Lockwood’s Tiger Balm, and the vast, cosmic spectral music of Iancu Dumitrescu in terms of space and texture, with 18 minutes of dense, layered concrète chicanery that pulls the ear’s eye almost out of its socket in a seamless, keening traversal of metastable, decelerated sonics from Gorilla growls to submerged clangour and astral flange that uncannily parallels COUM Transmissions from the same era and city, although we’re pretty sure there was no crossover between the two.
Suffice it to say, this record is one of the best things to ever come out of Yorkshire or the British electronic music underbelly. Just fucking incredible, psychedelic music. Highly recommended!
Broken English Club flashes his industrial gnashers on the 1st part of a new LP trilogy for L.I.E.S.
Otherwise known as Oliver Ho, Broken English Club has become the bloodied ground for his most unrepentant, grotesque and personalised productions, a place where the bones of EBM/acid/techno rest in pieces beside the desiccated batteries of power electronics and the ghosts of late ‘70s/early ‘80s post-industrial styles.
Leading on from last year’s ‘The English Beach’ LP, Ho focuses his energies into 9 bitter cuts in ‘White Rats’, ranging from the coruscating noise guitar wizardry of the title cut and the clenched industrial strength force of ’Funny Games’ on the front, to thoughts about modern day Brexit Britain in ‘Animal Town’ - “barking nazi’s in plastic tracksuits” - along with the skudgy acid EBM burn of ‘Let’s Play’ and blown-out power electronics of ’Stab Boy’ on the other side.
RIYL Throbbing Gristle, Parrish Smith, Sandra Electronics...
Reissue of Charly Kingson’s hot disco platter, produced by Klaus Weiss in Germany, 1982, and shifting for triple figures on the 2nd hand market...
A-side is the horny Afrobeat funk fuss of ‘Born In Africa’ with its slithering bassline and call ’n response vocals, while B-side is juicy ace named ‘Nimele Bolo’, working a squirmign synth bass with chicken scratch guitar and horns for pure late night heat.
Ace 3rd group outing from John Howes’ Cong Burn clan, including deeper gems by Lack and Duckett...
Tending to intimate/introspective hours of the club and afters, Leeds-based Lack impresses with the grubbing undulation and dark blue pads of ‘Unttiled’ - imagine E.R.P. meets Batu - and Duckett also gets it right with the frayed groove and hyaline lead of ‘Lost In Israel’ recalling Actress and Morphosis gear.
Chekov plays it dead subtle and breezy with the dusty shuffle of ‘Spring’, and Haddon pushes the edges into out limits dub abstraction in ‘Anabiosis’.
The Bug finally steps it up proper with his first full length player since his 'Pressure' set laid down the industro-dub gauntlet with a fair clanging smack some 5 years back.
In that time we've seen The Bug become a linchpin of the South London Bass scene with unruly rave smashers released on Hyperdub, Soul Jazz etc directing us to the future sound of bashment and proper heavy bass musics. 'London Zoo' corrals a guest vocalist lineup featuring some of the finest ragga soundsystem toasters London and JA has to offer, with everyone from longtime collaborator Warrior Queen, to the legendary Tippa Irie and Spaceape, helping Martin to define his abstract heavyweight riddims in fine style.
The big 'n bashy wreckers from the 12"s are all here from 'Poison Dart', 'Jah War' and the punishing 'Skeng' but the set doesn't rely on these tried and tested cuts for support, ramming in a ruck of fresh material from the robo-ragga of 'Fuck*z' to the shockout drum styles on 'warning' or the apocalyptic finisher 'Judgement' with Rinky Ranking truly saving the best til last.
The production levels really couldn't be any higher and needless to say the bass is unbelievably heavy, thoroughly primed for home hifi and dancehall soundsystem testing. Proper heavy!!!
Andy Lyster’s Youth label wrest four stripes of punky blooze from Shamos, who steers away from the rugged house knocks of his Apron 12”s to nervier, faded headpieces in YO2TH.
Acquainted thru London’s NTS studio, Lyster and Shamos have conspired to reveal alternate aspects of the latter’s aesthetic, sidewinding from what sounds like one of Delroy Edwards’ Teenage Tapes cuts in the grungy wave stepper Found Grace to Lukid-esque alien tribalism in 13213132, then with a gristly, blank-eyed slug of EBM in TMF, and desiccated Detroit boogie in Nuws.
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.