Seminal 1998 showcase from Rhythm & Sound feat Tikiman, aka Paul St Hilaire...
Amazing just how good the material on this compilation still sounds, featuring the first five Burial Mix 10"s plus a 'Version' for each and including the mighty "Why?", "Ruff Way", "Never Tell You", "Spend Some TIme" and "What A Mistry" - all featuring the vocals of Paul St Hilaire, better known as Tikiman. So damn good...
An advanced masterclass in Berlin beat science, ‘Wireless’ is the final and arguably strongest solo release by T++; aka Torsten Pröfrock, an artist with a long lineage of important releases under numrous aliases - Dynamo, Erosion,Log, Resilent, Traktor, Various Artists and more - a true pillar of Berlin's Techno legacy.
First issued by Honest Jon’s in 2010, the 2x12” features samples of singer and ndingidi-player Ssekinomu (originally found on the EMI archival dive ‘Bellyachers, Listen - Songs From East Africa, 1938-46’) reworked by Pröfrock into a volley of rambunctious but rudely disciplined club workouts some 75 years later. In many other hands, this could have been just another passable cut ’n splice edit, but T++ treats the material with a balance of reverence and raving license, highlighting an instinctive understanding of the original music's intent and purpose, and their deep rooted connection to modern fast rap and hardcore dance musics.
The four tracks amount to a contemporary classic in their field and also exist in a strong tradition of German artists ranging from Stockhausen to Can and Basic Channel whose music has crucially incorporated the fluid, rolling nature and spectra of African drumming patterns. However, it’s vital to point out that T++’s take on African drumming is also filtered thru a love of UK music - Jungle, D&B, garage, dubstep - meaning that his rhythms are properly underlined with syncopated, technoid basslines owing as much to Kingston, Jamaica as Brixton and Sheffield in the UK.
For anyone who had been intently listening to Pröfrock's output since his Traktor gems, thru his Dynamo aces, to early work with Monolake and his string of seminal T++ 12”s in the 2000’s, on its release in 2010 ‘Wireless’ quickly came to epitomise his approach to broken techno production at its most open-ended and inexorable. Between the itchy, sprung step of ‘Cropped’, the puckish darkside torque of ‘Anyi’, a voodoo communal in ‘Voice No Bodies’, and the reanimated spirits of ‘Dig’ you have some of the finest mutant techno ever cut to vinyl.
An absolute must-have for dancers and DJs.
Left Behind" is a collection of studio-based works, improvisations and sound studies from 2006-2013. They were all intended for release but for one reason or another never made it out into the world.
"Church the Light of the World" (2013) – recorded and sound material found in London, Rotterdam, New York City, Orlando, Derry and Turin between 2009-2013. Indoor and outdoor fielding recordings, found tapes, found objects, found metal and broken cymbals, modular synthesizer and homemade electronic circuits and electronic test equipment.
"Sixty-four Sine Waves Studies: D Aeolian, C Major and G Minor" (2010) – recorded in Kentish Town, London, 2010. Max/MSP.
"Sound for Animation That Never Happened" (2007) – recorded in Archway, London, 2007. Doepfer modular synthesizer.
"No Input Mixer Improvisation" (2006) – recorded in Cricklewood, London, 2006. Mixer, effects pedals and contact mic.
"Warm Room" (2012) – recorded in New Cross, London, 2012. Voice: Frances Morgan. Doepfer modular synthesizer and SuperCollider.
"Modified Portable CD Player" (2011) – recorded in Kentish Town, London, 2011. Modified portable CD player.
"WORM" (2013) – recorded and mixed at WORM Studio in Rotterdam, Netherlands and New Cross, London, 2013. Analogue synthesizers: ARP 2500, ARP 2600, EMS VCS3, Serge Modular, Synton Syrinx, Roland SH-09 and Korg MS20."
Tim Hecker returns with a companion piece to his recent Konoyo album.
"Anoyo (“the world over there”) draws from the same sessions with members of Tokyo Gakuso which led to the 2018 work Konoyo, but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Hecker’s processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters.
This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return."
Eccentric french instrument builder Pierre Bastien fondles his melodic machines in a jazzy way on ‘Tinkle Twang ’n Tootle’ for exploratory label, Marionette
With a trail of LPs behind him for esteemed label such as AFX’s Rephlex, Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records, and Discrepant, the endless inventive Bastien joins the likeminds of Soundwalk Collective and Burnt Friedman on Marionette with six inimitable compositions that sound like jazz seemingly played by creations from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ or a parallel world without war where humans haven’t quite discovered electricity, but love making machines that chat music.
“Equal parts composer, inventor, mechanic, and performer - Bastien translates his imagination into instruments and compositions that defy any musical categories. Whether it’s preparing instruments like playing a trumpet underwater or through a kazoo, using belt-driven motors and mechanical components to perform cumbersome yet surprisingly musical operations on traditional instruments and household items, or using a fan to hit the strings of a kundi harp with flowing paper - Bastien’s love for tone, rhythm, noise and harmony is poetically reflected across his quite extensive oeuvre.
Playful and melancholic, the sound sculptures that Bastien invents and plays with are partly inspired by the work of Raymond Roussel, a visionary French author who at the turn of the 20th century wrote a unique form of literature which inspired and guided artists from the surrealist and pataphysical movement and was declared by Michel Foucault as one of structuralism's founding fathers. On that note, the influence of literature and syntax on Bastien’s work cuts all the way through to the palindromes he uses for his track titles - which, much like his machines, infinitely loop.
True to it’s adorable title, Tinkle Twang ‘n Tootle is a music box of unfolding whimsical structures, half broken rhythms, detuned harmonies, and fantastical sound collages that evoke a childlike sense of wonder and an urge to explore the spaces in between the sounds.”
This year celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Ágætis Byrjun, the band expand their breakthrough album with demo and archive versions of songs from the album, plus never-before-heard newly unearthed material from the time, rare b-sides and the full 95 minute concert played in Reykjavík on the day the record was released.
Edward Vesala and Jimi Tenor’s free jazz duo City of Women return to Sähkö nearly 20 years after their first and only appearance, and 20 years since Vesala sadly passed away before the first LP was issued
‘City of Women II’ was recorded in the same session as their debut and explores similarly free set of coordinates, even reiterating on one of the original tracks, ‘Tablakone’ in the flanging drive of ‘Tabulatuuri’ , which sounds a lot like Moritz Von Oswald and Tony Allen’s MvO Trio.
The rest is wider, abstract and off-road, or even in the middle of a busy intersection with the honking madness of ‘Dangerous Crossing’, while the quiet flute and tempered oscillators of ‘Autoharp’ point at more esoteric psychedelic inspiration, and ‘Heat Birth’ heads out along kosmiche vectors.
Debut volley of skudgy, raw Chi-house styles by Sanso for London’s prolific Wilson Records
Running cues from classic Cajual, Dance Mania, Djax-Up-Beats and Peacefrog into the red, Sanso makes a rude first impression between the likes of his Faces Drums-style corkscrew jacker ‘Cricketz’, the whooping wallbanger frolics of ‘Xxxpress’, and the butt-pinching, percolated tweaks of ‘Korg-Jam’.
One for those what jak to the hilt.
The great avant-bluesman Mike Cooper covers Van Dyke Parks, Woody Guthrie, Jim Reeves and Fred Neil, alongside a number of standards deconstructed and restitched in his exceptional mix of vocals, lap steel guitar and loop pedals.
Like an astringent to folk proper, Cooper wickedly dissolves a mix of standards, blues songs and original material with well worn digits across ‘Distant Songs of Madmen.’ Recorded in Palermo, Sicily in June 2011, after a set by his trio, Truth In The Abstract Blues, the LP characterises Cooper in a field of his own, veering from original works of wrenched, spontaneously combusting blues to a mix of relatively straight-played and properly f*cked-up takes on the likes of ‘He’ll Have To Go’, made famous by Gentleman Jim Reeves in the ‘60s, or Woody Guthrie’s country folk jangler ‘Plane Wreck at Los Gatos’, with a real standout in the segue from his ruinous noise in ‘Tinnitus’ to a pealing and shredded flip of Fred Neil’s ‘Dolphins’, which he best remembered played by Tim Buckley (whom he coincidentally met in London ’68).
An all-time classic, production masterclass - it doesn't get any better.
The hallmarks are all there; Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald have already set the world ablaze once, twice, three, four times with their work as Basic Channel and the splintering into microscopic, heavyweight offshoots by way of the M series, Main Street, Chain Reaction, Rhythm and Sound and, of course, Burial Mix.
This is, in fact, the second Burial Mix compilation, the first "showcase" concentrating on the label's collaborations with Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, for its opening set of releases. This second installment divides itself into Vocal and Instrumental "Versions" (the instrumentals are collected seperately on a second release), displaying the last seven releases in their entirety, plus "Mash Down Babylon" (a new take on "March Down Babylon"), and features a by-now totally classic collection of tracks.
Lifechanging, foundational bizz.
Russia’s Lyubocha kicks out four grainy technohouse grooves on Black Opal after appearing on Opal Tapes’ Contemporary Dance and The Harvest of a Quiet Eye compilations.
We advise heading straight for the slidy rimshots and virulent acid of Noblask and the tricksy kalimba workout Nikogda.
Demdike Stare plunge into an ocean of dense, analogue sound disruption on this new work commissioned by Hanno Leichtmann for the Letra-Tone festival, in which they were asked to interpret a score created by graphic designer Scott Massey out of salvaged Letrasets. The result is on a moody and futuristic Concrète tip, full of seething drones, industrial clangs and flute choruses coming in and out of view.
Featuring an hour of new and previously unreleased work, the material here extends as one continuous piece split into two sides, building from meticulously layered field recordings into sheets of drone that coalesce from barely audible murmurations into colossal, reverberant walls of sound. Through a wide and spacious stereo field, we’re led though highly disorientating, sometimes terrifying passages, with long atmospheric sections suddenly disrupted by clanging percussion and found sound panning across the spectrum, before falling back into a kind of deadly, tense fizz.
Almost entirely beatless - except for the odd percussive shudder - it’s a relentlessly moody hour of music that only lets in some light at the very end, where buried strings slowly emerge into a gloriously moving final sequence, where shapes and colour gradually thaw back into being.
Pure future-primitive brilliance.
Knekelhuis excavate a cornerstone of ‘90s Minneapolis dance music with reissue of Cold Front’s sole EP
‘Beyond The Beat’ is the work of 4-piece Cold Front, comprising spouses Ayanna and Cam Muata, plus Jon Jon Scott and Ron Clark, who released the original on his Audiocon label in 1990. The A-side tends to a sort of deep house that could arguably have come from anywhere between Minneapolis and Antwerp in 1990, rolling out in a hip-house style radio edit, a stripped and grooving ‘Infinite Mix’, and the concentrated ’Subterranean Bass Mix’.
However it gets better on the B-side with ‘Stars and Stripes’, lodged somewhere between MBM, NIN, and Jeff Mills’ bits with Final Cut, alongside ‘Minus 22 Degrees Fahrenheit (Ambient East)’, which sounds like Peter Hook’s imaginary proto-Goa trance side project, and the Prince-meets-White House White alike banger ‘Side By Side (Rough Mix)’.
‘Arc 1’ is the first posthumous release of Mika Vainio’s solo material, taken from a large collection of his unreleased music. The archive series will present pieces which can be considered as completed works rather than unfinished fragments, and ‘ARC 1’ is a fittingly contemplative artefact - preserving Mika’s patient, sensuous minimalism released under his solo moniker, Ø.
Made up of two selections from an untitled recording Vainio did as Ø for the radio project Ambient City at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki in 1994, the 34 minute work can be considered a complete, singular work, and one of the purest in Vainio's catalogue.
Working at the threshold of perception in a way comparable with fellow minimalist masters such as Eliane Radigue or Kevin Drumm, ‘ARC 1’ follows a glacial transition from elemental subbass pulses through sustained, hovering drone before almost imperceptibly changing state half way, when a field of static disruption re-organises the piece’s atoms, only for the noise to recede and reveal a more complex timbral aurora, and a final tract of isolationist ambience flickering like northern lights.
Witch’s tit D&B pressure from London’s Outer Heaven, firing his 2nd EP for the UVB-76 stronghold
Last spotted in collab with Sully for the ace Rupture London label, here Outer Heaven goes head-down and solo in an austere dreadnaught mode, getting dancers on their toes with the cage-rattling hardstep and Amen shrapnel of ‘The Last Men’ and the lip-bitingly tight torque of ‘Trapline’, whereas ‘Blemish’ steps into trip hop quicksand recalling Scud & I-Sound’s wasteland as much as the recent Pessimist & Karim Maas side, and ’Still Waters’ wickedly epitomises and finishes the phrase with the threat of plummeting subs.
Includes The Wire Tapper 50 with music by Félicia Atkinson, Carl Stone, S S S S, Rimarimba, Jim Haynes ++
The August 2019 edition of the Wire has Oren Ambarchi on the front cover and also in interview with Bruce Russell, providing extensive overview of the polymath’s broad talents. Also includes features on Shanghai’s Goooose & 33EMYBW, a global ear cocked to Budapest, Pierre Bastien tested by The Invisible Jukebox, and all the usual news, reviews, and listings sections.
Adrian Corker gets curiously transfixing results from purpose-made acetate locked grooves, arranged in various states of natural decay to pensive, off-kilter effect recalling the rustle of Bellows or Pole processed by William Basinski. Quietly brilliant stuff.
“SN Variations fifth release features two tracks in three parts each composed for lock grooves recorded onto acetate, percussion by Sam Wilson(Riot Ensemble/Actress) and violin performed by Aisha Orazbayeva.The tracks also feature the piano of Mark Knoop and the voice of Josephine Stephenson.
A lock groove is one cycle of one groove on a record.This is 1.8 sec cut at 33RPM and 1.33 cut at 45RPM. Corker used the cutting lathe currently residing in the living room of The Exchange mastering legend Graeme Durham to experiment with different sounds cut onto acetate and then recorded over different durations back into a computer. Because of the softness of the acetate the lock grooves break down as they are re-recorded causing unexpected effects as the needle carves away the surface of the vinyl. This generative process adds layers of unpredictable noise culminating finally in white noise. These are combined and edited forming frames for performances of violin, percussion and piano. The pieces reflect on the tension between the mechanical and the human gesture/expression and place where they merge.”
Filter Dread kills it with a more direct, rolling style of junglist breaks and grime tics on the 3rd 12” from Seattle, WA’s Tech Startup
Cut loud and heavy for optimum rave reactions, the four tracks catch Filter Dread sharpening up his mutant definition of UK dance music. Uptown that results in the staccato, Amiga-punctuated breaks and surging chord pads of ‘Rainforest’, and a killer take on West London broken beat, grime and that fucking mental sound in his head on ‘Blizzard’. Downtown, he steps out with the wildly pitching, ricocheting drums of ‘Tripping Up’, and the cold, vacuum-sealed shards of brukken drums in ‘RX 4 Real.’
Militant grime/techno hybrids from London’s East Man (Anthoney J Hart, Basic Rhythm, Imaginary Forces) and Manchester-based Walton
Cut a side per piece for optimal punch and crack, both tunes find Walton and East Man as natural collaborators with a shared, ascetic aesthetic and taste for the most stripped down, bony drum trax.
‘Horse Mouth’ hits first and hardest with rail gunning percussion and classic Jamaican chat paying tribute to the eponymous drummer and star of ‘Rockers’ in tuff deco dance style comparable to Logos & Mumdance or Szare productions. ‘Gunshot’ steps out into more spacious, noirish halfstep vibes on the back, casually spraying claps and grime radio spit over red-lining and wickedly distorted subs.
Dons in their field, Ruffhouse affiliates Pessimist & Karim Maas mete out a paranoid debut collaboration of dusty downstrokes and dread electronics.
The duo’s eponymous debut album is perhaps the strongest of its ilk in recent memory. Dwelling in the shadows somewhere between techno overlord Kareem’s sorely overlooked hip hop instrumentals on the Ramadan label, the smoky silhouettes of classic Portishead, and the dub-possessed spirits of Kevin “The Bug” Martin at its most scowling, the album is unyielding in its depressive outlook, but, like the aforementioned references, Pessimist & Karim Maas’s patient and texturally-detailed arrangements speak to an almost comforting virtue of darkside, isolationist UK pressures that will resonate strongly with those who like their coffee as black/brown as their hash.
Trust they’re not fucking about. It’s purely dank.
Bone-rattling D&B pressure, delivered cold and noisy by St. Petersburg, Russia’s Torn on Homemade Weapons’ label
Picking up the Russian mantle of hard-ass D&B producer Limewax, Torn runs for the hills with a more ragged but no less fierce take on the tuff stuff in all four sectors.
Up top the ruthless rufige of ‘Anaxos’ sounds like a free party held on a runaway pacer, firing overdriven amens thru a teeth-chattering maze of rattly rhythms, while the clenched funk of ‘Nothing’ goes on a murderous halfstep/hardstep trample. Turn over to find him strafing deeper into the darkside with the crushed groove and pranging breaks of ‘Escape’, and the bolshy epic ‘Collapse.’
It’s practically guaranteed this lot will set fire to the ‘floor.
The ambient lords of 12th Isle encourage open minds to listen deeply with Pataphysical’s first full length release, rendering a close approximation of their acclaimed live shows
While shy of an apostrophe, Pataphysical live up to their enigmatic moniker with a sound that hypnotises and invites listeners to drift into other dimensions of perception and explore those liminal, meridian headspaces beyond everyday, waking frames of thought.
Employing singularly expressive forms of synthesis and the natural grain of field recordings, the group follow gently spiralling planes of enquiry in eight parts, glyding from the blissed out pastoralism of ‘Dream Reveal’ to velvet-clad subbass depth charges in ‘Aun Cyc’ and ‘Montoon’, and on thru the milky spumes of ‘Protae’ to an unmissable highlight that hits right between the pineals of BoC and Huerco S in in ‘Purlo.’
Psychoactive acid techno from Gunnar Haslam, aka partner to Tin Man in Romans
Following up 2017’s ‘Kalaatsakia’ album, also for The Bunker NYC, the ‘Seasick Acid EP’ does what it says on the lid between the sloshing but direct drive of ‘Leeward Tripping’ and the queasy churn of ‘Coastal Geography’ up top, with the pacy acid pelt of the title cut and scudding jack of ‘Seasick Version’ on the back.
Foul and grungy industrial sound designs by Angelos Liaros’ Blakk Harbor, backed with a sub-heavy and rolling remix by Positive Centre
On the follow-up to his 2018 debut album ‘Madares’, Native Instruments sound designer Blakk Harbor puts his weight into a slew of cavernous drones and club-footed rhythms, at best in the bone dry swill of ‘Necropolitics’ and the razor-cut, noizy swivel of ‘Vitriol’, with Positive Centre lending a tool-sharpened swing and guttural subbass pressure to his remix of ‘Vitriol.’
Heartsick boogie aces from Anthony Naples, poking out his first release of 2016 as a sort of autumnal toddy for chapped dancers and reveries of warmer times.
Leaker swivels out on a slow, shifty electro boogie glyde with a steady core of phasing bass and ticking rimshot smudged by psychoacoustically shifty pads; sounds sorta like a sharpened NWAQ joint.
The sluggish jack of Moments Magicos feels more sore, blue, like one of V/Vm’s saltiest new beat tributes, early trance on 33-not-45, or Pye Corner Audio at their gauziest.
A cornerstone of UK rave resurfaces, reshuffled, remastered and remixed on Luna-C’s seminal Kniteforce
Originally recorded and promoted in 1992 and ultimately issued in 1993 by Moving Shadow, the ‘Keep It In The Family’ EP is the 2nd Hyper On Experience release.
On this new pressing the A-side is given to the classic original, a nutty mix of Radiophonic sci-fi SFX, sampledelia and lip-smacking breakbeat science, beside a lumpy Luna-C remix of ‘A Certain Emotion.’
The B-side is given to a remaster of the choppy, hands-in-air pianos and helium diva-lead ‘Imajika’, and the edge of happy/darkcore pressure in ‘The Threshold of Sanity.’
Skam’s rogue siblings at North Manc Beds deliver their first new session in 9 nine years, and it’s a good one.
Hailing from an area oilrich in seminal artists - Autechre, Muslimgauze, Shackleton, Demdike Stare - and where you’re also likely to see blokes tossing off to train commuters in the morning (happened to us a few weeks ago outside Rochdale, no lie), the anonymous NMB collective also draw from this Pennine spirit to create dark, crunching, rhythm-driven electronics.
Like previous volumes which variously referenced local bus routes (including used tickets), industry, and utilities, this one follows suit with the ’NWH2O’ EP to go nostalgic for British Gas North West in five tracks of lunky rhythm and sore electronics that patently resonate with the rest of the Skam cabal’s output. In that sense, ‘Moko’ sounds like a bit like a lost offcut from ‘Confield’, and the thrumming slow slam of ‘FRBounces’ could almost be from recent Æ batches, but also fringes on grey area-compatible styles, while the ruggedly barren scape of ‘Safebliss 53Cond P455’ recalls early Pendle Coven, however we’ve never heard any of them do pendulous dancehall rhythms quite like on the zinging ‘Jussbassoneandone’ and the churning bruxist chew of ‘Stelcore 2 (Nabz_& Cluff Version)’, which is strong examples of those crafty aspects to NMB that distinguishes them from the main Skam corpus.
Titans of UK rave culture, Fabio & Grooverider look back on ’30 Years of Rage’, their seminal London club night, with the first 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.
It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Fabio & Grooverider on UK music and rave culture since they began DJing in the late ‘80s acid house phase. For a generation of UK yoof they are practically household names, and we very fondly remember tuning in to their (now defunct) BBC Radio 1 show to catch D&B before we could legally get into clubs. It’s also probably fair to say they’ve done more for race and cultural relations in the UK than any politician ever has, with their earliest, unprecedented fusions of Belgian techno with UK fast rap, Yorkshire bleep, US house, Caribbean soundsystem culture and London rare groove hustle laying a template that frankly revolutionised dancefloors across the country, bringing people together in the same space who were, to a much greater extent than today, largely, mutually exclusive. We could bang on about their importance all day, but suffice it to say they are the OG’s of UK rave.
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.
Foundational bangers the lot of them.
Following the primal, no-frills rock majesty of Rather Ripped, the great American juggernaut that is Sonic Youth expands on the formula with a more opened up, liberated album - their first for Matador.
The Eternal kicks off in a violent storm; an "out-of-the gate hardcore matinee track" as Thurston Moore would have it, fronted by an on-form, ageless Kim Gordon. The sublime proto-grunge riffology carries over into 'Anti-Orgasm'; a barrage of arch feminist-punk sloganeering that divides itself into two halves, the first presenting a snarling line-up of guitars while the second ebbs into a carefully poised kraut-surf rock soundscape.
Sounding every bit like a modern SY classic, 'Antenna' maintains sufficient abrasion via some nerve-jangling guitar manipulations, while surly Mark Ibold basslines prop up the Lee Ranaldo-fronted 'What We Know', and the excellent 'Malibu Gas Station' mires itself in a sinister sleaziness - "an ode to the flash moment of the camera as you knowingly step from your SUV sans panties" appropriately delivered with all the nervous confusion of a Britney breakdown.
Perhaps a testament to Sonic Youth's own longevity, and all-round status as elder statespeople of subterranean music, large chunks of The Eternal reference and eulogise alternative culture's departed: the sleeve is a painting by guitar great John Fahey, while NYC beat poet Greg Corso is commemorated on 'Leaky Lifeboat', and 'Thunderclap (For Bobby Pyn)' pays tribute to The Germs' frontman Darby Crash - though it could equally be taken as a broader eulogy for LA's post-punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Sonic Youth fulfill a great many roles, and in addition to persistently being one of the great bands of our time, The Eternal shows that they're also historians of the underground; a living, working museum to all the obscure bands, sub-scenes and musical tributaries they've come into contact with and drawn influence from (or for that matter, themselves influenced) over a lifespan. God knows where we'd be without them.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ravishing and rare solo piano suite ‘BTTB’ is finally issued on vinyl - expanded, reshuffled, and newly replete with liner notes by none other than Haruki Murakami. Trust it’s swoon-worthy stuff.
Originally released in 1998 and hard to get hold of outside of Japan, ‘BTTB’, or ‘Back To The Basics’ is now reissued on 2LP to mark its 20th anniversary. It’s effectively a definitive edition of ‘BTTB’, reshuffled from the original 2LP pressing to also include ‘Energy Flow’ from the BTTB’ maxi-single, (which peaked at No.4 in the Japanese singles charts), as well as the slippery elegance of ‘Reversing’, both on the vinyl album for the first time.
Tech specs aside, this new edition is a sumptuous testament to Sakamoto’s effortlessly natural, poetic evocations of emotion, by then channelling some 30 years work as an arranger of classic synthpop (YMO, collabs with David Sylvian), and seminal soundtracks (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; The Last Emperor) into some of his most stripped down yet affective music, hovering on the line between precise, mindful composition and intuitively fluid improvisation.
While the majority of the material here features Sakamoto playing conventionally beautiful solo piano with magnificent highlights on the likes of ‘Opus’, he also extends into experimental, prepared piano on a handful of pieces, both serene and frantic, such as ‘Prelude’, ‘Sonata’ and ‘Uetax’, cannily resonating with Aphex Twin’s prepared piano pieces on ‘Drukqs’, which were released just two years later.
’Danger in Paradise’ is David Toop & Steve Beresford’s DIY masterpiece of dub-soul experimentation. Originally issued in 1984, and starring doyens of the experimental/improv scene, Lol Coxhill and David Cunningham, General Strike’s sole album remains a massive highlight of its era, epitomising a rich seam of dub, jazz, and post-punk experimentation executed with garden shed means and genteel English eccentricity.
David Toop has described Danger In Paradise, an album of material he recorded with Steve Beresford and David Cunningham as General Strike between 1979 and '81, as "hauntology before its time". In some sense he's right: some of the queer-pitched electronics and impishly sinister samples on the record wouldn't sound out of place on a Focus Group transmission. But first and foremost, General Strike is a potting shed avant-dub masterpiece, covering enormously wide ground.
'My Other Body' is a beautifully bass-heavy, almost Antena-esque pop original voiced by Dawn Roberts (singing lyrics culled from Foucault's Mental Illness And Psychology), 'Guided Missiles' is nuclear-paranoid doo-wop, and Sun Ra's 'Interplanetary Music' and 'We Travel The Spaceways' are reinterpreted in a way that somehow reconciles their afro-futurist origins with a bimbling, bumbling sensibility unique to Blighty's suburbs.
Cunningham's extraordinary tape treatments and the ensemble's anything-could-happen, patchwork approach to composition place the album at a heart of a British DIY tradition that has brought us The Shadow Ring, Flaming Tunes, Cleaners From Venus and This Heat among others (it's no surprise to learn that portions of it were recorded at This Heat's Cold Storage studio space).
All in all a terrific, gloriously unusual record - originally issued on cassette by Touch in '84, and later on CD by Piano, this new edition from Staubgold represents its first time on download formats and a first vinyl edition in years.
First reissue of David Rosenboom’s groundbreaking 1975 experiments in using brain biofeedback to control live electronics, newly expanded with an additional LP containing an unreleased 1977 live recording of Rosenboom’s “On Being Invisible”, in which the composer himself performs on an array of electronics that are fed information from his brainwaves. Another diamond from Black Truffle.
David Rosenboom was a key member of that 1970s fraternity of electronic music explorers who prized early forms of live electronic music performance, often seeing it as superior to the laborious process of electronic composition on clunky computers, and much closer to the ultimately expressive forms of classical instrumental virtuosity.
With ‘Brainwave Music’ Rosenboom pushed that idea into new dimensions, using electrodes and monitoring devices attached to players in order to receive and gather information about their brainwaves, body temperature, and galvanic skin response, which was then analysed and in turn used to modulate the parameters of his oscillators and filters. In theory, the system allowed for a greater level of connection between the player’s sub/conscious intuition and psychophysiological response, or in-the-moment action.
On the A-side’s ‘Portable Gold And Philosophers’ Stone’ this notion manifests as a warbling smudge of phasing, keening microtones as the brainwaves of Pat and Alan Strange and Marilyn and Frank McCarty feed into Rosemboom’s electronic systems in a wholly absorbing and inimitable flurry of ostinatos, eddies and whorls that make our eyes go funny. However, with the B-side’s ‘Chilean Drought’ and ‘Piano Etude I (Alpha)’ he works with Jacqueline Humbert to specifically focus on the three states of brain waves, Alpha, Beta, and Theta at once, with uncanny results that will sound different to each listener depending on their listening environment and mental state, leading their brain to subconsciously pick up on the voices speaking to their mind’s appropriate frequencies.
Recorded contemporaneously, Rosenboom’s 1977 previously unreleased live recording of ‘On Being Invisible’ is initially, aesthetically closest to the A-side of ‘Brainwave Music’, but find Rosenboom better getting to grips with his system, with immeasurably intricate, complex results that sound like a pre-echo of Florian Hecker’s acid trax one minute, and like Dolphin chatter the next, then like intercepted alien transmissions.
Suffice it to say this was the first record of it kind, and a truly historic piece of electronic composition.
Russia’s Paval Milyakov, aka Buttechno, tends to his screwier, inquisitive side for TTT with a gauzy batch of ambient, folk and house experiments, swerving between the lines of his records for Japan’s City-2 St. Giga, Collapsing Market and his Gosha Rubchinskiy AW16 soundtrack, to the dankest parts of his bedroom-baked club sound.
This is music for hanging out on cold, concrete corners in your most flammable trackies, taking in pastoral electro-folk meditation Gosha Medvedeva, his Pole-esque Slow Dub, and the skinny, bone-pinching swing of K4 on the one hand, before decorating those skeletal structures with more fleshly samples of Russia pop in the low key seduction of Poleva, and something like a roadside house rave played on empty vodka bottles, oil drums and cardboard boxes in the Brinkmann-like Metallo, and a nervily grubbing, spooked-out house ace named Super Siziy King.
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.”
As light as a warm breeze on skin, Earthen Sea’s latest album for Kranky ‘Grass and Trees’ showcases Jacob Long’s natural sensitivity for low-key, enchanting electronic sound craft.
Bobbing gently in the wake of 2017’s ‘An Act of love’ and ‘A Restless Gaze’ outings, Earthen Sea’s ‘Grass and Trees’ channels a liminal mix of spatialized, organically warm-sounding tones that run into each with the quality of watercolours, as characterised in the sleeve art. But where previous Earthen Sea outings were yoked to a regular pulses, there’s a finer push and pull of syncopated, latinate rhythms that works under the surface of ‘Grass and Trees’, lending the whole album a delicious slink that pulls listeners right into its wavey motion. Fans of Gas, Strategy, Beatrice Dillon, or even those breezy Werkbund bits, need apply!
“Jacob Long's reductionist rhythmic ambient vessel, Earthen Sea, ebbs towards a more purely elemental state on his second excursion for Kranky, Grass and Trees. He describes the creative process as one of "simplifying things as much as possible," designing uncluttered spaces traced in nothing but breath, field recordings, and "sounds that could be played by hand but weren't." The results feel decentralized but dynamic, low-lit evocations of ambiguous nocturnal environments - dub techno disassembled into stray pulses and spare parts. It's a music both interior and infinite, languorous yet transformative, made in the outer boroughs of a metropolis but attuned to its own liminal wilderness.
Long's vision is a grounding one, rooted in the physical body but attuned to larger currents: "In response to living in a fairly hectic city, and at a very hectic time for the world at large, creating something more drawn back and restrained felt appropriate."
Studiously retro psychedelic soul from Sa-Ra’s Shafiq Husayn, alongside a dazzling supporting cast including; Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bilal, Robert Glasper, Coultrain, Chris 'Daddy' Dave, I-Ced, Anderson Park, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Jimetta Rose, Fatima, Computer Jay, Medlodious Fly, Kamasi Washington,
“The Loop' is the new LP by Los Angeles based polymath Shafiq Husayn, an epic project which saw its inception in 2012 through a series of studio sessions at Shafiq’s home, including collaborations with the likes of Thundercat, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Bilal and Anderson Paak. Amongst a close knit circle of friends and family the golden tones of The Loop were created, deeply rooted in ideas of song, story, history, guidance and spirituality. The album bumps, jumps and jangles through progressions in jazz, hip hop, soul and funk, following on from his debut album ‘Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka’ and adding further to his rich history of timeless, unique music. On The Loop past, present and future are brought together through a psychedelic concoction of time traveling drum machines, celestial string sections and trails of synthesizer vapour. Inflections of Sly Stone, Pharaoh Sanders and Earth Wind And Fire traverse with Marley Marl and Dilla-esqe drums making for an organic yet LA-trifying experience.
Shafiq has brought together an impressive array of LA's musical royalty, enlisting the likes of Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Kamasi Washington, Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave, Eric Rico, Coultrain, Computer Jay, Jimetta Rose, Om'Mas Keith, Kelsey Gonzalez, I-Ced and more to provide the backbone to his recording sessions. Drawing in features from an international cast of performers and artists like Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote, Fatima and Karen Be amongst others. Now complete and finally ready for release in 2019 The Loop is truly something to behold. The records is accompanied by a series of paintings by acclaimed Japanese visual artist Tokio Aoyama, who worked in tandem with Shafiq to create a painting for each song on the record.”
Following that killer Huerco S, Exael and uon hookup for the first release on uon and D. Tiffany’s XPQ? label, Exael returns solo with a followup to the Collex LP on West Mineral with deep, reverberating recordings from the echo chamber.
Recorded in Chicago, 2014-2016 by Naemi, Exael ventures into the more abstracted end of the electronic dub spehere with a set that starts with a kind of corrosive noise malfunction before heading into a deep and shadowy house vibe and mechanised electro, somewhere between Huerco S. and vintage Claro Intelecto. As the label put it, “degraded and corrupted club tools for the adventurous DJ…”
Mix Mup and Kassem Mosse deuce down a trio of slompy, dish-rinsing house deviations on the 3rd TTT X Palace 12”, following there examples of Theo Parrish and Omar Souleyman X Rezzett.
We’re all over the A-side like last night’s dinner on unwashed plates, loving those sloshing, pitch-bent drums that sound like someone washing a Roland machine in a saucepan under a cold, running water whilst Laraaiji doodles in the background, or something.
Chorus Beach is it’s drier counterpart on the B-side: a squeaky fresh slow house swinger elevated with mystic, discordant pads; and Watching Gischt hustles a deeply rude and loose house style somewhere to the left of Theo P and STL.
Norway’s Pact Infernal follows his Horo LP and Stroboscopic Artefacts 12” with a typically gloomy outing on his Altar label, site of his previous works as Nastika
The ‘Gehanna Odyssey’ sees him trek out into BM-styled atmosphere overrun with roughshod drums and acephalic screeches on ‘Itzel Itzel Azarel’, then sidestep into the very Shackleton-esque percolated drums and tense drones of ‘Path to Topeth.’ Flipside he maintains the stare down intensity with in a minimal framework of distant percussion and pensive atmospheres titled ‘Kothar-Wa-Kasis’, and again with the hellish descent of ‘Render Unto Moloch.’
TTT cop a pair of sylvan downbeat beauties from Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel’s CS + Kreme
One of the most distinctive acts to emerge from the southern hemisphere in recent memory, CS + Kreme’s first self-tiled 12” marked them as ones to keep an ear on, and each subsequent rendering has only made us love their immaculate blend of ambient-pop and shoegaze even more.
Safe to say we’re feeling this one too. Where previous outings have been partly defined by Standish’s plaintive vocals, they contrarily don’t appear until the closing strokes on this one, as they roll out 9 minutes of horizontally-inclined vibes in ‘Eyes On Ceiling’ with its sonorous 808s and shallow plasmic dubbing recalling a long soak in the bath that’s starting to lose its heat, before ‘Husk’ emerges into balmier air streaked with filigree electronics, shimmering pads and a pleading sax that paves the way to a very Mark Hollis-esque denouement.
Killer - Raw, direct Electro-Funaná from West Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands, via Europe. Strongly percussive and melodic, synth-driven dance music sharing roots with the Principé label’s kuduro styles - tip!!!
“Synthesize the Soul, Ostinato Records’ second compilation, revealed chapter one of the Cabo Verde cultural story in Europe, zooming in on visionaries like Paulino Vieira who made Lisbon the headquarters spearheading the musical revolution taking place within Cape Verdean emigre communities across Europe in the 1980s. Musicians from across the diaspora would eagerly travel to the Portuguese capital to record.
Grupo Pilon represents the second chapter of the Krioulu diaspora story. In smaller pockets, second generation musicians were independently contributing to one of the most lush periods of cultural innovation by immigrants in Europe. In Luxembourg, in 1986, a group of teenagers formed the largely unknown (outside of Cape Verdean circles) but consistently brilliant band named after the blunt instrument used in the islands to pound corn for Cabo Verde's national dish, cachupa.
With only five members, Pilon combined searing estilo Krioulu drumming and the hybrid ColaZouk style with blissful synth work and rugged guitar licks, creating a stripped-down, addictive sound that masterfully straddled two worlds. The band drew from the inspiring political changes of the day: the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The right to democracy became a constant theme in Pilon’s songs.
With access to better opportunities than their parents’ generation, Pilon’s roster were part time musicians. Music was not part of their academic upbringing nor a full-time gig. Their rhythm and style were wonderfully imperfect, made out of rawer skills and inexperience. Pilon did not follow the templates established by revered Cabo Verde bands. Keyboard player Emilio Borges played off beat and the band preferred arranging their songs to start from the beat normally heard in the middle of a composition rather than the beginning. These two elements made Pilon’s music simple, unique, and inimitable.
This LP, drawing from the six most powerful songs from Pilon’s three-album catalog, is the serving of still fresh leite quente to spice the summer and maybe even fuel the next generation of musicians in the Krioulu corners of Europe. Pilon are back in the studio refining their sound to revive their journey that looked all but lost to the world's ears two decades ago.”
Our album of the year 2018 is Eli Keszler’s ‘Stadium'; an isolationist avant-jazz masterpiece that's both highly complex and entirely accessible. With his close collaborators Daniel ‘0PN’ Lopatin and Laurel Halo smoking in the back seat, on ‘Stadium’ Keszler somehow manages to emulate a feeling of being lost in a crowd, of time slowing down as the world accelerates around you. In a year full of global upheaval and noise - it was the album that offered us the greatest sanctuary.
Painted in diffuse strokes, Keszler offsets rhythmic complexity with spacious Rhodes chords, floating woodwind and field recordings - showing off an expressive grasp of meter and mood while creating a kind of slow-fast simulation that alters your perspective and sense of scale, zooming out from the atomic to a gauzy panoramic view.
Keszler navigates webs of sound as structurally fascinating as a spider’s web or a deep space image of a distant constellation, seemingly moving on eight legs along steep vertical and fast-flowing horizontal axes with a shocking grasp of precision and pointillism that will leave new listeners to his work scratching their heads, wondering how to programme such chicanery electronically. But as longer term followers of Keszler’s work know, the magick is all acoustic and haptic; physically converting impressions of images and emotions into overlapping geometries of geography and psychology - and in this case effectively projecting a singular, inverted form of sonic deep topography, if you will.
While challenging and highly complex in its construction, it’s an album that's also tremendously easy on the ear, effortlessly binding instrumental dexterity with cool blue harmolodic sentiment in a timeless style that could feasibly be dated to any point between the mid ‘70s heyday of jazz-fusion and right now - in the most thought provoking, evocative way. It reminds us of Milford Graves, Jan Jelinek and even Miles Davis at their most smoked out and moody: best enjoyed alone, late at night.
PAN’s butterfly net captures IRISIRI, the 3rd solo album by Alex Drewchin a.k.a. Eartheater, who provides the label’s first release of 2018, and one of its most sublime since Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or the Mono No Aware set. Alexa’s first two Eartheater albums were released at either end of 2015 to critical acclaim - Metalepsis was Fact Mag’s album of the year, and RIP Chrysalis in its top 10 - and this follow-up is a majestic effort balancing a romantic, gothic sense of introspection with wide angled cosmic scope and intuition.
Where the first two Eartheater albums formed a tempered concision of her psychedelic improvisations as frontwoman of the Guardian Alien ensemble, IRISIRI offers a more shattered looking glass perspective on Alexa Drewchin’s personal sound, each track resolving richly colourful mosaics of strings, synths and electronics riddled with trance motifs and her own three octave-range voice, itself an instrument of myriad potential, morphing from xanny mumble to angelic ambient pop tropes and keening wails.
IRISIRI stealthily casts its spell in 13 succinct sections, seamlessly flowing in a deceptively freehanded style from the harp strokes and bubbling bong of Peripheral thru something like blunted rap on Inclined, then making canny use of a Robert Miles sample in the K-holed maze of MTTM, and meshing Harthouse pulses with harps in Curtains, before going full blown Clannad in Trespasses, and tagging in Moor Mother for the fractious MMXXX, and pulling out with the teeny American angst of C.L.I.T., and a computerised meditation on OS In Vitro.
The overall effect of IRISIRI is seductive and layered with enough detail to keep us heading back for further investigation.
Sufjan Stevens with two new songs on the topic of love: 'Love Yourself' and 'With My Whole Heart'.
'Love Yourself' is based on a demo Stevens wrote 20 years ago. The original 4- track demo he recorded in 1996 is included as well as a short instrumental reprise. 'With My Whole Heart' is a completely new song that Stevens wrote as a personal challenge to “write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety or self-deprecation.”
After 23 years out of print, FSOL’s definitive early ‘90s ambient-epic Lifeforms now returns to its natural habitat. Serving near-dangerous levels of nostalgia for almost anyone who came thru in the ‘90s, Lifeforms is set to soundtrack myriad afterparties and claim its place on a whole new generation of record shelves.
Originally released in 1994, a few years after FSOL had become a household name thanks to their debut LP Accelerator and its standout rave anthem, Papua New Guinea (and not forgetting Humanoid’s Stakker before it), Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s project really blossomed into something else with Lifeforms, where they consolidated a wealth of esoteric ideas and philosophies into what was effectively a new manifesto for psychedelic electronic music.
Whether unconsciously and osmotically absorbed, or dutifully studied and cherished by those cognisant of its brilliance, Lifeforms was almost unavoidably ubiquitous at the time, and inarguably worked its way into the popular consciousness in a way that electronic records rarely do nowadays. It was definitely a product of its time, and now, 23 years later, we can safely say it’s kept its charms intact.
Riffing on then-emergent themes of cybernetics, amorphous androgyny and artificial intelligence, together with nods to classic ‘70s psychedelia and kosmische - it features guest spots from Ozric Tentacles and Robert Fripp, and sampled Klaus Schulze - the results tapped into the era’s undercurrent of aerobic mysticism and eldritch new age spirituality to locate an unprecedented confluence of those styles which has influenced swathes of electronic dreamers ever since.
It’s techno-romantic and tech-gnostic in the lushest sense, a utopian beauty flush with the thrill of unknown futures, yet fringed with an MDMA come-down melancholy that’s totally crucial to understanding that era’s play and juxtaposition of energies. Quite simply, though: Lifeforms is an incredibly enigmatic and life-affirming album awaiting your (re)discovery.
Ambient house don Anthony Naples rolls his soul out in ‘Fog FM’, the NYC producer’s 2nd album proper following 2015’s ‘Body Pill’ and last year’s ‘Take Me With You’ mixtape.
While Naples own releases have been thin on the ground in recent years, he’s kept his hand in behind the scenes for the Proibito and Incienso labels, and clearly devoted good times to this lush 10 track set swimming between bubbling strains of deep, electroid, and dubbed-out house and techno.
Over the course of 61 minutes Naples trades in his most hypnagogic styles in a stealthily deliquescent manner that melts from the fuller bodied silhouette of ‘A.I.R.’ into deliciously illusive, psychedelic swing by the end of the album with ‘Aftermath FM’. What happens in between is a sweetly dazed dream sequence taking in the Shinichi Atobe-esque dub-house thizz of ‘Fog FM’ and pulsating, sexy techno on ‘Purple Iris’, along with desiccated but sublime ambient pockets in ‘Channel 2’ and ‘Channel 3’, as the album begin to gently wilt into its final state with the serotonin-infused bath of ‘I’ll Follow You’.
File in your summer 2019 folder for hazy good times.
PAN’s arch electro-acoustic se’er reveals a new solo masterwork of filigree detail, mercurial movement and abyssal psychological insight with Clonic Earth, arriving two years since Miseri Lares gouged an irreparable hole in our listening lives.
Clonic Earth represents a surreal, allegorical study on the metaphysics and ontology of fire and its importance to life; reflecting a flux between states of vital, energy-giving convulsion and perpetual entropic decay thru the textural communications of a plethora of swarming, disembodied voices and abstracted, flammable sonics.
Under a title referring to a type of seizure, or involuntary rapid contraction and expansion of a muscle, Clonic Earth forms a sort of waking nightmare that oscillates between pensive tranquility, out-of-body atmospheric pressure drops and free falling chaos, all punctuated by the aural equivalent of hypnic jerks - those startling spasms that spark and moderate the liminal boundary between waking and dream life.
The presence of choral voices, which no doubt speak to Tricoli’s roots in Catholic south Italy, lends a liturgical gravity to proceedings yet never weighs it down; instead, like the myriad birdcalls and his own voice, they provide snagging points of contrast, or pivots around which the amorphous mass of estranged references coagulate and diffuse, uprooting and translating their meaning into an intangible grammar of elemental chaos and complexity.
PAN evocatively compare the album with a large Hieronymous Bosch painting, which is quite right in terms of its rolling scale and sense of perspective, telescoping between the crackling embers of hell in the near-otoacoustic intro of The Hallowed Receiver and the transition from church bells to sooty caverns and voice-inside-your-head moans of As For The Crack with an effortless that belies the meticulous micro/macro-organisms at work between the eyes, under the skin of this incredible beast.
This is the kind of record that makes others in its field pale in significance, and is probably only matched right now for levels of ingenuity and vision by elements of the recent Autechre album, but even then Tricoli is still well out on his own.
Surely the most innovative dancefloor album you'll hear in 2017; complete joyful abandonment that's both utilitarian and absolutely daring in form. You dont need a PHD to get behind this one, though having one in quantum mechanics might help you unravel the seemingly endless energy levels woven into its fabric - having taken no less than 13 years to construct. It’s guaranteed all-killer, nay filler, pet.
At long fucking last Errorsmith relinquishes his long awaited new LP for the good of the dance, twysting Black Atlantic rhythm patterns with computer music in a way that pushes all of our buttons at once. The album’s key is cheekily embedded in the title, as the arch Berlin disco sound designer assuages Superlative Fatigue by properly drilling down to the truth of the matter - the purest, most effective grooves and scintillating sounds to flip wigs like nobody else.
As with Erik Weigand aka Errorsmith’s strongest club productions such as the legendary Donna  as part of MMM with Fiedel, thru to Protogravity  with Mark Fell, the dancefloor is squarely in focus on Superlative Fatigue. However, this is Errorsmith solo, and as such it serves to bridge a fair gap between the innovative, oblique constructs of his Errorsmith #1  EP, and the unflinching documentary of his avant practice in Near Disco Dawn - Live Recordings 2001-2003 , perfectly consolidating his avant-garde and populist tendencies with little concession to either side of the dichotomy.
To be clear; Superlative Fatigue is a proper party record. Entirely written using Weigand’s self-developed Razor software (as wickedly deployed by Mark Fell on the Manitutshu album), it inventively gives voice to the impish computer spirits that have been dancing around his head all those years since his last solo output; placing a keen knowledge of current macro trends and myriad, classic subgenres to utterly compelling service, then ratcheting the effect thru singular manipulation of their accents, tropes and structures with a necessarily scientific approach perhaps only comparable to Rashad Becker’s on the Traditional Music For Notional Species volumes.
No messing, the pinging dancehall of Internet of Screws is in our top 5 tracks of 2017, and the uncanny valley anthem of My Party is likewise among the year’s most ear-worming, while the likes of Centroid and the face-twysting sourness of I’m Interesting, Cheerful and Sociable place the freshest spin on UKF and electroid Afrobeats we could hope for, and the suspension-lowering Retired Low Level Server is possibly the baddest acid-hall riddim since Acid Rain Records’ year 2000 template.
For anyone into anything from Nídia, Equiknoxx, M.E.S.H., Marfox or Nigga Fox, this remarkable record is a real no brainer - one of the deadliest, freshest club records we've heard for years.
Paul Woodford’s Special Request diversifies his bonds into moody IDM/electronica after spending his rave energies on the ‘Vortex’ album
The ‘Bedroom Tapes’ is the sound of Yorkshireman blues; the type of ‘tronica they reach for when there’s no tea bags left and shop is too far uphill, or when chippy’s ran out of scraps. In eight parts he speak to the sundays after, the tuesday mornings when grey matter seeps out of lug’oles onto yer desk as you kling to a kernel of residual happiness from the weekend.
Between the spooling electro bleeps and satin pads of ‘Panaflex Sunrise’, his floating electro scapes in ‘Pineal Gland’, and the muddled harmonic reverie of ‘Entropy’ on the first disc, and thru the sidelong keen of ‘Xenopsin’ to the frazzled, Actress-esque tic of ‘Double Rainbow’ and the shine-eyed twinkle of ‘Phosphorescence’ on the 2nd plate, the ‘Bedroom Tapes’ crucially acknowledge a tender flipside to SR’s usual exuberance.
Necessary reissue of super rare recordings by Juju master Ojo Balingo and band, sung and recorded In the Yoruba language (and other indigenous tongues) for the domestic Nigerian market
Basically ‘Tabansi’ is music written by and for Nigerians, or specifically the Yoruba diaspora which nowadays makes up a fifth of the Nigerian population. Juju is distinguished from Highlife, which was written mostly for Western audiences and sung in pidgin English. While slight, the differences are crucial, and essentially Juju of the sort played by Ojo Balingo and his amazing band is the real deal Yoruban music, more often played on local instruments, sung in local tongues, and absolutely full of mesmerising West African percussive voodoo, with some era-appropriate ‘70s funk breaks and psyche Hawaiian guitars to boot.
“Popularised all over the globe by King Sunny Ade in the 1980s, juju music had actually been around for decades before. Resembling highlife music in many ways, juju could be described as a more traditionally African form, mainly played by Yoruba people for Yoruba audiences.
Although the original sleeve artwork implies that this is a ‘various artists’ album, it’s pretty clear that it’s the same unnamed juju band throughout, performing two long tracks, one on each side. Side 1 calls forth more traditional juju sounds, whilst the darker Side 2 adds funk breaks galore. Psych-rock
Hawaiian guitars, talking drums and political lyrics rub shoulders in this almost-unknown 70s juju rarity.
Ojo Balingo, in Yoruba, means ‘rain comes’, or ‘a breeze comes’. And so it does, with this never-before reissued obscure collectors’ vinyl from the vaults of Tabansi Records.”