"This EP was birth from the anxieties of the unknown, and what waits for us on the other side of quarantine. from this spawned a desire to dance and transmute. change is inevitable, we will meet it half way."
Electrelane's most effortless, enjoyable release to date.
Taking cues from the best of 90s DIY indie rock (you remember, the time when every man and their dog was ripping off Sonic Youth) and then giving it the percussion-section of Neu! the band manage to come up with a sound that is well and truly their own. Okay so they still sound a little like Stereolab at times (thanks in part to Verity Susman's peculiarly bittersweet delivery) but then Stereolab sound like a whole truckload of other bands so let's not even go there.
With tracks as uninhibited as 'To The East' (which is already one of my singles of the year) and 'Saturday' (which has to be the next single!) juxtaposed with more horizontal moments like the lounge-lite 'In Berlin' and killer instrumental tracks such as the Kraut closer 'The Lighthouse', this is an album that I've played several time from end to end and have enjoyed every moment. I think in essence that's the problem I had with the band's previous recordings, I'd get mid-way through the records and just switch off, but this one - I'm on the edge of my seat until the very last farfisa twinkle.
if you're new to Electrelane or a seasoned follower - this is an album that will charm and beguile you with equal measure.
Heavy as your life, Kevin Richard Martin yields some of his most potent atmospheric work this side of last year's crushing King Midas Sound album 'Solitude' with an immersive 3hr+ payload of ambient drone meditations on his Intercranial Recordings - the last 3 volumes in this series.
‘Frequencies for Leaving Earth’ have become a reliable source of doomy succour that arguably matched the mood of the times over these past 6 months, finding Kevin Richard Martin effectively conjuring the kind of skin-crawling but opiated ambience that made the King Midas Sound album ’Solitude’ a modern classic. In place of Robinson’s aching voice, Martin’s atmospheres poetically say it all without saying it; deploying his decades of studio-as-instrument expertise in a manner that touches on so many reference points - from BoC to Deathprod, Grouper and Thomas Köner - but infused with his own, enervated but resilient spirit.
With this bumper set of 3 x tapes spanning over 3hrs of music, Martin more than doubles the project’s output and allows ample room for sinking in/synching to the glowering tonal shifts of his take on ambient mood music. For long time followers of Martin’s work, it’s as close as you’ll come to the strung-out feel of his ’90 recordings, buy he here pushes the levels of barely-there sensuality to a sort of starkness and existential torpor that exceed anything in his catalogue.
It’s not all pure gloom, and the magick of Martin’s music lies in the way he can shift from sinking stomach feels to elusive glimmers of optimism, with each of the tape’s half hour sides playing out beautifully subtle tonal gradients that range from tracts of slow moving, shivering tones to more diaphanous noise topographies that each prove a master at work behind the controls.
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.
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..."
DeepChord’s Rod Modell lists and tilts at 140bpm+ in his banging solo debut LP for Tresor
Landing 20 years since his 1st Rod Modell release, ‘The Autonomous Music Project’ for Lunar, the ‘Captagon’ album finds Modell breaking his usual 120bpm sound barrier to go headlong for a classic early Chain Reaction style, nodding to a mid-late ‘90s era when the likes of Monolake, Matrix and Erosion (T++) kept pace with the rest of techno, but also kept it deep and hypnotic as fuck. While it’s quite possible this uplift in energy may leave some of DeepChord’s older audience out of wind, for many others it’s a breath of fresh air to his exhaustively explored style.
Through a simple gesture of pushing the tempo, Modell’s sound instantly becomes more urgent, as though woken from its sluggish reverie and now properly up for some aerobic mysticism. Along with the Chain Reaction nods, there’s clear reference to classic Detroit and related gear, from Mike Grant’s Black Noise to full flight Mills trax and Convextion at his paciest. However, Modell’s grasp of layered, subaquatic dynamics really places ‘Captagon’ in a league of its own, with a rinsed out and rinseable dynamic and traction brilliantly transposed from his fathoms deep catalogue of cv313, Echospace, and DeepChord productions with inexorable velocity.
Best thing he’s done in years, basically.
KLO chases up her acclaimed, eponymous debut LP with two gently insistent dancefloor workouts
Emphasising the groove over songs this time, the London-based singer/songwriter/producer uses her vocals to classically instructive and textured effect in ‘Let It Go’, accentuating the rub and tug of her house groove with whispered insistence and heady reverbs, whereas she steps back form he mic to go more introspective with the writhing, dubbed-out electro-house hustle of ‘Omen’.
Killer rap electronics from Palestine, spotlighted for a vinyl edition beyond the Arab world by the ever on-it Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane, Primitive Art). It’s the work of lyricist and vocalist Shabjdeed and producer Al Nather, together operating as BLTNM. Delivered in Arabic and English, often (and intentionally) autotuned to ridiculous levels and offering a visceral critique of occupation, erasure and anxiety, their music has become ubiquitous in parts of the Arab world and fits in perfectly with Hundebiss’ pioneering, fwd remit.
Originally released via the pair's BLTNM collective based in Ramallah, Shabjeed & Al Nathar’s debut album introduces a singular style of rap on a record that has already been hailed as the region’s answer to ‘Illmatic’. But that comparison is really in the sense of the lyrics, which voice road-level concerns about life in Ramallah that evidently speak to his people as well as the wider Arab world, but the rhtyhms are bang up to-the-moment - no ‘90s pastiche - as journalist Tom Faber observes, “Al Nathar’s sleek productions pump out of car speakers in the Jordanian desert, and Shabjdeed’s raps tumble from the bars of Haifa” in his article entitled “If Israeli soldiers start shooting, we won’t stop the interview.”
‘Sindibad el Ward – سندباد الورد’ is already a cult classic in Ramallah and the region surrounding Palestine, and we can expect the mix of Shabjeed’s inimitable, drill-like clipped syllables matched by Al Nathar’s killer trills, wavy microtonal melody and glyding basslines to find heavy traction with rap watchers worldwide. Here’s waiting for a Headie One and Drake collab…
Silvia Kastel & Lizzie Davis (Wilted Woman) debut as Shakey with a wickedly off-kilter batch of screwball rhythms and ambient abstraction for NYC’s Palto Flats
Merging minds in syncretic fusions for early/late dancefloors and wonky all-dayers, the pair’s natural, mutual feel for fourth world vibes, musique concrète, and digi-dub seeps out in fascinating ways that variously recall the glistening enigmas of Visible Cloaks (and their cult Japanese influences) as much as Georgia’s wide-eyed weltanschaaung and the more experimental early strains of Laurel Halo and Karen Gwyer.
’Shakey’ slots very neatly among Palto Flat’s reissues of Japanese ‘80s ambient touchstones by Mariah, Yasuaki Shimizu and Midori Takada with a sound that could arguably almost come from ‘80s Tokyo as much as modern day London, where the duo reside and hold down esteemed NTS shows and play live and DJ. Futureproofed by their synthetic hardware texturing, the results are timelessly odd in a rhythmelodic way that weaves across continents, eras and dimensions with a breezy effortlessness and zonked effect.
The fractal fourth world jungle decimations of ‘Crayscandens’ trigger a killer set that scales between the waviest byzantine mazes of ‘Slappy’, to hyaline esoteric simulacra in ‘Dischidia’, and two true highlights in their melted ambient techno stepper ‘Moth’, and the underwater phantasy ‘E ocean.’
New from one half of Giant Swan, one half of SRS with Sunun, and sonic provocateur as part of the multi-headed Avon Terror Corps contingent: Robin Stewart.
"A musician and artist that has a long running connection with the label, RS is a dear friend who has applied many an hour of DIY sticking, stamping, assembling here at our Bristol HQ: perhaps little known to most, his visual art was a catalyst for our first connection going back to 2012, in the very early days of this label, when he contributed with artwork to our third ever cassette release, El Kid's 'Labyrinth'.
Later on, in 2018, he delivered his first solo release via our label - the masterful 23min drone exercise of 'And Then' and title track 'Ominous Bath'. Two pieces of music we still come back to on a regular basis.
Now, two years later, and fresh on the heels of his excellent 12" for The Trilogy Tapes, he's back on NC perfectly soundtracking a shapeshifting, dare we say 'sinking' world, with his next solo offering: 'Marsupial' -
6 new cuts straight from the soundsystem minded, sonic swamp of Robin Stewart, sitting patiently at the soundboy's death bed, kissing him to sleep.
Opening up with ‘Pastel’, the low-frequency word-sound dance with Anglo-Afro-Latina poet Daniel Dyson, the meter is set with the pressure up to ten on the dial right from the start.
Once we've entered the zone, it's a depth charge straight into title track 'Marsupial', which is guided by extra mixing desk dub engineering via Sunun, and conjures the ghosts of 00's Bristol music, whilst injecting a kind of Chris & Cosey esque Trance. But don't get it twisted, Robin Stewart has a style of his own and this can be heard throughout all his work, whether solo, or in collaboration - His sound presents a world of wigged out ghost notes and slap-in-your-face tones & drones that dance together in skeletal, heavyweight style -
Throughout this record, the focus is centred around bassweight and third-eye opening glimmers of frequency that light up even the most pitch black moments, such as the paranoid vocal pitch shift of ‘Survival Guide’ - the most ‘techno’ of all, whilst sounding subversive enough to stand in it’s own corner with a grim smile.
These murky, forward-leaning vibrations are echo'd in ’Penny’ with it’s endless tunnel of dancehall reverberations... Another fine example of the constant rhythmic and melodic counter-balance to the vertigo of drum, and bass, which RS controls with a deadly sleight of hand.
The final cut, where it all falls apart in a ghostly orchestra of weightless, dizzying tones, draws the curtain on this display of soundsystem exercise, making it clear that these deft, omni-directional six tracks are here to invite us to the negative space between the crack of the drum and the gut-punch of the bassline. A chest-rattling, limb-by-limb vibration that rattles its way up your body from down below, all the way up to your dome, to converse directly with your synapses."
1st in a series of gang shots from Bristol’s LavaLava, from badhead bashment to a hard drum UKF bullet and frenchtek-y screwball by Lurka, Zoë McPherson and NKC x Roska
All four cuts characterise the label’s soundclash of styles, with hardcore techno, industrial and bashment churned up in rusty dub echo chamber still ringing with traces of Bristol’s breakcore/yardcore sound.
Zoë McPherson turns up a big highlight in her build up from doom-dub to full velocity frenchtek ‘Alva’, and the body-scanning bashment skip of Lurka’s ‘Patterning’ is bound to sound unreal on a big rig, as is the punchy, sparring UKF futurism of ‘Teardown’ from hard drum don NKC and Roska in Bakongo mode.
Proper, truckin’ psych techno bangers from Joachim Nordwall (The iDEAList) and Henrik Rylander’s cosmic incarnation, sent via Moscow’s Stellage portal
After seeing us off with last year’s ‘Your Skulls Are To Us What The Sun Is To You’ for Industrial Coast, the duo’s instinct for ace titles is in effect again on ‘The New Age Is Shit’, which pretty much sums up the record’s antithetical stance and the band’s scything iconoclastic approach to rhythm and noise-induced madness within.
‘Determination’ sets out with 11mins of meat motoring bass pound and thick layers of distortion that build up to a full 18-wheeler traction and keep it there. ‘Seen It All Been It All’ trudges thru thickest of razor wire noise and worksite klangs, and they really hit between the like eyes like a Nate Young Regression doozy with ’Stuck In A Dead End Man’, before yoking some kind of Pan Sonic-esque dub noise sludge in their lurching, drunken title cut. Some of their best gear, is it not?!
Long overdue first-ever vinyl edition of Jan Jelinek’s minimalist ambient gem for Pole’s ~scape, newly remastered and cut for this issue with Jelinek’s Faitiche 14 years after original CD release.
Proceeding from reissues of the master minimal illusionist’s ‘Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records’ and his classic Gramm side ‘(Personal) Rock’, this one sidles now the timeline to 2006 and finds Jelinek combing strands explored on those records into more frayed and drifting ambient designs less concerned with club-related rhythms and more defocussed into a sort of cottony ambient bliss humming with folksier and early electronic/radiophonic themes.
The charmingly ‘“retro” album artwork gives away the album’s slightly wood-cut, ambient chalet (as opposed to house) aesthetic, conjuring a pastoral vibe for ending healthy days of outdoor pastimes in the German countryside or Swiss Alps that will surely also suit and probably enhance the vibe of your lockdown bedsit in Levenshulme or shared studio closet in Peckham.
Whether lolling about in frothed loops on ‘A Concert For Television’, or imagining Gas strolling off into the undergrowth with ‘Palmen Aus Leder’, recalling a “laptop-steel” echo of Mike Cooper’s exotica in ‘The Ballad Of Soap Und: Die Gema Nimmt Kontakt Auf’, simply ‘Up To My Same Old Trick Again’, or dialling into Oramesque electronics in the album’s title track, Jelinek’s mesmerising ambient textures will charm anyone with a penchant for hypnagogic ambient music.
Out with the affected London indie-pop, in with the mellow, crispy British hip hop from King Krule’s Archy Marshall and his brother Jack in the dope and dusty viber, A New Place 2 Drown.
The music accompanies release of a book showcasing the poetry and artwork of the siblings, influenced by their South London surroundings.
RIYL Micachu & The Shapes, Actress, Young Echo
Of all Jan Jelinek’s formidable output, this album has always been t-h-e o-n-e for us. More resolved and driven than 'Loop-Finding Jazz Records' (which appeared two years later), less reliant on glitch than Farben, it was essentially Jelinek's most satisfying and complete prototype for a new kind of sample-based music deeply immersed in the spirit of Jazz, without making any direct reference to it. Finally, 20 years later, here’s another chance for the unfamiliar to join the dots.
Originally released via Move D’s Source imprint back in 1999, 'Personal Rock' is one of those albums that no one seems to ever talk about but which has resonated over the years with anyone lucky enough to have encountered it. Situated somewhere between 'Loop-Finding Jazz Records', his Farben output, Move D's Conjoint and Atom Heart's most immersive work for Rather Interesting, it's an album full of subtle production flourishes within deep House structures that belong to the pre-millenial IDM heyday, but which transcend its overly-fussy, masculine templates.
The music is brooding and deep, designed for late night immersion without resorting to cliché, bolstered by what we reckon is the most forward thinking and timeless production of Jelinek’s output over the last two decades. Impossible to pull highlights, it’s an album best experienced from end-to-end through multiple listens, drawing you into a quietly euphoric, deep blue mood.
Fade To Mind’s LA lynchpin trades in bolshy and bumping club reinforcements on his sophomore solo album starring vox by UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, Ghost, Semma ++
Toned between upfront bangers and sultry R&B downstrokes, ’Neurofire’ sees Kingdom’s knack for plucking out vocalists in strong effect, pairing a clutch of of up-and-coming singers with his deeply thugged out style of club and jeep ready production. It’s typically heavy on the bass, but also luxuriously spaced out and sleeker than ever, with stacks of finely layered FM-style synth pads and well oiled rhythmic touches underlining the vocalists.
To play faves, listen out for the perfectly balanced bubble and puckered R&B vox of ‘High Enough’ with Tiara Thomas, and the rude Jersey kicks of ‘Arch Slide’ with club commanding bars split between UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, or for slower lower vibes peep the grinding ‘DS8’ and ‘Yikes’ with Ghost, both recalling the spooked slink of Paul Marmota to these ears. Trust it’s all good stuff from the label that brought you Kelela and Leonce.
Charli XCX’s lockdown pop riot album follows up 2019’s acclaimed ‘Charli’ with some of her sweetest and most nerve-dancing songwriting, with a naturally experimental pop lean abetted by PC Music’s AG Cook and Danny Harle.
Dished up with a video for each track at the start of lockdown, 'How I’m Feeling Now’ echoes feelings of confusion and frustration in her typically direct, incisive style. Bleary-eyed autotune ballads share space with pricklier electronic mutations of current global movements, kicking off the imaginary rave in killer shots like ‘Pink Diamond’ and ‘Anthems’, and late ‘90s AFX doing bubblegum/TNT vibes in ‘Detonate’ and ‘c2.0’, alongside her nippy, brittle and vulnerable 2-stepper ‘I Finally Understand’, while ‘the likes of ‘Party 4 U’ and ‘Forever’ are straight-up blue pop ballads for the times.
Volume two of an ambitious, epic Jóhann Jóhannsson Retrospective set.
"The deluxe hardcover book edition includes a comprehensive selection of his most influential scores & studio albums including his scores for Denis Villeneuve’s movies Sicario & Arrival.
It also feattures his original soundtracks for The Theory of Everything, The Mercy, his outstanding DG debut album Orphée, 12 Conversations with Thilo Heinzmann and his remastered early masterwork and milestone recording Englabörn including the corresponding Variations featuring Vikingur Ólafsson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ambient-Duo A Winged Victory for a Sullen et al.
The edition also includes previously unreleased tracks, two new essays by Wyndham Wallace and John Schaefer, a Bonus-DVD documenting a memorable concert at Funkhaus Berlin in December 2016, and a large number of rare photographs offering deep insights into Jóhann’s biography and music."
The Basic Reshape of Carl Craig's 'The Climax' is without question one of the finest remixes of all time. Seminal 12" from Basic Channel....
It's a definitive, driving, hypnotic club killer that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time/
"Remake" Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to "Remake Uno/Duo", Carl's sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere.
BFTT swings out in a natty style shared with Happa and Rian Treanor on three wickedly awkward funk-ups - big 12" this.
Following Szare’s lead to present the 2nd shot on Bristol-based Polity Records, BFTT tucks and creases the styles found on turns with Whities, Cong Burn and Gobstopper into increasingly mazy, physically playful production chicanery in three differing ways.
Salted with textured noise to taste, ‘Lokt’ goes in hardest and heads-down with frenetic twist on glitchy garage-techno pushing into crazed synth dissonance. ‘Intrusive Obstrusive’ follows with a clipped sort of dembow mechanics driving some spannered electronics and sweeter ambient pads, and ‘(in)finite scroll’ keeps the hustle tucked tight, bubbling and downlow for the thumb-twiddling club wallflowers who can’t stop checking their socials.
Ghost Phone dials in four late night R&G edits for the playas following a well received, sought-after debut.
Up top they hit a real R&B über classique on the downstroke with filter trickery and retuned rimshots, before stepping it up with frisky 2-step play hot on the striking chords in ‘Ride With Me’, and really swinging it on the offbeat with the hair-kissing funk of ‘Ize Kashmir’ in its pendulous OG and deliciously knackered dub mixes on the B-side. Fans of everything from Actress, Lukid, Huerco S to Burial, Rabit's Screw Tapes and Cooly G need to peep these.
Ossia goes off it as DJ OA$IS with the bleary swagger of ‘Goat Life!’ on the FuckPunk label he waters every-so-often with Vessel
Following up Michael O’Neill’s seething 2019 side, DJ OA$IS take charge with some of his most bull-headed gear in a minute, jabbing out atonal motorik rhythms with iron bar drums, electrocuted stabs and of course the gibbering demonic goat of the title. It’s big, daft, and not clever in the best way befitting of FuckPunk.
Second Circle returns with the follow up to Giuseppe Leonardi’s 2018 debut record ‘TBC’, recorded this year in Vienna, during lockdown.
"Reflecting an evolution in his musical output, the six tracks on ‘MenteMente’ incorporate a diverse mix of sounds and influences. The EP also includes collaborations with vocalist Fresh Princess, a young experimental dancer and vocalist from Ghana now based in Vienna. As well as spoken word from Georgian Art Theorist Lana Girkelidze who reads her favourite passages from Georgian poet Galaktion Tabidze’s poem ‘Qari qris’ - გალაკტიონ ტაბიძე-ქარი ქრის."
Dro Carey packs late summer heat on his debut album soaked in garage, house, Afrobeats, and frothy good times for the gang at Melbourne’s Soothsayer
Landing nearly 10 years after his crooked debut with TTT, Dro Carey appears to have matured gracefully, as evidenced in the soulfully puckered vocals and generally slick vibes laid on thick across ‘Nothing Is a Solo Project’.
Working with Rara Zulu, Beni Moun & Julietta, Alex A-Game, Rue, and Francesca Gonzales to emphasise the more classic nature of his productions and vice-versa, the album plays along the finest line between schmaltzy and soulful, and comes riddled with the characteristic ambient/electronica quirks that have long highlighted Carey’s music at the edges of mutant bass and weirdo club music. RIYL Space Dimension Controller, Falty DL, Synkro.
Alchemic sound messer Graham Lambkin blesses this amazing recorded to NYC’s exceptional Blank Forms Editions, following standout turn with Joe-Mc-Phee and accompanying the label’s reissue of his earliest works
Sounding every bit like wizard who lives in a bin and performs ritual experiments to magick up microcosms of life between the bin-juice and fag butts, Lambkin has our attention for this latest hypnagogic masterpiece of his. A riddle wrapped in an enigma, then crunched up, torn apart and threaded back together, it’s all typically his own confection of weasly folk strings, contact mic haptics, keys and geese and bears and whatever the fuck that just was.
If you know his stuff, one would know to expect the unexpected in a very low key, liminal way that pisses on logic and yet holds it together in quietly spectacular, peculiar form, as exemplified in this one. Approaching from the water, ’Softly Softly’ veers between plughole dynamics and folk strings that describe motorway-side cafes in slow motion, following overgrown and marshy routes of exploration that just get really odd and fragged out in a way you just can’t take your ears off, while your eyes may well be zonked.
Sling the maps or apps, and let Lambkin summon the between-world, seep into your subconscious, and be your guide to absolutely chuff knows where.
Scuzzy beatdown industrial pop zingers shot from the hip of TVII Son from Kyiv’s emerging mutant industrial/techno rabble - big one for stans of Inga Copeland, Jay Glass Dubs and Teresa Winter!
Firing 9 backyard-forged bullets on the MIC (Music Inspires Change) label behind aces from LAPS and Lord Tusk, the Ukrainian outfit TVII Son land a crudely sophisticated sound square between their label mates, meting equal measures of basement party hustle and dank bedroom vibes in their eponymous debut.
Squashed and creased at the point where dancehall bump intersects industrial music and ambient-pop, ’TVII Son’ is a rudely easy going listen, flowing at hazy pace above trip hop and just shy of “party” proper, so we could just as easily imagine it’s tracks heating-up a session as cooling it down. As such there’s a hypnotic, play-it-again-quality looping from the blunted dembow lope of ‘Yalta’ to the decayed dancehall chrome of ‘Heart Ending’, with a hazy, rough city energy rippling from the rusty disco iridescence and droll vocal of ‘Out of Vogue’ to proper industrial disco jags in ‘Am I’, sick Low Jack-like ragga noise one ‘Iryna’, and absolute modern blues party gems like ’Simple Ends’ and the Equiknoxx-esque banger ‘Kilang’.
No messing, dead strong gear right here.
Suave as your life, Ambiance’s super rare spiritual jazz swerve is rescued from obscurity thanks to renowned digger Zaf at BBE - an impossible-to-find 1982 doozy weaving Afro, Latin, Brazilian vibes with really classy highlights on ‘Something Better’ with Monife Balewa’s soprano vox, plus killer berimbau and Brazilian percussion on the title tune, and an absolute gem in the omni-cool fusion of ’Eastwind’ tacking the finest breeze of lounge schmaltz and sexiness.
“Ambiance was the ‘nom de guerre’ of an ever-shifting jazz collective headed up by Nigeria-born, LA-tutored multi- instrumentalist, arranger, producer and photographer Daoud Abubakar Balewa.
Balewa studied composition and jazz improvisation at the feet of innovators such as Frank Mitchell (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers), Jackie McLean (Blue Note) and other masters from the golden Blue Note era. Although he favoured alto, soprano and tenor, he was equally happy on flute, keyboards, and Latin and Brazilian percussion. What’s more, he had the knack of using musicians who were bold enough to welcome being part of such multi- faceted sessions: guitarist Jim Lum’s flexibility suits the theme of this album perfectly, as does prolific Japanese soul-jazz drummer Danny Yamamoto; the stunning Hawaiian pianist Kino Cornwell (Yamamoto’s colleague from funk-fusion supergroup Hiroshima); and the wonderful Jean Carn-like tones of Daoud’s wife, jazz vocalist Monife Balewa.
From the band’s reading of Joe Henderson’s modal masterpiece Black Narcissus, through the deep multicultural percussive jazz-dance workout that is the title track, and on to the three-octave vocal embellishments of Monife, on her own composition Something Better as well as on the Chick Correa fusion classic 500 Miles High, nothing here is generic, nothing taken for granted, nothing comfortable or predictable.
All of the half-dozen or so albums recorded and released by Daoud and Ambiance during just six years of frantic creativity between 1979 and 1986 are well worth seeking out, but in BBE Music’s opinion Into A New Journey is the pinnacle: spiritual jazz worthy of the very best practitioners of the genre, by an obscure group of ludicrously talented artists on a tiny, self- financed indie label with an equally tiny promo budget: that’s what great jazz is all about.”
Highest grade computer dance music from Kindohm, diffracting aspects of footwork, noise and hyper drill with a proper, warped futurist bent for Prague’s Gin&Platonic - a total must-check for fans of Æ, Mark Fell, Beatrice Dillon, Gábor Lázár, Gooooose.
Chasing up Mike Hodnick aka Kindohm’s superb ‘Meme Booth’ for Conditional - one of 2019’s best - the four tracks of ‘Deserted Reclaimed’ ‘fess up further results of his experiments with live-coding tekkers and the TidalCycles environment (Haskell). To varying degrees, all four cuts are thrillingly gut-wrenching in rhythm and tone, finding the keenest balance of screwface funk and edge-of-sanity psychomimesis, with a tangible, heart-punching soul that often evades the more obtuse IDMers, but Kindohm makes an absolute virtue of here.
The two ‘Deserted’ cuts are the nastiest, bearing his teeth with an acrid alacrity in the gurning atonal lunges and quiescent footwork of the first, and really shredding it up in a snake pit of metallic rhythms and piercing tones in the 2nd. By contrast the others are sweet, with the reticulated pirouettes and plonging tronics of ‘Reclaimed’ coming off like DJ Python coiled up with Autechre, and then the weightless, gyring torque and breathless pads of ‘2’ to leave us reeling in hyperspace.
Effing and blinding essential!
Ceramic ocarinas meet Mick Karn-style fretless bass, synths and keys in this splendid turn from composer Oliver Leith on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental
Following a great EP by Abby Lee Tee on the label, Oliver Leith introduces himself to these pages with a warmly inviting collection crafted as the musical component of a collaboration with artist Michelle Ussher. Using the ceramic ocarinas (small ancient wind instruments) and shakers which accompanied paintings and tapestry from Michelle’s exhibition at Station Gallery, Australia, Leith conjures the balmiest atmospheres primed for slipping in with your trunks/bikini on and letting yourself bathe there all afternoon.
Trickly rhythmelodic patterns unfold in radiant webs and eddies across the EP’s six parts, invoking an air of dusk in the South Pacific or a Mediterranean island with ‘Manicure’, and letting the feeling sink in with the spongiform bass, slithering percussion and darting electronics of ‘Tiny Snake Eyes’, while ‘Hump’ recalls a sort of martian pygmy musick for moonlight dances, and ‘Dress Tail’ feels beamed in from other, imaginary dimensions where the whistling ’Stone Men’ exist and the exotica sirens of ‘Tongue In Ear’ attempt to seduce new age adventurers to their eerie Delia Derbyshire-like wavelength.
Vibrant, low key meditations on myriad synths, given as Joseph Steinbeck’s 2nd batch of solo recordings outside his work with everyone from Devendra Banhart to Charlotte Gainsbourg and Cate Le Bon
Naturally channelling a world of enchanted influences into his synth music, Steinbeck’s solo work combines lilting, rhythmelodic lines and pads in a lissom, light-hearted (but not lightweight) suite that links back to our ears, thru to Visible Cloaks and Jon Hassell to the Finnish psych-folk scene.
The album was first issued on his Full Bloom label and now via RVNG Intl., serving a quietly rustling and absorbing batch that induces the nicest psilocybin sensations with its mystic ripples of iridescent FM synthesis and gently insistent rhythms that wash over and thru the album. Among this week’s picks there’s hardly a more apt candidate for soundtracking mushy harvesting rambles, pickling yourself, as well as more wholesome activities in the natural world, or simply sporing your surroundings with a bit of ambient magick.
New York's Sharp Veins returns to UNO with this latest collection of bit-crushed bedroom pop "Armor Your Actions Up In Quest".
An uneven mix, it shifts from emo-esque videogame balladry to clubby noise-bient, vaporwave-adjacent powergrind and speedcore with echoing vocals tying everything together with a neon bow. Its a mix that speaks to the current generation of genre-freed producers who were brought up online with access to a rainbow of diverse sounds and now make records for Orange Milk or Hausu Mountain, and that's no bad thing.
Emosh electronic pop from Vancouver’s Baby Blue and Dviance channelling a techno sprite Grimes via t.A.T.u. and Eric Prydz
‘0Flash’ was first spotted to keener ears as an untitled cut towards the finale of Baby Blue’s Fact Mix 736 and now previews a flourishing relationship with Halcyon Veil. Like that mix, the song itself is an upfront banger built with gnarly distorted Reese and lip-sniffing trance top lines ideal for Friday night stomping and crying into your pot noodle as you struggle to remember the last time you were in a club.
Glittering 1st new album in 6 years from pioneering alt-dance-pop sorceress Maria Minerva; a beautifully strong reminder of her timeless, breezy way with ohrwurm hooks and lissom ambient house hybrids for her pals at 100% Silk.
Recorded in Hollywood, ‘Soft Power’ arrives nearly 10 years since Maria’s pivotal debut (‘Tallinn At Dawn’) with a blend of gauzy and seductively elegant songwriting that’s faithful to the pop urge that's behind all her work. Thankfully, a decade later she hasn’t felt a need to upend her production style, but there’s definitely a newfound, new agey textural depth and nuance to these new songs that feed into a naturally jaded iridescence alongside club-grooved arrangements that wrap themselves into your consciousness with preternatural ease.
In the time since her head-turning debut, its fair to say we can hear Maria’s MDMA-kissed disco-house style in music by everyone from Teresa Winter to Dua Lipa, and her latest sees her sashay deeper into an imaginary disco club-turned insightfully reflective hall of mirrors. From her nEuroMantic rave ballad ‘Every Single Thing That You Love’ to the smudged chords and sleekness of ’Summer Romance’, thru the BoC-do-pop anthem ‘I Could Be Your Best Friend’, to the proper 313 drive of ‘Down Low' and the lysergic lullaby ‘Ask Myself For A Reason’, she’s still pretty much on her own plane of dream club existentialism.
It’s all just dripping with nostalgia for a better future in the most heart-aching and hauntological way.
Jonny L’s seminal, debut D&B LP, Sawtooth boomerangs back from ’97 on a 1st ever 2LP pressing, loaded with the all-time anthem Piper amid some of the sickest, teched-out steppers from the UK scene.
Perhaps symptomatic of ’17 rather than ’97 economics, this pressing is reduced from the original 5-plate set - which were very typical of ‘90s D&B albums and compilations - to a more efficient 2LP with negligible sacrifice to fidelity.
For anyone who grew up in the ‘90s with access to cable TV, Jonny L’s Piper, with its definitively late ‘90s promo video, was an unavoidable mainstay of MTV2’s advert-less hours of programming, beaming images of cyborgian ravers into the living room of impressionable minds around the UK and elsewhere. Fair to say those images and sounds left an indelible impression on listeners including us, and the likes of Powell, who cites Jonny L’s work on this record as a big influence.
While the deliciously slippy sound design of Piper makes for a clear standout, it’s not the only one, with the warehouse-ready weightless tech-step of Treading coming close behind, along with the nerve-riding, Reese-fuelled 2-step rolige of 2 of Us and the sidewinding swerver Obedience, and even a class spin on acid-electro with Detroit.
Ultimately, Sawtooth was one of those mad, hi-tech and deep forward ‘90s records that penetrated the mainstream conscience, irrevocably lodged in malleable young minds as a pivotal cultural artefact in a much cooler way than, say, Jonny L’s later work producing Victoria Beckham and Dane Bowers’ UKGuilty pleasure, Out Of Your Mind. A flashback to times when the link between underground and mainstream dance music was more fluid, right before NME and reams of other tosh stymied the momentum of rave music and apocryphally deemed white guys playing guitars and drums to be more relevant to the yoof. Fuck those guys for ever. Long live D&B, garage, UK dance music.
Squirming, wavy hybrids of dream-pop, photo-trance and late ‘80s house sleaze from Katie Rose & Shawn O’Sullivan’s lowkey duo, back to match your mood on Knekelhuis
Their follow-up to 2017’s ‘Disparate Elements’ feels to consolidate the varying strands of their sound with subtly mesmerising, fluid effect, drawing the most enchanted lines between turn-of-‘90s Goa, faded Balaeric fantasies and lo-fi dreamhouse with sort of tempered ecstasy that feels of the moment.
The intoxicating fumes of Katie’s vocal balance with owing, congealed bass in their masterful arabesque of an opener ‘Dense as Smoke’ - think Muslimgauze meets The Connection Machine - and ‘Array’ trades’ in a gorgeous style of gauzy lo-fi house that sounds like Maria Minerva on a spiritual trip to Goa. ‘Only In My Mind’ hits a sultry groove of knackeerd sleephouse, with Katie’s vocal switching between cold, gynoid and pop yearning, and ‘More Than Just a Dream’ perfectly wraps up their mix of etheric gauze and mutant acid house like some stray Chris & Cosey or Psychic TV joint.
Mark Lanegan and his wife, Shelley Brien (Singrid Lund) pursue a gothic wave and washed-out techno muse in a deliciously cranky follow-up to Lanegan’s acclaimed ‘Downwelling’ LP with Not Waving last year. Featuring members of the Mark Lanegan Band including Martyn LeNoble (Porno For Pyros) on bass, the band play up to their passions for the gloomy rumination of PIL, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Sandwell District, Bauhaus and Joy Division across a perfectly unpredicted suite of Lynchian techno dirges and strung-out songwriting.
Named after the bird Lanegan and Brien kept seeing in their yard in Los Angeles while writing the songs, the EP's starkly affected craft is bound to surprise and enthral Lanegan’s legion followers (accumulated thru work with everyone from Screaming Trees to QOTSA) and likely to lend your listening space a ripe sort of LA vibe recalling everything from a fantasy of John Duncan jamming with Vatican Shadow, to the likeminded glumness of fellow husband/wife duo Tara & Mike Connelly’s Clay Rendering.
Scowling opener ’Come To The Shadow King’ epitomises the project’s brooding allure with nearly 9 minutes of driving dance and LeNoble’s skulking bass buried beneath gaunt organ pads, forming a dank bed for the vocals which are placed high in the mix but sink down, down into dread feeling and “bloodstained streets” described in the lyrics.
LeNoble’s snaking bass is also a crucial anchor to Lanegan’s more bruised vox in ‘Saturn Rising’, and perfectly underlines Shelley’s immaculate and evocative delivery in the darkroom rave feel of ’Shiva Danced Me Down’, before ‘Rising High Water’ carves back to Lanegan’s more typical aesthetic with an addictive dusky croon matched by a hazy, bluesy organ refrain that beautifully brings the album to rest.
Master of enchanted, lower case composition Andrew Pekler entrances with his exceedingly lovely ‘Sound From Phantom Islands’ for Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label.
Going deeper on the imaginative themes of 2016’s ‘Tristes Tropiques’ LP, the USSR-born, Cali-raised, and Berlin-based artist beautifully expands on the ideas of his 2018 installation ‘Phantom Islands - A Sonic Atlas’, and it’s corresponding website - including an online interactive map developed with cultural anthropologist Stefanie Kiwi Menrath - to yield a properly absorbing, quasi-ethnographic suite inspired by the speculative notion of “islands that appeared on historical maps but never existed.”
Using his revered sensitivity for small sound organisation and a carefully attuned imagination, Pekler brings his ideas to life in a way that doesn’t matter if the islands were fictive or not, as the music provides plenty enough warm stimulation to ignite your wanderlust. As previewed in the gorgeous, woolly design of advance cut ‘Description of Rain (Over Frisland)’, the places he supposes are wonderfully user-friendly and dreamy in the broadest sense.
Between the lilting jazz tone of ‘Bermeja’ (out in the Caribbean, don’t ya know), the richly elaborated snapshots of ‘Saxenburgh / Pepys / Aurora’ (in the south Atlantic, out near St. Helena-ish), and the stranded sound of ‘Tuanahe’ (in the South Pacific) Pekler has birthed an album of carefully plotted scenes and sonic coordinates which, while maybe apocryphal, at the very least draw us into their world in a stronger way than the mountains of cliché, rote 4th world “ambient” records currently in circulation.
Brianna Price turned plenty of heads when, earlier in 2020, she swapped out her well-worn B.Traits moniker for the new title of Baby T.
"A change of name also signalled a departure from the booming techno-centred sound Price had been pedalling as B.Traits - she promised, all guns blazing, that Baby T was about 'hardcore junglist shit only'. The project's debut drop, an EP for Samurai Music entitled Portra, put that manifesto into action, running the gauntlet of darkside drum 'n' bass, ardcore soundsystem techno and dark ambient.
From the whip-crack electronic drums which usher in Baby T's second record I Against I it is apparent that we're in for another wild ride. Emerging here via Central Processing Unit, Price meets the CPU sound halfway on I Against I's A-side, delivering two super-snappy broken-beat electro joints which both have a malevolent, dystopian edge to them. The levels are high from the off, with opener 'I Wish' fronting nasty, high-wire machine-funk that draws its strength from the Bunker, Djax-Up-Beats and BPitch Control sounds. 'Acid Science', another helter-skelter melange of needling synths and vocal licks, follows. Though this track's title may promise acid, the snaking bassline refuses to lock fully into the perpetual-motion madness of a TB-303. Instead, Baby T chops the lick up to move in and out of the drums, an effect that has one thinking of Cardopusher.
'Estrogen Attitude', the tune which kicks off I Against I's second-half, is an even headier brew. The intro skulks and broods, a pulsing kick-drum and intermittent 303 whirring in a cavernous atmosphere. You get the sense that something is brewing, especially given that the tempo has increased to junglist speed. However, when the breakbeats do enter Baby T opts to lurk rather than strike, locking into the sort of murky drum 'n' bass roll that wouldn't sound out of place on the UVB-76 imprint. This is jungle to shadowbox to.
The vibe of 'Estrogen Attitude' is inverted on EP closer 'We Could Disappear'. Beginning with a grainy, mournful ambience that recalls Biosphere and Kevin Martin, the track gently unfurls with the introduction of synthetic strings and muted breakbeats. If 'Estrogen Attitude' was indebted to Metalheadz, there is plenty of Goldie's more grandiose soundscaping running through 'We Could Disappear'. At the end of the track, the atmospheres dissolve to leave only the hum of sub - both a reminder of the bassweight principles that drive the Baby T project, and also representative of how I Against I has progressively etherised itself across its four tracks.
Baby T's Central Processing Unit debut I Against I tackles dystopian electro, impressionistic drum 'n' bass and dark ambient, all while adhering to junglist principles. This is a brave new world for both the artist and the label.
RIYL: Metalheadz, Pessimist, Mutant Joe, Cardopusher, dgoHn"
Enchanted Mediterranean house suss from Jupiter Jax on his first album in five years, channelling dusky, cinematic noir and live instrumentation into discoid deep house influences - a lush nod to classic NYC Nu Grooves via Italian Dream-house and the kind of balmy new age synth lustre found in Echovolt’s reissues of ‘80s Greek gems
“The music of Maltese producer Rudi Agius aka Jupiter Jax has always felt as much defined by mood as movement, guided by the “specific melancholy” of specific melodies. His latest long-player skews even more cinematic, conjuring twilit gardens and crooked city streets, windswept and warped by memory: No Such Thing. Inspired by notions of escape and the unknown, and threaded with dexterous live instrumentation, the album treads vibrant hybrids of moonrise electronica, downtempo dream house, and Balearic breakbeat, brooding but breezy, a Mediterranean midnight of the mind.
Agius speaks of his songs in terms of intuition and inevitability, how and where they transport the listener. These twelve tracks slip between senses and spheres, interplanetary but placeless, noir glimpses of ghostly coastlines and reflective reveries. Flutes, trumpets, voices, and percussion contour his club designs with a tactile fluidity, jazz accents reflecting off rain-slicked marble harbors, the wakening dawn still worlds away.”
Stunning dream-pop/post-punk side from New Orleans’ MJ Guider, galvanising her shoegaze sound with industrial rhythms sounding out between Cocteau Twins, Tropic of Cancer and Seefeel in an amazing sophomore album for eternal dreamers at Kranky
Arriving four years after her ‘Precious Systems’, which benefitted beautifully from studio mixing rendered by Turk Dietrich and Josh Eustis ov NIN/Second Woman esteem, ’Sour Cherry Bell’ channels a more pronounced sense of southern Gothic mystique and late ‘80s industrial noir for Guider’s follow-up. We’re not certain who’s behind the mixing/mastering this time, but it certainly sounds like Second Woman’s spacious sensitivities come into play, perfectly suspending the vocals in endlessly diaphanous reverbs and giving special attention to the percussion and synths in an electronic/ambient-techno sense that’s seamlessly incorporated and feels like a subtle, but necessary update and mutation of its influences, rather than straightforward homage.
From the cavernous introduction of ‘Lowlight’ through to its supine closer ‘Petrechoria’, the album really comes alive with amplivication, tactfully enveloping the senses with sheets of processed guitar, or set against starkly booming drums in ‘The Steelyard’ and ‘FM Secure’ that conjure the steepest sense of dread, surely recalling Elizabeth Fraser and her amazing meeting with Seefeel’s Mark Clifford, while ‘Body Optics’ and ’Simulus’ feels like a gutted HTRK, and ‘Quiet Time’ could almost be mistaken for Tropic of Cancer, but that keening production is just something else.
Pioneering synth sorcerer Suzanne Ciani celebrates over four decades of innovation with "a sonic voyage to the very heart of her beloved machine" in this utterly cosmic eight-part Buchla improvisation.
Ciani hardly needs any introduction; the influential synth pioneer has been contributing albums, soundtracks and sound effects for over forty years at this point and has shifted the global perception of electronic music multiple times. Her primary instrument has been the Buchla 200e synthesizer, and on "A Sonic Womb" she highlights her skill with a long-form improvisation split into eight parts.
Recorded in December 2019 in Barcelona, the piece was described by Ciani as ”an improvisation that I began using in the ’70s and continue to use now as raw material. Each performance based on this material has its own expression and one could liken it to jazz." We can't think of a more apt description, as Ciani contorts now-familiar sounds, exploring the farthest reaches of the instrument. There's little room for saccharine hauntology here, rather Ciani toys with pulsing rhythmic sequences, segments of tidal white noise and electric birdsong and and chiming gong-like pulses.
Required listening for anyone who's fiddled with patch cables in the last few years.
John Coltrane is one of the most renowned jazz artists and influential saxophonists in music history. Within the span of less than three weeks, John Coltrane completed his work with Miles Davis on what would become the bestselling jazz title in history (Kind of Blue) and embarked on his first record with Atlantic that would become the landmark recording Giant Steps. 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of Giant Steps. A remastered, deluxe 180g 2-LP and 2-CD, each with the original album plus a bonus disc of alternate takes and versions – including rehearsal and incomplete tracks, as well as false starts – only previously included in The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings of John Coltrane boxed set.
The new Sarah Davachi record is an 80 minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering. On two tracks the artist’s own vocals are also heard for the first time. This is the first release on the artist’s own label, Late Music.
Just as we thought Sarah Davachi couldn't tug our heartstrings any harder, she inaugurates her new label Late Music with "Cantus, Descant", a two LP set containing some of the wooziest, most affecting organ music we've heard to date. The entire album is an exploration of the unique, individual character of her instruments as she harnesses the power of various pipe organs in Canada, Europe and the USA as well as the electric organ, Mellotron and a handful of other elements. This gives the tracks an impossibly human feel as subtle tones wind and fall with elegance, and unpredictable grace. It's not even that Davachi is exactly attempting to center her work as anathema to a world fogged by emotionally empty scambient and bone-dry modular drone, but these tracks are so animated that it's hard not to feel awed by what's so often missing.
'The Pelican' is an early highlight, using the Mellotron's unmistakable tape loops to add a layer of Morricone-esque melancholy to the mix. Elsewhere, album centerpiece 'Play The Ghost' drowns echoing vocals in reverb, sounding like distant prog-gaze beamed in from another parallel timeline. "Cantus, Descant" is a special album, whisper soft but pointed and intentional. Sarah Davachi is among the most gifted composers operating right now and this album is a celebration of the old and the new that speaks assuredly to the complex simplicity of tone itself. We're floored.
Originally released on LP in an edition of 200 copies. (Kye 01) 2001.
"I made the basic recordings of Tim Goss's voice during a recent return trip to England. Despite some initial reservations Tim ended up giving an animated and robust reading, drawn exclusively from work of his own creation. These tapes were then transported back to Poughkeepsie, NY, where the project was teased to completion." (Original LP sleeve notes) Tim Goss: voice / text Graham Lambkin: synth / water / radio / collage.
Originally released in 2014 and available for one night only, this rare banger was pieced together using one second from each DAT in BJNilsen's tape archive. Industrial fuzz for EBM jerks.
On the Tapeworm label's fifth birthday at London's Cafe OTO on September 16, 2014, 25 copies of BJNilsen's "Release the DATs" were issued. Each inlay was hand-drawn with a special unique cover from SavX and for those that heard it, the release became a prized rarity. Now the rest of us can finally hear it too, as the 10-minute oddity has finally been made available digitally. BJNilsen crafted the chunky EBM banger using one second slices of every DAT tape from his extensive archive, and while that's hard to hear exactly (it is one second samples, after all, u don't get much outside of percussion) it makes for a good concept that's been executed excellently. Remastered by the man himself for the occasion, it's a curiosity that can sit alongside Gescom's "Minidisc" in the shrine to discarded technology.
Vatican Shadow commands his bleakest night-vision pads and craftiest Muslimgauze-style rhythms in this seriously prime volley for Pittsburgh’s 20 Buck Spin - unmissable for the fiends!
‘Persian Pillars Of The Gasoline Era’ sees Dominick Fernow back to strong form with six tracks inspired by recent Middle Eastern geopolitics and very much built in the image of latter period Bryn Jones aka Muslimgauze productions, but more than sufficiently distinguished by his transfixing arrangements.
The brooding VS synth glare is in deep and hypnotic effect and the drums programming is some of his deadliest, adapting the mood of the times and media rhetoric in a way that’s never glib or ironic and always with an emotional levity. ‘Rehearsing for the Attack’ is an instant VS classic, trading in rudely syncopated steppers drums and his finest sort of synth subterfuge, and likewise ‘uncontrollable oasis (Real life spy mystery ends with scientist hanged in Iran)’ leaves a heavy impression, while the plot only becomes more expansive, urgent with the closing section’s 10mins of intricate arps in ‘moving secret money’, and his trampling 12 min mission sequence ‘ayatollah ferocity’.
Nic Tasker’s AD 93 pick up the Blue series with slinky tekkers by Mucho Sueño, Sapphire Slows’ dream-pop, and atmospheric roller by Bas Dobberlaer and Martinou
Check for the chiffon vocals and glistening Japanese dream house mechanics of ‘Swirl’ from Tokyo’s Sapphire Slows, and the free-floating and effortless Latinate syncopation of ‘Heart of Glass’ by Mucho Sueño - one for the lip-smacking, gyr-eyeing points of the night.
Crucial selection of raw, darkside early gqom from pioneering Durban trio Phelimuncasi, setting the gripping vocals of twins Makan Nana and Khera, and Malathon, to cranky technoid club engines by DJ Menzi, DJ Mp3, and DJ Scoturn, all showcased for first time outside South Africa on the ever vital Nyege Nyege Tapes. Unmissable for fans of dark, heavy dance music of all stripes!
For Phelimuncasi's overdue first international showcase NNT follow a number of excursions into this sound from DJ Menzi and Sleeping Buddha for sibling label Hakuna Kulala with a mix of vintage early works and banging new exclusives, including some produced as recently as 2019 in the downtime after the trio’s incendiary performance at the label’s annual festival. Alongside the gqom archaeology of Italian-based GqomOh! label, this lot forms a vital piece of the genre’s history, charting how the vocalists’ conversational, toasting style, itself rooted in local storytelling traditions and the intimidating rhythmic singing of the apartheid-era came to influence their sound, and ultimately set the course for Gqom to come.
Colloquially known as “taxi techno” in the Durban townships, Gqom is a staple sound at NNT’s annual festival in Jinja, Uganda and always brings the best moves out of the SA dancers (and everyone else for that matter). As recently revealed on his shocking ‘Impazamo’ tape for Hakuna Kulala, DJ Menzi is one of the scene’s wildcards, and his productions for Phelminancusi are a big highlight here, counting the heavy call and response lyrics, signature Zulu trills and hard clang of their ‘Private Party’ anthem, the Terminator-stare drones of ‘GQOM Venus Cemetary’ and the desiccated bones of ‘Umgido’ among the comp’s heaviest drops.
Racked up beside an infectious introduction to gone-but-not-forgotten producers, DJ Scoturn with the menacing bell hook and bouncing bars of ‘Umahlalela’, and the starkly martial snares of DJ Mp3’s ‘Sesi Gora’, which sounds like mutant dancehall dispatched via late ‘80s Chicago, this lot is surely more than your RDA of crucial dancefloor energy, and absolutely primed with dense cyberpunk atmospheres for skulking deserted inner cities and counting down to the apocalypse.
Industrial changeling Oliver Ho returns to his Slow White Fall alias for a howling and paganistic suite of industrial music in an English medieval Gothic mode channelling Dead Can Dance via Killing Joke, Scott Walker, Silent Servant and Godflesh.
Slow White Fall is the latest of Ho’s revolving monikers (Broken English Club, Raudive, Zov Zov), and here used to signify a shift into more muscular Industrial music that treads heavily to the right side of fantasy dramatic, wrought with a finely crafted atmospheric finesse that speaks to decades of crookedly functional electronic production expertise and an enduring fascination with the darkside. Think ritual music for a bacchanal at John Dee’s gaff, or the soundtrack to a plague rave held in 1347.
‘Pushing Through A Wall’ marks up as Ho’s most ambitious and convictive collapsing of industrial tropes into bleached out acid noise and dungeon gloom. Over the cursed course of seven tracks he works at the tipping point where noise metastasises into a form of industrial blues for the end of days ranging from Adrian Sherwood-era Ministry styles, to Datura-induced panic attack heartbeats and chalkboard sax in ‘Earthquake Seducer’, and Coil-ed noise in ‘The Golden Lunatic Ascending’, with raging highlights in the fanged arps of ‘A Crimson Body’, and a closing couplet of duets meshing doom guitars to sparing etheric female vox with strong echoes of Sunn 0))) & Scott Walker’s ‘Soused’ as much as an instrumental take on Godflesh’s brum doom.
Bill Nace and Graham Lambkin rustle up a lowkey liminal gem on Nace’s Open Mouth label traversing room and field recordings of zonked folk strums and waking life weirdness.
Unbuckled from any fixed style, ‘The Dishwashers’ occurs with a deceptively casual approach that belies the fact this is only the second time they’ve recorded together, following a first meeting in Kentucky during 2018. Recorded in London a year later, this set lives in between worlds, slipping across thresholds from drizzly open-window street noise to what sounds like a pet shop full of exotic birds and glass cages of reptiles, to more inexplicable aleatoric situations, with a quiet but sometime rapturous logic that gets under the skin, up the nose. It’s part collage, part everyday magick realism, part fly-on-wall documentation.
The A-side establishes a style defined by subtly jagged jump cuts and interruptions, where the magic emerges thru their transitions from each chunk of the recording. They take listeners from urban spaces awash with cars driving down wet roads and cackling birds in pollutant-caked trees, to grinding mechanical drones and dry strings that recall rusted playground swings creaking in the wind, and onto pieces of baroque folk sweetness.
The B-side follows into a really unsettling passage of naif, childlike ululation - remember just making strange noises with your mouth for the sheer sake of it, and seeing how long you could sustain it? - before shortwave radio crackles build into rabbly swells and, and barely-there sections pass out into a haze of shimmering cymbals and percussion that recalls Anne Tardos’ recordings of a defrosting fridge for New Wilderness Audiographics, whose label name coincidentally resonates with the strangely organic nature of Nace and Lambkin’s work here.