One of the most pained, exquisite highs from Arca - the 4th album by Alejandro Ghersi a.k.a. Arca - feels like an opera of Bats recorded in a steeple then slowed down to human threshold of hearing.
Deep, soulful and broken house burners by the man, Matthew Chicoine a.k.a. Recloose: Spirit Knows gets loose with dreamy jazz chord cadence and slinky hustle; No I Don’t swings out on the dusty, heads-down pivot; and Geomancer brings some Amp Fiddler-style Detroit flavour to the table.
A rare, beguiling solo outing from Swedish composer and electro-acoustic expert Mats Lindstrom, the current studio director of the revered Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) Stockholm, arriving some five years since release of МИГ, a collection of archival recordings released by Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ in 2012.
If you have any knowledge of the Scandinavian avant and electronic firmament, there’s every chance that you’ve intersected Lindstrom’s name or even his work on your auditory travels. For those unaware; he’s been integral to that region’s experimental scene since the ‘80s, applying his background as an industrial technician to the construction of unique instruments, and also in pivotal role as producer and directors Fylkingen society for new music and the Stockholm New Music festival. The EMS studio he hells has played hosts to reams of releases which pass thru these pages.
This 7” gives two captivating snapshots of his live electronic practice recorded at GRAD Belgrade in a One/Scratch Memory performance with Anna Koch. They result in two succinctly precise, air-slicing movements captured with the sort of clarity and stereo depth of field that sends eyes rolling around the head when consumed via headphones; eliciting an experience akin to hearing water falling upwards in an enclosed metal space, whilst one of the sentinel bots from the matrix scans for your presence. Funnily enough, that’s the sort of place and situation we dream about near nightly.
It’s only when listening to pieces such as this that you can properly appreciate the difference between composers who think and work in 3D, using every angle of the sound field available to them, and those who paint on 2D canvasses.
Japan’s Ena cuts loose into the grey area between noise, techno and D&B with four tracks taken from his Divided: Mind 12” on Horo.
As heard in the mulched dynamics of his Soil EP, the producer is now exploring more abstract, uncertain zones of inquiry, with what sounds like Wolf Eyes doing caveman techno on the front, plus a piece of Scanio-Style hypo-noise, and a head-swallowing cut of pure atonal abstraction.
Expertly-curated survey of Mali’s incredibly rich musical traditions. Includes gems from the region’s best known artist, Salif Keita along with plenty more nuggets such as The Rail Band’s AfroFunk zinger, Mouodilo; the mesmerising reverbs and distant drums of Worodara or the enchanting, reggae-tinged lilt of Bimoko Magnin by Super Djata Band; calypso from Le Ambassadors du Motel de Bamako.
“‘The Original Sound of Mali’ compiled by David ‘Mr Bongo’ Buttle, Vik Sohonie (Ostinato Records) and Florent Mazzoleni. As featured as 'Compilation of the Week' on Lauren Laverne's BBC 6Music show.
Malian music is arguably deeper, more sophisticated and lyrical than any other form of African music. Those of us deeply entranced by Malian culture, and, in particular, the immense hypnotic beauty of Malian music, have put together a selection of songs from across the country.”
Reinhold Friedl’s redoubtable Zeitkratzer Ensemble tackle Kraftwerk’s earliest, eponymous pair of LPs in the latest demonstration of their ability to revitalise and present new perspectives on important historical and contemporary compositions - mostly avant-garde; often originally electronic - in the context of a live, acoustic performance.
With takes on Stockhausen, Keiji Haino, Whitehouse and Lou Red under their belt in recent years, Zeitkratzer now turn to that strange early phase of Kraftwerk, shortly after they were called Organisation, when Ralf and Florian were exploring a fluid, early iteration of Krautrock that’s inarguably miles shy of the hook-laden pop discipline found in their later output. So yeah; basically there’s no vocoders or drum machines in earshot on this one. And we’d wager that anyone checking Zeitkratzer releases is probably geeky enough to know of the 1st two Kraftwerk albums, so it shouldn’t come as such a surprise.
Anyway, the band tuck into Rucksack with some relish at the top, traversing from proggy flute (thank fuck they dropped that) and motorik stomp to an aggressive breakdown that really flashes their teeth in a powerful take on Kraftwerk’s opener, Ruckzuck, and then an alternately frightening and lush take on that album’s Megaherz at the other end of the disc.
All the other material comes from Kraftwerk 2. That includes a great opportunity for the group to test their limits in the 17 minute+ Klingklang, which arches up from spatial clangour to a swaying pastoral lounge groove and proggy folk-rock stomp, but they’re most affective when connecting with the more mannered, chamber inspirations of Strom, and a near facsimile recreations of the extended breathing techniques deployed in Atem, which is surely a key to Kraftwerk’s kinkier side and cycling obsessions which would emerge later in their catalogue.
Nuel, Yves De Mey, Orphx and Shawn O’Sullivan tease Wata Igarashi’s Ciphers EP into altered shapes for Berlin’s Midgar.
Noel supplies the biggest highlight with the grittily fluid, pendulous hydraulics of his take on Ciphers; Yves De Mey gives something for your body to chew on with a crooked and bendy remix of Hailstones; Shawn O’Sullivan rolls out for the blackout moment of the night with a grumbling monotone version of Mantle; Orphx reduce Lucifero to a writhing acid lead and glumly persistent bass groove.
First new Letitia Sadier album since Something Shines . Crammed with glittering Gallic pop suss
“Another New Year, and new shapes are forming — if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us — familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.
From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding You locates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn’t a surprise — Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab)—but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind’s-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.
Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances — instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.
Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!”
Grade A headfloss from Phil Julian; processing, reworking and reducing multichannel pieces by Sandra Kazlauskaite and Tom Mudd into a stereoscopic string of dense and intensely dynamic noise salvos revealing the subtle infidelities of shifting patterns as grippingly violent and unstable structures, almost organic in their natural complexity and chaotic force.
All you really need to know about this one is that it rips like a f**ken goodun. The title cut is a blinding piece of hyper avian squabble that turns into a fight between two electricity pylons, whilst Coherence 1 seems to emulate the experience of evacuating your brain between your legs and the asphyxiating field recording of ventilation system in Aperture perhaps most clearly presents the album’s idea of repeating mechanical patterns as being prone to fluctuations in voltage. There’s also the totally luscious dissonance of Field, some very Hecker-esque invasive tones in Coherence II and ten minutes of escalating psychotomimetic madness in Tropic to contend with.
For reasons that will become lysergically clear once you’ve heard the samples, Midori Takada's sublime debut album Through The Looking Glass  is widely regarded the holy grail of ‘80s Japanese ambient & minimalist music. Perhaps it’s no wonder that 2nd hand copies are known to trade for over £600, and, therefore this deluxe reissue is welcomed by a whole new generation of listeners tracing this enchanted sound back to source.
Rooted in Midori Takada's fascination with Asian and African percussion traditions, Through The Looking Glass documents the Japanese musician navigating syncretic channels of practice between floating fantasy kingdoms and parallel ambient dimensions whilst guided by a deeply ethereal, oneiric spirit that’s utterly key to the album’s appeal. While it broadly falls under the ambient banner, the results are far too grand and ambitious to be considered sonic wallpaper - they’re more like widescreen tableaus that open out exponentially the deeper in you dive.
The image of a Lady Godiva-like character riding a hare-sheep-horse chimera on the cover symbolises the surreal confluence of ideas and gestures within; a Japanese musician translating Victorian psychedelic fantasies into a language of rippling rhythmelodies and softly pealing harmonics that nod to Pygmy music as much as gamelan traditions, the soundtracks of Cocteau films and precise marimba patter.
The rest, we’ll leave for your dilated discovery. Take it on trust that this is especially spellbinding and sui generis stuff without complete comparison. A dream.
Dead sought-after Library slab of wild and hairy disco drum rhythms and electronics from 1978. For use in pornos, sleazy bars, churches...
“The first ever repress of this Klaus Weiss musical masterpiece. And it's the first of the all new Trunk library series that is a coming this way. Time Signals is an incredible thing on many levels and for many reasons, and you will not find an original without a mortgage.
It's classic German experimental sounds and rhythms that only Klaus can really get away with, and over the years cues have turned up all over infamous hardcore porn as well as sports programming and maybe some sinister wildlife documentaries too. This is electronic, rhythmic, peculiar, and will make your brain hurt at times.”
Fiercely bass-heavy club pressure volleyed in from USA’s Distal for the good of your glutes.
On Psychologic he’s got that grasp of layered, booming bottom end that Black-rooted American music does better than most firmly on lockdown. It’s there and present under the sparking chops and hazy chords of Psychomagic in an Adobe Home on a warped B-more bounce, whereas Icy 92 goes innnnn on a cowbell-struck Chicago booty slap, and Bullets Through Water deploys it at a frenetic footwork pace.
However the last two are also notable for a finer balance of high end registers, squirting an acidic, chromatic rainbow of pads over the crudely rugged bass jabs of Red Pill Jam, and Above Nimbus polishes off properly with a hybrid, hardcore rave mutation splicing classic vocal stabs with radioactive midrange flares and razor trap beat.
The ‘queen outsider of Berlin Avant-Pop’ returns with a new album exploring social indignation and identity deconstruction for Klangbad. Think somehwhere between Space Lady, Inga Copeland and Ectoplasm Girls, featuring Faust's Joachim Irmler.
Berlin-based Russian Mariya Ocheretianskaya makes a swift return with a new Mary Ocher album following last year’s self-titled ‘sub-religious’ endeavour alongside her drum unit Your Government. The grandly-titled ‘The West Against The People’ was produced by Ocher in collaboration with Klangbad co-founder and Faust don Hans Joachim Irmler, with the aforementioned Your Government featuring heavily among the album’s thirteen tracks along with a guest spot from German wave icon Felix Kubin.
The grandiosity of the title and themes explored by Ocher is more than matched by the sweeping drama of the music, at times recalling the bizarre DIY stylings of Space Lady or Inga Copeland. For the most part however, this is Ocher’s eccentric story to tell, and it’s a wonderfully psychedelic and varied listen that retains a certain cohesion that has you coming back for more.
In the first few tracks alone, Ocher veers from Ectoplasm Girls-style spectral drone on Firstling, Pt. 2, to Avant poppers with allusions to psyche-rock. At other points, there are odd soundtrack compositions reminiscent of something you might hear on an Andy Votel mixtape, whilst Kubin seems to bring new levels of bizarreness out of Ocher on album closer Wulkania.
Brilliant and weird - highly recommended.
Thrumming techno polymetrics from the Grey Area already bigged up by Mumdance; recalibrating your roll with four monotone and undulating rhythms that teeter between needlepoint hi-hats and pulsating hydrolicks, cavernous reverbs, and underwater steppers.
RIYL Sigha, ASC, Akkord…
Sun Araw totes one of his most surreal, daftest fancies with The Saddle Of The Increate, despatching the band’s first new recorded material on Sun Ark Records since the psychedelic excursion, Belomancie .
With only a few trips made on Sean McCann’s Music For Public Ensemble and alongside Laraaji on Professional Sunflower and the S. Araw “Trio” XIII to quench our thirst in the meantime, this loosely strung and sprawling set renders Cameron Stallones and the gang at their most ir/reverent and dare we say, North American; delivering a subtly funny and playful suite that’s more Billy Crystal on magic beans than Alejandro Jodorowsky on mescaline, as far as desert trips go.
Incorporating a phalanx of drummers including Butchy Fuego, Jon Leland and Caitlin Mitchell, plus Dave McPeters on pedal steel, Sun Araw come off like a gang of cattle-ranchers who lost their herd a long time ago and subsequently decided to follow old dirt tracks deep into the desert, navigating their way by the stars and with only a batch of turnt haricots for sustenance. What ensues is a progressively light-headed and sorta-mystic journey of discovery following an unstitched narrative which leads them right up to a sincere yet lysergic cover of Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released - as previously worn by Jef Buckley, Joan Baez, The Deftones, Nina Simone.
As you might expect from a trip to the desert with Sun Araw, you’ll lose your own herd quite quickly, and mirages, fata morganas and the like become commonplace; with expectations perpetually teased and thwarted from the fusion of heat-warped synth strokes and pitch-bent steel licks in A Golden Boot thru the quicksilver clip-clop of A Chute, and the tropical, latinate influences that creep over the border into Orthrus, which also features McPeters’ pedal steel at its most plangent; with Campfires framing a charmingly ludicrous scene of quiet, acousmatic rustle pierced by parping modular spurts, and even allowing for a spot of sun-dazed native folk dance in the jerky boned jig and processed croon of 40 Hooves, serving Sun Araw at his most alien and yet uncannily familiar.
This is exactly what psychedelia should be for us; weird, silly, cryptic, inexplicable - not earnestly unimaginative and derivative. It would take a fool to accuse Sun Araw of the latter, and this album should hopefully be a smoke signal to all those pedestrian churners who call their music “psychedelic”.
The Salford collective return with an album length rebuke at the ever-growing shit-stain that is the current political regime.
With many modern day musicians content on stockpiling social media kudos or chasing sync money, leave it to Tesla Tapes antagonists Gnod to offer up a dissenting voice against the post-Brexit, alternative truth-heavy, fascist malaise 2017 is currently descending into. Never a band whose sound you should second guess, the clear anger and intentions of this album’s title is more than matched by the politicised fury and antagonism unleashed within.
“It seems like we are heading towards even more unsettling times in the near future than we are in at present.” reckons Gnodder Chris Haslam. “2016 was just the beginning of what I see as the establishment’s systematic destruction of liberalism and equality as a reaction to the general public’s loss of faith in their system.”
With this renewed creative focus driving the band, ‘Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine’ embellishes their hard-edged rock repetition and heavily-dubbed out underbelly with a darkly-satisfying new hue.
Amsterdam-based Japanese label Soundofvast hosts the return of Romanian producer, Sorin Rastoaca under his Vid alias with the rolling tech-house minimalism of Sunshineset and a bittersweet ambient interlude backed with the darker, rugged house heft of What Do You.
This 175 page A4 sized new book covers Martin Hannett and the equipment he used for producing sounds with Joy Division and early New Order plus for Happy Mondays, Buzzcocks, Nico, Magazine, Stone Roses and U2. It also covers Strawberry Studios which was opened and initially used by 10CC for their best albums and singles and block booked by Factory and Hannett from 1979 for many of the post punk recordings.
"There’s also a section on Hannett and Tosh Ryan's Rabid Records and Absurd Records, which were an influence on Tony Wilson of Factory Records. The book was conceived originally as a companion book, about Martin Hannett’s equipment, to Chris Hewitt’s other book “Martin Hannett - Pleasures of The Unknown” and the DVD “Martin Hannett - He wasn’t just the 5th member of Joy Division”.
As material was being collected for this second book on Hannett, the project expanded to include a lot about his work at Strawberry Studios, Stockport and subsequently a section about Strawberry Studios in the years before Martin Hannett started to hire the place and then another section developed about the Rabid Records HQ on Cotton Lane in Withington, Manchester. Rabid was probably the first punk label to put bands into Strawberry Studios. If Rabid and Factory couldn’t afford to record the whole session at Strawberry Studios then they would use Pennine in Oldham and Cargo in Rochdale. Martin Hannett would bring the tapes to Strawberry for final mixing.
The headstone at Martin Hannett’s grave in Manchester’s Southern Cemetery states “Creator of The Manchester Sound”. He certainly created the Manchester punk / post punk sound and a lot of that he created in Strawberry with his array of electronic toys shown in this book. You could also credit Strawberry Studios with creating the earlier pre-punk Manchester sound. Graham Gouldman obviously wrote material for Herman’s Hermits / The Hollies, Eric Stewart was a Mindbender and when they recorded as Hotlegs and then 10cc they clearly put Manchester on the map and the studio was also used pre-punk by Manchester area bands like Barclay James Harvest and Sad Cafe.
The common thread running through Strawberry Studios operation, Factory Records operation, Martin Hannett and Tosh Ryan’s Rabid / Absurd Record labels operation, was that they all believed that bands and the music industry should not have to go off to London to record and put records out. They believed in the bands from Greater Manchester towns as a force to be reckoned with and wanted to create a Manchester-based music industry. As 2017 is the 50th anniversary of Strawberry Studios and the 40th of Rabid Records we can be thankful that these musical pioneers in Manchester Rock laid those foundation stones."
Best believe he’s back; almost 2 years to the date since Hieroglyphic Being’s Worst DJ Ever mixtape (Reel Torque Volume 5), Chicago’s finest returned to the borderlands of Manchester/Salford for a truly blinding, freestyling session at the shabby palace of dreams, a.k.a. The White Hotel, instructing us to make sure this one was definitely recorded as he’d spent some heavy time prepping for it. And thank f*ck we did, ‘cos it’s easily one of the best, longest, most intuitively gratifying sets we’ve heard him play. Fair to say we’ve heard him DJ more than a few times, too.
Perched in the DJ booth/crow’s nest, incense burning and smoke machine on constant, Jamal Moss delivered us to the disco gods with an unrivalled selection cycling thru wavy obscurities, EBM knockers, symphonic disco strings and acid house rippers with a totally savant rudeness. If the smoke wasn’t so dense you could have seen him, head tilted to the sky and utterly commanding the vibe like a starship admiral channelling astral coordinates on a mission to different dimensions.
Track ID’s were attempted in reel time, but Disco Dave Adams and The Trippin’ Pigeon soon gave up pecking and got down to shredding imaginary rug, harmonising to Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire and bouncing off the walls to the likes of Front 242, Sleazy D and myriad others with a fervour rarely experienced before - aside from other Jamal Moss/Hieroglyphic Being sets - and all right until the dawn was piercing the skylight and turning the smoke-filled room an uncanny shade of blue very similar to the colour of this tape’s artwork.
It was one of those nights that participants should not be able to fully recollect, but the vibe stays with you long after the moment. Such a buzz to be right back there in the thick midst of it with this tape. All hail the Hieroglyphic Being, massively recommended to all dancers!!!
Joy Orbison makes up for five years of no solo releases by starting his own label, Toss Portal, with a brace of four sticky, bouncing UK techno experiments.
It’s hardly like he’s been asleep for the last five years - he’s kept his workmate up both in collaboration with Boddika on SunkLo, and with Herron as CO/R - but the last we him solo was on Ellipsis way back in 2012, so you can consider this one a tad overdue.
We can hear traces of the SunkLo sounds riddled all over the Toss Portal EP, but it’s also possible to see where Boddika’s Breaks-ier styles were holding him back, as the reticulated funk of Rid cuts loose with a proper feminine pressure that recalls his earliest Joy O work, while the grumbling, cranky Walworth Window morphs with a more messed-up, kinkier appeal of his own, and Rite Ov even introduces a lilting reggae vocal, Main Street or Rhythm & Sound style, on a sloshing steppers groove.
You need this one for the original "Produzione", originally released in 1973 on Piero Umiliani's LP "Problemi d'oggi", an amazing mix of acoustic percussion and electronic experimentation, considered by some as the first example of techno / trance music ever recorded.
The newer reworks by Gerardo Frisina are completely unecessaery.
Music From Memory follow up the enchanting Suso Sáiz retrospective Odisea with a far more recent survey of the Spanish ambient and new age pioneer’s contemporary output, Rainworks; spanning wistful ambient vignettes to mind-engulfing drone, brittle concrète and drifting solo piano studies commissioned and written in 2016.
Highly regarded for his work with Orquesta De Las Nubes and Música Esporádica for Grabaciones Accidentales (home to Finis Africae, Luids Delgado, Randomize) in the early-mid ‘80s, Sáiz has followed that path ever since, resulting collaborations with Steve Roach and dozens more releases over the interim.
Rainworks finds him still feeling out a sublime, etheric otherness, bringing to life a series of atmospheric pressure systems with a deft, elemental touch in key with the original commission from Hidraulica, Tenerife (Canary Islands), gradually expanding and contracting in ambition from the opening arabesque to the abstract yet richly evocative tract of A Rainy Afternoon at the album’s perimeter.
Wonderful side of spare piano airs, south Pacific instrumentation and field recordings from Lieven Martens (Dolphins Into The Future), based on the writings on Robert Louis Stevenson...
“After two sold out concerts in Tokyo and Osaka, we treat ourselves on a trip to Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. After spending a little time in the main city of Naha we took a ferry to Tokashikijima, a small island surrounded by coral reefs, mother-of- pearl farms and infested by an aggressive and poisonous snake. Aharen, a classic small beach town stuck in a fabricated memory of 80’s surf movies, was to be our home for just a few days. While walking through its snake infested bush and through its lagoon, while photographing, the Tombeau De Robert Louis Stevenson, a composition I was hinting at in live environments, became reality inside a patchwork of history, of coral reefs. While walking on the beach, more or less solitary since tourist season was just a few months away, while listening to the gorgeous sound of a small motoric fishing boat working on the reef – an ever-pleasing sound -, and to beautiful synthesized steel drum music coming from the local junior school.
In the end the piece became so simple, an almost clinical exhibition of sound, that it became a difficult world entangled in meaning. Like a coral reef that is so pretty, yet dangerous, vibrant, endangered, complex, slow, fast, all at the same time. (…) Since I already figured out how to present my idylls – in a possible dark sense of the word – in the various forms, presented as a storytelling collection in four parts. Being a portrait (which could be a secretive self-portrait), a comment on ethnography, an exotic illustration and a ritual.
The latter used in the most mundane sense ever, since I’d like to stay far away from a sensational bubblegum approach to (religious) pseudo-ethnography, to the copying of ethnic behaviour, or to approaching it as something odd or weird. These behaviourisms unavoidably invoke the end of all rituals, thus making the world a duller place.”
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."
The high priestess of dark blue operatic viscera, Diamanda Galás presents her first new slab in nearly ten years
Dispensing a mixture of live recordings and covers, with a selection of performances unflinchingly captured live in Paris, Copenhagen, and East Sussex, along with studio recordings of her takes on vintage Thelonious Monk and Jimmy Van Heusen songs.
Almost a year in the making, with tracks having been mislaid or buried underneath piles of original demos, then reconstructed and remastered, this compilation aims to highlight the core elements of French Synth-Pop from it's earliest incarnation to newer acts influenced by the earlier protagonists distinctive sounds and imagery.
"Many of the tracks are completely unreleased or are early demos. For the aficionado we hope this fulfils a rediscovery of old classics or to the late-comer a decent collection of tracks that serve as an introduction to the uniqueness of French Synth music and the burgeoning new scene.
Conceived and curated by Jason B Bernard. The album comes in a luxurious digipak and is limited to 500 copies. Artwork by Oleg Galay and remastered by Martin Bowes @ The Cage"
Cologne-based Dame, Lena Willikens, debuts on Cómeme with a cracking EP of darkside dancefloor mystique heavily influenced by '80s wave heritage.
Her 'Phantom Delia' EP pits years of experience DJing on the radio and at her residency for free-spirited Düsseldorf nightspot, Salon Des Amateurs, together with a rarified knowledge of classic wave musics, outernational rhythms and weirdo techno.
The result: a delicately patterned, phantasmic meld of styles; slipping gears between the furtive, droning EBM of 'Howlin Lupus' to the poised Dominatrix ambience of 'Nilpferd' (mistress, do that "ja, ja, ja" thing again, bitte), to the spunky ghost-house of 'Mari Ori' and the creepy-as-f**k, titular closer, which would make a fine soundtrack to stalking the red light district of Düsseldorf in search of Kraftwerk's studio.
For anyone with a kink for those blink 'n miss Kunstkopf 12"s, Tolouse Low Trax, or just good old fashioned wave music…
Glasgow’s Spinning Coin made their first impression on the world at large with 2016’s ‘Albany’ / ‘Sides’, their debut 7” single on Geographic.
"Tellingly, Spinning Coin are part of a tradition of socialist independent pop from the Scottish region, one with a strong history of DIY creativity against the odds. With ‘Raining On Hope Street’ Spinning Coin reveal another, beautifully moving side to their music: it’s a heartbreaker, a gloriously affecting pop melody.
In many ways Spinning Coin catch what’s in the winds of their times and ‘Raining On Hope Street’ understands the complexities of the heart along with the intensities of lived experience."
A brand new Buddha Machine made in collaboration with Philip Glass, released to commemorate his’ 80th Birthday on 31st January 2017.
Seven loops of distinctive and hypnotic works by Philip Glass featuring piano, organ & voice. Significantly improved sound quality and built in speaker as well as headphone output.
Totally Killer 2nd album from Anthony J Hart (Imaginary Forces) as Basic Rhythm for Type, decimating and distilling jungle, grime and garage into their common and most affective dancefloor denominators...
Back with that spice for Type, Anthony J Hart gets down to UK rave fundamentals on a killer 2nd LP under his Basic Rhythm pseudonym. Where his more prolific Imaginary Forces output is all about the push ’n pull of power noise and post-rave techno dynamics, Basic Rhythm fixes a steely focus on the physics of the UK’s hardcore continuum; decimating and distilling jungle, grime and garage into their common and most affective dancefloor denominators.
Basic Rhythm offers Hart up as a sort Leyden Jar battery or vessel storing decades of absorbed and condensed pirate radio transmissions, and The Basics can be heard as his disciplined attempt to parse those muscle memories and sensations into something tangibly, rudely physical but, most crucially, leaving aside those bits he considers unnecessary in a defragging process of mental sonic décollage - breaking down outmoded values and replacing at a distance from the original medium.
What remains forms a kind of refreshingly eviscerated halcyontology, recollecting and rinsing out the good times spending his p’s on new shells at legendary shops such as Music Power (Ilford) and Boogie Times; listening to Rude FM 88.2, Unity 88.4, Pulse 90.6, Weekend Rush 92.3, Kool FM 94.5; cutting dubs at Music House; and swanging his jaw at legendary venues and club nights like Stratford Rex, Temple, Labrynth, Telepathy, Slammin’ Vinyl and One Nation.
In reducing those aspects to a pointillist vocabulary of sawn-off drums, harness-straining subs and tessellating, tussling stabs of flava, he leaves a spare air prompting ambiguous reading of ‘dread’ and ‘ecstasy’, depending on the listener’s own reception/perception. It’s a dichotomy at the core of E18’s postcode-warring sublow shift, explored in the crevices between rap and grime in Fake Thugs, or the way Silent Listener (Adore) is intended to illuminate dank bedrooms, whilst the ructions of Cool Breeze (Summer In Woodford Green) and the fractiously mapped road rave styles of Blood Klaat Kore lend an overlapping sense of deep topographical study to the mix.
Northern Spain’s Jasss returns to Mannequin’s Death of The Machines series - which she kicked off in 2016 - with a 2nd shot of harness-straining EBM noise and slow, seksi, mutant chugalug.
No Complicate knuckles down to raw, fleshly synth noise and bony rhythms on the A-side, arching up from a cavernous intro before unleashing a streaking, needling lead that will elicit winces and jackal grins in equal measure.
On No Chance she drags the tempo right down to a 100bpm grind riddled with expressive synth voices and barking stabs, deferring another beastly lead line until it’s required, and promptly resetting the track with electrifying force.
Illicit jackers’ craic from the transatlantic badboys Willie Burns and DJ Overdose; whipping up the urgent, bucking acid track Sonny And Ricardo Give Good Advice backed with a bare bones Beat Mix for the DJs.
Mondo issue of the stop-motion animated masterpiece Coraline.
"The soundtrack to Coraline is as haunting as it is whimsical. With the help Budapest Orchestra and Choir behind him, composer Bruno Coulais captures the dark child-like imagination of the titular protagonist with menace and aplomb."
Brusque, Ballardian EBM techno and industrial clangers from Oliver Ho in his Broken English Club style.
The A-side’s Accidents & Romance clamps down with rottie-toothed 16th note synth snarls and back-breaking kicks whilst the owner chats like a man possessed, somewhere above the escalating madness.
B-side, Country Life bucks up some recoiling and lustrous EBM funk that burns on contact, backed with a descent into crushing industrial torpor with Private Death.
'I'm Not A Heaven Man' is label bossman Stephen Bishop aka Basic House's second album, following the issue of his 'Ambrosias Vol.1' for Norway's boutique Koppklys imprint, and sketches an often bleak soundworld streaked with cryptic chiaroscuro electro-acoustics, ritualist drone, edge-of-the-planet ambience and tape-ground industrial house patterns.
At times it recalls an opiated, sleep-paralysed version of Andy Stott, maybe a darker adjunct to the frayed and abstract environs of Aaron Dilloway, or a more diffuse Thought Broadcast, especially in the deconstructed warehouse interzone of 'Teenage Dog', the sludgy lilt of 'Perishing' or the submerged digital scree of 'Green Dome (Bottomless)'.
But ultimately there's something more elusive, a haptic appreciation of grain and space that we can't place our finger on and should keep us returning to this gem gone 3am when nothing else will fit the atmosphere of glowing computer screen, creaking house timbers and EVP hallucinations.
Composed by Dario Marianelli, KUBO, continues the masterful legacy of Laika Animation Studio's filmography: Incredible visuals, and craft - and equally as powerful soundtracks.
"This Dario's second time composing for the studio, this time dabbling in Japanese instrumentation to bring our titular hero's journey to life."
Divided: Mind stretches out Ena’s sound with 13 introspective slices of developed ambience.
"Fresh from collaborating with Rashad Becker for the Atonal Tokyo edition, Divided: Mind contains the kind of innovation that allows Ena to adapt perfectly to this electronic improvisation environment."
Diario de un Monstruo is a homage to the 1981 album Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne. It is another (and some might argue, inevitable, addition) to the ongoing Monster series of releases.
"To say Liles’ recording is a cover version of the original Ozzy album is far too simplistic and misleading. This recording adapts motifs and hooks from the original music but is in no way similar. It is a complex tapestry that is woven from many fine threads and at times is a confusing and incomprehensible MONSTROUS interpretation of the classic album. Anyone expecting a hard rock L.P. will be sorely disappointed.
Liles has been obsessed by the original album since its release 36 years ago and has been collecting various L.P. pressings and ephemera associated with Diary of Madman for many years.”
Queen of the NON collective, Nkisi makes her solo debut proper with an urgent showcase melding Congolese dance rhythms with Belgian techno and gabber inspirations.
The singular producer, based between Brussels and London, has been throwing down some of the sickest DJ sets online via her NTS show, among others, for the last few years now, alongside her work in curating and managing the NON collective beside Angel Ho and Chino Amobi.
Landing after a string of digital releases, Nkisi’s Kill EP explores the breadth of her rooted, forward and deadly sound: kicking off with the militant dancer’s sensuality of Kill’s hopping polyrhythms and transition from smooth to salty trance electronics, pursued by the downstrokes contours of Can U See Me at her slowest and sweepingly atmospheric.
The other side is a totally different affair, closer in tone to the insistent pressure of her radio and club sets. MWANA comes on like darkside renegade from a Petchy show, all driving snares and bolshy toms pinned into place with sticky EBM bass hits and sky falling pads, then the acid grobble of Parched Lips goes on like something from a lost sect of Spiral Tribe that ended up in a central African republic.
The followup to ‘Oh! Mighty Engine’, ex-Slowdive feller Neil Halstead is again scratching his folkie itch on ‘Palindrome Hunches’.
It would be too obvious for him to go back to his ‘Souvlaki’-era experimentation I suppose, but just for good measure the album kicks off with the Red House Painters-ish ‘Digging Shelters’, a track that might be just as melancholy as anything he’s ever penned. It’s not going to convince desperate Slowdive fans, but it’s a great start to an album that manages to blend the alt-country jangle of Mojave 3 and the whimsical qualities many thought Halstead had left behind. More than just reverberating dream pop, ‘Palindrome Hunches’ is bursting with jangling diary entries, wide reaching influences and genuine heart.
Banana Stand Sound showcase California’s 140bpm sphere with four tracks from the west side.
OH91 goes in with gut-wobbling halfstep pressure and starry lead synths on Meditation; Nights & Serotonin’s Jazz Lick gets mad on a broken, tribal tip hearkening back to original Benga and Hatcha styles; TryTryDieDown wins outright with the R&G bling of Boo; and Crix Saiz brings it back to root on the trapping halfstep lean of Warrior.
Fractious new club music from Shanghai, China’s genome 6.66Mbp label; throwing down Rui Ho’s delirious debut collage of militant dembow trills, wild descending synthlines and acrid bleeps in Ru Meng Ling, before tagging in Why Be for a smarter remix tempered with bell/gong hooks and more punchy drums that jab in the right places.
Genome 6.66Mbp slice off a bleedin’ cross-section of Shanghai’s underground sound in Genome Compilation Vol.1.
18 tracks wide and crammed with up-to-the-second deconstructions of grime, dembow rhythms, and turnt US club music, it coughs up some smart highlights in the likes of CUSTOMANE’s weightless grime riddim, The Second Encounter; on SWAN MEAT’s sore AF R&B noise extraction, Shadow play w-rules; and the helter-skelter cyber rave pelt of Loom by Hyysxl.
RIYL Kamixlo, Tzusing, AYYA
New, unreleased and scarce tracks pulled from Harbinger Sound's diverse roster of artists, feat exclusives from Sleaford Mods, Consumer Electronics, Steve Ignorant's Slice Of Life plus tracks from Pain Jerk, Sudden Infant, Phil Julian and load more...
Dancefloor gold right here from Young Marco’s Safe Trip label, packaging ten cuts of divine, sensual Italian Dream House 89-93 in the wake of his excellent Dekmantel Selectors pack and his previous sojourns along more cosmic vectors.
A bit of a red flag on our disco radars, this portion of the worldwide house revolution has mostly evaded reissue schemes and wider appreciation when compared with, say, Japanese house or New Beat, for example, which both proliferated during the same era, respectively, and have all seen more love in recent years. However, despite constant reference from those in the know, Italian house remains a distant, exotic land to those out of the loop, which is where Young Marco really steps up to the plate with this expert overview crammed with vital, life-affirming selections.
As sophisticated as any of Soichi Terada’s early ‘90s productions, but perhaps closer to the ruggedness and soul of the original Chicago, Detroit and New York deep house sounds, the Italian Dream House sound is defined by proper, wide basslines, earthy drum machines and the sultriest vibes, bordering on pure dancefloor sex. By dint of geography, it clearly shares a lot in spirit with the decadence of Ibizan needs, too and it ain’t hard to imagine how these cooing, winking grooves would have melted all over the Gucci loafers and fresh bikini waxes at Pacha during that epoch.
There are too many highlights to mention them all, but the real standouts for us lie in Don Pablo’s deeply horny blend of Chi-acid and synth-pop in Animals Paranoia, the tanned gorgeousness of Last Rhythm’s Last Rhythm (Ambient Mix), the languorous piano house hustle of Calypso Of House (Paradise Mix) from Key Tronics Ensemble, and the lip-biting swang of Deep Choice’s Fix Of 4:38 PM, but we’re sure that selection could shift around with a few more listens.
Consider this a perfect gateway drug for your inevitable addiction to early Italian house.
Beatrice Dillon meets Kassem Mosse for two higher register adventures on The Trilogy Tapes following their joint tape for Ominira in 2016 and a live collaboration at Tate Liverpool.
In a very smart move designed to simultaneously demonstrate their taste for extreme, puristic sonics and sidestep any preconceptions you may have justifiably built up from their respective catalogues, they’ve completely jettisoned the beat here in favour of two tightrope-walking pieces following glistening, highly strung partials over cavernous, swelling beds of subbass oscillator roil.
The effect is far closer to Kevin Drumm on a mad one or with a vertiginousness that will likely induce panic attacks in anyone who doesn’t like air travel or heights, ‘cause when they really get going it feels like the world has just been pulled from under your feet and, well, you’re fucking flying pal.
This is one of those TTT 12”s that’s sure to slice neeks down the middle. For our 2p, it needs to be heard on the loudest system you can lay your paws on.
Immersive slab of post-techno sound designs from Japan’s Yuji Kondo (half of Steven Porter with Katsunori Sawa) on Kyoto’s 10 Label.
As opposed to Kondo’s prior dancefloor 12”s, this one keeps the ‘floor at a distance, preferring to dance around more weightless and abstract structures occluded with silty layers of atmospheric noise, sustaining a thread of textural, narrative logic that transitions from knotted, rubbly in the first, to more piquant pulses, ghostly rave vocals and sweeping synthetic string arrangements in the last, taking in nimble techno rhythms in the gulf between.
Chicago’s Dance Mania OG, DJ Lil ‘Tal on the bucks ‘em out for Germany’s Footjob label.
He does that inimitable Chi thing with the banging disco looper Who Came To Boogie, which Phonk D duly dilutes to a European electric slide style on the remix.
Back to the good stuff; DJ Lil ‘Tal brings the big ass toms on the DJ-ready tattoo of Jack Your House, and then dials in the disco funk chops on Buzz The Doctor.