Blackest Ever Black get the very best out of John T. Gast with the hypnotic dancehall meditation wygdn_bashmenttk9 and the jaw-dropping ambient elegy, wygdn_tryagen (5) cut to a natty dubplate-style 10”.
It’s got some fair competition in the Invocations mixtape/LP, his Excerpts album, and the amazing Young Druid project, but for our money this is the most crucial statement yet from the mystic UK stepper known as John T. Gast, giving the ‘floor a much needed dose of esoteric magick in the A-side’s levitating blend of digidub and choral voices, and then handing listeners to the sandman with the immaculate baroque beauty of the B-side.
A stone cold essential, no less.
Julian House aka The Focus Group twists the kaleidoscope to reveal a fractious mosaic of some 25 vignette-like parts in just over 37 minutes with Stop-Motion Happening, the ‘Groop’’s - as it’s spelt on the cover - most delirious and mid-summery dosage to date.
Referring to that title again, ‘Groop’ as it’s purposefully spelt on the sleeve art, but not the metadata, quite possibly makes a nod to Stereolab’s The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music” and certainly suggests a temporal connection between the two records, if nothing else, as the music itself is perhaps better described as more Space Age Suburban Micro Dosing in its fractal nature and gentility.
The tracks weigh in between 15 seconds at their shortest to nearly 7 minutes at longest, acting like the hazily fragmented recollections of an ageing psychonaut or the sonic sketchbook of a romantic ’60s dreamer who was in the throes of the psychedelic age, with mind opened to Far Eastern thought in the pause-buttoned tabla and sitar chops of Stop Motion Happening and New Toytown Walk and the mystic bliss of Rendering The Forests, whereas other parts tie that in with nods to The Beatles’ psychy phase in Sir John Pepper and The Gone Outside. You can trust the other twenty tracks are of a similarly anachronistic and delightful style.
The lysergic/psilocybic whimsy is strong on this one. Do check.
Dâm Funk does it with serious finesse in his debut Garrett outing for Music For Memory, who’ve managed to coax out a sublime insight to his Private Life from LA’s most fêted funkateer. Best believe this is the slickest thing you’ll encounter all year - like glyding on rainbow in silk underwear.
For Damon G Riddick’s legion fans it doesn’t come much better, especially seeing as he’s been shy on the release front since 2016’s DJ-Kicks and the odd short format serving in recent years. Anyway this makes up for that gap in spades, swooping in with the gilded dawn of Apocalyptic Sunrise and taking it there with track, from the pointillist drum patter and arcing chords of Right Now thru the loose and sprawling vibes of Slow Motion, to chrome-squirting G-funk on It’s Time, with 12 minutes to cool out in the serene waters of Angel Reflections, before taking it Home on the downstroke to the sun-warped bliss of The End Theme.
Summer 2017 is officially heya.
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
Deep Medi throw down Kahn & Neek’s deadly overhaul of Sir Spyro’s anthem, Topper Top; recharging Killa P, Lady Chan and Teddy Bruckshot with a palette of cattle-prod grime drums and pure bolshy bass movement.
Blink and miss it. This one’s a lot.
We're humbled to offer a first ever vinyl edition of Spellwauerynsherde, arguably one of the 21st century’s most enigmatic and haunting albums, presaging contemporary obsessions with processed vocals in a deeply uncanny manner, enduring to resonate with up-to-the-moment music from Kara-Lis Coverdale to Visionist or John T. Gast as much as the record's distant roots in the seminal works of 12th century German mystic and composer Hildegard von Bingen, and the writings of John Milton, among others. It's quite honestly one of the most beautiful albums we’ve come across since we opened our doors back in 1998.
It was originally issued on CD via David Sylvian’s Samadhisound in 2004 and comprises a suite of seven medieval choral pieces which have been sublimated and recomposed via Rabelais’ self-built Argeïphontes Lyre software. The result is an album we’ve returned to repeatedly since its release and we've felt it's always been crying out for a vinyl issue.
Rabelais has done the piece proud for this edition with a sensitive new edit allowing its seven parts to gently flow in sequence over both sides, with the added shroud of vinyl infidelity lending a beautifully subtle patina of detachment which perhaps only serves to heighten the paradoxical - both temporal, spatial and timbral - nature of the record’s ethereal vestibules and elusive, illusory sonic spectres.
In remodelling these ancient works of art he performs a sort of hypermodern animism on ostensibly dead musical material - dead as in hardly anyone knows or plays them in the modern age - imbuing them with a contemporary relevance through the process of his bespoke software (which is freely available to download) which serves to faithfully render, open-up new dimensions and plasmic aspects from work which is now nearly a millennia old - so old you can’t even call it classical music!
For us at the least, Spellwauerynsherde has pretty much set a benchmark for experiments with ancient composition and computer music. From the breathtakingly curdled timbral dynamics and sepulchral space of 1382 Wyclif Gen. II. 7 And Spiride In To The Face Of Hym An Entre Of Breth Of Lijf through to its windswept inversion which concludes the LP with 1671 Milton Samson 1122 Add Thy Spear, A Weavers Beam, And Seven-Times-Folded Shield, each immersion in this vinyl is akin to floating thru the mists of time and sends shivers down our spine just even thinking or writing about it, never mind listening.
It really is one of the most magickal, perplexing and strangely life-giving records that you’ll likely ever hear.
Having just finished a residency at the prestigious EMS Stockholm, Egyptian producer Ahmed El Ghazoly makes a stunning 2nd mark on Lee Gamble’s UIQ label with Numbers, a ruggedly chopped but spatially hypersensitive suite of encrypted electronic rhythms and entrancing, mirage-like geometries. It's the 9th release on Lee Gamble’s UIQ label.
Boldly committed to his own niche between the folds of grime, techno and electro-acoustic dimensions, Zuli’s follow-up to the Bionic Ahmed EP pushes it’s loping designs into stranger spaces within the sound field, finding an idiosyncratic ecology of frequency that finds room for dense, physical subbass, smeared vocals and iridescent motifs amid its morphing dimensions.
The six tracks exemplify Zuli’s playfully paradoxical approach to club music, experimenting with tessellating dry and fluid textures in the dusty, humid London-via-Cairo swerve of Bow which cranks opens the EP, to the metastable techno momentum in the buckling rolige of CommProto, while She’s Hearing Voices feels like a smoking area between rooms, heard in a queasy but spangled state.
That all feels like preparation for the second wind of the B-side, which convulses into action with the chromatic trance warp of What You Do and its grubbing Autechrian inversion, Tongue Chomper, only to slide off the page in Foam Home’s future primordial glob of melted dancehall.
Zomby gives it large with the dry techno punch of GASP!
This is a proper DJ/dancer tool, clocking up cavernous kicks and squeaky, skull-rubbing synths recalling Dutch bubblers in a way that’s only intended for one thing really; cutting shapes and reeling in the strobes after a fat gary and a few lines of whatever yer maw suggested...
The long-awaited debut release by yung new producer Croww for The Death of Rave, somewhere between a mixtape, imagined soundtrack and demonstrative showreel pieced together from a Slipknot sample pack used by the band’s Craig Jones on their landmark debut album and highly recommended if you're into Autechre, Rabit or Total Freedom.
The severely gurned and kerned result is the Prosthetics (MechaMix) unique to the vinyl edition, and four constituent Prosthetics, featuring the original samples painstakingly dissected and assembled in uchronic form to suppose an alternate history of the last 20 years of pop and subcultural phenomena, one where rap metal is dissolved and alloyed with the extremities of grindcore, flashcore, late ‘90s D&B and hypermodern rap instrumentals. Safe to say it sounds like naught out there right now.
Gestated from the seeds of a conversation after 2015’s Moss Side carnival, Prosthetics has grown into a sort of hybrid golem via intensely scrupulous sessions spent panning the original sample pack for flecks of precious, vantablack metals. In the process it became as much a study in coming to terms with formative influences as an exercise in sui-generis sculpturing, effectively forming a noumenal sidestep around the sub-cultural phenomena of Slipknot’s (like it or not) landmark debut record - an album which, at the time, sent shockwaves thru teenaged suburban bedrooms and the kind of clubs you could then get into with a fake ID.
With the benefit of hindsight, Croww has acknowledged and figuratively taken those early influences on a vector that few would have imagined back then. From the record’s early warning of “...they’re doing something rather curious with the parts of the body, in a way we don’t fully understand…” the piece buckles and convulses in a reticulated series of wretches and spasmodic yet disciplined blast beats as much associated with Columbian paso doble as the pitching meter of La Peste’s seminal flashcore tracks or grindcore proper. Samples from Iowan public access TV are mutilated in the strangely brittle yet mercurial mix, whose Black Metal-debted pallor is unpredictably lit up with flashes of shellshocking psychoacoustic treatments in a complex, sci-fi style dramaturgy punctuated by abyssal lacunæ and intensely detailed cues.
To be honest, The Death of Rave was never into Slipknot at the time, yet it was hard to ignore their ubiquitous presence if you were at all inclined to look beyond prescribed chart chaff. But, as the business end of late ‘90s house and trance has become a de facto club soundtrack in 2017, Slipknot’s awkward outsider legacy deserves some polish and attention.
Croww has turned Slipknot’s cultural cadaver into a polysemous mutant that works as a brutalist DJ tool, or indeed as an introductory mixtape/imagined soundtrack boldly expressing the artist’s individuality, which feels deadly important in an age swamped by mimetic clones blindly chasing empirical populism on one hand, or all too happy to wallow in staid ideas of nostalgia on the other.
It's a beguiling reminder that there’s always a third hand, a third track or third path.
Definitely not your average punk posturing, Naomi Punk are messing with original formats in genuinely intriguing ways here, full of detuning guitars and melted, off-beat rhythms, but still with that innovative, eat-yourself gnash that made punk rock what it was. Check!
“The 25 tracks on ‘Yellow,’ conceived as a 2XLP double album from day one, were self-recorded steadily throughout 2015-2017 at various locations. Much of the material was derived from what the group called ‘The Scorpion Suite’, a state of mind reached only by the alternative version of Naomi Punk they call ‘The Scorpions’ (disambiguated). Many ‘Scorpion Sessions’ were conducted by The Scorpions, each member performing their predetermined roll in a project half-aspiring to the register of licensing music, half-aspiring to musical novelty.
Integrated into the album are glimpses of live recordings, sounds of equipment being pushed around, hard rock sample libraries, sounds of the flapping wings of the album’s host (“I Found My Angel Wings” is embedded in thematic variation throughout), windy field recordings, emulsive synthetic woodwinds, a busted car stereo, a few four-track acoustic ballads, and more than a few puzzles and jokes.
If Rock and Pop music are instruments of the Neoliberal period, then they must be repurposed and reorganized. Not just formally, but politically. Coincidentally, the structure of ‘Yellow’ (in spite of the so-called difficulty of its 2xLP format) is no different than recent confessional documents from Frank Ocean, Solange, Kendrick, etc., thus owing much more to the Pop format than its length would suggest. 'Rock' and 'Punk' have become so conservative that they are rendering themselves obsolete as they fail to provide new ideas and solutions for anything other than 'self-expression' and fake posturing. The ‘Yellow’ structure constructs a three-dimensional listening experience, and while it does not pretend to know all the answers, it at the very least (and perhaps most importantly) posits a serious alternative.”
Fracture’s first volley of 2017 is a fierce set riding the razor edge between footwork and jungle; triggering the Addison Groove-like rush of Cold & Rain feat. hardcore diva-style vox from Inaya Day beside the jump-up Shy FX pressure of Your Time on the A-side.
B-side he switches tack to a more clinical modern D&B sound with the tech chops of On My Mind and a scuttling, glitchy halfstepper with Fracture and Alix Perez called So High.
After Burial’s lead, Regis makes Mønic’s Deep Summer more febrile with a cloven-hoofed rework of the devilish techno roller, Regret Was Never So Sure. No mistake this is some of the strongest work yet on Osiris Music Uk from all involved.
Mønic sets the darkside precedents with Regret Was Never So Sure across the A-side, charging up its nervy, dancing bones with overproof bass surely indebted to his D&B days, before rottie-bark lashes steer it into to the darkest corners of the park, where the sun has gone down, and the rottweiler morphs into cerberus-headed beast that’s fucking coming for ya.
Trust Regis to harness that vibe into his mongrel mutation of UK techno and D&B on the flipside, working uncannily well at either the intended 33rpm, 128bpm original mix resembling his Blood Witness Versions, as well as on 45rpm, which sounds more like a Ruffhouse or Pessimist juggernaut at 180bpm.
Add in Mønic’s super wide ambient halfstepper, Forbidden Memories and you’ve got a real doozy of a 12”.
Soul Jazz Records’ new release ‘Soul Of A Nation: Afro-Centric Visions In The Age Of Black Power - Underground Jazz, Street Funk & The Roots Of Rap 1968-79’ is released in conjunction with a major worldwide art exhibition, ‘Soul Of A Nation: Art In The The Age Of Black Power’, which takes place at the Tate Modern, London, UK (July-Oct 2017) and The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA.
"The album shows how the ideals of the civil rights movement, black power and black nationalism influenced the evolvement of radical African-American music in the United States of America in the intensely political and revolutionary period at the end of the 1960s following the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and the rise of the Black Panther party.
Featuring ground-breaking artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Ayers, Don Cherry, Oneness Of Juju, Sarah Webster Fabio, Horace Tapscott, Phil Ranelin and many others, ‘Soul Of A Nation’ shows how political themes led to the rise of ‘conscious’ black music as new afro-centric styles combined the musical radicalism and spirituality of John Coltrane and radical avant-garde jazz music alongside the intense funk and soul of James Brown and Aretha Franklin and the urban poetry and proto-rap of the streets.
The ‘Soul Of A Nation’ exhibition draws on the links between Black art forms - art, music, poetry - and how they came together during the civil rights and black power era as part of the wider black arts movement across the United States. Iconic African-Amercian revolutionary figures such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, John Coltrane and Muhammad Ali all appear in the radical artworks of Barkley L. Hendricks, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Lorraine O’Grady and Betye Saar. Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records) will appear on the panel for a ‘Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power’ discussion at the gallery as part of the show.
‘Soul Of A Nation’ comes with extensive sleevenotes and exclusive photography in a large 36-page outsize booklet and slipcase. Double gatefold vinyl album format comes with full colour inners and bonus download code and full sleevenotes / photography."
Australia’s Cop Envy deposits his 2nd 12” of rugged, Kowton-esque drums and claggy vibes on Sydney’s Templar Sound following a debut for Opal Tapes’ Black Opal in 2016.
As Templar Sound have it, Cop Envy “submerges the pulse of Detroit beneath the ghosts of British hardcore.” in four tracks, getting into gear with the dank bleep rolige of Sshake, before sparking off a killer jungle tekno sound replete with flinty snares and shark-eyed reese bass on Head Mark, landing square between Demdike Stare’s Testpressings and Mumdance & Logos output.
With Kay he yokes back to a sort of swinging dark techno meets UKF sound akin to older Mosca 12”S, and checks out with the balance of romantic rave pads and hard working tribal shunt with Sister Chord.
Haven Discs play in the deep end of electro with Orbe’s Uniformity, channelling mystic Drexciyan and Claro Intellecto vibes into six raw yet plush works
Stepping between the wide bass and dusky chords of Somebody Bring Me Here, over the abyssal interlude Visceral Terror Intro and rolling Dutch muscle of Visceral Terro to saltier tones and direct in in Unexpected Dream’s Rave and the superb Derrick May nod of De Felipe’s World.
Xao comes thru strong on an intricately detailed debut EP with Astral Black
Bumping from the sublime tension of Devylz’ trap turbulence and lush synths, to the sloshing dembow/footwork flux of Karrakis and the weightless dimensions of Papi Ganoush, plus the classy, percolated choral arrangement of Lockjaw.
Lal and Mike Waterson’s 1972 folk-noir masterpiece ‘Bright Phoebus’ has long been recognised as one of British music’s legendary lost records.
"Following the parting of ways of The Watersons and freed from the strictures of folk orthodoxy, Lal and Mike Waterson’s love of words allowed them to serve the needs of their songs in ways that weren’t possible when singing already written songs.
Featuring performances from Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, amongst others, the album is now recognised as a forward-thinking benchmark for the genre.
Fans include Arcade Fire, Stephen Malkmus, Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley - the latter two performed the record themselves in 2013 on the ‘Bright Phoebus Revisited’ tour. This will be the first time since its release that the album will be widely available. Under the supervision of David Suff (Topic/Fledg’ling) and Marry Waterson (daughter of Lal), the album has been remastered from the original tapes."
Upfront reggaeton bumpers from LA-based Dominican Kelman Duran, picked up for his debut album by Simone Trabucchi’s fantastic Hundebiss label - home to Lil Ugly Mane, Francesco Cavaliere and Jaws, among other notable outliers.
Revolving themes as diverse as unrequited love and the Haitian revolution, delivered in pitched-up autotuned vocals by NYC’s Mess Kid on Solos (based on Dominican-Puerto Rican singer Ozuna’s No Quiere Enamorarse) for example, the set expresses a sort of patriotism from an outsider perspective - both from the position of a Black guy in the Dominican Republic, and as a Dominican in the “sanctuary” city of LA during the Trump era.
That aspect follows thru in the “spiritual” tone of the album, with autotune and acres of reverb used to heighten the effect in a way recalling the use of autotune in North African arabic devotionals and street music and balancing out his rhythms’ putative prurience.
In other words it’s a killer set, emotive and heavily rugged where it matters, with fierce club gear such as the blown-out CULO, DEMBOW SUENA, the militant drill of Mobb Deep and the straight-sluggin’ Matarnos jostling shoulders and hips with Kamixlo or Florentino-like sweeties like 1984, PRIMERO, ULTIMO, the hymnal 6 De La Mañana and the tender burn of La Pared.
Technicolour give up four edits of a freely expressive session between Afro-cubist electronic producer Hieroglyphic Being, far-reaching percussionist Sarathy Korwar, and sax-tooting jazz-cat Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming) extracted from their live broadcast for NTS on the iconic Lightship95 Studio - a floating studio moored at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London.
We’re most partial to the EP’s delectably mercurial wonder, Dimensions Of Frequency & Vibrations, where all three beautifully move as one free, full spectrum unit, and then the loping psychedelic blow-out of Ashrams. A real head-full of fusion styles going on in this one. Don’t sleep!
Digital Soundboy’s in-house guy, Mark System rolls out hard on Exit
With the searing hardstepper, Break Glass; a natty 8-bit jump-up number named 600K; some evil Virus styles on Obnox; and darkside lash of Dissolve.
PPU slice off two of the slightly less blunted, dance-ready aces from Yu Su’s AI YE 艾葉 album for the Genero label, who also hail from Vancouver, Canada.
Hingeing around dusty kicks, tender pads and an ear-worming vocal hiccup, Infi Love sweetly flits in the mist and strobes somewhere between NWAQ, Actress and Cassy, whereas Soon (Moa Mix) finds him on a more Theo Parrish-like tip with off-kilter chords and woozy horns drifting by in a stoned beatdown hustle.
One of our favourite discoveries of recent years, Melbourne’s CS + Kreme share this sublime split tape with Vancouver’s Yu Su (aka You’re Me), who both impress with a mix of sylvan, grown-up ambient-pop and 4th World-inspired chill-out for Wichelroede - the label behind celebrated mix-tapes and original material from Beatrice Dillon, BUFO, Cloudface and Jayda G, a.o since 2016.
With their incredible CS + Kreme debut 12” for Total Stasis still glowing brightly in the background, HTRK and Blanck Mass collaborator Conrad Standish meets Sam Karmel ov F Ingers infamy on a side-long jam Roast Ghost, stirring up 21 minutes of lean, crisp 808 and quietly breathtaking synth arrangements gilded by Standish’s melancholic vocals, held low in the mix to draw us in ever deeper to its six minute boogie soul breakdown and glittering reprise. In effect, it’s practically an extension of the CS + Kreme EP, very much in key with its dusky aura and every bit as seductive - a sort of modern day balearic blooze for what ails ya.
Yu Su’s side of feathered silicon chirrups and rhythmelody is the perfect companion piece. Where CS + Kreme hover around the line between downbeat introspection and lush melancholy, Vancouver-via-Kaifeng artist Yu Su percolates coolly optimistic vibes with the healing soul-wash of Little Forest (Spring Mix), blooming metallic petal-like motifs and a refreshing spritz of effervescent pads encouraging listeners to shut eyes and drift its floating ecosystem without fear of sharp angles or any dark surprises.
So nice this one.
Second in a series of limited and one-time only vinyl editions of Dominick Fernow’s earliest work under the Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement moniker, casting spells from the ‘Green Amulet Crafts Supernatural Qualities’  tape onto vinyl for the first time and steadily closing the gap in your RSE collection.
Something like the soundtrack to one of Ballard’s prophetic visions of sunken cities, this second RSE incursion was initially released in an edition of 63 tapes in 2011 and found Fernow dwelling in a dread-fuelled, paranoid headspace. In aesthetic, it forms an oblique inversion of Prurient’s saturated noise assaults or a sort of chopped and screwed adjunct to Vatican Shadow, perhaps best located closest to his Force Publique Congo output, but with fathoms more negative space and those full sunken subbass charges.
A Slave Boy That Died An Awful Death For Not Keepng His Owner’s Horses. He Helps People Who Are Looking For Lost Things fills the A-side, pinpointing a location that could easily be an overgrown traffic island as some Nigerian mangroves in oil country, overrun by local scallies or machete wielding pirates, both scared witless, who could well be the B-side’s An Old Hag That Wears Shoes And Stomps Over People’s Stomachs At Night Making Them Breathless, as is common to local legends of Manchester’s southern edgelands and the Niger Delta.
Thanks to Paul Corley’s sensitive remaster and CGB’s lacquer cut, the subbass has been perfectly translated to the vinyl for total immersion, sounding stronger, wider than the tape or digital versions ever did, and in the process rendering RSE’s magick at its most tangible.
Ask many Fernow/Prurient/Vatican Shadow fiends and they’ll likely cosign - this is some of the dankest, most precious work in Fernow’s sprawling catalogue.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter - Original Motion Picture Score LP. Original Score by Elvis Perkins. Artwork by Jay Shaw.
"Originally titled FEBRUARY, Osgood Perkins’ debut film was a festival hit in 2015 and has now been picked up for wider distribution by A24 under a new title, THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER. The film is a bleakly desolate slow burn, harkening back to such classics as ROSEMARY'S BABY & LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH with its brooding atmosphere and emphasis on perpetual unease and dread rather than jump scares. It’s a remarkable debut, signalling the arrival of a real talent.
The soundtrack was written by Elvis Perkins (Osgood’s younger brother, who released the critically acclaimed albums ASH WEDNESDAY & DEARLAND). Here he has created a dark eerie masterpiece that fuses classic 1970s horror soundtrack tropes with his traditional folk roots and jazz infused inflections of Angelo Badalamenti. Forgoing synth work for traditional instruments and an experimental atonal vibe, its beguiling, otherworldly, and not of its time, which is exactly why it sounds so vital right now. This soundtrack is a rare beast indeed, uninterested in instant gratification and providing an easy one shot listen; this is a score to be savoured and poured over many times."
Ron Trent blesses his MusicandPower label - the recent home for his best new gear - with side-long beauty Wet, which sounds like his classic ‘90s gear but dipped in special psychedelic oils
The flipside makes room for Larry Heard and Harry Dennis’ Months Of May, riffing on their ‘80s classics with a sparkling edeep house update, alongside Spaces & Places’ soul-flowing New Rivers, which an educated guess would attribute to a pseudonym of Ron Trent.
Classy business. We hope the rest of the What The F*ck Do You Know About Deep House series promises the same levels.
Glasgow’s Invisible, Inc. proceed that mystic Komodo Kolektif session with Peter Power & Friends’ Awake Into Life...
A collection of world-spanning sounds distilled into four stripes ranging from the 14 minute haze of chimes, field recordings and sloshing acid bass on Sacral Bells, thru the enchanted raga uplands of Erva Dos Sonhos, and the kind of wittering new age silliness you might find on CD in a head shop’s stock room with Da Gota Ao Oceano.
Lanark Artefax scales up a dazzling Braindance sound for Whities, firming up his electro rhythms and dynamic production for the clubs following more abstract, tentative aces on Cong Burn Waves and UIQ over the last coupla years. If AFX and Objekt adopted a sprog, it would probably grow up to sound just like Whities 011…
Flickering Debris acts as an excellent, vertiginous intro, tilting up like a rollercoaster car in the final moments before it goes into freefall, but then cannily deferring the gratification of the drop and leaving us suspended in choral hyperspace. The drop, if you want to call it that, comes proper with the hard, fine-tuned electro of Touch Absence, which arguably matches the clinical edge of Objekt’s white labels with the lushness of mid ‘90s AFX, although it also kinda takes us back to that SCSI/Finlow/Datathief era at the turn of the century.
Hyphen To Splice follows into more abstracted, messed up designs somewhere between, say, the emotive nuance of Oneohtrix Point Never or Maxwell Sterling, and Rian Treanor’s bendy metrics, leaving the majestically vaulted chorales and sweeping recursive electronics of Voices Near The Hypocentre to blossom in delirious, mind-bending fractals.
Necessary reissue of the foundational template for all stripes of deep ‘90s bleep ’n bass music, Ability II’s eternal Pressure, now backed with a less necessary breakbeat remix by Klasse Recordings Luca Lozano.
So, skipping the remix, you’ll find crisp new pressing of the sublime and sub-heavy original belter, Pressure with spine-freezing vocals and pads and all. But turn over and you’ve got one of the finest electronic dance tax ever written with the ribboning bleeps and double deep bass twist of the Pressure Dub which has soundtracked countless raves, afters and mystic looks ever since 1990, and now again until you wear this copy out.
Smartly off-kilter cosmic techno and boogie from Simon Weiss, who rejoins the Voyage Direct mission with the Dexter-esque funq of You Want A Cigarette EP two years after his 2:48 EP and five years since introduction on the Rush Hour Presents Amsterdam All Stars MMXI set.
Like we said, the title track’s slick torque recalls Dexter’s electro goodies, as does the tangy metallic disco-techno of Brain Fever, but check out Space Ghetto (Booty) for a dose of ruder, ruffer electro-acid-funk and the displaced Intro at the end for fine example of his vocoder skills in weightless anti-G.
The stature of this album has risen to an almost unprecedented level since its first release in September 1975.
At the time Another Green World was generally regarded very positively, but contemporary re-evaluations of the record have exhausted the world's supply of superlatives.
On this album Eno shifted the emphasis of his music from recognisable rock styles to yet more experimental and instrumentally focused productions (only five of this album's fourteen tracks have lyrics). You can hear the foundations for his ambient output being laid down; suddenly texture and the processes of recording and mixing become paramount, resulting in the deeply evocative 'In Dark Trees' and 'Spirits Drifitng'. Classic stuff.
Fronted by The Boredom's Yoshimi, this album is a complex affair that doesn't stray anywhere near the bridle-path of unlistenability...
OOIOO (pronounced oh-oh-eye-oh-oh apparently) make pysch dipped rock that is pleasingly whimsical whilst retaining a formidable bite. Fusing tribal rhythms, punk, hip-hop and organic (often Beach Boys-style) pop might sound horrendously Jazz World Stage, but somehow OOIOO pull it off with considerable aplomb. Featuring appearances from Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon and Seiichi Yamamoto.
After a series of classic yet quickly recorded albums, Brian Eno took two years to complete Before And After Science, releasing it in December 1977.
This record marked a return to ambitious rock music, with 'King's Lead Hat' seeing a release as a single. The line-up of contributing musicians here is particularly impressive, with Fred Frith, Jaki Liebezeit, Kurt Schwitters, Robert Fripp, Conny Plank, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius all helping shape the album's far-reaching experimental pop sounds.
LOOKY LOOKY is the new project from JEFFREY SFIRE and IAN CLARK, both residing in Detroit, Michigan.
"The pair met in the late '90s when Ian was performing as one half of LE CAR with Adam Miller of ADULT. Ian also recorded under the moniker PERSPECTS, and released on Clone, Ersatz Audio and Interdimensional Transmissions. Jeffrey has released a series of singles and remix EPs with Samuel Long as SFIRE on CockTail d'Amore Music and Ultramajic. The duo released their 8-track debut album ‘Part Flamingo’ in 2016. All 8 tracks represent one body of work but are presented as 2 distinct concept EP’s: ‘Part Flamingo’ and ‘Nurse Coven’. They’re loose, fun pastiches of '80s movie soundtracks with accompanying imagery.
For the Flamingo Boots EP we chose 4 songs from the album which the pair extended for maxi 12” throbbing dance mixes. Looky Looky describe the project as equal parts light and dark, a contemporary recasting of Italo, Hi-NRG and electro. The songs infuse bright ‘80s sonic textures with a seedy, sweaty thump. The Motor City duo is about a year into the project, but is already known for their hardware-heavy live set after playing the Honcho Summer Campout last year and the 2017 edition of Gays Hate Techno in northern California."
In late 2013, Preoccupations (then known as Viet Cong) released a small-run cassette EP only available on tour. Over the course of a year, Matt Flegel and Scott Munro worked in their basement studio with a mess of old and run down equipment to build a set of fresh material.
"Joined by bandmates Daniel Christiansen and Michael Wallace, the band completed work on an debut cassette. What emerged from the studio was a mixture of sharply-angled rhythm workouts and euphoric 60s garage pop-esque melodies, balanced with a penchant for drone-y, VU-styled downer moments and became a hard-to-find classic."
TOBIAS BERNSTRUP is a contemporary musician and video artist born 1970 in Gothenburg, Sweden. He received an MFA from Royal College University of Fine Arts Stockholm in 1998.
"Using the visual language of pop culture, video games, sci-fi, classicism and gothic noir, he has created a stage persona with notorious live performances. Dressed in elaborate costumes of skin-tight rubber suits and fetish gear, Tobias’ external appearance is androgynous. He raises questions about representation of identity, the body and physical space in both virtual and non-virtual realities. Between 1997 and 1998 he self-released two limited CD-R EPs. In 2002 his debut album Re-Animate Me was released by Tonight Records followed by two limited 12” singles for the song “27” and the Italian version “Ventisette”. 27 is a 5-song EP collecting 4 different mixes of the title track plus one unreleased song from the Re-Animate Me recording sessions.
The material on this EP is closely connected with the world of computer games which Bernstrup also inhabits. Bernstrup’s music is influenced by 1980s Italo disco and synth pop, reminiscent of Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Ken Lazlo. On the A-side is the original mix at 115 bpm followed by the Lazer Mix set to an faster beat and additional arpeggiations and heavier bass drum beats. Lyrically the song tells the story of a good looking 27-year old boy from a small town searching for love with any man who can spoil him. On the B-side are both the vocal and instrumental of “Ventisette”, the Italian translation of the song “27.” Both versions of “Ventisette” are stripped back compared to the A-side but keep the melodies in tact. Also released for the first time ever is the demo “Dirty Money” a Pet Shop Boys influenced song about male prostitutes ready for a night out working the streets."
Brian Eno's debut solo album, Here Comes The Warm Jets was first released in January 1974, and although it retained some of Roxy Music's glam tendencies there's a pioneering driving force that grounds the record in art-rock principles.
Fourty years on it still feels like a genuine classic, skipping playfully and expertly through pop genres with a host of artists from very different backgrounds: members of King Crimson, Hawkwind, Matching Mole, Pink Fairies and Roxy Music itself all help make this a unique and musically dense experience, but it's the experimental production and intense mixing of the album that proves to be most enduringly impressive.
'Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)' is surely one of Eno's most distinct albums, assisted by a stellar prog-rock cast of Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt plus Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of his former group Roxy Music.
It was on this album that Eno developed his system of pre-determined options for the creative process which he still uses today.
All shades of the lo-fi funk spectrum, from R&B swangers to New Jack flow and melancholy soul burners. Standardly PPU.
“We are gonna call this one Dwight's Baby... "On The Rocks" Written and produced by Dwight Sykes for L.U.S.T. Productions. The album he would have released in 1980 is complete. Cell phone shadow photography by Dwight Sykes.”
Torn Hawk’s spirit quest reveals proper aerobic mystic goodness under the wonderfully suggestive title Men With No Memory, following up the dramas of his Union & Return album with four genre-agnostic turns folding EBM, psyche and dub into striking new prisms that hold up to dancefloor pressure and closer scrutiny at home.
The title track kicks off the first plate with a fugged-up whorl of country guitars and lurching dub nodding at Sun Araw before spiking out with taut EBM drums that really come into play on the B-side’s Poser, one of the rudest, sickest electro cuts we’ve heard this side of Gesloten Cirkel’s album in recent times.
With Butterfly Knives opens the 2nd disc into a flanging metallic wormhole sounding something like a disco on the other side of the TV in Cronenberg Videodrome, then spitting us out at the psychey new wave enigma Stealing Geodes From The Nature Company, and the natty closer, Not Quite Music.
RIYL Beau Wanzer, Gesloten Cirkel, Willie Burns for daaaaays
The Photographs of Charles Duvelle: Disques Ocora and Collection Prophet focuses on composer and musicologist Charles Duvelle's pioneering field recordings, as well as his now-iconic photographs and graphic design. The material focuses on the five regions surveyed during his time with Ocora: West Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and SouthEast Asia.
"Disques Ocora, a French label dedicated to capturing and publishing the sounds of folkloric culture from around the world, is held in the highest possible regard in the realms of professional and amateur ethnomusicology. Instigated in 1958 by Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of musique concrète, Disques Ocora's sterling reputation is largely built on composer and musicologist Charles Duvelle's pioneering field recordings, as well as his now-iconic photographs and graphic design.
Charles Duvelle's work is indisputably one of the most important contributions to the human understanding of the rich biodiversity of our planet's music and language. In 1977, his field recordings from Benin were selected by Carl Sagan for inclusion on the Voyager Golden Records, which were carried into outer space by the Voyager spacecraft to stand as an example of humanity's highest musical expressions for the universe's unknown listeners.
Sublime Frequencies' most ambitious project to date, this 296-page fine-art photography book comprises an exhaustive collection of Charles Duvelle's field photography from 1959 to 1978 (188 black-and-white and 58 color photographs), demonstrating that this master musicologist had an equally unerring eye for photography; Includes a photo index listing the details of each photograph. It also contains an exhaustive interview with Charles Duvelle by Hisham Mayet, detailing the history of the label and offering Duvelle's unique insights into the discipline of field recording (French and English facing text).
The package includes two full-length CDs of archival recordings (some of which have never been published) selected, compiled, and fully annotated by Duvelle himself. Most of the tracks on CD one (Africa) are complete versions of truncated tracks from OOP Ocora LPs. CD two, which includes performances by Sohan Lal, Kheo Oudon, and Madurai Ramaswami Gautam, is focused on material from Asia (music from India and Laos), with two long tracks that have never been released (a third track is a complete unedited version).
The material focuses on the five regions surveyed during his time with Ocora: West Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and SouthEast Asia."
DJ Sotofett and Finnish electro duo Jesse entwine pineal visions of psychedelic electronic dance music on Twotinos, their collaborative debut for Sähkö’s sister label, Keys Of Life.
Like the breezy DJ Sotofett mix of Jesse’s Pohja for Wania which preceded this LP, Twotinos unfolds a freestyling mix of loose percussion and synth fondlings swept up in seductively wide, wandering sound designs. However, with much more room to manoeuvre in here, they take the magic carpet much farther out from the blissed cosmic dunes of Fear Mix (Fearmix) and the intoxicating disco nightflight, Orga Fit to the mazy byzantine dub trip(tych) of Autiomaa and a hard-to-resist Indo-Afro-disco-psychedelic beauty called Kuume (Last Gitar), with the cradling dub tranquility of Puhallus (One Mo, Pad Conga Vocoder Mix) at its conclusion, likely to leave many hankering for another chapter of this saga.
Theo Parrish in full flow, DJing at Sound Signature’s legendary annual Music Gallery sessions in Detroit.
We can spot Theo and Specter's own joints and a couple from Soundstream and KDJ inside, perfectly segued with Chicago classics by Virgo Four and a damn healthy haul of soul, funk and fuck-knows-what in between. Properly ‘up’ stuff. All killer, no filler!
Deep, strident Detroit house from Omar Harper aka OB Ignitt
Hitting it right on the sweetspot with the hypnotic strings and swing of Juiced Up, then slipping into the ruggedly debonaire drive of Weekends and the late, late night-turned-early morning vibes of Hello Day with that inimitable 313 blend of pressure and soulful elegance.
More absolutely killer minimalism from the undisputed master of the genre - Mika Vainio.
Kolmio is a masterclass in pristine minimalism that sounds like a pre-cursor not only to the precise tone arrangements of Alva.Noto but also to the bleep-driven reduced Techno of Hawtin, Sleeparchive et al.
On her captivating 4th solo album, Montreal’s Sarah Davachi - highly regarded for her majestic, coruscating synth compositions - divides her attentions equally between a purely instrumental palette of strings, piano, voice and organ with an enveloping, often ecstatic and mystic effect recalling Áine O’Dwyer’s recent Locusts wonder as much as Ellen Fullman’s works for long stringed instruments. Blown away by this...
Rather than mining ancient synth hardware for its unique tones, in All My Circles Run, Davachi applies the same exploratory approach to acoustic instruments with glacially tense results that quietly light up the liminal borderland between her spheres of electronic and acoustic practice when contrasted with her previous recordings. As the title perhaps suggest, you can consider these new pieces as discrete strands in a sort of diffracted spectral venn diagram of her sound.
The results will ring true with anyone who has heard her previous releases, whilst also offering another perspective on her tonal ontology, pin-pointing her acute feel for pealing, plangent overtones in For Strings, which opens out with a raw beauty and scale reaching heights strikingly similar to Áine O’Dwyer’s recent LPs, or by Charlemagne Palestine for that matter, whereas For Voice is a deeply sober, sombre piece again precisely focussed on those fluttering points where consonance/dissonance are near indistinguishable.
The solo piano piece, Chanter follows that slope into lower tones, slowing the heart rate to the point where we can almost perceive the notes as gauzy, keening and candle-flickering blurs, before her sound starts to coalesce in lustrous, upward facing drone in For Organ, burning with a quiet optimism which is sublimated into the exceptional parting passage of For Piano, where the pensile strings, gently cascading keys, and floating organ (and possibly voice?) ebb and flow with a magic intensity redolent of an imagined, smudged meditation by Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru and Pauline Oliveros.
Unique, killer tribal techno rhythms from Harmonious Thelonious for DISK, following that superb Paradon’t 12” with a broader, layered and textured batch of knobbly grooves and hypnotic patterns.
Marking a subtle line in the sand from their previous output on DISK’s defunct sibling label, Diskant, the tracks here carry more weight for modern ‘floors, feeling as though he’s unlocked some secret drum kink which allows his rhythm to flow more effortlessly and deadly.
Uptown, he shakes out the unsteady intricacies of Sketches to sound like some inversion of techno, D&B and ancient, psychedelic drum rituals, before yoking his drums to a strobing 16th note synth in Manta Mantra, which is about the most perfect balance of tribal music and mesmerising, electrified Düsseldorf styles that you could hope for.
Downtown, he brings a sort of Konono No.1-alike tang to Shackleton-esque drum cadence in Ayranman, whose title punningly plays on the Turkish name for Ironman (what did you think?), and then trips out with another old skool Shack-style roller named I Found A New Way of Loving You.
3 TEENS KILL 4 was born in the summer of 1980 in the East Village of New York City. They took their name from a New York Post headline. The group consisted of Doug Bressler, Brian Butterick, Julie Hair, Jesse Hultberg, David Wojnarowicz.
"There was a conscious decision not to have a front person or lead singer. David made cassette tapes with voices and sounds that he held up close to a microphone, fast-forwarding and rewinding. Julie tried different rhythms on a Korg rhythm machine. Brian played a Casio drum machine and Jesse was on bass. Doug joined the group in time to make the debut album.
He was a music lover who understood how to avoid covering over the band’s non-musicality. Their debut 7-song mini-album No Motive was recorded in Fall 1982 and self-released in 1983. Utilizing rhythm boxes, tapes of news reports, odd percussion tools, snatches of song, they chanted political narrative ideas about the modern mess at the time. The album is an amalgam of urban life, a twisted, anti-rhetorical approach to social issues. Songs weave together to create an intelligent, jarring sound. Razor sharp guitar licks and hauntingly ominous bass lines create a tense, oblique abstraction of pain and chaos. For this reissue we’ve added 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks."
What would Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s Electronic Music, Tar And Sehtar classic sound like if he had access to a Serge modular and digital applications in 2016? That notion is beautifully answered in Sote’s remarkable Sacred Horror In Design, which was produced in Tehran, Iran as the sonic quota of an A/V collaboration with Tarik Barri, commissioned for a performance at the 2017 edition of Berlin’s CTM festival, and now picked up for this special release by the excellent Opal Tapes label.
To more pertinently expand the question at the top; what if Dolat-Shahi had also come up listening to hardcore, techno and modern electronic music? Across six tracks that idea unfolds in gloriously beguiling fashion, rendering 45 minutes of the classic instruments - ancient forerunners of the ubiquitous guitar - sublimated into flourishing vamps and diaphanous clouds of complex harmonics which reprise the beauty of Dolat-Shahi’s music, but with a more dynamic keen and microtonal glisten that’s no doubt been inspired by the cultural restrictions of his home country, and also resonates with the fraught ambiguity of our times.
It’s the latest and arguably most impressive example of Sote’s creative renaissance, presenting his definitive opus after a winding 15 years of work which has variously turned up on Warp in the early ‘00s, followed by a 7 years hiatus which saw him return with the Xenakis-at-the-rave styles of Architectonic and Arrhythmia for Morphine Records and Record Label Records, and a pair of staggering techno releases for Ge-stell and Opal Tapes in Hardcore Sounds From Tehran .
Opening with the wide-eyed, vaulted dimensions of Flux of Sorrow, incorporating material from NOVA Ensemble’s Seyle Ashk, to vacillate serene pastoral motifs with panicked modular busts in Boghze Esfahan and the demented prangs of Plural, before lashing out with the intense rave brainfloss of Plebians and sweeping us up in the folk music advancement of Segaah, the meter-tearing Serge rushes of Holy Error’ provides a fitting, climactic closure to the album’s mind bending equations.
It’s hard to think of another artist who has so uniquely pursued a synthesis of traditional and modern, sacred and arcane, with such vigour and vision in recent years, and for it all to remain so compellingly coherent is strong testament to Sote’s sorely under-regarded brilliance.