Sully operates at his very, very best on these junglist diamonds delivered thru his newly minted label; Uncertain Hour.
The level of beat breaking dexterity and arrangement are just breathtaking on Vacancy, and comparable only with the best Dillinja, Photek or Source Direct gear.
Likewise, Digitalis is shocking in its clarity and faithfulness to the craft, subtly updating his beloved jungle frameworks with a blend of classicism and razor-edge modernity that’s flooring us right now.
A total collector’s fancy from 1990, the hypnotic percussions of ‘Elephant’s Easy Moonwalk Through The Night’ finds an ideal new home on Bernd Friedmann’s nonplace.
Drum nuts, dancers and ersatz ethnomusicologists will have a field day with this one.
Heavyweight, fresh jungle tekno rollers from NYC’s Aquarian
Building a powerful momentum with the pounding flux of Hamburglar Helper, and cutting a few degrees colder with the brittle, scratchy swing and parry that leads to a proper late ‘90s acid techno coda in Snack ID, before tagging in Deapmash to enhance the surging, thrumming torque of their Hamburglar Helper, Deep-Fried mix.
The Chisa Years: 1965–1975 (Rare and Unreleased) is a compilation album by South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela.
"The album consists of 14 rare or forgotten tracks recorded by Stewart Levine and Hugh Masekela from 1965 to 1975 when they ran their own Chisa Records label. Thom Jurek of Allmusic wrote “In sum, there isn’t a weak moment on this entire collection. It’s appeal is wide and deep and one can only hope this is the first of many volumes of this material to appear.
BBE Records has done a stellar job in making this slab available.” Dan Nishimoto of the Prefix Magazine stated “The compilation focuses on Masekela’s original idea of “African American Music.” From the early experiments of the Zulus (a group featuring M’Bulu) in mixing doo-wop, rhythm & blues and South African gospel and the mbaqanga/”Grazing in the Grass”-style work of the generically named Johannesburg Street Band to the clearly Fela-influenced Ojah (Masekela’s band in the mid-’70s, consisting of players from Ghana and Nigeria) and the readyfor-primetime belting of M’Bulu, each track reveals a multi-pronged effort to find and challenge the notion(s) of how African and American cultural forms could interact.”
Swing Ting, Zora Jones, Mike Q, Murlo, Canblaster and Xavier Stone queue up to refract Sinjin Hawke’s First Opus album in myriad shiny club styles.
We’re naturally drawn to Swing Ting’s bashment remix of They Can’t Love You, featuring Manchester legend Trigga firing bars over piquant strings and rugged drums, while Zora Jones also impresses with her quicksilver slow/fast remix of Snow Blind; MikeQ also comes on hard with an industrialized c*nty rework of Don’t Lose Yourself To This; and Murlo devilishly splits the atoms of Prophecy Of Bootyspoon into a breakstep garage spesh.
Delroy Edwards extends his now-yearly invite to dance with Rio Grande, following the format of his Hangin’ At The Beach album with a mazy run thru funked-up, lo-fi cuts. Please note that the download version is 22 tracks long, while the vinyl sampler contains 5 tracks.
Short-circuiting questions of quantity over quantity by presenting everything at the lowest possible grain grade and with lots of it to choose from, he lets his mind, and by turns ours, wander freely from hazy cable access TV funk in El Bandito Pt.1, to the vintage porno soundtrack vibes of Rio Grande and the swaggering charms of The Hawaii Guys with ineffably louche and idealised style; kinda like the sonic equivalent of a freestyling skateboarder who can’t help but knock out natty trick after trick with sloppy but deadly style.
If you’re after club jams, run check the sorts of his budget Larry Heard vibes on Rumba or Knock Em Out, and the bristling jack attacks of his Raw Beats, but to be honest it’s best consumed in one hazy sitting, preferably with a henny in one hand and zoot in the other.
The wonderful STROOM 〰 label expand their precious archive of Lowlands-based synth music with a flowering compilation of Siebe Baarda aka Cybe’s ersatz exotic electronics; Tropisch Verlangen, or Tropical Desire, recorded in the 80's and cast aside to languish in obscurity more or less ever since. Brilliant find this, tipped if yr into early Coil, YMO, Kode 9, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
One of three cassettes issued by the then yung and nascent artist after travelling around India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali and Java in the early ‘80s, Tropisch Verlangen channels the richness of the sights, smells and feelings Cybe experienced during those trips into an impressionistic moire of shimmering gamelan and nimble electro pieces that resonate with the vibes of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s B-2 Unit classic as much as K. Leimer’s Eastern-facing works or the new age psychedelia of Holland’s Chi Factory.
Using authentically indigenous instruments - Tinklik, Sarong Barong, Genggong, Ching and Suling - as well as a wealth of other synthesisers, samplers, vocoder, gongs, computer and other percussive-melodic pieces like the xylophone and glockenspiel, the results are at once innocently searching and intricately realised. And while his sister, Betty Baarda contributes guitar on one song, The Moon Is Shining Above The Richfield, it’s rather impressively all the work of one man solo in his bedroom/studio.
In that sense, it’s inarguably an ambitious effort, and one that was evidently, beautifully realised at that time. However a lack of recognition beyond a group cult in Amsterdam and a handful of gigs and concerts (especially difficult to play live with tape) meant that he would soon enough sell all his gear and forget about making music, but still listened to it a lot.
The results thankfully live on thru STROOM 〰, reprising the feeling we last felt towards their reissue of Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack, but with a more piquant tang of unique scales and tingling percussions, including some utterly heart-melting moments in the sublime vignettes of Chinatown and the Sublime Frequencies radio series vibes of Loi Krathong, or the Bamboo Houses styles of Zen Tai.
After a decade dashing around the UK bass nexus, Luna finally gives us a proper grasp of mercurial producer Marco Giuliani a.k.a. Last Japan
Following numerous 12”s, remixes, collaborating with Zomby and producing for Haleek Maul, plus a low-key album on cassette, Luna firms up an absorbing showcase of his stripped down and detailed production style with highlights in the drill-style pressure of Wrong One feat. Prynce Mini, the brooding clout of U Wot MVIII (best title!), the laser-guided synths and sparing rave horns of Squad, and the wilting, wickedly off-kilter timbral rub of Cold Skies.
Rogue white label styles from some G called Tribe Of Colin on John T. Gast’s 5 Gate Temple - ayyyye, you do the math…
The follow-up to Tribe Of Colin’s 2015 tape/digital release Fruits Of Zion retains that issue’s sense of mystery and dread intrigue but packs more dance-driving energy this time around.
Noir Body (the message) locks into the A-side, leading off with a downpitched sample of Sun Ra (?) and stretching out a heaving, chugging tract of blunted fantasy dance.
B-side is better yet, with Lion 5 sounding like a ritualistic after-hours Spiral Tribe techo-steppers cut, then dropping out into a dub wise Skit, and hustling up the flailing drum drums of Lead & Demonstrate for advanced, air-carving movements by hypnotised bodies.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Arto Lindsay and Devendra Banhart cameo on this coolly endearing downbeat turn by NYC’s Shuta Hasunuma & U-zhaan, investigating a genteel space between minimalism and smoky lounge jazz with ambient pop wise results that recall everyone from To Rococo Rot to Susumu Yokota, Visible Cloaks and The Remote Viewer.
Waving back and forth between vocal piece, beatless vignettes, and a number of absorbing experiments with tabla and sitar strings, the vibe is faithfully maintained for easy listening purposes. But if you need any highlights to check, make sure you run thru the perfectly low key hush of Green Godl Grey featuring a playful, drowsily hateful Arto Lindsay, and the two extended pieces of pointillist tabla tics and effervescent electronics in Mixed Bathing World and the frothy magick of Lal, featuring bubbling choral voices aided by Ryuichi Sakamoto - you really need to check this one!
Erstwhile Grouper collaborator Ilyas Ahmed drifts back to MIE Music with a shimmering new side of country folk filtered thru a blue dream-pop lense in ‘Closer To Stranger’.
The follow-up to 2016’s Dreamboat collab with Golden Retriever finds that duo’s Jonathan Sielaff contributing Bass Clarinet on two songs, while the Pakistan-born, Minnesotan Ilyas Ahmed tends to vocals, guitar and synth, in parts coming as close as we’ve ever heard him to Mark Hollis levels of intimate singer-songwriter charm.
“Closer To Stranger is the new solo album by Pakistani-born dream-folk musician Ilyas Ahmed. Drawing on a wide range of influences, his songs incorporate classic singer-songwriter gestures alongside more experimental leanings. Recorded to tape in the studio by Justin Higgins in the fall of 2016 and finished in the spring of 2017, Ahmed’s instrumental palette includes: acoustic and electric 6 and 12-string guitars, Fender Rhodes, multiple keyboards, tanpura, and percussion. Closer To Stranger stands as a meditation on uneasy identity politics during times of unreason, seeking peace amidst chaos.
Jonathan Sielaff (of Thrill Jockey ambient duo Golden Retriever) cameos with guest saxophone on “Zero For Below” but otherwise the album is a solo affair, alternately feverish, tense, hazed, hypnotic, and narcotic. A slowly unfolding inward journey of late night lullabies and contemplative electric drift.”
Stockholm’s Sissel Wincent returns to Peder Mannerfelt's eponymous imprint with five tracks of ragged gabber kicks and hypnotic electronic gloom, highly recommended if yr into Kablam, Nkisi, Frak, Fever Ray...
Following her recent remix of Fever Ray’s Wanna Sip, Sissel here draws further inspiration from the intersection of doomcore gabber, electronic minimalism and experimental techno to shape a rugged sound riddled with uncanny detail and unyielding arrangements, effectively articulating the idea of techno with a uniquely dry and biting attitude.
Ponytails kicks off the EP with roving kicks scanned by searchlight synths and a melody recalling an ice cold Nkisi cut, while Cynical holds that glaring sound in clenched suspense with a push and pull of jarring atonalities and shivering rhythms that resolve to a jagged, roguish trample.
On Yellow Lines Sissel swerves closer in effect to the primitivist bangers of Frak with unflinching style, but an element of trippy emotive pathos begins to creep in with the curdled synths smeared over militant steppers’ ballistics on Still Undetermined, before Distance As Distance holds her anti-banger stance with bruising, abrasive force, making for some of the grittiest and most unsettling techno you’ll hear in 2018.
Yeah You’s Mykl Jaxn & Elvin Brandhi wreak fresh havoc on Slip and Opal Tapes with KHOT<, where the improvising father/daughter duo steer their battered unit down the grimmest ginnels between Black Metal, freestyle rap and surrealist performance art. Making up their 3rd release of the year already, KHOT< follows the KRUTCH LP and VHOD tape with a typically obstinate and expressive new blast of avant guts sure to keep the dilettantes at bay and keep the pair’s cult following beguiled by their every move.
Refusing to lapse into anything that may be deemed conventional or commercial, Elvin sprays improvised verbal pebbledash against her dad’s cranky backdrops of piercing electronics and crippled beats in a way meant to keep everyone at arms length. And that’s where the “fun” lies, as any attempt to latch onto or follow Elvin’s exasperated yowls and pronged phrasing becomes even more difficult as her dad’s cheap infrastructure of inside-out Casio keyboard coupled with dictaphone both shields and distorts her wretched truths, fireproofing them against easy or half-arsed reception.
By their own admission; “This is the worst album Yeah You has ever made”, which conversely translates to a pleasingly foul experience for those already attuned to Yeah You’s dare-to-differ style, especially in the traverse from shrieking electronics to sourest BM gestures between Krutches and “Yeah You”, and again with the headlong plunge into rotted bleeps and techno squabble in Reap Your Defects and the burned out resistance of The Apologetic Extra Accidentally Invades Emblem?
Make no mistake, Yeah You are among the most vital, prickly and unmissable units in contemporary UK music, and KHOT< is yet another fiercely in/direct and cuttingly impulsive showcase .
The Works of John B. McLemore, the star of one of last years biggest podcasts, S-Town, which is coming out on Dais. The story behind this release is truly fascinating.. the music itself is ambient remixes of Tor Lundvall's best works, but with John's idiosyncratic slant on them, with some having been woven together using the horde of clocks he use to keep in his basement. This story is really worth a read if you get a chance.
"In September 2012, I received an e-mail from someone named John B. who said he had assembled a lengthy remix of my music, which also incorporated some of his own material. John asked if I'd mind if he posted this recording on YouTube, to which I agreed. He also mentioned that there was a second part to his mix that was "roughed out", but never completed. I was curious to hear both parts, so shortly afterwards, John mailed me two CDrs which I enjoyed very much. The recordings were hypnotic and haunting, evoking images of vast fields at twilight. I was especially fond of the second disc which had a darker atmosphere and featured more of John's original material, beginning with ghostly clock chimes and ending with a mysterious piece using dried seed pods and other cryptic sounds that slowly built-up into an intense, almost claustrophobic environment.
My correspondence with John lasted about two months. In one of his final e-mails, John said "I have to observe that your paintings seem to have a great deal of loneliness involved in them... even multiple characters seem to be together alone, so to speak... I really appreciate looking at your paintings as well as your music, I think I have connected with the spirit of them both as much as anyone can." He went on to discuss his struggles with depression, caring for his aging mom and his concerns about the future. I tried to encourage his music as a possible outlet, perhaps as a means to help transform his feelings of loneliness into a more content solitude. Always easy to say, but as I well know, not always easy to do.
In his last e-mail in late October 2012, John sent me a beautiful slideshow of his Fall flower beds and his dogs. I was touched and I told him how much watching his video had brightened my day. That was the last time I heard from him.
Last year, I visited John's YouTube channel to see if Part One of his mix was still posted, which it was, and still remains. I was shocked and saddened to read in the comments section that he had passed away. The comments also suggested that John had received some sort of national attention recently. This quickly led me to the S-Town podcast. Although I had mixed reactions after listening, I was thankful that S-Town shed more light on John and his remarkable life... but somehow, I just couldn't place the person in the podcast with the person I had corresponded with. Had I not listened to S-Town, I would have remembered John as a very private, somewhat dark and lonely person. He may have been these things, but there was obviously far more to him than that.
After finishing the final episode, I decided to play the second, unreleased CDr of John's recordings for the first time in years. Listening to his clock chimes ringing in the dark was an eerie and chilling moment. I was reminded of a line from my song "29" which says "I live with dreams and a lonely mind, my clock is set to a different time". I wondered what those lyrics might have meant to him.
John had mentioned that he wasn't satisfied with his final mix, but I felt his work was too special not to be heard. I hope that these recordings offer another glimpse into the creative mind of a unique, complex and gifted individual who tragically left this world all too early."
January 17th, 2018
In the wake of 2017’s Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht, Numero is proud to present another addition to the soft rock cannon: W2NG.
"Set your FM dial to smooth and sail away with 42 minutes of uninterrupted easy glide, pontoon rock, and whispery disco. Featuring unreleased burners from Gary Hyde, Love Transfusion, Marshall Titus, and Phillips, alongside scarce cuts from Nannette, Greenflow, Jim Spencer & Son Rize, Larry Sanders, Kettner & Shawe, Orphans of Love, and Lion, W2NG is sure to surprise even the most devout boat shoe enthusiast."
Killer new D&B mutations from the shady 4 6 2 5 collective of UVB-76 affiliates, including the outstanding, febrile Cassette_A rave regression.
Uptown, they go hard with splashy big beats and knee-crumpling subs in Non-Citizen, before prolapsing the murky sludge of Proles for the techno mutants.
Downtown brings a densely pressurised minimalist roller called The Barrens, and the one you really need, a shadowy scene-setter called Cassette_A which makes killer use of sample of a rave MC calling “security, come here right now!” set to a backdrop of billowing, bellicose noise, and nothing but. Top marks for that one at the very least!
Proggy space metal alloyed with post rock and kosmiche synths, produced by Randall Dunn (Sunn0)))), Earth, Wolves In The Throne Room) at his Avast! Recording Studio in Seattle, WA.
It’s a really mixed bag, this one. We’re initially turned off by the chinny chuff prog levels they hit in the first track, but give it time and you may be rewarded with some interesting collisions of metal with drum machines, until, oh fuck they did those twiddly prog vamps again. Nah, i’m not having it.
But actually those deckside shoegaze strums are quite nice, and that passage of alien syrenes beckoning us to their planet paradise are bloody lovely. Ah fuck it, we can’t make up our minds: is this D&D soundtrack gear; or more Alien blockbuster score?
Rroxymore keeps her grooves loosely mutable and wonkily useful on Thoughts of an Introvert, Pt.2 for Don’t Be Afraid.
She continues to trace new patterns at the edge of the dance from the swagger and psych-y bleeps of This Is Not What You Think recalling a wigged-out C2, to something like a mutant Martyn dubstep riddim in Run…Feet, whereas Mythical Technology is like a less proggy, more groovesome Karen Gwyer workout.
Improvisations on an Apricot is a lovely, dawning suite of jazz improvisations striving to emulate the sound of ’70s/‘80s ECM records.
It’s the first transmission from Aqueduct Ensemble, comprising Kit Freund - who is half of the Lejsovka & Freund duo for MIE Music, and also part of Trouble Books - and his neighbour, Stu; a piano tuner and professional pianist who’s would tune Linda Lejsovka’s instrument.
The album was recorded at Kit’s home in Akron, Ohio between summer 2016 and Autumn 2017, and brings with it a warm and breezy sense of homeliness and the slow life, gently woven and enhanced by the guest gestures of friends passing thru, adding parts to the recordings here and there. From that friendly familiarity, to its synaesthetically evocative track titles such as Cut Grass and In Perfect Air, the whole thing is a waking dream of sorts; a strong pick for balmy evenings and mornings when you need to ease in or out of the day.
Dreamtime Return  is perhaps the definitive ambient album by Steve Roach. Its title and conception relate to Steve’s interests in native Australian culture and the idea of ‘dream-time’, a notion roughly translating to a ‘time out of time’, or a prehistory populated by ancestral figures with supernatural abilities.
Naturally, Steve uses indigenous percussion and his signature electronic palette, to bring the ancient, sacred idea of Dream-time to reality in a way that has since become canon to ambient electronic music, with clear antecedents in the music of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and FSOL among others.
"Since its release in 1988, Dreamtime Return has earned its reputation as a genuine classic. The two-CD magnum opus is one of the most important, widely known and highly respected release in Steve Roach’s vast body of work. It serves as an essential benchmark within the Electronic-Ethno-Atmospheric genre.
Roach’s travels in the Australian outback, along with studies of the native Dreamtime, and his desert walkabouts in California were the lifeblood for this recording which even today sounds like a transmission from the near future and the very distant past.
“Musically Dreamtime Return richly deserves its classic status, but Roach also deserves credit for leading electronic musicians out of their sheltered studios and into an active relationship with the landscape, the wider world, and deep cultural history. The whole genre is stronger and more relevant for his example.” – Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space Radio
Three decades after its release, the true expansive depth of this iconic masterpiece has been meticulously unveiled, revealing an entirely new listening experience. With this 30th Anniversary remastered edition, mastering engineer Howard Givens utilizes his years of technical knowledge with electronic music, an extensive array of analog and digital tools, and his passion for this seminal work, to restore the original sonic nature and visionary intention, taking the listener deeper into the dreamtime.
“Steve Roach demonstrates that electronic music’s greatest potential may lie in bringing our most elusive dreams and ancient memories into focus through potent, highly imaginative soundscapes. In addition to the atmospheric harmonies and rhythms that literally engulf you for two hours the artist’s compelling style is his uncanny ability to create the illusion of suspended time. Altered chords that breathe ever so slowly, floating textures, digitally sampled native timbres, and arresting special effects lead you through a gently unfolding maze of sonic dimensions that depict a sense of mystery and confrontation with the unknown. The effect is mesmerizing, increasingly introspective, yet curiously comforting as if the primitive wisdom and renewed connection to nature this music conveys is something you were craving all along. This is without question Steve Roach’s masterpiece.” – Linda Kohanov, (excerpt from) CD Review, August 1989
“Surrounding every masterpiece there is an arcane and indecipherable energy, a divine breath that blows. Works like Dreamtime Return change the course of history and accomplish a prodigious jump forward. It is a recording that has inspired a whole generation of musicians and that contains within its two hours astounding artistic intuitions, the starting point for all of the esoteric and tribal music that is produced today. The drones of the didgeridoo, the ceremonial drums, the alien ambiences, the voices from the past, the eternal silences, the tribal atmospheres, the dilation of time, and the sculpture of space have created the tribal-ambient genre, of which Roach was the first techno-shaman. The record can be considered a soundtrack for an adventure at the edge of time, an experience that has deeply and indelibly marked Roach, whose life from that moment will no longer be the same. The channel is open.” – Gianluigi Gasparetti, Deep Listenings, August 2005
"Dreamtime Return is more than a seminal recording that has influenced a generation of musicians. It’s a portal into a universe where technological designs merge deep inside primordial moods. Roach found the nexus of primal didgeridoo growls and synthesizer drones and orchestrated them into this techno-tribal opus. When you shout out at the edge of the world, Dreamtime Return is echo that calls back to you." - John Diliberto, Echoes Radio
Huerco S’ West Mineral label follow Pendant’s sublime 'Make Me Know You Sweet' album with uon’s wholly absorbing study in brownian motion and isolation tank ambience; a hypnotically lush exploration of underwater romance. If you're into the impeccable run of Vainqueur releases on Chain Reaction, this one's for you.
It’s the 2nd release from the enigmatic project, whose debut 12”s in 2017 was among the year’s standout ambient and dub-related releases. On this new one uon poetically describes three different behaviours of water and its amorphous states through a gently elemental push and pull of forces best considered in the vein of Basic Channel, Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas or the shimmering convections of Ross 154.
Beautifully elusive but crucially watermarked with a sense of originality in personalized style, Solaris opens the set with a 17 minute cut - a seemingly infinite journey through swells of diffracted chords and silty filters, simultaneously connoting sensations of opiated amniotic safety and oceanic infinity.
Where the A-side feels like floating in a lush mass, the bass-heavy articulation of his B-side’s J may well urge listeners onto the ‘floor with the same, inexorable traction of classic Vainqueur records, and in a way smartly reflects uon’s mutable DJ style, before the aqueous qualities of his final track Bus soothes to a deeper blue state of loved-up introspection which, like Solaris, could have have easily taken up a side to itself.
Digitally re-mastered featuring Sonic Boom and Jason Pierce. The original appearance of Taking Drugs was in fact a bootleg on the semi-legendary/semi-notorious Father Yod imprint in 1990, later supplemented with contemporary outtakes and cuts for the Bomp reissue in 1994 and one further song for the Space Age version in 2000.
"The original seven tracks, dated January 1986 and the first recordings to feature Pete Bain on bass, are collectively known as the Northampton Demos.
Both Sonic and Pierce have been on record as long preferring these takes to the eventual versions that surfaced for the most part on Sound of Confusion.
Certainly it's a fine set of performances, showing a definite step toward the more familiar sound of the group and away from the rougher takes on For All the Fucked Up Children of the World.
"The Sound of Confusion," aka "Walkin' With Jesus," rips along with fierce energy, Pierce's singing and the rampaging, primitive wail and rumble of the band just wonderful.
"Losing Touch With My Mind" takes things to an even higher level, a huge wallop of feedback and beat (Natty Brooker's drumming in particular delivers just what the doctor ordered), Pierce delivering the lines with a flat, cutting drawl.
On the slightly lighter tip, "Come Down Easy" is more or less fully in place (aside from singing about it being 1986!), possessing a more upfront but less vocally distinct feel than the Perfect Prescription take.
The tracks that surfaced on the later reissues come from a variety of different sessions, including the original take on "Feel So Good" and a good live version of "Things'll Never Be the Same," one of several cuts featuring Brooker's drumming replacement Rosco."
South Korea’s synth-loving Extra Noir podcast becomes a label with this roving, smartly sequenced compilation of songs, most notably starring ace works by Cucina Povera and Xander Harris among other new names, both lesser known and incognito.
Perhaps predictably, Cucina Povera provides a big highlight with the drowsy folk-soul incantation of Hirvi Ja Viiniköynnös - a total must for anyone who fell for her Hilja LP - and Xander Harris is genuinely thirsting for the club on his sleek, pulsating disco-tech winner The Velvet Land.
Strong moments also come from Seoul’s Tengger on the Pye Corner Audio-meets-Cosey stylings of Breathe In, Breathe Out; a sleazy slow slugger from Glasgow’s Total Leatherette; and a striking stroke of cinematic smarts by South Korea’s Airy Textile, a.k.a. Seonggu de Kim and Eajik.
Ecstatic offer a deeply arresting and definitive collection of Works by erstwhile Serbian factory worker-turned-synthesist Abul Mogard; containing selections from two cassettes released in 2012 and 2013 on Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra’s VCO Recordings, as well as a cassette only release last year on Ecstatic, never before available on vinyl. RIYL Alessandro Cortini, The Caretaker, Fennesz, Tangerine Dream, Brain Eno, Tim Hecker...
Abul Mogard’s relatively unusual path to releasing music is well documented, but bears repeating here. Upon taking retirement from a job at a factory which he held for decades, Mogard craved the mechanical noise and complex harmonics of the industrial workplace, and found that the best way to fulfil that need was through electronic music - using a limited set-up of Farfisa organs, voices, samplers and a self-built modular system to realise a peaceful yet haunting, sweetly coruscating sound that resonates uncommonly with music from Leyland Kirby to Alessandro Cortini, or Fennesz and Tim Hecker.
The nine tracks on Works are soused in an emotional richness that’s hard to forget once experienced. Broad daubs of distorted bass and naturally glorious harmonic progressions paint panoramas of wide open, grey-scaled skies whilst equally conveying the intimate feel of a person with their nose to the machine, toiling for a sound or feeling that really means something to them, and by turns, us.
The fact that Mogard hails from an area hardly well-known for its synth music, and that he’s of an age where most people take up gardening or lawn bowls, rather than synth music, only helps to aid the enigma and magick surrounding this remarkable artist and his layered, emotional music.
Canada’s Tess Roby makes her long touted IDIB début, poised between dusky balearic romance and waking dream pop, with just a touch of folk-wise new age diva about her.
Quite remarkably for an IDIB releases, the hand of Johnny Jewel is unusually absent apart from some mixing treatment on Ballad 5. The rest of the record is written and produced by Toronto/Montreal’s Roby, whose measured vocals are the centrepiece of each cut, variously framed against languid Yacht boogie vibes in Given Signs, or most beautifully buoyed by creamy chromatic arps in Catalyst, and like Nico meets Tangerine Dream on the album’s exceptional parting missive, Borders.
"The Beacon crowns Ashurst Hill in Dalton, Lancashire, looming over the verdant English countryside nearly six hundred feet above sea level. This spartan brick monolith was erected in 1798 as a watch tower to warn of French invasion during the Napoleonic War — and there it silently remains, keeping infinite vigil. It stands in Tess Roby’s mind. The Beacon calls to her. “Throughout my life I have felt the pull to return to it,” she says. “I’m beckoned by father’s roots and by the sullen landscape of fields leading to the coast.”
Tess Roby is an artist with a vision. The Montreal-based photographer and musician, an eight-year veteran of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, seems utterly original, moving with a restless energy toward the sublime. Her sound betrays an intrepid longing to discover and explore, to reject convention and transcend cliché: Roby is a born traveller, absorbing everything she hears and making it new. Ethereal and crystalline, bathed sumptuously in synths, her music is heady, dreamy, singular — a transmission from parts unknown. The classical training and aesthetic omnivorousness combine like worlds colliding.
Roby’s debut album Beacon was written in 2015, following the death of her father. She collaborated with her brother Eliot to create what they describe as a kind of spiritual homage — both to her father and to the Beacon, where the family travelled often. Roby recorded these songs with the drum machines and synthesizers she found in her father’s recording studio, and galvanized by his spirit she imbued the music with love, movement, whispers, memories, and pain. “All the while the Beacon remained effervescent in my mind,” Roby remembers. “Visions of it ablaze on the hilltop, standing motionless while I searched for understanding.”
A remarkable dream described in sound and song, ‘Un Beau Matin: Areski’ is an important and singular slice of the French avant garde recorded in 1970, following Areski and his wife Brigitte Fontaine’s album with Art Ensemble Of Chicago. This LP clearly paved the way for artists such as Ghédalia Tazartès or ÉLG, and crucially incorporates African elements in a way that feels natural, not forced or pasted-on. A stunning vintage classic
“Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Areski's Un Beau Matin, originally released in 1970. Only those who read all the credits on record liner notes will know the full details: Areski is of course Brigitte Fontaine's partner in life, but also her creative alter ego, and the composer of the music of most of her songs. Even though it was his wife Brigitte and not him who wrote the lyrics, Areski is a poet in his own right. Furthermore, he is polyvalent: composing, arranging, singing, improvising, playing every possible instrument, and even acting. Areski, to sum up, is the perfect mix of the tradition of Munir Bashir with the European "sophistication" of someone like Jean-Claude Vannier, one foot permanently in Versailles (where he was born) and the maghreb.
Areski, is left bank French songs without the stylistic effects, revised and updated through contact with Arab-Andalusian music. He is a Living Theatre style happening with a dose of cosmic free jazz; surrealist poetry viewed through the prism of Kabyle culture... Areski honed his talent observing the stars of traditional chaâbi, testing it out in bars and dives before meeting, during military service, the singer Jacques Higelin with whom he would record his first cult album (1969), and who would present him to his wife-to-be, Brigitte Fontaine. Between 1969 and 1980, with Fontaine, Areski would contribute an essential chapter to French underground music including classics such as Comme à la radio (with the Art Ensemble of Chicago) (1969), Je ne connais pas cet homme (1973), L'Incendie (1973), Le Bonheur (1975), and Vous et nous (1977).
For all that, Areski has never really tried to have a career under his own name, in spite of the wonderful Un Beau Matin first published in 1970, and which it is high time to (re)discover. Those already in the know will not be surprised to see, especially, Jean-Charles Capon, author of the inspired L'Univers-solitude (1972), Brigitte Fontaine of course, or Daniel Vallancien, author of a no-less inspired duo with saxophonist Philippe Maté. All contributing to an acerbic poetic universe, concerned but never militant, and open to worldwide influences long before they became a fashion. Inspired, poetic, in a word essential: Un Beau Matin is one of the best albums of the French underground produced by Pierre Barouh on his label Saravah.”
The 15th anniversary reissue of Max Richter’s highly cherished sophomore album expanded with a bonus disc including an orchestral version of ‘On The Nature of Daylight’ and a previously unreleased 2018 take on ‘Vladimir’s Blues’, plus an elegantly rude remix of the same track by Jlin, and a swooning, technoid Konx-Om-Pax rework of ‘Iconography’
"The Blue Notebooks was originally composed in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Richter has described it as "a protest album about Iraq, a mediation on violence – both the violence that I had personally experienced around me as a child and the violence of war, at the utter futility of so much armed conflict." The album was recorded about a week after mass protests against the war. It features readings from Franz Kafka's The Blue Octavo Notebooks and Czesław Miłosz's Hymn of the Pearl and Unattainable Earth. Both readings are by the British actress Tilda Swinton."
Here’s our original review from 2004:
"Max Richter's 'The Blue Notebooks' is the 4th release on FatCat's 130701 imprint, an outlet for more orchestrated, instrumental material. 'The Blue Notebooks' is Max Richter's second solo album, a distinctive and adventurous work that is beautifully recorded and cinematic in scope. Opening with a text from Franz Kafka over a sparse piano melody, the album moves through gorgeous, heart-wrenching string swells of 'On The Nature Of Daylight' through to sparse but lyrical piano pieces; hazy, swirling atmospherics, avalanche pulse-beats and partially occluded melodies that recall Aphex Twin's SAWII; and to reverberant organ / choir recordings.
Utilising piano, cello, violin and viola, alongside electronic beats (made using a variety of antique electronics and Reaktor), spoken word passages and the occasional field recording, other sounds were generated via old guitar pedals and vocoders. Life affirming music."
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith applies her delicate modular synth touch to Abstractions, a score for the Harry Smith animations of the same title, as the first volume in a new Electronic Series for Make Noise Records.
As with Kaitlyn’s collaboration with Suzanne Ciani, and handful of LPs on Western Vinyl, the mood is psychedelically pastoral, reflecting the artist’s roots in the wilds of Orcas Island, North West America, and her passion for the natural world as much as the collaged geometries, tons and textures of Smith’s short films.
Using the Make Noise System, a bespoke synth previously used by Keith Fullerton Whitman, Alessandro Cortini and Robert A.A. Lowe, as well as her favoured and rare Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 synth, Kaitlyn unfurls two extended pieces of sweetly tempered and subtly gilded transitions describing transcribing and complementing the visual aspect.
Over its 23 minutes breadth, the piece opens out from rudimentary lines into gradually more complex and layered structures with a rhythmic playfulness that reflects early electronic music which would have been created around the same time as the films. Cartoonish boings and blatz pepper the piece at angles, sprouting and wilting with the ephemerality of old celluloid, calving off into a placid bleep coda by the end of side one, and developing into more chaotic animalistic and alien voices in the second part, resembling an original BoC soundtrack or the band themselves at times, and the Radiophonic cuteness we’d also associate with Ghost Box.
Laurie Anderson is the serene-looking cover star and subject of lead interview this month.
This issue also pay dues to Free Jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor inside, along with articles on hybrid Indonesian mentalists Senyawa; Carl Stone on Looney Tunes; the soundtracks of Derek Jarman films; and features on NON Worldwide and Edinburgh grime mutant Proc Fiskal, plus Storm Bugs do the Invisible Jukebox and all the usual news, reviews and listings.
On this joint EP with Reggie Dokes, Gari Romalis takes us on an intergalactic mind trip, while keeping it true to the dancefloor.
"On the A side is Reggie Dokes, who gives us deep house, then without shame moves us into that Detroit style of techno, cultivated by the Motor City. Mr. Dokes likes to walk in both worlds of house and techno, and not confine himself to one particular genre."
L.I.E.S. provide a wider angle on Cienfuegos’ crooked Cubano drone sound in Autogolpe, the follow-up to a smart run of12”s and tapes with Unknown Precept, BANK Records NYC, and Ascetic House since 2014.
Expanding his sound along ambient and noise axes, Brooklynite Alex Suárez a.k.a. Cienfuegos has cooked up a properly varied album here, using uniquely textured ambient intros and outros to set the scene for a murky ride that takes industrial world music and the grubbiest drums in its stride with outstanding highlights in the droning payload and squirming torque of his ‘floor-slaying groove The Mountains Are Crying and the brute grinder, Symbiotico.
Mannequin compile the music of Dutch post-punk, industrial outsiders Nexda, drawn from all their single and EP vinyl releases.
"Taken from two 12” EPs, a split 7” and a flexi 7”, all released in 1982, the music within Word & Numbers captures striking compositions, part of, but some way removed from their contemporary post-punk bands coming out of the Dutch “Ultra” scene of the time.
Developing out of a series of concerts in Amsterdam, Ultra expanded to Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Haarlem, with artists and musicians creating their own work spaces and studios. Driven by the DIY mentality of the punk movement, this uniquely Dutch take on the post-punk ethos embraced avant-garde thinking and experimentation that disseminated in ideas and from that, sound.
Coming from Haarlem, Nexda – consisting of Ivo Schalkx, Karin Hueting, Martienden Nijs – played music on handmade drums, metal, organ, saxophone and voice. Releasing a series of cassettes on their and Wim Dekker (Smalts, Minny Pops) Studio 12 label, the latter’s link with Wally Van Middendorp’s Plurex label, resulted in the release of Nexda’s two EP – 246, 121 and 657 (PLUREX 0026) and Second (PLUREX 0031) - with artwork of Ivo Schalkx, are included here, both in their entirety.
Capturing the bands’ heavy percussive backdrop, raw, dub baselines contrast with questioning, mainly spoken word lyrical poetics, saxophone underplay and occasional Pablo-style melodica. The avant nature of the music is apparent and enticing, where experimentalism and artistic expression was sought over commercial success and technique and song form were less important than the process of exploring ideas.
The none-descriptive titles match song structures that jettison the traditional verse, chorus, verse; weaving across the 8 songs so that they can be heard as one, as much asshort bursts of individual statements."
Doris Norton was Apple's first music "endorsement" and Roland affiliate, and is one of the most important female pioneers in the use of synths and in the early electro / computer music field. This 3rd album of experimental computer works is anther peach, and includes the beautifully lush 10 minute medieval/prog regression ‘Don’t Shoot At Animals’ and the whirling psychedelia of ‘Iran No Ra’...
"As a teenager, Norton was drawn to medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music, not to mention quantum physics, differential equations, organic chemistry, the experimentalism of John Cage and animated movie soundtracks. Her love for modules and circuits found expression through the waves of an old harmonium, the frequencies of a Minimoog, a Roland System 100M, a Roland System 700 and the ARP 2500/2600.
In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera "Under Ground". Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), PC (1984) – whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo – and Artificial Intelligence (1985).
Third studio album, 'Nortoncomputerforpeace' involved Doris Norton, Antonius Rex and Rudy Luksch (hardware engineer). "Don't Shoot At Animals" was used as original soundtrack for the RAI tv program "Rumore Di Fondo" directed by Umberto Marino.”
Grinding Walls is Dirk Ivens a.k.a. Dive’s soundtrack for a 1995 film by the Italian band Sigilium S and visual artist KOMA.
Working at the sorespot between EBM and ‘90s cybergoth synth soundtracks, Grinding Walls is now expanded with material from the No Pain No Game release and old compilations for this first vinyl reissue by Poland’s Mecanica label, who have previously released records by Group A, Soft Metals, and Dirk Ivens’ other, infamous project; Absolute Body Control.
The emphasis here is on tone and structure, rather than anything we’d really call dance music. There are some heavy industrial rhythms inside, but they’re generally slow or harnessed in very short tracks. It’s best suited to fetish dungeons or blood spattered bedsits.
Two tracks taken from Rush Hour Surinam Funk Force compilation.
Indo-Surinamese singer, Cynthia’s “Jhoom Le" (1980) is wonderfully skewed synth disco gem! The track was previously only featured on the CD version of the comp. Another fav, Astaria's "Jamasa Roro" (1979), a driving Carribean style disco bomb, appears on the flip.
Liquid D&B and earthy deep house from Sydney, Australia’s Hubert Clarke Jr a.k.a. Hugh B, dispatched on his OTIS label in the wake of two 12”s for 100% Silk and Wolf Music Recordings.
"4 track excursion through deep textures, roaming drum machines, sliced breaks and dub echoes. With a nod to early Jungle duos (RIP), a psychedelic love letter to UK Broken Beat, a remix from OTIS family member Sean Thomas that pays respect to the UK Deep scene of the late 90s and a deep, valium-laced House groove designed for post-rave reflection.
OTIS003 is a dreamy meditation amidst the occasional chaos of the rave, a blissful trip through the styles of “dance music” this label holds dear."
Fluxion seamlessly meshes dub techno and film score styles in a sublime 7th studio album, Ripple Effect, dispatched via his Vibrant Music label in the wake of two sublime Transformations excursions with Deepchord. Unfurling a glacial sequence of noirish vibes and barely-there electronic inference evoking classic cinematography and out of body experience, it’s a sound that could be effectively summed up as Mamangakis meets Moritz Von Oswald in Athens at midnight.
While usually considered mutually exclusive paradigms, in Fluxion’s hands film music and dub techno make perfect bedfellows, with the evocative cues and gestures of the former beautifully melded into the latter with no disservice to either. The end results form an ambiguously malleable narrative that we’d imagine is perfect for headphone-dwelling flaneurs and wandering old cities on balmy evenings, as the album drifts from filigree detailed dub bass and sylvan keys in Train Incident, to moments of Bohren-like jazz noir in Momentum, to what sounds like a clarinet line from the Heimat soundtrack mixed with contemporary MvO grooves in Another Side, before stretching out over 11 minutes of gloriously subtle scenes in Tipping Point, the album’s denouement, into the windswept slow motion rendering of Fortitude and the sorrowful closing title of Moving On.
Dave Burraston a.k.a. NYZ shares the unique generative output of his chattering synths and machines on Graham Dunning’s Fractal Meat Cuts label following his NYZ appearance on the NTS show of the same name in 2017.
Following on from Burraston’s previous NYZ release, PPLZ SYNF  for Psøma Psi Phi, here he sticks to shorter time frames packed with typically unpredictable movements, as opposed to durational, glacial transitions.
The results, generated by his custom modular systems and algorithms and recorded between 2012-2018, are like a window into the mind of a machine, but perhaps slowed down enough for human perception. Their queasy logic and inexplicable organisation are the result of decades of study into complexity and chaos systems, and its not hard to hear how that applies to the music, which is in effect incomparable to any combination of sounds imaginable.
We recommend huffing it up and marvelling at the absolute audness of it all.
Boy Harsher sate demand for their early gear with a new edit of Pain, backed with a mean remix by The Soft Moon in deadly EBM post punk mood.
The wickedly gaunt title cut from Boy Harsher’s sought-after 2nd EP is here nipped and tucked with classy back alley surgery for optimal drive and bite in the darkroom.
On the remix, The Soft Moon ratchet the intensity with stealthy force, giving the bassline more gnash and bite while bringing the drums forward with additional Linn cracks and a power surge of dissonant distortion that sends it stratospheric.
rRoxymore, Bruce and Chekov rep for Batu’s Timedance on this fine sampler 12” for the label’s first compilation.
A-side, rRoxymore shapes up the recoiling roller bRINGTHEbRAVE in her patented bass heavy electro-house style, while the B-side is given to Bruce’s microtonal ambient abstraction Let’s Make The Most Of Our Time Here, which is surely intended to fry some heads in the dance, and touted Leeeds-based producer Chekov plays to the label’s signature, stripped down style with the reticulated swing of Stasis 113.
Brooklyn filmmaker and sound artist Rose Kallal delivers her crushingly dark Perseus album, making one of her rare outings on Paul Purgas’ We Can Elude Control label following previous collaborative projects with Karl O’Connor & Mick Harris, Mark O Pilkington, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
She steers hard to the darkside here, conjuring six immersive tracts of chronic drones and and concrète ephemera that suck us into a formidable inky blacknuss of viscous low end roil and polluted atmospheres.
Judging by the the swathes of dark ambient gear in circulation, it’s fairly easy enough to generate this stuff, but the the difference with Rose lies in her patient, glacial control, which means that Perseus hovers at the brink of the abyss, but avoids falling into stock cliche or academic torpor.
Shorelights is a collaborative ambient techno project feat. Rod Modell (Deepchord, Echospace, Waveform Transmission, Transformations), and Walter Wasacz and Christopher McNamara of the Detroit-based audio visual collective nospectacle.
"Ancient Lights expands the vision and the range of the Shorelights aesthetic, heading into deeper territories of inner and outer space. It's ambient for body and spirit, sound designed to make the human heart dance."
I:Cube packs 6 serious heaters on the 120th release from Versatile, the long-running label he co-operates with Gilb’R.
LP 1 throws down a sort of demented cumbia-house style lit with see-sawing accordion in Flutes Souterraines, along with the chunky electro-house jaxx of Troglo Dance before curving into psychedelic slow acid a la Tin Man or The Analord in Bifurque.
On disc 2 he restlessly shifts the pattern again to a sort of brilliantly skewed gamelan dance with La Nuit Des Rats, then synking into viscous cosmic disco chug on Ramurc, and saving the googley-eyed 6am business of Fractal P for the most lip-smacking moments of the night.
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.
Duppy Gun Produtions and Bokeh Versions light up summer ’18 with 50 minutes of dancehall crossfire, with vocals by Sikka Rymes, I Jahbar, Early One, Lyrical Wiz, Sniper, Buddy Don and Lopo.
With X-amounta mutant ammo between their barrels, both sides keep it bent, hazy and alien AF with mad bashment grime hybrids, slowed down specials and unnamed styles. We’d wager it’s best received after a few zoots and maybe a Guiness Export or three for optimal smudge...
The enigma of Rex Ilusivii becomes deliciously mistier with this remarkable recording made at The Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, 1983. We’re going to get used to saying this; it’s yet another amazing record from the Offen Music label outta Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs…
This is a truly freakish slab of sounds, combining Suba’s background in classical composition (although he never finished his studies, becoming seduced by synthetic sounds and therefore not allowed to finish his degree under Rudolf Bruci), with a headlong taste for electronic music and a unique cache of ethnic and folk recordings made by his travel writer father, Radomir Subotic.
Factor in a fascination with emerging Latin-American sounds, and Suba was clearly out on his own at this time in what was then known as Yugoslavia, where he was employed at Radio Beograd’s state-of-the-art Sound Workshop as a freelance engineer and composer exploring the potential of their Synthi 100 and learning from the maestros of “radiophony”, Arsenije Jovanovic and Ivana Stefanovic.
Predating the sounds on his sought-after Disillusioned! LP and In The Moon Cage, the Koncert SNP 1983 performance renders Suba at his most liminal, unquantifiable, twisting and turning in seven parts between starkly minimal, primeval synth music to hypnotic, pulsating vocal arrangements and Ghedalia-esque worldly psychedelia, plus a number of shorter pieces of gristly knots and abstract whorls, which are almost concrète dub in effect and bear no small resemblance to current, deconstructed club musics.
We love this label, and much like everything we've heard from them thus far: this is a buy on sight kinda deal.
Architect of the present future, Chris Carter goes retro hauntological on CCCL Volume One, his first solo album in 17 years.
Since his previous album, released in the last century, he’s been busy taking his influential duo with partner Cosey Fanni Tutti to a natural close, and likewise seeing thru their trio with Nik Colk Void, while at the same time diversifying his bonds with remixes of the contemporary field, from Factory Floor to Nisennenmondai and Perc. Here, however, the enormously pivotal artist paints a sonic self portrait indulging an unswerving thing for the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop and the malleability of modular synths, all with a mixture of wide-eyed, youthful innocence and high end studio nous executed to nostalgic degrees.
In the classic framework of hauntology, Carter’s nostalgia is for a lost, assuaged or thwarted synthetic future he experienced explicitly and cosmotically growing up during the ‘space age’, when synthesisers were vehicles for interstellar and interdimensional travel and acted as the connective ligament of counter-cultural likeminds across the world, so its easy to understand why he can’t shake that feeling here.
Like a grown up kid with all the kit he could ever dream of, Carter brings his ideas to life in uniquely tactile style, working like a sculptor with broad palette of amorphous materials that continue to react and mutate after he’s fixed them in place, at his legendary studio in Norfolk. Each of the 25 tracks feels to offer a window onto worlds of encrypted kinetic energy, fulminating figments of the imagination which come to life in shapeshifting, plasmic forms made all the more “real” and hyperstitious thanks to his application of AI like vocaloids which populate the album, cropping up as alien sirens, glossolalic darkroom murmurs, and fully-fledged “singers” in their own strange right.
The result is a uniquely absorbing album tied together by Carter’s smart internal logic, a mazy manifestation of bio-electronic feedback systems that gives voice to the machine as much as the man operating it in a way that will really speak to followers of classic electronic music.
There was a time when The Third Eye Foundation was the mirror of the world from which the group drew its substance. But the reflection faded and dirt accumulated so it only provided deformed images and gradually became the world's shadow.
"This willingness to look at and express images and words about humans and their environment has since been embodied in the completely open face of its founder, Matt Elliott. Thus, The Third Eye Foundation is a discrete entity, the opposite of what Matt Elliott may otherwise represent. In 2010, The Dark (IDA 071CD) already portrayed this state of affairs. Today, Wake The Dead is banging the last nails into the boards that make up the barricades. Wake The Dead is like a key which attempts to open the doors of memory. Waking the dead is not a question of meaning but rather of sensations. Free will and free thought have no place here -- in the universe of The Third Eye Foundation, humans are no more than a simple product of their environment.
This may seem extremely violent and dehumanizing but it is not the case at all. You need to get rid of your certainties, empty yourself, and put yourself on the same level as those considered to be "the other". And that's probably the greatest quality of an album like Wake The Dead. Its abstract compositions are without a format and thus implicitly participate in the deconstruction of the imaginary, of all logical forms which we sometimes cling to without even knowing why. It offers something essential in its unpredictable approach: the possibility of letting go without this ever being judged as an admission of weakness. In a way, Wake The Dead is an album without a beginning or an end. Its melodic variations instill themselves without the listener realizing, and then progressively changes the listener's perception of the work. The 40 minutes of throbbing, hypersensitive dubstep that make up the record are not aimed at sending a message to the mind; The intention is to make souls dance and to unite them. Personnel: Matt Elliott - all instruments, vocals; David Chalmin - additional keyboards, vocals, drum machine, manipulations, effects; Raphaël Séguinier - drums; Gaspar Claus - cello."
The rarest treat for your lug ‘oles, The Glass World of Annea Lockwood is a hugely innovative and immersive study in the complex resonant musical properties of glass in its myriad forms.
A number of tracks from the LP previously featured on EM Records’ Annea Lockwood retrospective Early Works, 1967-1982, but this LP forms their first time vinyl reissue, and it’s a total pleasure to receive the music in context of its original format - made even better, canny, thanks to a crystal clear vinyl pressing.
An exercise in focussed listening as the result of filigree tactility, Annea Lockwood’s début introduced a vitally perceptive new spririt to the avant-garde upon its release in 1970 via Mike Steyn’s South African label, Tangent Records. In a similar way to, or even pre-echoing Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient recordings of metal rods, Annea’s material recordings are necessarily scientific, but serve to render a spectrum of sounds as Ur/un-earthly as anything made on synthesisers prior to or during that era of intrepid sound exploration.
With her first release Annea strove to “entice people into really listening intensively”, and does so with transfixing effect, activating wired glass, glass discs, chunks of green cullet glass, glass tubing, sheets of micro-glass and glass jars to generate totally beguiling sounds; from brittle pointillism to refracted glissandi. In getting as close as possible to the material, Annea gives voice to his hidden nature, stimulating its fine graded hyaline structures in order to make its atoms sing like audible alien animalicula.
The collaborative venture of Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones, Belong inhabit a sonic territory that seems perpetually out of sight - giving the same effulgent warmth as standing with your back to a sunset, or glimpsing a blizzard through a frosted window.
Spectrum Spools scan back to the early work of Second Woman’s Turk Dietrich with reissue of his and Michael Jones’ first album together as shoegaze duo Belong. While there’s maybe no obvious connection between the hyper dance music of Second Woman and the romantically sore, heavily textured tones of October Language, look a little further and it’s possible to locate a shared lust for keening transcendence and a lush tension between freeness of expression and discipline of intent between the two projects.
But no worry if that’s not apparent. Just think of it belong as a sublimated MBV or echo of Fennesz and you’ve got the measure of this abrasively beautiful album.