Jamal Moss, I:Cube and Jay Daniel supply party-ready remixes of a highlight from Peggy Gou’s ‘Once’ 12”
A summer anthem of 2018, the Korean vocal and sleek deep house pull of ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ are turned into a powerful, roiling, psychedelic house number by Jamal Moss, while Jay Daniel dances around and off the groove with shuffled hi-hats and claps synched to tuff bass and G-funk vamps. I:Cube takes the same elements for an effortless sort of Latin deep house ride in a debonaire vocal mix and a much darker, muscular, yet well toned ‘Parallel Dub’ executed with expert panache.
Deep rave pressure from Roza Terenzi and D. Tiffany, following their inaugural Planet Euphorique session with killer electro and breakbeat rave joints, plus a soulful Jayda G remix
Melbourne’s Roza Terenzi goes down the rabbithole with a tight, chromatic electro wriggler ‘Electronique’, but the one for us is ‘Spirit Alien’ by D. Tiffany a.k.a. DJ Zozi a.k.a. Xophie Xweetland, recalling classic 4 Hero and forward UK rave styles in a way compatible with Tadd Mullinx’s X-Altera gear.
The Higher puckers up a ravishingly rude debut for XL with ‘The Core’ - four lip-smacking love notes to the ecstasy of ‘Ardcore aerobics for fans of Mumdance & Logos, Demdike Stare, Rufige Kru, Zomby
Coming on lush out of nowhere, ‘The Core’ introduces itself arms open and dancing into the wind of the soundsystem. Rinsing out precision tooled rave tropes, Detroit taught strings and spine-tracing breaks for their purest essence and hardcore swerve.
’Stick 3’ goes on nutty in a burst of ravenous, darkside energy with bags of UK warehouse swagger, while ‘Submarine 99’ lets the sweat cool a minute, lean and gangsta with the k-dub, then coming loved-up and boisterous in ’Submarine ’95’, a deeply classy but rugged rollers vortex that twists timeless influences into inexorable, new, rave music that's keenly aware of the original ‘90s format.
Mark Barrott yields another lush study of life of the white isle, making his debut with the Running Back Incantations sub-division of Gerd Jansen’s label
“Most music does not come out of nowhere. Arising and appearing in a pre-existing system of influences, cross-references, roots, memories and desires, it either directly points towards a heritage or into the future. Mark Barrott’s Nature Sounds of the Balearics is a bit of both. The mastermind behind the International Feel label and the Sketches from an Island series presents an intermediary.
Technically, it’s his departure from a software based workflow and onto (or back to) a hardware driven creative point of view.
Philosophically, it deals with the schizophrenia of our times: the late Paul Virgilio’s dromology and logistics of perception versus a decelerated life outside of cities, internet algorhythmics (sic!) versus meditation, the excessive stock market (all track titles are derivates of that world) against a tactile way of living.
Musically, it is the outcome of what Barrott himself described as his „techno album“. For people whose definition of techno has to do with speed (again) and kick drums that might seem like a misinterpretation. Listeners who remember the Artificial Intelligence and Freezone compilations, various chill out channels or Detroit’s mellow moments, will tend to agree. „Nature Sounds of the Balearics“ miraculously evokes those days and times, without breaking his neck. It is as much at home in a Caribbean water utopia between dolphins and old fishing boats as it feels current and applicable in a Ridley Scott dystopia. And if meta levels aren't your thing: it’s just a beautiful album.”
Reissue of an ace early release from Rephlex, dusted down and remastered for its 2nd wind by Switzerland’s Musique Pour La Danse
Produced by Marco Repetto and Stefan Riesen a.k.a. Synectics, ‘The Purple Universe’ was released in 1993 by Aphex Twin and Grant Wilson-Claridge’s Rephlex. 25 years later it resurfaces, freshly re-cut by Frederic Stader, to reel off 8 lush examples of European techno when it found its soul, circa the the phase shift from rave into its early-mid ‘90s golden era.
There are some real gems inside, none more so than the trance-techno flight of ‘Red Clouds’ and the Infinite-esque ‘Into The Unknown’, but also in their ‘Untitled’ stroke of acid elan, as well as the more esoteric parts, including the creamy ambient acid of ‘Free Sphere’ and the epic deep techno inception of ‘The Final Moment’.
Príncipe’s Nídia, Brooklyn’s Beta Librae, and Object Blue rework Yaeji’s floaty house tracks in three unmissable ways
Most notably, we catch Nídia on a more reserved, low key flex, pairing the original vocal with bubbling acidic froth and mid-tempo Kuduro rhythms for a supremely breezy, playful workout, while Beta Librae keeps her end up on a percolated, swivelling rotation of the same elements executed with the dextrous delicacy found in her ‘Sanguine Bond’ album for Incienso, and Object Blue follows her cultishly acclaimed debut 12” with a rework set to bumping dembow breaks - a strong closer to a striong EP.
Wavey raver from SE16’s Flohio and wayward Berlin superstars Modeselektor
The MDSLKTR duo appear to take their cues from the recent Errorsmith album with a rugged sort of dancehall-techno bump, albeit with their patented melancholy lean, while Flohio scuds along with aggy bars about life and money.
Slow-to-mid tempo balearic froth, edited by Jan Schulte in his Wolf Müller guise for Young Marco’s label
“Over the course of his seven-year recording career, Jan Schulte has delivered countless revolutionary remixes under the now familiar Wolf Müller alias. Now, Safe Trip has gathered together some of his most celebrated and hard-to-find reworks on Sorry For The Delay: Wolf Müller’s Most Whimsical Remixes.
The collection includes a string of lauded revisions of the likes of Tolouse Low Trax, Africaine 808, BAR and Jose Padilla, all in a trademark percussion-rich, polyrhythmic style that joins the dots between the tropical rhythms of South America, the tribal musical traditions of Africa, the experimental electronics associated with Schulte’s home city of Düsseldorf and the sun-kissed Balearica of Ibiza.
Since making his debut at the dawn of the decade, Schulte has carved out a niche as one of European electronic music’s most distinctive artists. Under this best-known alias, Wolf Müller, the German producer has delivered a string of sought-after singles, two critically acclaimed collaborative albums (the most recent of which, produced alongside percussionist Niklas Wandt, was released earlier this year), and a swathe or radical remixes.
It’s the latter that’s showcased on Sorry For The Delay, whose apologetic title tips a wink to Safe Trip’s debut release, a compilation of Young Marco remixes called Sorry For The Late Reply. The majority of the eight included reworks are revolutionary in nature, with Schulte gaining inspiration from, or making use of, just a handful of elements from the provided source material. For example, the oldest remix in the collection, a 2011 rub of Mungolian Jet Set’s quirky disco cut “Prog Rocks and Moon Jocks”, made with Christian Pannenborg as Montezumas Rache, features numerous vocal and instrumental elements omitted from the Norwegian duo’s final version.
The collection naturally comes packed with deliciously percussive moments, including an undeniably heavyweight translation of Tolouse Low Trax’s “Jaidem Fall” – the first ever Wolf Muller remix from 2014 – a chiming, melodious and sun-kissed revision fo BAR’s 2016 cut “BAR Theme”, an inspired tweak of Africaine 808’s “Rhythm Is All You Can Dance” and a riotous take on “Ba Hu Du”, a never-before-released track from Schulte’s other headline-grabbing, club-rocking pseudonym, Bufiman.
Schulte’s ability to create mesmerizing, slow burn soundscapes can be heard across the compilation, too, from the druggy and psychedelic pulse of his krautrock-influenced version of Telespazio’s “Barrier” and the humid tropicality of the Deep Dub of Sound Species “Balafon Jam”, to the dreamy new age synthesizer lines, twanging Jews Harp and seductive beats of Jose Padilla collaboration “Oceans on the Moon”.”
Ectomorph’s debut EP, from back when Gerald Donald (Dopplereffekt) was a member, resurfaces, newly remastered and ready for deployment in the current electro resurgence, while also priming the path for their imminent debut album ’Stalker’
Originally transmitted in 1995, ’Subsonic Vibrations’ became a staple of the ‘90s electro circuit for solid reasons, not least because Gerald Donald was involved, but mostly because it rocks the club good and proper.
Between the massaged 808 pulse and warped bass of ’Subsonic Vibrations’, the stripped down writhe of ‘Parallax View’, the unmistakeably Drexciyan riffs of ’Skin’, and quaking bass and quicksilver jabs of ‘The Last days of Skylab’, you’re in the presence of solid gold electro.
On her debut for Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs, Toronto-based promoter/producer/DJ, Cindy Li aka Ciel steps into the fray with two fine bits of melodic and bass heavy electro pressure
Running sternum-quaking subs and yearning, effervescent arpeggios and FX in Electrical Encounters, then pursuing a hunch for rolling breaks and floating pads in Elevate (Go Off Mix), and percolating a blend of rickety, vintage drum machines and worm-charming bass in Rain Dance.
Bright, punchy jack trax from Videopath, following in the footsteps of Ciel, Chekov and Fred onto Shanti Celeste’s excellent Peach Discs
There’s no mistaking that the good times synth vamps and rugged swang of A Cure For Melancholy lives up to its name with giddy alacrity, while And So Do Eye follows suit with proper US happy house ’n garage burn, full of organ riffs and dreamy early ‘90s style vocals.
Séance Centre serve an astonishing 2LP by L.A. composer and voice-over artist MJ Lallo, making good on the promise of her ‘Star Child’ 12” with a stellar showcase of wonderfully expressive glossolalia and bobbling drum machine patterns embedded in vast synth backdrops. What a find?! Big tip to fans of Jon Hassell, Laurie Anderson, Ramzi, Breadwoman, The Art Of Noise!!!
“Take Me With You is a revelatory voyage through the captivating universe of voice artist and poet MJ Lallo. The works on this 2LP compilation were all recorded in her home studio between 1982 and 1997, primarily using drum computer, synth and her own voice processed through a Yamaha SPX 90 digital effects unit. They range from wordless harmonizer mantras and primitive drum computer meditations, to psychedelic latin dance-floor anthems and synth-drenched end-of-the-nighters.
Lallo has created her own inimitable galaxy of sound where the human voice, liberated from the constraints of language and abstracted using digital technology, is able to explore the outer realms of human expression, like Joan La Barbara with an Eventide and a new-age sensibility. Although Lallo’s flight path is distinctly her own, her journey converges with other travellers as diverse as Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Stereolab, William Aura, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Gertrude Stein and even Terry Gilliam (whose film Brazil was a big influence on Lallo). Like something beamed in from another planet, Lallo’s work is both fascinatingly strange and strangely familiar, and will leave a lasting impression for lightyears to come.”
‘5 Klavierstücke’ was recorded and produced by Gareth Jones in the South of France on Irmin Schmidt's two grand pianos. Schmidt partly prepared his Pleyel piano (in the way he was taught by John Cage himself) and the other piano - Irmin Schmidt’s 100-year-old Steinway - remained unprepared.
"Several pieces were recorded in one session on the prepared piano only, others contain recordings from both pianos. All ambient sounds were recorded on site - around Irmin Schmidt's studio - and there are no other instruments or electronics of any kind.
As a composer and one of Can’s founding members, Irmin Schmidt has scored more than one hundred soundtracks. Outside of his work with Can, he has released over a dozen solo albums and written an opera, ‘Gormenghast’, based on the novels of Mervyn Peake. In 2015, he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to art and culture, one of France’s highest honours."
For fans of moody ‘80s pop pomp, Death of Lovers’ 2nd album, The Acrobat packs all the aching emo swoon and synthy licks you could hope for. Think New Order, Duran Duran, John Hughes movies, montages of Reagan/Thatcher economics in effect, and buckets of salty, sugary nostalgia.
“Since the 2014 release of Philly outfit Death of Lover’s acclaimed debut EP “Buried Under a World of Roses”, many wondered if a full length follow-up for the band was even possible – largely due to the extensive touring schedule of Domenic, Nick, and Kyle’s other band: Nothing. But between 2016 and 2017, the four piece band (that includes keyboard player CC Loo) was able to find the time to focus, demo, write, and carve out a stunning new direction and polished sound for the band. “The Acrobat” represents that labor of love, and Death of Lovers have created one of the most eye-opening alternative records we’ve heard in years.
Thoughtful compositions weave driving synths, drums and guitars through lock-step rhythm and nostalgia before shattering into intricate and spacious instrumental breaks. There is a welcome complexity and depth to the tracks, which dance between moody and sweeping to sparkling and bright – creating a beautiful contrast to the honest and dark lyrics.
On the album single “The Absolute”, Domenic’s vocals (accompanied in harmony by drummer Kyle Kimball) take on the topics of selfishness and greed - “All in all is trembling fear – bound to fall on bludgeoned bell rung ears. A senseless world of worth, deceived by needing, and the crow who perches on your tongue – reminding you it won’t be too long.”
“Lowly People” is the band’s answer to PULP’s “Common People”, cast through the lens of their own upbringing: the streets of Kensington, Philly – where “Broken glass shimmers like the stars, summer air breeds a certain violence.”
Somehow, The Acrobat achieves warm familiarity while sounding completely new. While the tracks could easily have been included on the soundtrack to every one of your favorite 80s films, there is a fresh perspective and process evident in the songwriting that rewrites the “post-punk” rulebook.”
A telluric drone quartet composed of Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempête, Le Réveil des Tropiques, The Rustle Of The Stars, FareWell Poetry), Romain Barbot (Saåad), Grégory Buffier (Saåad, Autrenoir) and Paul Régimbeau (Mondkopf, Autrenoir, Extreme Precautions) who meet punctually for sessions of ritual improvisation where they invoke noise and drone and the deities of chaos.
"Improvised and recorded live at Le Rex de Toulouse supporting the 10th anniversary of French doom metal band Monarch!, KAMI神 extends the cosmogony and the sound of the band by taking excursions into the invisible and ambiguous side of nature. In this orgiastic and surprising mix of sonic textures and rhythms, you may hear strange phenomena, summoning of animistic spirits, shamanic calls, siren yellings and growls. The original chemigram artwork was created by French artist Fanny Béguély by painting with chemicals on light-sensitive paper.
Following the sold-out EARTH soundtrack (GZH71, 2017), KAMI 神 delivers an immersive soundscape for abstract clubbers, where kosmiche electronic, power ambient and industrial punk music are freely invited to commune. This pagan ceremonial is an ode to the ever-changing vortex of life - a sonic dream machine for the occurring now.”
Whities 018 features four tracks that Alex wrote "around winter ‘16-‘17, as I decompressed from an episode of deep prang. While they bear out my mood at the time, they also chart a path of recovery through nature, slowness and humour."
Bristol D&B hero DJ Die dishes up 8 of his classic cuts, remastered and repackaged on his Gutterfunk label
Worth a look in for the re-primed cuts of Die's classic rollers such as ‘Clear Skyz’ [Full Cycle, 1998], the militant steppers minimalism of ‘Play It For Me’ [V Recordings, 1995], and the smoked out ace ‘Reincarnated’ [Full Cycle, 1997].
Blinding 12” of deep, earthy Detroit house inflected with jazz and psych vibes by Todd Modes, who’s flanked by Craig Huckaby (congas), Mike Mumford (sax) and Mike Severson (guitar) on the latest Fit sureshot.
Their A-face turns to a loose, rolling tribal flex with the frisked drums and melting, lysergic patina of voices - some friendly, some ungodly - in the wonderful Ariadne, before really taking the plunge into mystic jazz-house realms with the oily undulations and pealing, plangent sax of Knossos, which is about as close as you’ll find to Peter Zummo jamming with Theo Parrish and Morphosis.
On the upside down’s Native Visions he inverts the mixing balance giving it a really trippy sort of tunnelling trajectory, guiding us headlong thru patches of fiery psyche riffage on a lean double bassline and 360º swarming congas.
Mancunian flaneur Dan Dwayre a.k.a. Black Lodge knuckles out a 3rd volume of his ‘Kings Arms Sessions’, arriving at the dog end of the decade to his first instalments, and in the wake of his ‘MWR157’ cat# unearthed by Warp’s Arcola, and the ‘Bitter Blood’ collection for Disciples
Named after The Kings Arms pub in Salford, the gnarlier bit of Manchester which Black Lodge haunts when he’s not in the Northern Quarter, this is the 3rd and final part of triptych started by The Trilogy Tapes.
The vibe is pure grot, revolving 12 gobs of free-ranging, punkish groove soused in salty noise and prone to bouts of keening discord. In that sense, we can point to precedents for this sound ranging from Tony Conrad to Ron Morelli and Zoviet*France, but the best way to really get to grips with it is to spend 40 odd years in the belly of the Manchester beast, or at least neck some garies and a bockle of wine and spend a night rolling around the NQ.
Pivotal Detroit player Humberto Hernandez (DJ Dez, Andrés, The Rotating Assembly) continues his Drummer From Detroit series with another helping of good times latinate hustle after dropping Drum #1 in 2011, c. his much-loved New For U 12”.
The A-side packs some heavily infectious vibes with a conga-led rug-cutter in Part Three, before sidewinding into the lusher zone of tucked Afro-Cuban syncopation and Theo Parrish-like sprung synth and Rhodes in Part Four, while the B-side is reserved for a the vocal bounty of Part Five with cut-up soul vox on a broad and breezy showpiece for those who’ve got something to show.
Ambarchi and O’Rourke trek to distant horizons on synth and guitar, accompanied by tabla player U-Zhaan who lends a free buoyancy to the duo’s quick and slow running streams of sound...
“Hence is the third collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, following on from 2013’s Behold. Building on the refined combination of electronics and acoustic instrumentation found on their previous releases, Hence presents two side long pieces combining synthesizers, heavily effected guitar tones, and tabla rhythms played by special guest U-zhaan. On the first side, an explosive opening chord sends out ripples of sparse, irregularly pulsing guitar and synthesizer tones, aleatorically changing in pitch and jumping around the stereo image. Combined with the tabla, which gradually builds in busyness throughout the side, the piece is like a dream collaboration between David Behrman and the Henry Kaiser of It’s a Wonderful Life, gradually overtaken in its second half by a swarm of lush live electronic sizzle.
The second side begins in a similar area, combining tabla, shimmering Leslie cabinet guitar tones, and a wandering melodic line. Undergoing a series of subtle variations, this initial area eventually builds to a climax of twittering synthesized birdsong reminiscent of Alvin Curran’s 70s work. As on the first side, Ambarchi and O’Rourke craft a piece that is both comforting and subtly strange, as the constantly shifting dynamics and changes of focus (which recall the flow of improvised music) refuse to allow the music to settle into any one moment for too long or to build in too linear a fashion. Combining influences from post-minimalism, the pioneers of live electronics, and eastern music into a unique sound world, Hence is a seductive work from two of the most singular sensibilities in contemporary music.”
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
Breathless fusions of club and computer game musics from Washington, D.C.-born, Köln-based artist Swan Meat, for Kamixlo and co’s Bala Club
Big on fiddly details and drama, but sorely lacking in grooves, ‘Tame’, while borrowing from club music, is more akin to sitting down and concentrating on completing the next level of your game.
‘self*care’ is the keenly awaited debut EP by Sega Bodega, a none-more-hyped producer who’s already racked up credits for Quay Dash and Shygirl, and soundtracked the new Nike Jumpman advert and Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma runway show
Cyberpunk in a similar mode to Amnesia Scanner or SOPHIE, on ‘self*care’ Sega Bodega tweaks that definition to purpose across six tracks of morphing R&B and kinetic club music laced with gremlin-like vocaloids.
The result is a razor-sharp cross section of hypermodernity, stretching from the elusive, phthalocyanine blues of ‘Cowgirl’ to the bombed-out Baile of ‘hopeless!!!’ and the flesh-grinding ‘daddy’, before dancing on your nerve ends with the piquant trap pointillism and vaulted chorale of ‘maryland’, and the shiny beast of ‘gag reflex’.
Galcher Lustwerk introduces The Fock with a brace of dark, anxious techno, electro and ambient aces backed by a killer remix from Young Male in his Flood1 guise
In raving declension, the muddles vocals and clammy atmospheres of ‘Shat Pop’ appears as a rolling dark techno version (‘Saldes Mix’) along with a more laid-back acidic electro mix and the isolationist austerity of his ‘Ambient Mix’. But if you ask us the best cut is Young Male’s Flood1 remix, where he flicks on the EBM booster switch for a powerful club screamer.
Erstwhile Antipop Consortium MC/producer HPrizm proves his ‘Catching A Body’ album was no fluke with ‘Magnetic Memory’, a follow-up side of singular rap and Jazzy Hip Hop
Alongside guest spots by his APC bro E. Blaize, plus Shabaka Hutchings (horns), Yolande Hunter (ad-libs) and James Brandon Scott (sax), HPRizm drops a dead solid batch of clever raps and inventive instrumentals crafted with old(ish) skool hardware and techniques.
The result is a reminder of late ‘90s/early ‘00s hip hop’s innovation within looser frameworks, when it wasn’t everyone gunning for the charts, chatting about the same shit, or trying to sound identikit to the next guy. By limiting himself to tried and tested samplers and peers, and relying on his own mic skill, the results are rugged and real, abstract and immersive, unpolished and daring.
“Composed and recorded throughout last year, Magnetic Memory is guided by Prizm’s desire to reconnect with a more traditional approach to sampling. That is to say, sampling as a primary element of composition. “History has moved on from seeing sound art as compositional,” he explains. “I wanted to re-embrace that. I thought there was more to say.”
In constructing Magnetic Memory’s rhythms and atmospheres, Prizm chose to work within the technological constraints of his earliest days as a producer. “Not a lot of gear,” says Prizm. “To make it more basement.”
“At my point of entry, you couldn’t do long-form sampling. You had to make something out of 9-12 seconds,” he explains. “Thus, the focus is not on adapting hooks from identifiable songs, but snatching isolated moments to form the basis of instrumentation.”
Berghain resident Norman Nodge stakes out four tuff and sexy jackers on his 2nd 12” for Ostgut Ton - his first solo 12” since 2011!
As big fans of his super dry but funky early 12”s with Marcel Dettmann Records, the return of lawyer-by-day, DJ/producer-by-night, Norman Noczinski is entirely welcome around these parts.
The opener ‘Tacit Knowing’ is a wicked piece of physics-defying club gear, knitting splintered breaks into a rugged jackers groove in a way we’ve hardly heard before, or quite like this at least, whilst ‘Discipline’ is exactly the kind of gear we’d expect to hear at Berghain at daft O’clock and off our chops - haughty, pounding, drilling techno that makes you dance 15% better.
Perhaps needless to say, we’re also smitten with the swingeing tribal percussion of ‘Gathering’, primed to turn the floor into a lather of limbs and hips, while ‘Embodiment’ lends a stroke of breezy dub techno class to his robust, shifty undertow, building to a proper Basic Channel-style head of steam.
Baron Mordant’s latest, diaristic entry commits a heady mulch of location recordings and loud, salty electronics that leaves us dazed and disoriented
“Caffeinated Xbox-related coMMuter childcare cacophony…you can’t always get what you wanton..IBM”
Fit Sound get their kicks from Moscow, Russia, with two smart bumps of Detroit-flavoured breakbeat and house hustle by Oleg Buyanov a.k.a. OI, pursuing the vibes of his Meda Fury and Faces Records aces deep into debonair, late night styles.
Judging from the nuanced guile and textured haze of the recording, you’d be forgiven for thinking this record was produced by an original Detroit player. A-side he turns out the super loose and swanging Lada Passenger with discrete layers of melted bass and strafing drums knit in a deeply infectious syncopation with breezy chords out of the Theo Parrish handbook. B-side, he simmers down to the deadly, jazzier burn and shuffle of Study Drum and a lip-smackingly sweet bit of filter-disco-house in Life Span.
Suzanne Kraft beautifully paints outside the lines on ‘SK U Kno’, offering studio-rendered snapshots of material that gradually evolved into the pieces in front of you, drawing woozy connections between wistful ambient contours and more vaporous, hypnagogic loops, into unstable House and abstracted midnight Blues. One of the loveliest/smudged listens this year, huge recommendation...
On the A-side Kraft seduces with eight minutes of wilting chords and percolated synth voices in ‘Gaze’, before ‘Vast Mute’ breezes close to the kind of DJ Screw-style magick found in 0PN’s ‘Chuck Person’s Eccojams’, but to more abstracted, hazy effect.
His B-side follows with the beautifully mellow strums of ‘To Make A Stone Weep’ probing a Jim O’Rourke-like transition from acoustic balm to digital saltiness, and then we finally get to hear the full version of ‘Accelerate Me Wildly’, which now comes with an extra 12 minutes of astral synth-scaping and GRM-like electro-acoustics before it drops into killer, airborne funk trills and levitating chords with a proper West Coast US steez.
So good this one.
Erik Griswold coaxes charmingly off-kilter, rhythmelodic ribbons of sound from his prepared piano on return to Room40 with ‘Yokohama Flowers’, his 6th release for fellow Antipodean, Lawrence English’s label. RIYL AFX’s prepared piano works, Indonesian gamelan, African thumb piano music
“For over two decades, Griswold has been crafting a particular and utterly personal language around his instrument of choice. His preparations, which are in a state of perpetual refinement, are like a kind of lens; it is through them that a certain audio reading of his instrument is made possible.
It’s understandable then that Griswold would be inspired by the work of Australian experimental film maker Louise Curham. Like Griswold, she too reveals a very personal reading of her surroundings through a range of preparations and expanded techniques. Discovering her work through a series of collaborations hosted by Room40, Other Film and other groups, the pair slowly developed a strong approach to joint performance.
In many ways, these recorded works reflect upon those performances. Similar to her filmic works, which maintain an unfamiliar, yet tangible beauty; Griswold’s compositions remind us that the piano is never truly knowable, or known. Each composition collected here reveals another detail or way of knowing the piano. The preparations release something in excess of the instrument itself.
It’s in these extensions, these ruptures of familiarity, that the language of the piano is born and reborn. It is a state of perpetual discovery and resolution, framed in composition.”
‘The Last Days of Reality’ is a broodingly enigmatic Lionel Marchetti composition performed on acoustic and electronic instruments by Decibel, a new music ensemble from Perth, Western Australia. Concrète poetry in effect...
“From Cat Hope (Decibel):
I first met Lionel Marchetti in Australia during the Liquid Architecture Festival in 2010. Decibel were touring our Alvin Lucier program, and Lionel was on the same bill performing a live performance set manipulating electro-acoustic materials with dancer Yoko Higashi. I was so taken with Lionel’s performances and the resulting music, that I asked him if he would write a piece for Decibel.
I didn’t realise that he hadn’t done something like this before. The first work was “Première étude (les ombres)”, communicated as a text score, and premiered in 2012. I was asked by Lionel to make some recordings of ocarinas, harmonicas, and folk instruments – and I sent these to him for the creation of a ‘partition concrète d'accompagnement’– a fixed media part that is featured in the live performance. For this piece, the part comes from speakers beside each performer, and a bass amplifier beneath the piano. Like his own performances I had seen the year before, the work was naturally performative – with unique speaker and performer configurations, interesting and odd additional instruments. It was such a rich work, a remarkable combination of electronic, spatial, acoustic and textural music. The performers use the partition concrete as a score.
I visited Lionel in Lyon, France in 2014, recording flute improvisations in his studio. He used these as a basis for “Une série de reflets”, again communicating via text instructions and each performer having their own dedicated speaker to interact with. “Pour un enfant qui dort”, which again requested flute sounds that were this time part of the live performance as well as the partition concrète, was also written around that time. The next work saw a more ‘compositional’ collaboration - “The Earth defeats me" began as a graphically scored work written by me and recorded by Decibel in the studio. That recording was used to make the partition concrète which is now an embedded as part of the animated score file, thanks to the software we had developed to do so.
These works exist as live performances, but also as singular concrète works, when heard without the instruments. Working with Lionel has been remarkable: he has a singular way of thinking about sound and its relationship to works and images. Music concrete is a lifestyle for him, it is a way of thinking, communicating and being. These pieces enable the acoustic instruments to be part of that – extending the ideas in the partition concrete, using them structurally and texturally, as well as being part of them.
When I first met Lionel, I didn’t realise he was in Australia because it was originally planned he would be travelling with French composer Éliane Radigue, performing some of her electroacoustic works, as her preferred diffuser. I would commission a work for Decibel from Élaine (“Occam Hexa II”) in 2014 and it was during that process I realised the link between them. Decibel performed Lionel and Eliane’s music together – it is music that concerns itself with the incredible power of sound, but from the most delicate and dream like perspective.”
Cult scene-setter 1991 returns to the fray with four heavily worn-out bangers backed by a singed Rezzett remix
Patently a less-is-more kinda guy when it comes to the release schedule - after 3 releases in 2012, nowt until 2016, and now this - 1991 makes up for lost time with this knackered but energetic session for his No More Dreams label.
The OG 1991 tracks are all “up” in the mode of his ’Skogen, Flickan Och Flaskan’ 12”, as opposed to the airy drowse of his last No More Dreams outing or the gauze of his widely adored ‘High-Tech Low-Life’ and self-titled sides.
A-side brings three jacking drum machine workouts, each decayed to a mid-rangey nub of distorted recoil and splattered drums, yet able to juice a sweat from locked-in dances. On the B-side he follows suit with a shot of kinky NYC/Brum-techno swing, before Rezzett provides an EP highlight with the nimble, skippy Chicago flair of his cracking remix for the track, ’94’.
No wallowing here - just banging dance trax.
A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s.
"These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances.
Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably proflific and unparalleled for an island of it's size."
The exceptional UNO NYC cough up a rude new one from Ian Isiah, arriving a mere 5 years since their last release, ‘The Love Champion’, and loaded with class production from Sinjin Hawke, Soda Plains, Juice Jackal and MORRIS
‘Shugga Sextape (Vol.1)’ is for the modern lovers, stirring 8 tracks of prurient R&B, dancehall and queered songs for sex in Anti-G. Fractal Fantasy’s Sinjin Hawke, a longtime collaborator with Isiah, provides the lion’s share of productions, with highlights in the bottle-popping giddyness of ‘Bedroom’ and the mutant dancehall banger ‘Killup’, while MORRIS also impresses with the early Arca-esque R&B slant of ‘Persistent’, and Wedidit Collective’s Juice Jackal makes it intimate with the beat-less strokes of ‘GOD’.
Kassem Mosse and Lowtec mint their Kolorit duo for Workshop with six tracks of frayed percussion and wigged-out rhythmelody in a ruffcut cosmic house style.
Littered with surprising twists and turns, Kolorit’s ‘Workshop XXI’ catches both producers at their loosest, jazziest and rawly psychedelic, with stacks of sloshing rhythms and woozy licks that lead dancers right down the rabbtihole.
If we’re playing favourites, the jiggy jazz parry of ‘D1’ gets us dancing like boneless marionettes, and the teetering percolations of their C-side get right under the skin, but the best of the lot is their lysergically frazzled Afrobeat fuss scrawled across the A-side.
Sega Bodega lends his unique touch to Shygirl’s ‘Cruel Practice’ EP, self-released on Sega’s Nuxxe label, site of his new ‘self*care’ EP
Shygirl comes cold AF and gynoid-like on five tracks that sound like the cyberpunk cousins of PC Music. ‘Rude’ hits hard and slow with a payload of screeching string stabs and dembow bumps; ‘Nasty’ wriggles on a crumpled drill style with killer double-timed bars by Shygirl; Dinamarca jumps in for additional production on the squeaky but rugged madness of ‘Gush’; and ‘Asher Wolfe’ brings it UK on a deft, darkside 2-step.
Anthoney J Hart a.k.a. Imaginary Forces a.k.a. Basic Rhythm a.k.a. East Man pushes a scowling Hi Tek take on hardcore ‘nuum styles for his newly minted label.
It’s basically instrumental grime pushed into the red, working between the 8-bar swerve of ‘Twilight’ and the aggressive jaws of ‘Future Tek’ on the front, before the boisterous Breakstep lash of ‘Nose Bleed’, and rounding out with the dank presha of ‘Mash Head’.
Fit Siegel and Sotofett galvanise their S & M Trading Co duo with Metal Surface Repair, a labyrinthine acid beauty, backed with a trackier version and a very handy beat-less version.
The A-side’s title cut is a real midnight bloom, flowering from an intro of mystic Eski flutes and layered subs into a 303-gilded masterpiece meant for deployment at the most crucial times of the dance. B-side, DJ Sotofett takes the lead on a chunkier Acid Mix emphasising the 303 and percussion, saving the floating pads for the final strokes, whereas the Synthetic Mix lets the synth and acid lines move in lush avian formation, leaving the drums aside to be dropped as a proper palette cleanser where needed.
Truly excellent work.
Shelley Parker churns up a strong mix of concrète and bass music styles in her ruffneck debut for Hessle Audio
Marking the final Hessle Audio 12” of 2018, Shelley synchs bare bones breaks with seismic subs and field recordings of Carnival and her work for choreography to serve a hyperrealistic sensation of London in flux.
From her construction site stepper ‘Red Cotton’, uncannily recalling Nomex & Scud’s ‘Piling Machine’ , thru the spectral convolutions and ricocheting echoes of Notting Hill Carnival laced into ‘Angel Oak’, and the clash of smooth pads and bagging textures in ‘Masonry Pier’, Shelley’s soundsphere is impressively unique and subtly suggestive, while the remix finds Ploy bringing the groove forward with patented percussive chops and fine-tuned dancefloor suss.
‘Sfumato’ marks the long-awaited return of BLOOM to the club and instrumental grime style he was instrumental in shaping with his pivotal, early EPs, ‘Quartz’ and ‘Hydraulics’
The Belfast-based producer has been notable by his absence from the release schedule since 2015, when he notably remixed a pair of tracks from Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ LP. He now vaults back into the fray with ‘Sfumato’, which takes its name from a technique of painting where colours and tones bleed into one another - a smart metaphor for Bloom’s productions; frantic, multi-layered tessellations of cinematic FX and collaged rhythms spun with delirious dynamic.
“Sfumato is the most transportive expression of Bloom’s sound to date, and also his most extensive project, clocking in at six tracks. By far his most beautiful record, it features trademark crashes of gun-metal and nimble sample work, but juxtaposes them against romantic synths and ascendant pads, resulting in something as emotional as it is impactful.”
Throbbing, avant-house music by artists Sabisha Friedberg and Tyler Wilcox, aka Golden Mean for the purposes of their debut 12”, Resonance with Detroit’s Fit Sound.
A blend of droll spoken word and absorbing, pulsating subbass, Resonance is prepped in three mixes; the dry darkroom pound of the original Resonance and an unprocessed A Capella room recording of Sabisha’s stark vocal, plus a Resonance (Toxic Mix) where the elements have much more room to move, in the process recalling Jay Ahern’s slunkiest Cheap & Deep Productions.
A proper piece of post-punk history: the studio session for Bauhaus’ classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ available on vinyl for the 1st time! Includes early version of the dancefloor evergreen plus a haul of previously unreleased aces
“The Bela Session is a full release of Bauhaus' first studio session from January 26 1979, where the iconic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded. This is the first and only official reissue of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on vinyl, and the first time 3 of the 5 tracks have been released. This EP has been produced directly by the band with Leaving Records, in advance of the band's 40th anniversary.
Bauhaus are a four-piece from Northampton, England, composed of Peter Murphy (vocals, occasional instruments), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums), and David J (bass). Venerated and highly influential, the band emerged from the post-punk alternative music scene of the early 80s with a string of innovative albums and a powerfully dramatic live presentation. Their music embodies a minimalistic, disconsolate style of post-punk rock unlike any other.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was originally released by Small Wonder Records, 1979. "Harry" was originally released by Beggars Banquet, 1982. "Some Faces," "Bite My Hip," and "Boys (Original)" are previously unreleased.”
Parris pushes off on Idle Hands again with ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, a sublime follow-up to his ‘Burr’ 12”, loaded with devilishly good Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. KMOS remix.
Vibes for days and days on this one, catching London’s low-key lynchpin Parris at his very best with the air-stepping deep house shuffle of ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, and again on a lip-bitingly deep downstroke called ’Soft Touch’ that recalls Anthony Shakir’s ‘Mr. Shakir’s Beat Store’ classic.
Proving the perfect nominee for remix duties, Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. Kassem Mosse a.k.a. KMOS feathers ‘Puro Rosaceaes’ with frayed claps and laved chords insisting a slinky dip and parry from everyone within earshot when it’s playing.
Original soundtrack recording to the film Zerzura, the first ever Saharan acid Western, telling the story of a nomad’s search for a magic city of gold.
"Evoking the desert journey with free form guitar improvisations, the soundtrack is a meditation on the mysteries of the Sahara. Composed by writer and actor Ahmoudou Madassane, the instrumental score takes the familiar Tuareg guitar tradition into new directions, transforming desert blues into ambient soundscapes.
Recorded in studio while watching footage from the film, the score was recorded in live and spontaneous takes. Heavily based around the electric guitar, Madassane also plays a handful of other in-studio instrumentation (prepared piano, Moog, Timpani) and is joined by a number of collaborators, including guitarist Marisa Anderson.
A prolific and backing artist in a number of groups (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad), Madassane is well versed in Tuareg guitar folk and draws inspiration from this tradition before veering off into uncharted territory. Pieces fluctuate in timing and break free from standard rhythm, moving from melancholic serenity to blurry psychedelic fury. An experimental foray for Tuareg guitar, Zerzura is the first of its kind.”
Airhead comes off like PC Music doing jazzed tribal house and jungle with these two pearls for James Blake and Dan Foat’s 1-800 Dinosaur label
Stepping on from his ‘Kazzt’  ace for Different Circles, Airhead returns to site of his ‘Believe’ release with a cheeky glint in his eye and a wonky swagger on ‘Clatter’, winding up a carbonated and freaky sort of slosh-jack foe the A-side, before ‘Droplit’ straightens up yuh backbone on the AA-side for a wicked spot of tail-chasing jungle breakbeat chicanery.
The Lioness is the first Jason Molina project to fully turn away from the battlefield folk and deconstructed Americana of earlier Songs: Ohia recordings. At the dawn of the 21st century, the album felt modern. It aligned Molina with a new set of peers — Low, Gastr del Sol, Red House Painters and, most importantly, the influential Scottish band Arab Strap, whose producer and members were crucial in the creation of The Lioness.
"The avant- garde tones and arrangements of Arab Strap are absorbed here into Molina’s songwriting to create what would become, for many acolytes, the archetypal Songs: Ohia sound. Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions, the box set reissue, will serve as the seminal log of the era, complete with lost songs, photos, drawings, and essays from those who knew Molina best. We know Molina was diligent in both love and work. He treated songcraft like a job at the mill, and his approach to romance was not so different.
We know that when he fell in love with his wife, he was dutiful in his adoration. There were strings of love letters and poetic gesture. Included in this edition are replicated examples of this relentless love — an envelope with a letter from Molina, a photograph of Molina and his to-be wife, a postcard, a Two of Hearts playing card, and a personal check for one million kisses. Some of these items were gifts he would send to his new love from the road; others, like the 2 of Hearts, were totems he’d carry with him around this time as a symbol for his burgeoning love. And so, the head-over-heels album that is The Lioness has its workman counterpart. Nearly another album’s worth of material was recorded in Scotland during the album sessions. While similar in tone and structure, the songs seem to deal in the grit and dirt of being.
These are songs for aching muscles getting soothed in the third-shift pub. But they’re also examples of Molina’s diligence as he constructs what would be the essential elements of The Lioness. In addition to these outtakes, we also have a 4-track session made weeks earlier in London with friend James Tugwell. Comprised of primarily guitar, hand drums and voice, these songs are raw experiments that mostly serve to illustrate Molina’s well of words and ideas. But then, there is the devastating Sacred Harp hymn “Wondrous Love.” While he may have had his new love in mind, one can’t help but think of Molina’s legacy as he softly warbles “Into eternity I will sing/Into eternity I will sing.” You don’t have to try too hard to mythologize Molina. He did all the work for you."
Matias Aguayo tramples out mystic South American rhythms, joined by vocal from Mujaji The Rain
The combo of squashed, swaggering drums and free vocal in the original recall Toresch, while the ‘Club Mix’ is pushed forward in the mix, and the ‘Drums’ are waiting for canny DJs in-the-mix.
‘Serious’ again smartly lives up to our Toresch analogy, meshing drunken master groove with possessed vocals and police sirens in the original, and stripped down to reveal whirring funk mechanics at work in the instrumental.
Chasing up her outta-the-blue ace for PAN, Stine Janvin presents a more playful, textured and pop-wise volley of vocal and electronic manipulations for London’s Laura Lies In
‘ME/WE’ is testament to Stine’s unique, explorative subversion of musical convention, twisting from hypnagogic knot of loops in ‘Open Minded’, to thrumming rhythmic noise and discomfiting vocals referencing the #metoo movement in ‘DICK’, before sampling Muhammad Ali’s army induction refusal in the avant-dancehall of ‘ME/WE’, and hitting the pop nerve from oblique new angles compatible with Amnesia Scanner and Sega Bodega on ‘Change The Winning Team’.
“ST/NE is an alter ego and artist name of Stine Janvin, giving life to a satirical pop experiment combining field recordings, vocal samples and electronic production. ME/WE pulls inspiration from late night bar-chat philosophy, Muhammad Ali’s army induction refusal, #metoo-stories and a broken Stockhausen record materialising in 4 tracks of vocal sirenage, fractured techno and mutant trap.
Manipulated and dehumanised as it is, the vocals trace a thread throughout, tying this collection of contrasts together and resulting in a singular, cohesive and compelling EP.”