Minimum Resistance is Jonas Munk's most abstract and minimalist album to date. Ten ambient pieces based on guitars – often processed into soft, slow billows of sound.
"There's a rare aesthetic clarity in these pieces, allowing each sonic component to breathe and resonate. Here Munk works with a restrained sonic palette and it's an album which demands patience from the listener. Yet, in its bold simplicity, it carries enough emotional weight to be deeply rewarding.
It's an immersive album, an invitation for the listener to sink deep into a series of mesmerizing, but peculiarly undefined, moods. Minimum Resistance celebrates slowness, reclusiveness and simplicity. There's hardly anything groundbreaking about this kind of music, but rarely does it flow as naturally and effortless as on this set. It's clear this is the work of someone who has been refining his craft over the course of two decades. Besides producing his own music, Jonas Munk also works as a recording and mastering engineer, and has slowly but surely established his own sonic signature. It's the kind of work where subtle gradual changes and miniscule textural details has a tremendous impact on the listener."
Greek analogue whizkind Tsampikos Fronas does his deeply classic electro/EBM/industrial thing for Berlin’s bastion of all things wave; Mannequin Records
Arriving a square 10 years since June debuted a now-signature, bittersweet and dystopian sound on their eponymous label, ‘Silver Demon’ comes replete in metallic print jacket and with a fittingly steely, lysergic tang that pervades the album’s matrix of acid basslines, horror score synth interludes, and mercurial drum programming. Note that while DJs will get a lot out of individual cuts, it’s pressed as single disc and intended as a definitive album, proper, and as such is riddled with tantalising narrative in a way that recalls the slick elan of Donato Dozzy and Retina.it’s Men With Secrets album.
Dead classy, retro-futurist wave music for the connoisseurs.
Virga I is the first album in a new ambient music series by Eluvium.
"Matthew Cooper, the composer behind the Eluvium moniker, explains: "I had recently been playing around with various forms of generative music and long-format looping, as well as practicing patienceinteracting with musical systems and recordings, hesitantly dueting with them, trying to keep things minimal while also encouraging as much depth as possible. It was really just something fun to privately experiment with for personal gain. Over time I'd created a group of pieces and had them on various mixes that I would make for myself, but I hadn't really given them much thought. Over the winter, my wife and I were subjected to an unexpected move from our home, into our tiny garage studio as we had some work done on the house. It was a little like an unexpected backyard camping trip but with two dogs and two people in a very small space, with the majority of our belongings in boxes on the driveway all while weathering a snowstorm. It got a little weird in there, but also oddly comfortable. At some point, my evenings became very much about relaxing, stretching, and breathing to these pieces. They gradually fostered a very specific mood that I found intoxicating. The music seemed to enhance the soft orange glow in this small room in the dark of night, with the snow falling just outside. They also reminded me of some of my earliest works, those which were a bit less researched and considered. Perhaps they were simply more "felt" than anything.
It occurred to me that other people might find that peculiar feeling inside these works in the same manner that I have, and that I might enjoy returning to working in this way again soon. I decided it might be nice to start a series inspired by this setup. A place for me to relax and experiment with emotions, and slow movements with various toys in my studio, in honor of strange deep feelings, gentle touches, and memories from a long time ago. I titled it Virga, after the drifting of rain we sometimes catch drooping on the horizon, disappearing before it reaches the ground."
ISAN’s Robin Saville speaks to the salubrious qualities of a good mooch in a very sweet album inspired by what he sees and feels during his daily perambulations and incorporating field recordings, drones and acoustic instrumentation.
"A lot of things have been written about what happens to the mind when the body starts moving. Instead of reciting poems of the inevitable self-help books, let’s get straight to the point: For many, taking walks on a regular basis is both liberating and empowering. It is not necessarily so much about the exercise, but rather finding one’s own rhythm in life. Robin Saville – of ISAN fame – is such an ambler His walks inspired him to base his third solo album – his first one for Morr Music – on the out of the way places he came to see and experience while being out and about.
Clocking in at just under 40 minutes in total, "Build A Diorama" is both a subtle culmination and a poignant antipode to what Saville has achieved together with Antony Ryan as ISAN. While the aesthetics might seem similar in places, Saville opts for a decisively different pace when it comes to writing and producing. Progress is steady, and change, however, is slow – like looking at a diorama for a long period of time in the ever so slightly changing light or as a flaneur focussing on one particular spot, a found object so-to-speak, waiting for the mind to orchestrate it appropriately, giving it sense and meaning.
Built around quiet field recordings, Saville’s six compositions transform this highly personal and, therefore, difficult-to-convey experience into a comprehensible exploration of beauty. Where ISAN almost exclusively uses electronics, Saville deliberately expands this well-established palette with acoustic instruments like bass guitar, chimes and glockenspiel, aiming for an even more suitable musical manifestation of what the walker sees and feels once he fully engages in his passion. Ranging from blissfully pulsing pads allowing for complete associative freedom ("The Deepdale Halophyte Economy") to the playful minimalism of an orchestra dominated by busy bells ("Bosky"), Saville’s "Build A Diorama" is not just a valuable addition to his musical output, but an essential audio guide for those striving to explore, learn and understand.”
TSVI’s debut album ‘Inner Worlds’ pays testament to the breadth and focus of the Nervous Horizon label co-owner’s take on the hard drum style he shares with Wallwork and DJ Plead
Splicing cues from Caribbean dancehall, Angolan tarraxho, and Arabic trance with a core influence of Sufi ideologies and bellydance styles, ‘Inner Worlds’ wraps up TSVI’s weltanschauung with a banging set of drums intended to realign your chakras.
Born and raised in Italy by parents who practice Hinduism, and now based in London, TSVI hatched his sound in 2004 in the wake of post-dubstep and UKF, leading to a handful of 12”s on his Nervous Horizon label that effectively sees post-dubstep and UKF as unfinished business.
His debut album is intended as “an inner journey through different states of meditation and self-discovery”, and uses atmospheric sound design to fill the gaps between his prominent, syncopated rhythms, searing trance lines and crisp electronics. It’s all most effective in the heavy tarraxho traction of ‘Jinn’; the canny pre-echoes of Beatrice Dillon’s ‘Workaround’ album in the sloshing drums and instrumental samples of ‘Mesmerize’; the militant dancehall dread of ‘Neutrino’; and the DJ Haram-like Mahraganat drums of ‘Hossam, while ‘Inner Worlds’ and ‘Safi’ see to his plusher side with layered synth harmonies and spiralling trance-pop vocals.
Chasing up his BOXED001 shot, hotly tipped Lloyd SB fires a full round of diverse, hyper-slippy grime X ballroom mutations on the Nervous Horizon label from his Sheffield stomping ground.
Certainly getting your £s worth here, cramming eight riddims on one plate with little sacrifice to quality, taking in the Kode 9-favoured ballroom stinger Boida Flare beside the foundry-cut Ha stabs and escalating trance arpeggios of Hypercube and the scything club construction King of The Castle up top, and twisting to more technoid styles in the low key, Bubblin’ thumper Pirate Bay, and helter skelter Ruff Sound styles in The Portal feat. Wallwork.
A multicultural collaboration between producer Na’el Shehade and vocalist Via Rosa, the project plays to the complementary dynamics of their pairing, blurring the lines between R&B and dance-pop, heartbreak and bliss. Since 2014, the Chicago-based duo have self-released several EPs and following their signing to Ghostly International in 2019, they realize their years-in-the-making full-length debut.
"As a lyricist, Rosa takes her blues and makes them vibrant — rather than wallow alone, she sashays. “This album is dedicated to the people watching their friend’s love-lives grow and happen around them, and not having anyone.” Her soulful delivery, inspired by the improvisational nature of jazz and playful patterns of hip-hop and Bossa nova, interlocks with Shehade’s chic Chicago house-infused production style. His M.O: “I want you to feel the drums in the middle of your chest, down your spine, I want you to feel that hit.” The effect is confirmed in the live environment, where the two have tested new material to increasingly larger crowds.
Many of the songs on Dance Without Me began as freeform lyrical experiments. Rosa’s wistful sensibilities come unforced and amorphous; Shehade shapes the song-structures, often tinkering with them for months, abandoning and returning to each believing that music is already written inside of us, it’s just a matter of locating the outlet. He found the chorus of “Years” by playing the raw recording for his nephew and focusing on the words he kept singing along to. Built on an old school drum break, the track reassures from the darkness of distance and the push-pull of past infatuations.
Backed by a diamond-sharp drum figure and foggy, lilting piano trills, “Forever and a Day” is written from the perspective of someone who feels trapped in their relationship. The imaginary narrator realizes partnership doesn’t imply permanence. The inspiration came from a fan who reached out after connecting to Rosa’s lyrics while going through a divorce; the diverse fanbase for DRAMA’s work is spotlit here, revealing accessibility, not just songs “about silly boys,” as Rosa says. “I wanted to describe the importance of communication in relationships and how forever works.”
On “Gimme Gimme” Rosa pleads with herself (“broken heart, don’t fail me now…”), searching for a sign that it is okay to love again. Like their best songs, it contrasts vulnerability and self-reliance, the duality of DRAMA, as Shehade accentuates Rosa’s lovesick lyrics with sizzling synth lines and percussion spliced with vocal samples. A call of encouragement, “Nine One One” registers as a cinematic slow jam, aided by a string arrangement that scales the song up an octave.
There is lush lovelorn affliction blended into the tracks on Dance Without Me. DRAMA’s first record appears remarkably refined for a young band; Rosa’s lyrical candor creates expressionistic narratives about interpersonal intricacies all finessed for the club by Shehade. Here we see a lyricist whose vocal stylings are, not just complimented, but completed by a producer, and a producer whose genteel tracks are given a soul, however blue, depicted in a collaborator’s deeply human lyrics."
Arriving at the heels of late 2019’s ‘No Treasure But Hope’ LP, Stuart Staples and co present new versions of that record’s ‘See My Girls’, plus the David Boulter instrumental ‘A Street Walker’s Carol’, and the skronky dance of ‘Blood and Bone’ starring vocal by Stuart’s daughter, Sidonie Osborne-Staples.
You’ll find ‘See My Girls’ in a nipped video edit faithful to the original, and a much more tropical, spaced-out ‘Le Chien’ version reworked in a mix of Arabic licks and psych-dub bass, while the David Boulter instrumental is saddled up for dusky nights on the porch with Will Wilde’s harmonica and clip-clop drums, but the best of all is Sidonie Osborne-Staples turn on the martial scoring of ‘Blood and Bone’, lending it a hushed urgency that kinda echoes the fraught madness of her cover art illustration, too.
'Le Partage Des Griefs' is a 12" vinyl album of introspective synth-centric ambiance from Gallic songster Yan Hart-Lemonnier.
"Darker and a bit more serious than his previous work. The title which translates as 'The Sharing of Grievances' alludes to a heartfelt attempt to communicate states of mind difficult relate into words. Hart-Lemonnier has been active since the early 2000's releasing music under several monikers including; Edmünd Prinz, Edmond Leprince and Sir Edmund Et L'Autre (in conjunction with Aurelie Merle), on various record labels including; Darling Dada, You Are Not Stealing Records, GOZombie, Flan Records as well as his own imprint Ego Twister, which he ran from 2004-2015.
This record is due for release on Adaadat in February of 2020. "Now this is quite something else, an echo from a lost decade, the vintage exquisite, the tailoring simply sublime arriving toned in a celestial chic, an oceanic lunar lost in beautiful isolation emitting love note transmissions into the galactic voids, arresting doesn't do it justice." Mark Barton (The Sunday Experience)
This album was recorded during Thollem's 2017 residency at Brooklyn-based multi-discipline mecca Pioneer Works. It's the second by Radical Empathy, which combines three uncategorizable improvisors.
"Michael Wimberly has been astonishing folks since his days in Charles Gayle bands and Steve Coleman & Five Elements in the early '90s, and has gone on become a composer and educator of note. Nels Cline has spent decades changing people's ideas about the role of the electric guitar in multiple contexts, ranging from Wilco to Anthony Braxton (think about that!) as well as many projects as a leader; this is his fourth album in trio with Thollem, and a fifth will follow next year, also on ESP. Some people have given ESP-Disk' flak (and "flak" was not the first word choice here) about putting out Thollem McDonas albums. "He's not in the jazz tradition," they say, and even though their idea of the jazz tradition includes Albert Ayler, we like to think that this album will make their little, closed minds explode.
The heavy electronic sound of the first track, with its swathes of distortion, put it very much in Noise territory, with Wimberly contributing coloristic accents and heavier flurries of rhythmic activity. After the twenty uncompromising minutes of "Collective Tunnels," for "Conscious Tunnels" Cline switches to a guitar tone John Abercrombie wouldn't shy away from and Thollem sits down at an acoustic piano (for a while) -- though their free improvisation is just as uncompromising. The timbres cease pacifying jazzers when blippy 1950s electronic sounds slinkily slither from the speakers. Then the piano comes back, but the guitar's tone gets dirty. Genre boundaries are crushed underfoot as the moods continue to vary wildly as "Conscious Tunnels" covers an amazing breadth of timbres and textures."
Nervous Horizon co-founder TSVI flexes some UKF-styled party muscle on 2018’s ‘Rambo EP’
Spanning five tracks of soca-inspired snare patterns and plaggy horns that escalate in technoid intensity across the EP, the Italian-in-London producer tees off with the pendulous parry of UKF and rude Baile Funk breaks in ’Pull Up’ beside the shark-eyed UK swerve of ‘Funky T’ on the front, before turning it darker with the haughty rave pressure of ‘Roller’, the Kuduro-esque battery of ‘Xus Lord’ feat. DJ JM, and tucking it tight in the pocket with the crafty rhythmic origami of ‘Jaguar’, his collab with label co-founder Wallwork.
The self-titled debut from Canadian solo artist Boniface is a catalogue of their most formative coming-of-age experiences, each moment captured in diary-like detail and set against a sprawling backdrop.
"Throughout the album, the musician/producer otherwise known as Micah Visser reflects on falling in love and facing heartbreak whilst struggling with identity, never failing to find an ineffable beauty within all the pain. The result is a body of work both bracingly honest and powerfully exhilarating—an emotional journey that Visser encapsulates as “taking little detours and exploring the times when everything feels perfect.”
Growing up in Winnipeg, Visser wrote the songs for the album at home throughout their late teens and early twenties, after shifts at the local coffee shop and lost nights in the city. This intimacy has been preserved on Boniface, with the songs largely recorded in the room they were written, with Visser’s brother Joey and longtime collaborator Micheal Dunn also on hand. The trio eventually travelled to London to finish up work with producer/engineer Neil Comber (Charli XCX, M.I.A., Glass Animals) who helped bring Boniface’s lavish arrangements to full and dazzling life.
While the catharsis documented on Boniface is undeniably raw, Visser points to a certain touchstone behind the making of their full-length debut: a mission of gently encouraging others to embrace total vulnerability. “There’s so much negativity in the world, and it’s easy to get caught in that cycle of being closed off and negative too—and then projecting that onto other people, and just continuing the cycle,” says Visser. “I’ve found that in my personal life, pushing myself to be more open helps other people to open up as well, so then it becomes a cycle of positivity instead. And I know that it’s really scary to do that, but hopefully opening up in my music will help people to feel safe. I’d love for people to hear these songs and feel inspired, like they can do anything they want with their lives.”
‘Hymn To Moisture’ is the keenly anticipated debut LP proper by Rrose, one of the foremost techno experimenters of this past, strange decade-in-flux. A new high watermark of techno purism and a massive RIYL Pan Sonic, Plastikman, Jeff Mills, Sandwell District, Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock
““Hymn to Moisture” explores embodiment in natural phenomena by playing with microtonal and unstable tunings, shifting overtones, and integrated modulations that make it difficult to separate tone from noise. Evoking wind, water, rock, and flesh, the album occupies multiple spaces simultaneously: abrasive and tranquil, propulsive and meditative, familiar and alien. It shows an equal reverence for techno pioneers such as Jeff Mills, Pan Sonic, and Plastikman as it does for composers such as Eliane Radigue, Laurie Spiegel, and Phill Niblock. “Hymn to Moisture” is Rrose’s first solo album, and it unfolds with the scrupulous care and patience that defines all of Rrose’s auditory experiments. The album marks the artist’s most refined work to date.
Since its inception in 2011, the Rrose project has spawned over a dozen vinyl EPs on Sandwell District, Stroboscopic Artefacts, Infrastructure, and their own Eaux label as well as three collaborative albums with Bob Ostertag (on Buchla 200E modular synthesizer), Charlemagne Palestine (for two pianos), and Lucy (as Lotus Eater) respectively. A fourth album-length project on Seattle’s Further Records saw Rrose reinterpreting and extending James Tenney’s monolithic 1971 piece “Having Never Written a Note for Percussion” for solo gong. “Hymn to Moisture” is Rrose's first solo album of original material.”
Originally released in 1979, The Raincoats' debut album gets another reissue, this time remastered and via the band's own We ThRee imprint.
The pioneering, all-female band assured their place in the pantheon of British independent music with this, their self-titled debut record in 1979. Co-produced by the band with Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis and Mayo Thompson (Pere Ubu, Red Krayola), it arrived in parallel to another all-female punk precedent, The Slits to provide a more melodic, less snotty strain of post punk aesthetics for many listeners including Kim Gordon and Kurt Cobain, who would later write sleeve notes on their reissues and often speak of The Raincoats’ influence over their own music.
Tracks like 'Fairytale In The Supermarket', 'No Side To Fall In' and the gloriously weird 'The Void' still sound terrific, and the band's notorious cover of The Kinks' 'Lola' remains inspired, reproducing the original affectionately and accurately, albeit with a heap of ramshackle instrumentation. Co-produced by Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis and The Red Krayola's Mayo Thompson, this record is steeped in history, and its immediacy, vitality and all-round inspirational qualities have lost none of their impact.
Space cadet IDM electronica from one of the few artists not called Steve Rutter on the B12 sublabel, Firescope
In the wake of instalments by Miles Atmospheric, John Shima and Russ Gabriel, the BOA trio of Behzad Ghorbani, OHES, Amarou Martinez meet Mathieu Deranlot on some kind of Star Trek fantasia where they expend all their creative energies in the glorious, pulsating intro ‘Nitro’, and then trade in worn-out electronica tropes for the rest of the EP.
Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell, and David Sumner’s trippy techno supergroup move onto the next stage of LSD on their own label
Trust they’ve not gone reggaeton or fucked with formula in any way, delivering the purest strains of techno between the iridescent wormhole dynamics of ‘Process 10’, the grindingly funky lag of ‘Process 11’, and the pounding, ascendent sensation of ‘Process 12’.
The imaginative rhythms and tonal colours of Jon Hassell, Farafina and Eno/Lanois’ 1988 Fourth World sojourn returns like a cosmic boomerang on new 2LP pressing.
Given more head room to roam its mix of Burkinese rhythms and revelatory, ambient soundscapes on this 2LP pressing, ‘Flash of the Spirit’ is primed for a new generation of flying armchair travellers in 2020 who have been seduced to Hassell’s unique sound sphere via reissues of his groundbreaking classics such as ‘Possible Musics’ and ‘Dream Theory in Malaya’, and more recently his amazing ‘Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)’ (2018) side.
Working with Burkinese drummers and dancers Farfina, and assisted by co-production from legendary studio duo Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois, Hassell helms an album that most beautifully lives up to his Fourth World concept, whose roots he outlines as: “My aim was to make a music that was vertically integrated in such a way that at any cross-sectional moment you were not able to pick a single element out as being from a particular country or genre of music."
Fair to say that ‘Flash of the Spirit’ is a masterpiece of the Fourth World interzone. Taking its title from the book by Robert Farris Thompson about the adaptation of African cultures to America, it features Hassell, Eno and Lanois turning recordings of the West African drummers into phantasmic, rhythmelodic reflections of themselves, with intricate percussive patterns diffracted between a range of ecstatic, searching, and lushed-out scenes that resemble the music of Miles Davis as much as Terry Riley.
A tragically overlooked part of the ‘70s avant-classical canon finally appears on vinyl with Blume’s pressing of Julius Eastman’s ‘Crazy Nigger’ - the first part of his seminal ‘Nigger Series’ including ‘Gay Guerrilla’ and ‘Evil Nigger’, which were all previously only available on the sought-after ‘Unjust Malaise’ 3CD compilation
Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a prodigious voice within the influential American avant-classical movement of the 1970s. As a composer, pianist, Grammy-nominated vocalist and dancer he brought unique qualities to the downtown minimalist movement most commonly associated with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. But where their music has received no shortage of accolades, by the early ‘80s Eastman’s staggering compositional contributions during the same era were practically unknown beyond tapes circulated between his peers. As Bradford Bailey explains “His place within the context of American classical music - an uncompromising artist of inconvenient identity, rising on the tide of an unavoidable talent, was a threat to the institution’s walls. It’s no surprise that his efforts were forced into the shadows…” With thanks to Mary Jane Leach, however, a wider reappraisal of Eastman’s work began with release of his ‘Nigger Series’ as part of the 3CD ‘Unjust Malaise’ [New World Records, 2005], and the trio of works now appear on vinyl for the first time.
‘Crazy Nigger’ is the first and longest part of the series’. Its provocative title was shocking then and is perhaps now more than ever. However, as the composer explains in an introduction given at Northwestern University found on ‘Unjust Malaise’, his use of the term is anything but derogatory, instead referring to the fundamental role of “field niggers” in the foundation of the American economy, as “not superficial, but elegant… at the ground of things”. From this perceptive base, Julius Eastman radically adapts the instrumental language of classical music to his own, expressive ends, to challenge the restrictions of romantic classical music with more fluid and organically open-ended musical structures.
Composed in 1978, ‘Crazy Nigger’ offers a muscular parallel to the more mannered minimalism of the era. His keys attack in powerful flurries right from the start, cascading complex harmonies that arguably feel more immediate, gloriously voluminous and, heck, “crazed” than work by almost any of his contemporaries. By the track’s hammering climax and lofted conclusion, first time listeners will be under little illusion as to the thrilling power of Eastman’s playing and vision.
It could be said that the difference in Eastman’s music stems from his personal experience as flamboyant, Gay, Black man in the ’70s. Like his contemporary Arthur Russell (he notably conducted Russell’s ‘Tower of Meaning’ and sang on Dinosaur L’s ‘24→24 Music’) and the efforts of Glass and Reich, Eastman’s music unavoidably mirrors the drive of disco and the sprawling fluidity of African music, bridging dimensions in dizzying flights of innovation. But where Reich and Glass are often hailed as forerunners of a certain type of mannered minimal techno, then by that logic, Eastman’s music is a kind of prototype for the breathtaking, headlong rush of Detroit or NYC techno and hardcore for discerning listeners.
And as for the title, perhaps Bradford Bailey puts it best: “You have to wonder, when titling his works - often deploying the vile language of racism and homophobia, if Julius Eastman was consciously forcing white, leftist music fans like myself to choke out words which we actively despise - to recognise polarising truths which are bound to his sounds and the context in which they reside - to see our complicity with unforgivable sin."
Luc Ferrari’s sensually-focussed early ‘80s work ‘Sexolidad’ appears alongside a killer, technoid piece rife with metallic vocals and electro rhythms on vinyl for the first time.
Perhaps not the one to play anyone who says avant-garde music isn’t sexy, the full orchestration of ‘Sexolidad’, while intently focussed on the corporeal and the carnal, is probably only going to turn on a niche group of french pensioners.
However, ‘Dialogue Ordinaire Avec La Machine’ (1982-83) is a real wonder, mixing a punny conversation (in french, but we can chuckle at the translation) with cut-up rhythms and progressively weirder vocal processing that eventually ends up keening into chaotic dissonance and electro-dub rhythms recalling Pan Sonic or Muslimgauze jamming with Suicide and Craig Leon. Seriously! Aye, you’ve found our kink.
Riki is the Los Angeles based dark synth-pop outfit commandeered by the mysterious Niff Nawor, a visual artist and musician active in the deathrock / anarcho-punk scenes of the California bay area (formerly a member of Crimson Scarlet), before founding her solo endeavor as Riki in 2017. Niff’s desire to explore her own sound manifested in the recording of the Hot City cassette tape in 2017, which featured Chelsey Crowley of Crimson Scarlet, Skot Brown of Phantom Limbs and Peđaof Doomed to Extinction. Released on Commodity Tapes and later reissued on vinyl by the well-regarded Symphony of Destruction label, Riki followed the release of the single with several small tours and festival dates, performing with such acts as Light Asylum, Black Marble, and Trisomie 21.
"For her self-titled debut album for Dais, Riki explores courage, physicality, and romance across eight timeless synth pop anthems. Produced and engineered by hardware-based synthesist Matia Simovich of INHALT, influences and ideas are worn proudly without deviating from fresh and daring electro-pop territory. Nostalgic cues can be heard ranging from Neue Deutsch Welle, early Adrian Sherwood productions, classic ZYX Italo Disco, Japanese Visual Kei and even classic new wave/pop like Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, and early Madonna.
The lead single, Napoleon, contains Riki’s indelible sound design, reminiscent of 80’s New York dance floor electro-pop that recalls the fusion of uptown and downtown styles and culture, told through Riki’s present day West Coast narrative. For contrast, the second single entitled Böse Lügen (Body Mix) was previously released in demo form and remixed to emphasize its commanding presence and addictive nature. Translated simply to “Wicked Lies” and sung completely in German, Böse Lügen moves away from the upbeat romanticism found throughout the album and commands serious self-reflection guised within an infectious dance floor anthem. Riki invites listeners to “reveal their useless habits of complacency and fear...and witness their own rebirth, a rhythm universal”
‘Loom’ is Katie Gately’s elegy for her late mum, brimming with layered arrangements recalling her work with Björk, serpentwithfeet and Zola Jesus in recent years.
“Katie’s mother was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer shortly after seeing Katie perform for the first time, and Loom was made during her mother’s illness. To solidify the enormity of a loss like this, Gately has added the seismic rumble and aural grit of real earthquake recordings in her productions – alongside her signature adventurous sound design and earwormy melodies – to signify how grief like this is like the shifting of the earth. “I felt like my world was being shaken,” says Katie. “I was losing the person who created me, and it seemed an appropriate time to sample earthquakes.”
Where her debut album Color, (2016) deployed fractured rhythms, fierce licks, bold samples and her signature paintbox pop hooks, Loom reveals crepuscular textures. Her voice is more forward in the mix, often densely layered in choral laments above a coarse foundation of hard and brittle sound design, the latter of which is rooted in her film school training. As well as earthquake sounds, Loom includes more samples, chosen for their associative power, peacocks screaming, pill bottles shaking, a coffin closing, wolves howling, a shovel digging, a paper shredder, stone grinding and heavily processed audio from her parent’s wedding.
At the time of her mother’s diagnosis, Katie was near completion of an entirely different album, but says that very quickly she realized she “didn’t have the bandwidth to make that record anymore.” She returned from LA to her family home in Brooklyn and started again, completely rebuilding the album around the track ‘Bracer’, which was her mother’s favourite. She made it while she couldn’t sleep, and the result is a record she says is powered more by heart than mind, with sucker-punch richness and keening vocals that are unflinching. “The process is blurry to me now,” she says. “I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but I didn’t have time to worry about perfecting things, I was just working when everyone was asleep – it was the only time I had.”
Her lyrics are rooted in the events she was experiencing, but describe personifications and abstracted feelings. ‘Flow’ is written from the perspective of her mother; in ‘Allay’ she speaks as the cancer; in ‘Tower’ she inhabits the medicine that confronts the cancer. “They’re darker in tone,” she explains, “but I see beauty in that.” ‘Waltz’ and ‘Bracer’ are tracks she describes as being like a brother and sister: “They’re about the same thing, about being disoriented and wanting to check out with a substance – I used whisky.” ‘Waltz’ spins in on itself, whereas ‘Bracer’ reaches for a series of climaxes that drop out before they can peak. The three interludes, ‘Ritual’, ‘Rite’ and ‘Rest’ are a triptych that carve out light and space to breathe – sometimes synthesizing sounds like exhalations – between the density of other tracks. They are spliced sections of one longer track, with ‘Rest’ closing the album. “When my mother passed I ate doughnuts and slept for a month,” she says. “The pressures from the music industry just fell away – release schedules and the like just didn’t matter any more. But a callous had to be formed, so after that I finished the record, and it was done by the beginning of 2019.”
“I’d work on it when everyone else at home was in bed,” says Aidan Moffat of his latest musical project as Nyx Nótt. “I don't sleep very well and I'm very much a nighthawk, so the music I made was naturally nocturnal.”
"The essence of night and Moffat’s moonlit tinkerings became such a prominent role in the creative process that his new alias had to reflect this too. “I originally planned to release the album anonymously and tried to think of a convincing, exotic name that suited the nocturnal themes of the album. Nyx and Nótt are two mythical goddesses of night, Nyx from the Greek and Nótt from old Norse.” The album title translates as "At the Feet of Night", so this is an album not simply of, or from, the night, but an ode to it - a sonic worshipping of the night’s pull and allure. Crepuscular music.
The result is an album that pulses like the quiet hum of night; the production is clear and crisp with every movement, note and sound augmented with stark clarity - like the amplified sound of a creaking floorboard as you move through the house in darkness. It’s a deeply percussive album, resulting in gentle rhythms that often give way to moments of real stillness and tenderness that stem from the rich orchestration and composition - one that glides from strings to brass to quietly purring electronics. The album moves through jazz, ambient and electronic to result in something that sounds like it might be a score to Moffat’s dreams. “It’s made with samples, sound effects, keyboards, and the occasional toy,” says Moffat. “All but one of the tracks started with drums – I'd been collecting jazz drum samples and sessions for a while and I would layer a few kits on top of each other to create rhythms, then add music and samples from there.”
When Moffat says “the occasional toy” he means it quite literally. “For ‘Mickey Mouse Strut’ the music began with a recording of a singing Mickey Mouse toy I bought in Japan,” he says. “Its mouth opens when you squeeze its belly and it's quite sinister.” Elsewhere there’s references to Edgar Allen Poe on ‘Long Intervals of Horrible Sanity’, a haunting tribute to the horror writer Shirley Jackson via ‘Shirley Jackson on Drums’ and ‘Theme From’ is a track that Moffat plucked from another project which was going to be an album of twenty 90-second theme tunes for imaginary Netflix shows.
However, for someone as revered a lyricist as Moffat - be it with his own solo work, Arab Strap or when working with Bill Wells and RM Hubbert - he’s in entirely instrumental mode here, much like he was with his now defunct L.Pierre alter ego. It results in a fundamental shift in creative approach for Moffat when operating in this format. “For me, making instrumental music is like working with your favourite tool missing,” he suggests. “It's more of a challenge and a bit more risky. It relies more on instinct than songwriting does, or at least it does for me. It requires a bit more trust in yourself when there's no-one to bounce ideas off – in that way, these sorts of records are probably more personal than those with my voice.”
Also, given the album was made in such a personal and intimate way by Moffat as the world was catching z’s, it also succeeds in being a transformative experience for him. “There's an element of escapism in this album – there are no crickets in Glasgow, for instance, but I couldn't resist using recordings of them, I've always loved the way they sound.”
Those nighttime sessions and plucking albums from experiments are not an anomaly in Moffat’s life however. “I'm always working on something to varying degrees,” he says. “Right now, I'm working on another three albums that will appear over the coming years. It keeps me sane and happy. I'm very lucky to have a job that's not only enjoyable but is actually a way of winding down too. I live in a sort of backwards world these days where work functions as a stress reliever.”
Tranquillising beats on the cusp of jazz, ambient and hip hop from Tel Aviv’s Rejoicer, making his debut on Stones Throw after a decade of releases thru his Raw Tapes label
“Spiritual Sleaze is dense with lush textures, laid-back beats and complex instrumentation that could equally be described as jazz, hip-hop, and ambient without ever being one of those things. The tension between melodic, easy-listening sounds and Rejoicer’s tendency towards improvisation inspired the album’s sound. Where Energy Dreams was “floaty”, Spiritual Sleaze is more “dirty and bouncy” while holding on to the earlier album’s dreamy, psychedelic vibe.
Rejoicer (Yuvi Havkin) is a producer from Tel-Aviv, who splices together funk, hip-hop, ambient and jazz. He's helped cultivate Israel’s modern beat movement, and fostered a community of international artists who contribute to his Raw Tapes label.”
Happa jumps back in the dance with both feet for Whities’ Blue series of mutant club tackle.
After spending recent years on production for David Byrne, steadily building his PT/5 Records, and collaboration with fellow Yorkshireman 96 Back, Happa returns with devilishly detailed dance productions in his twisted style; working up a frothy airborne funk punctuated with dramatic handbrake turns and drizzly dropouts in the rattling trills of ‘Clip’, whilst ‘One Three Five’ swangs out in a sort of 2-step electro style riddled with iridescent melody and persistently in flux between weightless pads and rugged subs.
Sign Libra deftly refreshes new age tropes in a beautifully breezy LP of ambient-dance-pop certain to charm lovers of records by early Grimes, Kate Bush, YMO, Ana Roxanne, Maria Minerva.
Conceived by Latvia’s Agata Melnikova, Sign Libra has quietly impressed in recent years via Antinote’s vinyl issue of her debut ‘Closer to the Equator’ (2018), and a spot on the ‘New Atlantis Vol.1’ comp collated by India Jordan and Deadboy’s label. Now she is set for much wider recognition with ‘Sea To Sea’, a gloriously widescreen suite of ohrwurming melodic motifs and diaphanous vocal harmonies helmed in gauzy, distant dance rhythms to the sweetest, light-headed effect.
Inspired by lunar movements and the link between the cerebral and the celestial - but never really taken too heavily - the album’s nine songs tesselate the same elements in myriad ways. Like twists of a kaleidoscope pointed at the moon, her songs wax and wane between visions of the moon seen by day and in its nocturnal phases, variously turning from full-moon giddiness to peacefully arcing crescents and half-lidded, gibbous hypnagogia.
Where the cloying cliches of too many new age operators detract form their meditative appeal, Sign Libra’s grasp of ethereal and lilting, popwise touches strike the right balance of playfulness and sincerity for us, and we reckon songs such as ‘Sea of Waves’ and the possessed invocation of ‘Sea of Serenity’ will be haunting us for time to come.
Wilted Woman and Christoph De Babalon do frazzled breaks, blunted rave tones and bittersweet IDM electronica as SUDS for their debut with Hank Jackson’s anno label
Following a fecund period of activity for CDB after the 2018 reissue of his classic ‘IYIIIOI’, and subsequent turns with Alter, Lazy Tapes and Bocian, he brings a palette of wizened electronics and brittle breaks to Wilted Woman’s jagged melodic qualities, which have appeared on Alien Jams, Psychic Liberation and Phantasy Sound in recent years.
’Shuttlecock Fanefare’ weirdly enough reminds us of the label’s near namesake, Anstam in its brooding breaksy lurch, whereas the skizzy, anxious roil of ‘Trauerweide’ is more given to teutonic electronica whims. ‘Sad And Done’ follows that line to a mix of contemplative post-rock electronics and frayed steppers drums, and best of all ‘Mirage March’ wanders off into a mix of scorched halfstep and furtive, medieval-edged RPG atmosphere.
Move D (aka David Moufang) and Benjamin Brunn come across like some kind of minimal tag-team on 'Let's Call It A Day' - bringing their individual styles to bear on a collaboration that is neither clinical nor fussy.
Meeting at Resource Studio in Heidelberg to record 'Let's Call It A Day', the pairing of Moufang and Brunn exist very much in the spaces between the machine's heartbeats - taking an evident cue from the tracing paper schematic of Raster Noton then feeding it through their own vision of stripped beauty. Ensuring that proceedings don't get mired down amongst insular clicks and edits, 'Let's Call It A Day' very much has it's eye on the overtly animated end of the genre - wherein the crystalline beats and pinprick compositions are bathed in rich chord structures that blur the potentially stark environs to pleasing effect. Allowing the dubby techno heritage to bubble throughout, opening track 'C-Sick' bounces around the speakers with necromantic intent - drawing in wisps of electronics and creased beats to form a whole that is energetic without breaking a sweat.
Next up is 'On The Magic Bus', wherein any memories of vomit stained journeys through town on a decrepit double-decker are bleached clean by a crawling web of fidgety resonance and looped beats that install themselves deep within the cranium and refuse to leave. Very much ensuring a human touch is left throughout, Moufang and Brunn's fingerprints are clear to see - as the likes of 'Grains', 'A' and '?' temper the silicon with majestic and sprawling sun-set soundscapes. Detailed, grand and human to the core, 'Let's Call It A Day' proves just how intoxicating binary can be.
Mutant percussive techno form he NH camp, backed with a wonky DVA remix
Issued in 2016, the ‘Visions’ EP remains Lokane’s lone solo release for NH, or anywhere else for that matter, which is surprising considering its quality. Working somewhere between the hard drum sound of his label boss TSVI and DJ Plead, and the hyper-crisp spatialized sound design of Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke, he really impresses with the mix of boisterous drums and pitchman sci-fi synth tone in the title track, and again with the see-sawing lead and guttural swang of ‘Overproof’.
Nervous Horizon co-founder TSVI’s debut EP for the label packs three original hard drum zingers plus a Lokane remix and hook-up with Luru
“Tsvi opens a darker chapter in his artistic journey temporarily running away from the 80s synth flavors. For his first vinyl release he wants to make sure this becomes an instant warehouse classic, Nervous Horizon is all about the impact on the dancefloors.
He has definitely delivered what we were expecting, the opening track Set You Free is a masterpiece. In this track the artist certainly shows his deep connection with Detroit and Berlin modular techno. The use of silence is definitely a touch of genius, Tsvi only uses the amount techno he wants, we are not in Berlin, this is being chopped in Hackney!
Headshot brings us straight back to E3 (East London postcode). Pounding grime pulse track with yet again with a techno twist that isn’t shy to show it-self. Black Dog is a dance floor killer, very high on adrenaline it's an amazing weapon to drop mid set and stun even the most hardcore ravers. In Mass Production Tsvi uses the amen break for the first time and the result is an explosive hardcore-rave warehouse track with a timeless touch. (This is the bonus track of the 12" and is a vinyl exclusive)”
Jan Jelinek and Hideki Umezawa supply enchantingly abstract interpretations of Mads Emil Nielsen’s hand-drawn graphic scores alongside the Danish artist’s original works
‘Framework 2’ is the continuation of a series where Nielsen, and collaborators, subjectively transform hand drawn illustrations into sound, and vice-versa, on his arbitrary label. The results of Nielsen’s process were last heard on ‘Sichuan 1’, a 2018 compilation curated by Frank Bretschneider for Raster-Noton, and this new 2 x 10” features two previously unreleased works, and their reinterpretations.
On the first disc Nielsen’s notation of circles, zig-zagging lines and scribbles result a dense collage of scrabbly synth recordings made during a residency at EMS Stockholm in ‘Circle’, and a more intriguing cut-up of field recordings rendered in head-spinning stereo beside Andreas Neumann in ‘Framework Fragments’.
So far, so absorbing, but it’s the other disc that really takes our fancy. Jan Jelinek’s ‘Circles 2’ interpretation diffuses a microcosm of hyaline, radiophonic, electro-acoustic wonder according to laws of impossible, dream-like physics, while Hideki Umezawa decimates ‘Framework Fragments’ into chattering scree with a gently organic, elusive quality that’s easy to get wrapped up and lost in.
Deep techno and mystic wave audness from the aesthetic phase shift of ’92-’94, researched and compiled by Amsterdam’s excellent Knekelhuis camp
Hustling four tracks by artists whose practice began in the ‘80s and continued into the ‘90s, ‘Transition Vol.1’ smartly identifies sounds in flux between live, performance-based recording techniques and the computer-based styles to come. All the tracks were produced between ’92-’94 and bear the hallmarks of a natural shift from sinuous, unquantised designs into the halcyon era of early ‘90s ambient and techno paradigms.
Up top, Canada’s ADSR exemplify this phase shift with the fluid early trance techno flow of ‘Infinities Of Life’, and UK obscurities Cacophony ’33’ yield a rough gem with the mystic dark ambient appeal of ‘Old Codger III’, which hits right between the eyes of Muslimgauze and PWoG. Rome land on the B-side with a warm bath of ambient dub full of melancholy pads and wistful whale calls that feels caught between new age and trip hop, and Zen Paradox make this plate kinda crucial for anyone scouting this region and era with a sound strongly comparable to The Connection Machine in ‘Say Goodbye to the dark Place’.
A stellar lineup of electro artists pay dues to Drexciya’s sonic fiction in the compilation extension of ‘Bubble Chamber’, an exhibition showcase held in Zürich, Switzerland during late 2019.
Counting 11 tracks from Xor Gate (alias of Drexicya’s Gerald Donald), DJ Dijital, The Exaltics, Plant 43, Sansibar and many more, perhaps the biggest attraction of ‘Bubble Chamber’ is the accompanying booklet of drafts for Drexicyan artwork by Abdul Haqq, the legendary Detroit illustrator whose work adorns loads of classic Transmat and UR releases. Along with an interview with Abdul and more art by chukwumaa, Dominiqueh White, Maïté Chéniere, and an academic essay by Charlie Mills, we hardly need to overstate this is a must-have for all self-respecting Drexciya nuts looking to delve deeper into his mythos.
“The goal of this compilation is to showcase the reach and influence which Drexciya had through generations of electronic music producers and also link them together with compositorial predecessors from the early 80s. The musical timeline on this compilation starts from 1982 and reaches its contemporary end in 2019.
"More than twenty years after their first release, the sonic fictions produced by Drexciya, the Detroit based electronic duo founded by James Stinson and Gerald Donald at the start of the 1990s, continues to enthral contemporary cultural practitioners. By reimagining the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a fiction of enforced mutation, the Drexciya mythos opened, and continues to open, a speculative space for the reimagining of the posthuman condition, and for questions of becoming, origin and mutation in relation to capitalism, finance and futurity." - Kodwo Eshun”
Smug chug for middle management types...
“Acid bass, slow funk and cosmic energy make for a mind expanding trip in the Liquid Canoe. Load up on edibles, make it a macro-dose and let the music lead the way.
Whether you’re hard at work on a Hamburg allotment, basking in the heat of a Balinese beach or enjoying the cool waters of the Salish Sea, remember that the same sky stretches over all of us. And if you forget your finger for a minute and soak in the heavenly beauty instead, you might just catch the cosmic vibrations of Liquid Canoe, the latest members of the Growing Bin family.
A loose ensemble, Liquid Canoe is the brainchild of Wolfgang Matthes, a lost Angelino who’s swapped the rush and push of a mega city for the space of the Pacific Northwest - and listening to this eight track offering, you’ll realise that space is the place. Armed with an array of vintage synths and programmed rhythms, Wolfgang sketched out a slew of inter dimensional transmissions, inspired by the commune electronics and space rock of 70s Germany and inhabited by the spirit of the boogie. Inviting friends to drop by and lend their own instrumental skill, Wolfgang quickly turned Liquid Canoe into a true collaboration. Finalised in a converted stable on Galiano Island, the LP is a perfect marriage of the electronic and organic, shimmering arps and spheric synth bass intertwined with American primitive guitar, nuanced hand percussion and glassy chimes. As this mind expanding collection stretches out towards infinity, you’ll hear Floyd-ian funk, cosmic dub, tangerine daydreams and micro-dosed ambience, all imbued with the memories of New York lofts, Bay Area warehouses, skyscraping pines or the world wide web of fungi. Liquid Canoe taking you on an oarsome trip.
Outstanding drill/trap/industro-dub mutations by Brodinski (ATL) and Low Jack (Paris), following on from Brodinski’s key productions for Goodrich Pablo Juan, 21 Savage, Slim Thug, Kanye West, a killer start to La Disque De Las Bretagne’s 2020 release schedule.
As beat builder to both rap’s elite and the new skool, Brodinski (Kanye West, 21 Savage, Slim Thug, Lil Reek) brings a moneymaking suss to Low Jack’s cranky dancehall inspirations in four lean and rugged instrumental smackers.
Pitting their distinctive palettes for the good of the club, each cut toils a strictly pared-down sound that finds virtues in its ductile versatility and dank atmospheric qualities. Up top they elide woozy pipes with cone-slapping bass and drums that ricochet like distant gunshots in a warehouse, next to a nasty-ass cut of fizzing drill patterns and lurking two note melody. Down below, they knuckle one piece of bombed-out, demonic swagger, and its martial version loaded up with marching band snare rolls and queasy synth soul leads.
Highly compatible with both US and UK drill styles, the bleak and hungry vibe is just gagging to be made even darker with some road level realism by your favourite rapper. Rack up your acapellas and get busy...
Burgeoning club label Nervous Horizon follow up label boss TSVI’s recent ‘Sacred Drums’ EP.
"‘Spin Cycle’, comprised of three tracks written in the same warehouse space Storey shared with TSVI and fellow NH boss, Wallwork, earlier this year, details a micro-world of new ideas that Storey manifests within a sprawling, hyper-specific web of weird and wonderful bass abstraction. “It’s not often you go to a viewing and your potential house-mate actively wants you to make noise with no restrictions”, he says reflecting on first meeting TSVI while looking for a new place to live in London.
Energised by this new sense of creative freedom and boosted by a support network pro-vided by the extended NH crew (“Gugli (TSVI) and Tommy (Wallwork) were buzzing off these tracks when I played them”), Storey is at the top of his game across the EP. From the fuzzy, looping programming on the title-track, written as if in a ‘spin cycle’, to the swinging, crunchy pressure on ‘Critters’ and the muffled, industrial-tech tones to ‘Sludge 3D’, ‘Spin Cycle’ plays right into the NH ethos — making music that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before."
Mad Mike’s evergreen deep house production for Davina bubbles up for a necessary 2020 reissue
Originally presented on UR’s Happy Records sublabel in 1992, and subsequently kept in press via other labels, ‘Don’t You Want It’ is a class example of UR head Mad Mike, who used to play keys on Motown recordings, sustaining the city’s soulful sound in the derelict decades after Motown jumped ship to sunny California.
Making use of Motown’s abundant talent that was effectively collateral damage in this major industry shift, he supplies the deeply soulful tug of Davina’s vocal with a suitably optimistic backdrop of burning organ refrain, bleep techno riffs and sizzling 909 groove sealed with those signature string arrangements.
Possessed, grungy slow blows from Belgrade’s Andria, taking the 2nd bow on MR TC and Lo Kindre’s Phase Group label
Chasing up the label owner’s 2019 inauguration, Andria deals out four super-cranky industrial girders in ‘O O O O O’: getting into proper crud mode with the bilgy pump and clammy atmospheric sound design of ‘Osion’, which turns into a snarling beats by the end; then going on with worm-charming subbass tremors and chattering gargoyles in ‘6h Of Sna’; while ‘the title track swangs out like something unleashed from the ark in Vladimir Ivkovic’s basement; and ‘Komina’ trudges soporific to the runout groove which is the only place you’ll find respite from the demons on this 12”.
Haai debuts on Mute with a limited 6-track EP of rugged rave rollers and doofers
Exemplifying a current wave of charmingly retro sounding dance music from Australian artists, ‘Systems Up Window Down’ sees Haai follow two 12”s for Coconut Beats - the label arm of the London party series she’s helmed for years - with a festival-ready clutch of dance trax.
Haai’s music doesn’t feel rooted in any particular scene, but rather cuts and pastes into a functional sound that’s a bit house, a bit hardcore breaks-y, and a bit ruff around-the-edges in a mid-rangey, psyche-y rock style.
Lithuanian producer Mantas Povilaika, aka DJ JM with a five-track EP, ‘No Days Off’ – his inaugural record for Nervous Horizon.
"After first starting to emerge on the London club scene radar back in 2015, Nervous Horizon label heads TSVI & Wallwork played some early JM material at their debut London Boiler Room session in 2016, sparking a relationship that has since birthed collaborations on TSVI EPs ‘Sacred Drums’ (2016) and ‘Rambo’ (2018).
After releasing a further two full EPs on NKC’s hard drum label Even The Strong, ‘No Days Off’ forms a natural extension of his work with TSVI, only this time more extensive and detailed. From the anthemic, late ‘90s euphoria of the title-track to the searing club energy of ‘Mad Move’ ft. TSVI to the dark, pulsing techno flicker of ‘Bar Bell’, it is an EP forged at peak time and only tempered by mystical EP closer, ‘Original Taste’ – a track inspired by local Lithuanian club sounds and faraway worlds."
Hard, sleazy industrial dance trax from Italian producer Andrea Natale dressed up as Anna Funk Damage for Cera Khin’s Lazy Tapes
Running the gamut of whirring EBM mechanics to breakneck trance, Lazy Tapes 2nd vinyl release chases up their 2018 Peder Mannerfelt 12” with a club ready brawl in four up-for-it parts.
Up top, the Italian artist channels masticated hardcore rap on the grungy electro-punk flow of ‘Badass Bitch’, beside the clod-hopping clonk and strangulated vocals of ‘Bloodydeath’. Down below, he comes off like one of Parrish Smith’s late ‘90s cybergoth/EBM-trance missiles with the gore-trance trajectory of ‘Elm Street Faster Edition’, before the mechanical rotor-jawed funk of ‘That’s Why I’m Hot’ will serrate the floor limb-by-limb.
The UK techno heavyweight puts his back into a trio of big room pounder in tried and tested Blueprint style
Up top the title track picks up a fair head of steam with a fizzing electric lead, seething hi-hats and a bucking power-up second half that calves off into a beat less finale. On the B-side he plays it down with the sinuous, cantering minimalism of ‘Social Acceptance’ and the offset IDM-techno roller ‘Weakness of the System’.
Bassbin-testing pressure and ruckus drums from NH co-founder and hard drum proponent, TSVI
Issued back in 2016, the ‘Sacred Drums’ EP is TSVI’s 2nd EP for his own label. It’s a kilelr, early definition of his hard drum style, squeezing off a barrel of bullets between the bone-rattling subbass shudders, chattering vocal and steel-tipped soca snares of ‘The Healer’, and the loud, punchy smack of ‘Darabukka’ on the A-side, and throwing down a funkier parry recalling Karizma on ‘Assam’s Children’ beside the Diwali Riddim-esque claps of ‘Egyptian Sensation’ on a Mahraganat meets dancehall tip.
Premium Detroit house flex from FXHE boss Omar-S, striking deep on his 6th album of ruggedly soulful and debonaire dance music
Arriving 15 years since he registered a clutch of head-turning 12”s and the standout debut LP ‘Just Ask The Lonely’ (2005), Omar-S still follows a staunchly DIY, familial way of doing it with ‘You Want’, roping in regular, local collaborators John FM, Norm Talley, Ian Finkelstein, and L’Renee for a plush suite that speaks to the versatility of his classic take on Detroit house, proper.
His two cuts with John FM supply massive highlights, firstly riffing on grown-up nightlife travails in a way that has nowt to do with the computer programme in ‘Second Life’, and the synth-heavy burner ‘Hear Me Out’, while ‘This Love Is 4 Real’ offers his wickedly jacked up take on Lil Louis’ sex beat classic ‘French Kiss’, and the likes of ‘Mandela’s Gold’ and ‘Don’t Get In My Way’ catch him on a cranky and bugged-out broken beat tip, and fans of his classic ‘Blade Runner’ will be very happy to cop his warehouse techno heavyweight, ‘1993’.
You know what to do!
New one from Ed DMX...
"When was the last time EDMX served you what you expected? Maybe you drop the needle down in anticipation of some slick boogie-inflected synth pop and get walloped in the face with hellfire techno. Perhaps you were itching for body-popping electro and got cerebrally hijacked by pagan coldwave.
On this latest magnum opus, his first on Queen Nanny. Ed Upton is in the mood to get down low in every sense of the word. On the frequency range, this is a record dripping with lard-fed bass at every turn. The arrangements too are devilishly low in channel count – raw riddims with just a few key ingredients to do the necessary damage. Then there are the tempos, which predominantly set cruise control at 90 BPM and glide.
It’s not hard to tell where EDMX’s inspiration has sparked from on this album – in the spirit of celebrating the compatability of oddball sonics from all corners of the globe, he’s patched his sound into a specific vibe and struck gold with some of the most distinctive riddims you’re likely to hear all year."
Eminent avant-garde/experimental explorer Oren Ambarchi opens a rewarding new avenue to embrace the warmth and mystic psychedelia of Brazilian music with assistance from celebrated percussionist and Downtown luminary Cyro Baptista. Arriving just after Ambarchi’s 50th birthday, and Black Truffle's 10th, ‘Simian Angel’ sees him yoke back from the forward tilt of his rhythm-driven outings over the past decade in order to focus on his electric guitar playing, with utterly sublime results.
Keening sideways from the unyielding percussion of his last outing ‘Hubris’ , he divines a floating space that recalls the beautifully pensile cats cradle of his early classic ‘Grapes From The Estate’ , only this time with fleshlier, more inviting arrangements. The first half’s ’Palm Sugar Candy’ is pure star-gazing material, with Baptista’s hand-played, self-built percussion drawing us into a horizontal headspace while Ambarchi’s glowing notes gently colour the sky above. Ambarchi gradually opens up a glorious space between that dissonant murmuring and an awning, harmonic meridian, where a voice whispers into the space to gently recalibrate our depth perception, before seemingly turning his guitar into a MIDI-triggering aeolian harp in the piece’s spellbinding, levitating 2nd half.
’Simian Angel’ follows with a more gripping rhythmic pull from the twanging Berimbau, just one of myriad percussion mastered by Baptista (who has previously played with everyone from John Zorn to Derek Bailey, Herbie Hancock and Robert Palmer), before Ambarchi glydes into view like a chorus of the sighing Simian Angels, drawing the piece upwards into thin air, where his guitar melts into piano and columns of warm air carry distant vocals from below. The drums rejoin to mark the work’s final avian swoops in strokes and dashes, triggering MIDI keys in a beautifully colourful sort of jazz fusion call and response, located amid and above a subtropical canopy.
Arriving at the apparent apex of a long and sprawling career in which he's had countless collaborations and gone down a seemingly endless series of creative rabbit holes, 'Simian Angel’ is quite possibly Oren Ambarchi’s most open and generous album to date - a perfect entry point into, as well as highlight of, a recorded catalogue that over the course of more than twenty years has been one of the most unpredictable and rewarding in the game. Bravo.
Estimable Austrian double bassist Werner Dafeldecker commits his first electro-acoustic full length with an engrossing side of textural roil for Room 40 comparable with enigmas by Kevin Drumm, Emptyset or Cam Deas and primed for deep immersion. The best Room 40 in a while we reckon...
Perceptively highlighting and occupying a space between music and noise in a relatively rare solo outing, Werner Dafeldecker places over 30 years of recording experience with the European and global avant cognoscenti at the service of an unfathomably deep sound bound to quench any discerning thirst for abstract, mystifying electro acoustic music. While perhaps best known as a consummate collaborator who’s recorded with everyone from Fennesz to Valerio Tricoli, DJ Hell and Pan Daijing, this album identifies him as a master not only of the acoustic sphere, but now also electro-acoustic dimensions.
Manifest in a mix of spongiform shapes, bobbing clanks and laminal flows, ‘Parallel Darks’ leaves its mark in two contrasting ways that speak to the breadth and depth of Dafeldecker’s imagination and technical faculties. The first side bubbles up with lacquer-crackling texturhythms that move omnidirectional from an absent centre, working in a perpetual metric flux where, if you squint ears hard enough, harmonic forms appear to emerge only to be consumed by the swell just as quickly. It’s difficult to grasp any sides or centre to the piece and that’s where it really comes into its own in a heavily satisfying, psychedelic manner.
By turns the B-side feels more aggressive and foreboding. Any semblance of meter is ripped like rug from under your feet to model an impossible physics of sound where a keening, billowing black mass teeters on pin legs, fringed by the barely-perceptible sound of human breathing and birdcalls that make for a wonderfully perplexing blend of dark and light themes, and paradoxes of weight/lessness, space/density and dematerialised texture as rhythm.