A charming here-and-now portrait of the contemporary Lowlands jazz scene, covering cool downbeats, up-stepping jazz-funk fusion, joyous broken beat bubblers, and more key changes than a busy locksmith
“A snapshot of the rising Dutch jazz scene, the ‘Super-Sonic Family’ compilation captures a refreshed spirit of talented artists that are shaping the new musical directions within the Lowlands. This thirteen track collection connects these unique artists that express themselves beyond the borders of genres. This compilation adds to the rise of this ascending scene and will be released in the light of the six day ‘Super-Sonic Jazz Festival’ in Amsterdam, organised by KC The Funkaholic & Tenzers.”
Drag-style slow pounders from Lowlands producer Tassilo Vanhöfen making his debut on Neubau
Chasing up 2019’s ‘Cosmix’ tape for Victor De Roo’s Kontakt Group label, Vanhöfen holds to a hypnotically druggy 95bpm pulse and murky laminal textures in the A-side grinder ‘Primer’, whereas the B-side’s ‘Gutter Churl’ swangs out with spongiform ambient bumps, rubbed out alongside the chuggy acid heave of ‘Volatile’.
Totally unmissable debut full-length of free-floating ambient dream sequencing and avant garde percussion from pivotal NYC producer/sound artist Britton Powell for Brooklyn’s Catch Wave Ltd. - label behind 2016’s prized Dominique Lawalrée compilation as well as last year’s mind-melter from Leila Bordreuil.
Emerging as a real one-to-watch with ‘If Anything Is’, Britton Powell takes the spotlight with a unique conception of ambient music following his shadowy but key roles on some of our favourite releases of recent years; ranging from the liner notes in Recital’s sublime RIP Hayman side ‘Dreams of India and China’, to production coordination on Jon Hassell’s ‘Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)’, and also for Catch Wave Ltd’s releases by Dominique Lawalrée and Leila Bordreuil, as well as working with everyone from Warp Records to Jon Gibson, Lucy Railton, and Huerco S.
With his remarkable first solo release Powell finely distills themes of “psycho-acoustic phenomena, minimalism, and traditions of non-western music” central to his work across two sides that evoke a paradoxical state of seat-edge serenity related to psychic symptoms of hyper-reality and capitalism. Field recordings from Jonáš Gruska and percussion supplied by George Bennett are rendered as richly detailed, organic elements in his billowing sound sphere, elegantly enacting a meditation on the intersection of technology, ritual, and urban landscape that makes up everyday life in the Big Apple and surely resonates with city lives lived across the world.
In both parts he vacillates massive swells of stereo swept percussion and keening location sound, beautifully suspending the senses between feelings of paranoia from an insectoid scuttle of drums, and the seductively heavy-lidded appeal of his hypnagogic sound design and immersive aural scenery. If this is a collision of disparate elements, as the label calls it, then it’s one of slow motion Ballardian sensuality, glacially ravishing the mind with a push and pull between heady, lump-in-throat lushness and a subtle sense of needling dread.
Warmest sci-fi synth nostalgia from mid ‘80s Catalonia, presenting first reissue of the soundtrack to a kid’s TV take on ET who looks remarkably like a weird buttplug. They do things their own way in Barcelona, eh? File next to your Moomins and Jan Zonder Vrees OST’s
“From the cosmic creative musical mind of Swiss/Catalan studio whizz, Zeleste Nightclub engineer, Video Nasty film composer, occasional Jaume Sisa (Música Dispersa) collaborator and future electronic music therapy pioneer comes the synth- ridden vocoder-loaded 1984 sci-funk soundtrack to Barcelona’s daytime TV response to the universal E.T. phenomena. Get ready to meet your new alienígena amic and the unidentified flying object of thousands of Catalonian kids affections through the 1980s as Finders Keepers present J. M. Pagan’s lost lunar modular synth score to Kiu I Els Seus Amics (Kiu And Friends aka Kiu Is Your Friend).
From the same intergalactic phenomenon that brought such delights as Turkey’s exploito cash-in “Badi” or South Africa’s lo-rent homage “Nukie” to our unregulated small screens, and the same craze which filled international airwaves with the likes of Extra T’S electro smash single “E.T. Boogie” or the million selling Columbian “Cumbia De E.T. El Extraterrestre” smash hit… not to mention a wide range of unofficial theme- tune cover versions from Holland, Austria, France and Germany (lest we forget an inspired late period Lee Scratch Perry Album) the creators of the movie which inspire the music on the album you are about to hear made no bones about their intergalactic muse. In 1982 the diaspora from Steven Spielberg’s small fictional mid-American neighbourhood that played host to everyone’s favourite torch fingered, three toed, Skittle scoffing space goblin touched virtually every family home in every major city resulting in one of the biggest cinematic merchandise phenomenas of the 21st century, resulting in an unexpected high-demand/short-supply play-off in which bootleggers, copyists and counterfeiters rose to the challenge like never before. At the precise moment that international audiences saw that cute little baldy poke his retractable neck around the corner and started stealing beer from the fridge, demanding long distance phone calls while circuit bending kids toys and frankly not looking after the plants… the human race was hooked! and we wanted more! more! more! When Spielberg regrettably told interviewers that he had no intention of making a sequel to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, it instantly became open-season for the imitators… but way before somebody squeezed- out, Mac & Me, ALF and The Purple People Eater a team of kid’s TV executives in Catalunya were ready to fill the widening gap in the market without haste. Created in 1983 by Luna Films and Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) and screened exclusively in Catalunya, Kiu I Els Seus Amics was one of the first E.T. “tributes” to make it out of the gate, and with a crew of five individual directors and writers to ensure that the five episode, one-off series hit the wave of phone-home-fever, “Kiu” has since remained a short but sweet micro-memory in the hearts of an entire generation of Catalonian cosmonauts.”
Diaphanous Japanese ambient meditations rooted in Buddhist philosophy particular to Japan, and steeped in native folklore and ghost tales. Follows release for M_nus and performance at Today’s Art
“‘There are dreams that I still remember. Although it has been decades since I had those dreams, they continue to pulsate, circulating their pellucid blood, vital and fresh as if dreamt just last night’
Singing bowls, bronze bells and gongs resonate through the mindful layers of Japanese percussionist and ambient producer Kazuya Nagaya’s music. In Zen Buddhism, bells are believed to wash away the cares of the mortal world, as the listener follows the resonance of the bell into the silence and stillness within all beings. It is a penetration into the depths of one’s self. Floating in a cloud of billowing ambience, its nine tracks invite the listener to traverse a broad spectrum of spirit.
‘There is one thing I have known all along. Someday I will have to face the messages from my unconscious. I will have to decipher their meaning and change my life accordingly. The messages from my unconscious are like a knocking on the door of my mind. For many years the sound reverberated, but I payed it no attention’
Nagaya’s music is rooted in Buddhist (Zenzhu) philosophy and sensibilities unique to Japan. Concurrently, his work and interests are also contemporary and traverse a broad spectrum of cultures. This has led him to work with a wide range of collaborators that include Tibetan Buddhist Monks, Hawaiian Kahuna, artists such as Plastikman and Iris Van Herpen, and also to perform regularly in acclaimed festivals such as MUTEK and Today`s Art. His first album, “Utsusho”, was released in 1999 and later re-released with Minus. His latest album, “The Microscope of Heraclitus,” was released with Indigo Raw in 2018.
Nagaya started out to pursue his talents in literature and is also an award-winning writer and a connoisseur on Japanese Literature, Buddhist Folktales and Zen Philosophical Works. These interests breathed life into his music, and the sensibilities and philosophical views which he developed during his literary years are now reflected in most of his music today. He spends half the week teaching courses at his University in Tokyo, and the other half composing and writing in his home in the Japanese Alps, where he resides with his wife, and many adopted cats and dogs. ‘Dream Interpretations’ was composed at a difficult time in Nagaya’s life. While he worked, he listened closely to the sound of the knocking that reverberated from the paths of his unconsciousness and transformed that into music. In other words, this music is his dream interpretation.”
Dancefloor-ready survey of golden era sounds from the Portuguese-speaking West African islands. A great history lesson for anyone gripped by the influential, contemporary club music of Lisbon’s Príncipe label!
“The two Portuguese-speaking African islands of Sao Tomé & Principe, located in the Gulf of Guinea, created an unique music called Puxa : a refined mixture of various musical components from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. A blend of Semba, Merengue, Kompas, Soukouss, Coladeira patterns, often pushing forward with a voodoo-like energy, solid bass lines, delicate melodies and backing harmonies of the rich Sao Tomean melodic traditions. Very first compilation focusing on the golden age of these island’s sounds, the 16 tracks selected will surely set fire on all dance floors !
Léve-Léve is the first ever compilation devoted to music from São Tome and Principe, two small islands situated off the coast of Gabon in central Africa. The album unravels a story of liberation where the music of Africa, Europe and the Americas unify with a carefree spirit personified by a phrase the islanders use all the time: “léve, léve” (“take it easy”). With echoes of Angolan semba and merengue, of Brazilian afoxê, of coladeira from Cape Verde and dance music from the Caribbean, it is a sound fiercely proud of its island heritage, sung in local dialects and using distinctive local rhythms.
On this record you can hear the cultural and social history of São Tome and Principe, and how live music represented its beating heart. Once known as the “Chocolate Islands” (remarkably, these two tiny islands were the largest cocoa producers in the world, though now this title acts as a reminder of its colonial past), through the years leading up to independence from Portugal, music would be a fundamental voice of liberation and conviviality. Os Úntués were one of the first groups to make an impression, releasing a couple of 7 inches in Angola – the litmus test of success for any of the islands’ groups. They united unique rhythms and dances like socopé, puita and dança-congo – borne from the islands’ largely slave-descendant population – with the sound of pop music beamed in on the radio from Europe, even adding in a little bit of soukous and Brazilian instrumentation. Their main rivals were Conjunto Mindelo, who fused São Toméan rhythms with rebita, an Angolan style, to create high energy puxa, a truly original island rhythm.”
Swingeing soukous charms laced with talking drums and lead by the colourful palm wine guitar styles of bandleader Dekula Kahanga.
“Here is the debut album from the sensational live act Dekula Band. Centered around the legendary guitar player Dekula Kahanga (who was in the leading dance orchestra in Tanzania during the 70’s and 80’s: Orchestra Maquis Original) , this African band (based in Sweden) have been a very popular live band for the last years. Whether it's been at one of their monthly gigs at the not so glamorous club Lilla Wien in Stockholm or at bigger venues at Stockholm Jazz Festival.
Dekula Kahanga and the singer Gaby are both from Congo and with the other members coming from Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and Sweden they all bring their special influences to the infectous and hypnotic style of soukous that they have refined over the years.
And now in 2019 they have finally been into a recording studio with Sing a song fighter’s Karl Jonas to document some of their magic. These six tracks are bursting with energy, playfulness and grace from a unique band.”
Enchanted ‘90s ambient classicism from Japan’s Yoshihiro Sawasaki, newly edited and reissued by Pedro Vian for the MOMArchives sublabel of Modern Obscure Music. Originally dispatched in 1994 on Sublime Records - then home to Susumu Yokota and Ken Ishii - ‘Neocrystal’ has risen to the surface as a standout from the ‘90s phase of Japanese electronic music.
Subtly edited by Pedro Vian, the two tracks still glisten with a utopian promise that bridges new age environmental music and ambient techno, especially in the hyaline iridescence and bubbling acidic tones of ‘Neocrystal’, which eventually coalesces around a looping ambient breakbeat, whereas ‘Magic Dome’ approaches the floor more directly with its simmering electro drum patterns and streaking kosmiche synth leads drawing dancers in for a slinky shimmy and holding them there for 10 minutes.
Jakarta/NYC’s Asa Tone slip right under the skin with a mix of mercurial gamelan and electronics for California’s Leaving Records...
Exploring space where traditional Indonesian music re-merges with American new age’s Far Eastern inspirations, ‘Temporary Music’ offers firms up an ephemeral, experimental sort of ambient interzone that shares similar coordinates with the music of Georgia, Visible Cloaks and their wealth of Fourth World ambient inspirations.
The trio of Jakarta-born Melati Melay with New York based Tristan Arp and Kaazi recorded their debut album in a temporary studio nestled in tropical jungle canopy during Melati’s annual trip home in 2018. Improvising in long, meditative takes of mallets, bamboo, vocals, and electronics, the results were edited for brevity back in NYC and resemble a heat hazy series of snapshots from what clearly appears to be a lovely time spent together.
In 10 pieces flush with rhythmelodic cadence and aqueous shimmer, they elegantly skip and swoon from the beat-less, plasmic shimmy of intrpduction, ‘To Tell a Picture’ to the closing sound poem of ‘Each Pool a Lifetime’ via mosaic of moiré patterns; tilting uptempo thru the impish dance of ‘Perpetual Motion Via Jugnle Transport’, and swooping across the Hassellian dub of ‘Visit From Tokay’ to the tight ambient dancehall bumps of ‘In Everybody Repeating’, a spirited dream sequence called ‘River At Work’, and more dembow/dancehall styled ruggedness recalling Haruomi Hosono/YMO on ‘Ogoh Ogoh’.
Overmono remix ‘Not The News’ from Thom Yorke’s ‘Anima’ in a pair of emosh and brooding breakbeat techno rollers
The combo of Thom’s vox with contemporary electronic club production nails that sound Moderat have gunned for in both parts, but much better. Up top Thom is feathered into effervescent phrases over a snappy electro-breaks, spongiform subs and minor key chords to weightless, elegant effect, whereas the B-side’s takes a glummer route via drizzly, Burial-esque atmospheres and rolling garage-techno gait with Thom vapourised into hazy breaths and glossolalia.
Pacy, gruffly textured techno pressure from Blawan on his Ternesc label
Now fully at grips with his modular system, he tweaks the groove between skating, tribalized rhythms and mind-bending synths in ‘Many Many Pings’ and a body-swilling piece of 140bpm techno hydraulics in ‘Lox’, while ‘Gadget’ sounds like a battalion of murderbots trampling and chanting in your direction, and ‘Hapexil Rotator’ goes double deep with pounding, padded kicks laced thru hypnotic drones and elusive, dreamier motifs that really set it off for pie-eyed ravers at 5am.
Facsimile, 60th anniversary reissue of a classic number from the important Smithsonian Folkways Recordings archive, spanning rum ballads and observational sing-song by a legendary calypsonian
“Lord Invader was one of the most iconic and well-regarded calypso musicians of the mid-20th century. Coming from humble beginnings in the musical hotbed of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Invader gained notoriety for his unique voice and lyrical prowess. Calypso Travels, his final album released just before his death, was produced in New York in 1960 by Folkways founder Moses Asch. The album showcases Lord Invader’s talent for biting lyrics that reference contemporary happenings, such as the rise of Fidel Castro, his experience at the 1956 World Fair in Belgium, the arrival of the Little Rock Nine in 1957 desegregating the public schools in the United States, and his touring experiences in Europe in the 1950s. An icon of Caribbean music, and one of the major forces exporting it to the world, Lord Invader epitomizes the spirit of calypso – boisterous, acerbic, and joyful.”
Facsimile, 60th anniversary reissue of a classic number from the important Smithsonian Folkways Recordings archive
Performed by Tuareg musicians of the Southern Sahara, and recorded by Finola and Geoffrey Holiday, this LP effectively offers a window into this region of the world whose music has become widely recognised in recent years thanks to the fiery Tuareg rock and folk releases of Bombino, Mdou Moctar, Tinariwen, and Les Filles de Illighadad.
While this side may be shy of the electric guitars that would become super popular in the region (it is 1960 after all, and they were only popularised in the US during the ‘50s), the ecstatic voices and wry, bluesy folk strings on show surely sound the roots of Tuareg rock to come. The gnawing tone of thud of ‘Azel au N Kel Owi (Imzhad Solo)’ is a prime example of their gripping instrumental prowess, while the plangent peal of ‘Song of the Enaden’ just sounds shockingly and transcendently ancient in a way that hasn’t yet been Americanised or Europeanised, and is all the better for it. Likewise the lilting cadence of ‘Hunting Song’ with its incidental sounds of crying babies and fits of giggles feels like we’re right there, in a smoky tent rapt by the nomads’ magic. Add in the sloshing claps, drums and chants of ‘Ilougan’ and the unabashed joy of the two weddings songs and it’s easy to hear why this side was picked to reboot the label’s vinyl pressings.
For ears what wander!
French artiste Tiphaine Belin aka Tryphème crystallises inspirations from ambient/synth-pop, rave and electro/IDM in her lush 2nd release for SoYo’s CPU crew.
Two years on from ‘Online Dating’, the six tracks of ‘Aluminia’ find Tryphéme swooning from what sounds like a nervier take on PC Music pop in ‘Lava’, to dry iced ambient electro on ‘Fey’, and sounding like some MASK series gem in ‘Eedyu’. ‘X Ray Mantra’ picks up in more curdled ambient synth-pop styles, and ‘In A Cyber Spiral’ feels Teresa Winter playing electro-dub hopscotch, while the lustrous, beatless arps of ‘Cry Silent Cry’ clearly nods to recent 0PN operations.
A 100% seminal, pivotal EP for many reasons, DJ Rolando’s ‘Knights of the Jaguar EP’ is back in circulation for all self-respecting house and techno DJs, dancers and collectors
Infamously, DJ Rolando’s anthemic A-side of this EP was so popular and successful at the time, that UR, a fiercely independent grassroots label from inner city Detroit, had to fight a legal battle against mega-major label Sony doing their own pressing. We’re not sure if any small label would stand up to that kind of shit these days - more likely to join ‘em if they can’t beat ‘em - but the 12” remains a vital piece of independent music history for matter that at least. But then factor in one of the greatest, enduring techno evergreens of all time in ‘Jaguar’, and the quick running depth of ‘Ascesión’ and it’s a real essential.
Endearingly nascent but accomplished deep house and techno productions from 1995-1997 by Tim Jackiw, only now seeing the light of day on Offworld.
Fuelled by the thrill of creation and pursuit of new sounds, ‘Many Moons’ documents the artist finding his way around an Amiga 500 computer, midi interface, and various analog and digital synths, drum machines and samplers in the mid ‘90s, at the point when the influence of Detroit techno, via its UK and Euro outposts, had made its way far south to Melbourne, Australia.
Considering it’s the artist’s first efforts, the results are charmingly classy and clearly modelled in the image of original heroes such as Juan Atkins, UR and Warp Records’ B12, all flush with iridescent, Martian melody, flighty pulses and slivers of acid in a way that recalls the slightly later work of 4th wave types like The Connection Machine or Dan Curtin.
Astral Industries pluck out a cult ambient peach for reissue with Chi’s The Original Recordings (1985); a heady collection of communal invocations written on a farm in Holland during the fertile early ‘80s era of new age and post-punk exploration.
This is essentially the comprehensive version of The Original Recordings, compiling all tracks from their s/t tape and the later CD reissue - including both Kuhl II and Hopi - to frame their meditative, electro-acoustic wanderlust in all its dreamy effect.
Using a Juno 60 and JX3P synths, coupled with a few guitars, handmade percussion, flutes, organs and tape-loops, the six-piece ensemble recorded from summer, “all the doors and windows were open; birds flew in and out” thru the winter months, where “we sat close together, no hearing, only blankets, candles and brandy”, playing from late morning until sunrise to realise a drifting, gentle sound that hearkened back to classic kosmische from neighbouring Germany, but trimming away some of that sound’s cliche’s to leave a more minimalist, spectral sort of music for relaxation and meditation.
The recordings are wonderfully spacious, allowing the atmosphere of their environment to perfuse the music’s broad, sweeping layers and mingle with their pineal vision to become a vital, animated part of the record itself. For comparison, these recordings share certain similarities with the kind of records recently reissued by Amsterdam’s Music From Memory label, yet there’s something more mystic, less sweetened about Chi’s music that perhaps places it in a psychedelic Dutch lineage with later, ambient elements of Psychick Warriors of Gaia, or even the gentle, tactile tone of Machinefabriek music also made out in the sticks.
Definitely one to swoon for - highly recommended!
Cosmic house from Glaswegian brethren Mr TC & Lo Kindre, embarking a maiden 4-track trip on their Phase Group label
The spooked-out, wobbly synths, tinfoil hi-hats and fluid bass of ’The Watching Eyes’ establishes a slow-burning, far-out aesthetic somewhere between Ra.H and Madteo that percolates thru the EP, pooling into the lo-slung, ambling shuffle of ‘The Knees’ and coming more jagged and druggy with the drip-off tang of ‘The Contaminant’ that leads into their zombied shuffler, ‘The Sink.’
Half a decade since the DMT-inspired ‘You’re Dead’ LP, Flying Lotus is cooking on gas with ‘Flamagra’, another concept-driven spectacular, this time featuring notable guest turns from Solange and David Lynch, among many, many more.
At 27 tracks wide and 67 minutes it’s a heavy serving by modern measures, likely inspired by the arms-race for epics established by Kamasi Washington, and like Kamasi, Flying Lotus favours a rich and densely woven blend of classic soul, jazz and P-funk flecked with the kinda jazzy IDM turns-of-phrase you might expect from Squarepusher, and the sorta wonky hip hop that was big 10 years ago.
Even before the single ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ was released, Numan had recruited a permanent drummer and keyboard player and demoed an album’s worth of new material between April 9-12, 1979 at Freerange Studio in London’s Covent Garden.
"This was supplemented by a second session, probably the following June, that yielded four further songs and two re-recordings. Following the hectic schedule of promoting ‘AFE?’, Numan recorded a new session for John Peel the day after the single hit #1 on the UK charts. Rather than record as Tubeway Army, the session was credited to Gary Numan and the group name abandoned at the peak of its success. As before, rather than promote the current album, Numan chose to record four new songs. While the album ‘Replicas’ hit #1, Numan was busy recording a follow up in Marcus Music Studio. From the surviving tapes there are six mixes marked as outtakes. The discs have been sequenced with the stronger, second Freerange demo preceding the first session but all tracks are in the order of the tapes."
‘Replicas: The First Recordings’ was released In late 1978, Gary Numan was booked into a small studio in London’s Chinatown with the same musicians that had played on Tubeway Army’s debut album, released a month earlier.
"Two stereo master tapes were compiled of eleven tracks. A month later they again went to Gooseberry Studio and recorded an additional three tracks, including ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and ‘Replicas’. At the same time, the band recorded a session for the BBC’s John Peel show, taping alternate versions of three songs from the December recordings. Finally, Numan returned to an upgraded studio, Marthus Music, in February to overdub and remix the Gooseberry recordings into their released versions. Only one alternative out take still exists (‘Down In The Park’), which is included in this release."
Omar Souleyman turns out another brilliant batch of club-ready turns on EDM powerhouse Mad Decent
Getting back to the type of fire found on his Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace turns following years of Four Tet-produced missteps, ‘Shlon’ is delivered hot and direct in the vein of 2017’s ‘To Dyria, With Love’ with 6 tracks of whirlwind microtonal synth licks, stentorian vox and driving machine rhythms.
’Salon’ sets it off with slow donks and line-dancing claps, ’Shi Tridin’ steps it up with a wild mix of Euro-house swagger and blazing synth crossfire, and ‘Mawwal’ makes room for dry-iced, beat-less slow jam in the titular style of sung poetry. ‘About Zilif’ is the BIG one though, featuring Rizan Sa’id slinging wild drums and scything riffs compatible with electro chaabi, and ‘Layle’ nearly hits Psy-trance levels of yoghurt-weaving club action.
Ana Roxanne exerts a gently intimate and singular spin on new age ambient tropes on her beautiful new LP, sounding something like Julee Cruise via Maggi Payne. Surely among this year’s finest quiet listens...
“Ana Roxanne is an intersex Southeast Asian musician based in Los Angeles. Born & raised in the Bay Area to immigrant parents, Ana's love for music and singing began through her mother's cd collection of 80's/90's R&B divas. Raised in the catholic church, she became a devout choir nerd and found any opportunity to sing, whether for religious mass, the jazz ensemble of her catholic high school, or karaoke at family gatherings. Her commitment to singing led her to a brief stint at a vocational jazz program in the cornfields of the midwest; in a remote town of 7,000 people, she began a formal study of jazz and classical music. During these years she would tour with various ensembles to beautiful old cathedrals in nearby cities and became enamored with the sacredness of choral music, as well as the enveloping sound of harmony. A near death experience, too, served as a connection between music and spirituality, and music as a healing art after facing tragedy.
In 2013, Ana was also fortunate enough to spend a few months in Uttarkhand, India where she met an incredible voice teacher who introduced her to classical Hindustani singing. Living and studying with this teacher deeply impacted her outlook on the voice as art. It was there that she began to see the singer - the Diva - as a symbol of divinity; that the unique power of one's voice comes from the vulnerability of using the body as an instrument. Be it romance, love, or worship of a deity - in order to access such depths of emotional expression, one must be willing to be intensely vulnerable, lay one's heart in the open air, expose what is kept hidden. This brief study was the catalyst that led her to finish her music study at the experimental Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she began to combine all of these influences into her current self-titled project. This album ~~~ was created during her last years residing in the Bay Area, a tribute to the great musicians who inspired her and the landscape where she spent her formative years.
In addition to the worship of R&B and pop divas, Ana's current practice explores themes of gender & identity. In October of 2018, she decided to come out publicly as intersex, and is dedicated to being a voice for her community and speaking out about social justice for intersex youth.”
Rugged budgers from FUMU, Kassem Mosse, Raster-Noton regular Grischa Lichtenberger, LDWG and Sensu appear on the abridged 12” pressing of Youth’s acclaimed ‘Sports’ comp
Siphoning highlights from the 16-track showcase CD (which also featured strong tackle by mutant experimental techno bods including Turinn, Peder Mannerfelt, CVX, Iueke and many more beside), this 12” sampler now places some of the comp’s firmest dancefloor joints onto vinyl.
Up top your boy Ludwig a.k.a. LDWG kicks off with the brutal bass gnaw and drunken master bashment lurch of ‘DRM1MKIII’, next to the slow, arid, gutted hunch of ’Silica Gel’ by Kassem Mosse - affiliate of Youth boss Andy Lyster from his meandyou. days - and the viscous swagger of Raster-Noton regular Grischa Lichtenberger.
Down below, smog monster FUMU takes control with a hollow-belly industro bashment workout ‘FM’ that sounds like Geins’t Naït meets Craig Leon in an iron silo, and Belgium’s Sensu recoils the grotty slow electro slog of ‘MHG’. Shame they missed off some of the CD’s other highlights but mustn’t grumble cos there’s some choice gear inside.
Pauline Oliveros’ astonishing drone classicism finally surfaces on vinyl for a definitive 30th anniversary edition newly expanded with material from the slightly later but related ‘The Readymade Boomerang’ album.
Recorded in 1989 in a cistern with a 45” reverb, located 14 feet below the ground in Seattle, ‘Deep Listening’ is a masterclass of intuitively divined harmony helmed by one of the 20th century’s most revered composers, accordionists and musical thinkers; Pauline Oliveros. Accompanied by her long-time Deep Listening Band collaborators Stuart Dempster (trombone, hosepipe, conch shell, didjeridu) and Peter Ward a.k.a. Panaiotis (voice, whistling), the trio generate an utterly atavistic yet future-facing music that sounds convincingly electronic but is actually entirely acoustic in origin, and is likely to leave deep listening types floored at their conception of in-the-moment composition.
Like the plangent call of mother earth lamenting for the ages, it’s hard to avoid comparisons for this record with events practically beyond human conception. Of course, it’s just three people in a very echoic space, but the results directly speak to our sixth senses in a way that really escapes concrete classification and can really only be grasped at the most elusive, spiritual level - unless you want to get into the physics of acoustic phenomenology and psychology, and to be fair that might spoil the effect. Instead, we recommend finding time and space to give this album your full attention - preferably at night, when conditions are similar to the darkness the performers experienced in the cistern - and feel yourself dematerialised, like their sounds, into a perceptive state of pure, finely graded vibrational decay and harmonic mystery.
Original Junior Boy Matt Didemus and german electro artist M. Maischein do slinky, tropical electro-acidic breaks as Hydromantic on the first 12” from Hunee’s Lifetones label
Also incorporating additional percussion by H. Severud aka Telephones, the ‘Archipelago EP’ is Hydromantic’s first outing on record following a debut live performance at Berlin Atonal 2019. In Hunee’s own words the duo’s music is “the outcome of their explorative approach towards timbre, rhythm and space”, which, for the dancers and DJs, means not your usual kind of dancing tackle.
In each corner they work up seductive syncopations of exotic drum palettes and beautifully spaced out electronics, roving from the trickle of Mbira-like melody, rude 808 bass and wriggly acid in ‘Archipelago’ to sweetly unfurl a tangle of modular twangs, crepuscular pads and Severud’s drums in ‘Pipe Phase’, before really taking the vibe off road and down the rabbit hole in ‘Paranormalisation’, and checkign out with the pendulous electro minimalism of ‘Drip By Drip’.
RIYL Dolo Percussion, DJ Sotofett, SW & SVN, Mor Elian
Aidan Baker (Nadja, b/b/s) and bass clarinetist Gareth Davis continue their fruitful collaboration with "invisible cities ii" - five new tracks of finest ambient / chamber jazz / subtle drones of a highly meditative quality.
"2 years ago, the canadian guitar player aidan baker and clarinetist gareth davis from belgium released their duo debut "invisible cities" that surprised many by its quiet, even meditative quality. davis had made himself a name in a wide range of fields, from the postrock of a-sun amissa or oiseaux-tempête, new music (peter ablinger, bernhard lang), or experimentation with the likes of elliott sharp, merzbow or scanner, while baker is mostly known for his drone / postmetal duo nadja, but that's just one out of several steady projects (e.g.b/b/s with andrea belfi and erik skodvin aka svarte greiner) and a multitude of solo albums.
on "invisible cities" the duo explored the calmer side of things – from chamber jazz to ambient / drone and back, giving much space and air to breathe to their respective instrument. subtle guitar drones, sonore clarinet sounds, a sonic scenery of peacefullness and meditative introspection – all this you'll also find on the new album "invisible cities ii" which is an accomplished continuation and refinement of the duo's first collaborative effort from 2018. recorded between 2018 and 2019 in berlin and amsterdam, mastered and cut at d&m berlin by kassian troyer."
Ecstatic, nostalgic gear reminiscent on a childhood spent in Indonesia, rendered thru the prism of cosmic IDM arrangements.
“The Keep is the solo project of Gothenburg-based Oliver Knowles, who combines his Indonesian heritage with a love for drones. Speaking about the track Knowles said “‘Barry Manny Drone' is about loneliness. The track is meant to be a kind of reassurance, or comfort blanket."
Primer is a collection of drones, noise and rhythms influenced by the vibrancy and excitement of Spanish and Catalonian street festivals that take place in Barcelona each year, where the record was written.
As well as the location, Knowles also marks other inspirations as films and their scores saying "With this EP, the tone of films like Under the Skin and Annihilation, and reading The Southern Reach Trilogy that Annihilation was adapted from was very influential." Although the tracks on the EP are instrumental, Knowles as a means to express intense personal feelings of anxiety or sadness created them. He used the four tracks on Primer to manifest these ideas in a positive way, allowing a sort of personal catharsis.
Born in Singapore, Knowles then lived in Indonesia until he was 6 and pays heritage to his Indonesian heritage on this EP by using samples of traditional Indonesian instruments, including a small Indonesian hand drum that his mother gave him years ago.”
First ever vinyl release of Tom Raybould’s award-winning movie soundtrack for excellent AI-themed sci-fi thriller The Machine (2013).
"Undoubtedly one of the greatest (and most overlooked) movie scores of the 2010s, The Machine finds its influences in the works of John Carpenter, Vangelis, Brad Fiedel, and Tangerine Dream, but presents its own unique twist, one that cleverly evokes the thin line between man and machine that haunts the whole film. Cold and tenacious rhythms suggest mechanical killer instincts, brooding synths crystallize the fear of an AI-controlled future, but the warm and gentle sounds of guitar and piano ease the tension and bring hope of humanity. From its menacing introduction to its tender ending, Tom Raybould’s masterwork ingenuously blends ambient, electronic, neoclassical, and synthwave to recontextualize and upgrade the classic 80s sci-fi movie score template, holding its own against mammoth soundtracks like Blade Runner or The Terminator. Truly."
Sissel Wincent and Anthony Linell (Abdulla Rashim, Ulwhednar) have their way with Pär Grindvik’s catalogue in the 3rd of five remix 12” for the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt.
Chasing up her 12”s for Peder Mannerfelt’s label and remixes of fever Ray and HTDW, Sissel Wincent is at her best in a convulsive rework of ‘Magnolia’ full of pointillist electro rhythm and subtly reverberating, doomy atmospheres with a poignant finale. The artist better known as Abdullah Rashim, Anthony Linell follows with a superb, subaquatic techno spin on ‘Ensemble’.
Shifted and Damon Wild kick off a series of remixes for tracks by Swedish techno boss Pär Grindvik ov the Aasthma fame alongside Peder Mannerfelt.
Shifted applies his patented greyscale texturing to ’Tide Us Part’ from Grindvik’s ‘Isle Of Real’ LP with gritty, forceful traction, while ‘Folium’ from 2013’s ‘Air’ 12” comes reworked as a percolated deep space techno mission by NYC’s Damon Wild.
MixMup/Kassem Mosse and Physical Therapy get deep and playful on the 5th of five remixes for Pär Grindvik, the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt
MM/KM go below the surface with a stealthily building but never peaking techno rework of ‘Wall To Wall’ from Grindvik’s ‘The Game’ (2017) EP, and Queens, NYC loon Physical Therapy trots out a loopy, prancing pony of a remix for ‘Drift’ from 2004’s ‘Gem’ 12”.
Mick Harris, Parrish Smith and Overlook run ruffshod over a highlight from Ron Morelli’s ‘Disappearer’ album for Hospital Productions
Brummie squadron leader Mick Harris is properly up for a brawl, knuckles taped up and dusted in glass on his pulverizing A-side remix, but Parrish Smith (Volition Imminent) absolutely bosses the session with his transition from tense, half-stepping drums and panic stations synths to full-on 150bpm industrial onslaught, and D&B producer Overlook (Lucid Dreams) recalls the exquisite bleakness of Vereker’s Restraint alias in his cut of dank, droning techno rolige.
Adriana Lopez and Klara Lewis takes the reins on 2nd of five remix 12”s for vintage gear by Pär Grindvik, boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt.
Barcelona’s Lopez reworks ‘Front Row’ from 2017’s ‘The Game’ 12” with a brooding, hulking, monotone techno churn, leaving Klara Lewis to render ‘London Marble’ from 2017’s ‘Aged’ EP as a vast cloud of gaseous ambient harmonics that crystallise into a beautiful frost of icy ambient noise.
Solid Blake and Art Alfie exert rude and moody remixes on Pär Grindvik’s catalogue in the 4th of five remix 12” for the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt
CPH resident Solid Blake resets ‘Silent below deck’ as a corkscrewing electro mutation pinned into place with jabbing drums and dry claps, contrasting with the arid, grumbling bass and dry-mouthed hi-hats of Art Alfie rolling techno spin of ‘The Marlton’.
Ex-Chairlift singer Caroline Polachek teams with PC Music’s Danny L Harle (Carli XCX) for a sleekly toned debut solo album of indie-R&B inflected with traces of country, folk, ambient, synth-pop and experimental electronic production...
“Caroline Polachek has already lived an extraordinary life in music: her previous band Chairlift formed in 2006 whilst Caroline was still in art school; and in 2008 the band was thrust into the spotlight when "Bruises" was synched in an iPod commercial as the Brooklyn indie scene peaked as an international export. Caroline's idiosyncratic vocal style and synth textures quickly became their sonic trademark, and continued to evolve through their three critically acclaimed albums into a new, more modular kind of pop experimentation.
Caroline expanded into production in 2013, landing her first credit writing and producing on Beyonce's grammy-nominated self-titled album. Restless while making Chairlift's third (and final) record "Moth", Caroline quietly fostered two side projects: baroque girl-group Ramona Lisa, and minimal synth project CEP. Moving fluidly through radically different genres, Caroline collaborated with dozens of artists (Blood Orange, SBTRKT, Charli XCX) ; sometimes writing, sometimes singing, sometimes directing videos, and sometimes all three.
Chairlift disbanded in 2017 and Caroline feverishly began writing for her first solo project under her own name. For the first time, the DNA from these seemingly different projects fit together perfectly; the playfulness of Chairlift, the theatricality of Ramona Lisa, futuristic glimmerings of CEP, plus a new mastery of her voice and thick rolodex of keen collaborators.
Fast forward two years spent manically between the studio and navigating a series of personal crossroads, and “Pang” marks the beginning of a new chapter. It is the most ambitious, hardcore and beautiful album of her career to date. With her signature 'organic autotune' and liquid lyricism finally center stage, the record positions her firmly as one of the most singular and captivating singers of a generation.”
‘Have We Met’, as Dan Bejar puts it, “came together in such a crazy way - all equal parts ecstasy and terror.” Initially conceived (but quickly ditched) as a Y2K album, Bejar was without a clear concept in mind. So he let it all rip while brainstorming at home.
"Culled from years’ worth of saved writing, set aside for projects “beyond music” and recorded at his kitchen table, ‘Have We Met’ harkens back to ‘Kaputt’-era Dan stringing together lyrics off hand while lounging on his couch. The resulting vocal sound exists in the sweet spot between two Destroyer worlds colliding: hints of the past, more strident Destroyer mixed in with a relaxed, new-aged Crooning one. No re-recording. No cleaning up.
Frequent collaborator John Collins was tasked with the role of layering synth and rhythm sections over a stream-of-consciousness Bejar, as Nic Bragg added “completely unexpected and somehow comforting” threedimensional, shredding guitar. The Destroyer band-orientated approach was shelved; “The record could have gone on and on, and the mixes kept evolving up until about a day before we sent them off to be mastered, which was also 48 hours before John and his wife went to the birthing centre, where their first child was born; our true deadline!” says Bejar. Opener ‘Crimson Tide’ is a six-minute journey that takes its rightful place among other Destroyer epics.
It welcomes with a sparse rhythm until percolating synths and propulsive bass build and make it all a reality with unsustainable imagery - oceans stuck inside hospital corridors and insane funerals. It’s the sound of a somewhat eccentric and unorthodox recording process laid out and built up by three musicians exploring the depth to which they can take an idea. On ‘The Television Music Supervisor’, trickling keys, glitches and ‘clickity click clicks’ (a variation on the standard Bejar ‘la da das’) focuses on how those who dictate our relationships with music and media are susceptible to error, a most 21st Century concern. Perhaps the most audacious Destroyer track yet, ‘Cue Synthesizer’ steps back to address the rote and often-detached mechanics of music. Up next, the waltzy and woozy centrepiece ‘University Hill’ drifts even further and applies that logic more broadly, insisting “the game is rigged in every direction” and “you’re made of string.”
Thirteen albums in, ‘Have We Met’ manages to meet somewhere between trademarks and new territory - atmospheric approximations of feeling and place, wry gut-punches of one liners and the deluge of energy meets a thematic catharsis of modern dread, delivered with an effortless, entrancing directness. No need to expound any further - he’s got it all spelled out for you in the music."
‘Mystic Familiar’, Dan Deacon’s new album, is the result of years of obsessive work, play and selfdiscovery.
"It’s at once his most emotionally open record and his most transcendent, 11 kaleidoscopic tracks of majestic synth-pop that exceptionally expand his sound with unfettered imagination and newfound vulnerability. Since 2015’s ‘Gliss Riffer’, Deacon has branched out into an array of collaborative projects including film scores to Rat Film, HBO’s Well Groomed, ESPN’s 30 for 30: Subject to Review; collaborating with the NYC Ballet’s resident choreographer Justin Peck, LAPhil and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra."
The soundtrack to Shane Meadows’ ‘The Virtues’ which screened on Channel 4 last May / June. Features six original pieces of music by PJ Harvey written for the series. Includes tracks used throughout the series, including music by Aphex Twin, MONO, Lisa Hannigan and more.
“I am so happy to have provided the original music for this extraordinary and powerful new drama by a director I have admired and followed all my life. Shane has a unique directness and sensitivity to his work which I am drawn to and aspire to in my own work, so our collaboration was open and trusting. I sent Shane ideas as demos for him to try out as he edited and let him choose what he used and where to the greatest effect. In the end we both loved how the demos worked so left them as they were, adding to the raw beauty of the piece.” - PJ Harvey
Stray Fantasies marks a deepening of the discography of wife-and-husband duo Hollie and Keith Kenniff under their collaborative moniker Mint Julep, an expertly manicured electric-pop venture that stands in stark contrast to the nebulous and experimental Helios and Goldmund outputs for which the latter member is known (though both members have ambient projects under their own names).
"Where those projects seek to defy conventional songform through textural, amorphous exploration, Mint Julep gels all the elements with a surprising and impressive songwriting expertise that speaks to the skill and well-roundedness of its creators. Stray Fantasies further proves this by delivering twelve fully crystallized, iridescent pop pearls glimmering with the interplay of synthesizers, pulsing basslines, and punching drums that ballast Hollie’s oneiric singing as she unfurls themes of vulnerability, insecurity, and other aching minutiae of love and relationships."
Donato Dozzy and the Retina.it duo debut their dark and sleazy electro project, Men With Secrets on Bunker NYC
An unexpected treat, ‘Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads’ straddles a murky line between 1982 and 2002 with 13 tunes spanning scuzzy electro proper, melodramatic cold wave synth-pop and finely crafted interludes.
It’s a properly skooled album in the most classic sense, luring listeners in with the first of their evocative ‘4th Dimension Signal’ sound design shorts, before patently nodding to classic Dopplereffekt in ‘The Misfortunes of Virtues’, and giving it up for Sheffield’s finest in ‘Cabaret (Démodé)’, along with the kerb-crawling synth-pop sleaze of ‘Elle est Nihiliste’, a gnashing swivel of Suicide Commando vibes in ‘Angelus Novus’, and a massive highlight tucked away at the end in ‘Aletheia’.
A must check for all fans of vintage wave gear and its contemporary echoes.
Smagghe & Cross reprise their ponderous ambient/cinematic duo for Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music
Following ‘MA’ (2017), french disco/house producer Ivan Smagghe and library music/film composer Rupert Cross explore a melancholic, meditative intersection of ambient mood music riddled with literary, cinematic and esoteric influences. NoYo’s Adelle Stripe also returns to supply readings of her text ‘Sacred Heart’, after presenting her vocals to the previous S&C album, while the addition of numbers station samples from The Conet Project neatly dovetail with the project’s ambiguous, ethereal appeal in the album’s quiet highlight ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’, the name of a trad english poem whose original melody was used on the mysterious broadcasts.
“This second LP on Offen is an ajar window overlooking the phantasmagoric world of Smagghe & Cross, a remembrance of days that never were. The music is sparse, the past is forever : ghosts of industries are conjured through the English countryside, fading memories play static with an idea of romance, the sun breaks through the iron clouds. A record free of uncouth nostalgia but laced with ethereal melancholia.”
Skeptical, Duke Hugh and Steven Julien rework Spacek’s troddin’ broken beat tune for Eglo’s 10th anniversary celebrations
Halftime D&B pioneer Skeptical takes the full A-side with a wicked steppers remix placing Spacek’s falsetto on a wild, pitching bassline and flinty drums with rugged traction. B-side, Duke Hugh emphasises the original’s dubwise undertow in a playful, jazzy style, and Steven Julien (a.k.a. Funkineven) redresses Spacek in his finest acidic funk, blushing FM synth chords and deliciously woozy guitar lines.
Today was Galaxie 500's 1988 debut album, spawning one of the most influential sounds in indie rock history.
The band, whose membership was comprised of Dean Wareham, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang (the latter two being of Damon & Naomi fame), started playing together during their time at Harvard University, borrowing a drum kit from their classmate Conan O'Brien and starting to play gigs between Boston and New York City. Soon a demo made its way into the hands of Shimmy Disc label boss and indie rock super-producer Mark Kramer, who recorded the band's debut single, 'Tugboat', its follow-up 'Oblivious' and the subsequent LP, Today.
The band's early aesthetic prompted comparisons to the Velvet Underground and Jonathan Richman (notice the Modern Lovers cover 'Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste') although you can hear a fair bit of Spacemen 3 in here too. The finished product offers a genuinely unique sound though, one that carves out its own singular moment in underground rock music's history.
Opening 2020 with a storm, Malka Tuti delivers a new 7” by mysterious artist Lena Muir.
"Two cuts of Post Punk infused dance floor bonanza for your weirdo selectors set, or your next car chase. Sounding like they were taken out of a Robert Rodriguez movie, the 2 tracks push relentlessly forward, with a quirky drum machine, heavy bass and kick-ass guitar riffs.."
Huerco S’ West Mineral label follow Pendant’s sublime 'Make Me Know You Sweet' album with uon’s wholly absorbing study in brownian motion and isolation tank ambience; a hypnotically lush exploration of underwater romance. If you're into the impeccable run of Vainqueur releases on Chain Reaction, this one's for you.
It’s the 2nd release from the enigmatic project, whose debut 12”s in 2017 was among the year’s standout ambient and dub-related releases. On this new one uon poetically describes three different behaviours of water and its amorphous states through a gently elemental push and pull of forces best considered in the vein of Basic Channel, Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas or the shimmering convections of Ross 154.
Beautifully elusive but crucially watermarked with a sense of originality in personalized style, Solaris opens the set with a 17 minute cut - a seemingly infinite journey through swells of diffracted chords and silty filters, simultaneously connoting sensations of opiated amniotic safety and oceanic infinity.
Where the A-side feels like floating in a lush mass, the bass-heavy articulation of his B-side’s J may well urge listeners onto the ‘floor with the same, inexorable traction of classic Vainqueur records, and in a way smartly reflects uon’s mutable DJ style, before the aqueous qualities of his final track Bus soothes to a deeper blue state of loved-up introspection which, like Solaris, could have have easily taken up a side to itself.