Remastered 2020 edition of Diamanda Galás’ terrifying debut, based on a reading of Baudelaire’s ‘les fleurs de mal’ which brought her to the attention of the world-wide avant garde in 1982, often in a pioneering quadrophonic performance or demonic exorcism/exhortation.
“Diamanda Galás’ debut album The Litanies of Satan, originally released on Y Records in 1982, is reissued on the artist’s own Intravenal Sound Operations label, meticulously remastered from the original by Galás and engineer Heba Kadry and features the original classic artwork of that release.
This is the first release in a reissue series of Galás work since she regained ownership and control of her entire catalogue last year. Her 1982-2008 work, tied up in major label limbo, was unavailable for years. In April 2019 Diamanda's discography was made on all major streaming services. The s/t Metalanguage album Diamanda Galás, from 1984, has never been reissued and will also be remastered for release this Fall.
When asked about her earliest work, in the early nineties Diamanda spoke of the ‘athletic discipline’ required, and described the physical toll of her performances as ‘like a ripping of the flesh’. Likening the discipline of her attack to warfare, she said that the idea of performing without perfect vocal technique would be like ‘someone going to war who didn’t know how to fight’; she described singing as ‘an attack energy’ – the transformation of the body into a weapon. The Litanies of Satan is divided into two experimental pieces of physical performance with a terrifying intensity, at the limits of madness, which is certainly not for all ears but is in all essence timeless."
Plush first signs of new material from the legendary Detroit-Berlin axis; Carl Craig taking off on a cosmic hi-tek jazz mission, and Moritz von Oswald cutting fathoms deeper with a dubbier, swinging take letting the sax sing bittersweet
“Collaborators and close friends since the foundational years of Berlin and Detroit's spiritual and musical partnership, two undisputed pioneers of electronic music, Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, continue to expand on a shared musical vision. "Attenuator" is the first production to emerge from a series of studio sessions in Berlin and Detroit over the past two years, with more material to come in the near future. Although originally produced in unison, this two-sided single sees both Craig and von Oswald deliver their own distinct take on the material, each fluidly expanding on their uniquely intertwined heritage.
For his take on "Attenuator", Carl Craig leans further into the fluid blend of track-led techno and warm musicianship that remain central to his work, building stifling tension as a prelude to a fervent brew of warm pads and celestial sax. Headstrong and deep, Craig embraces his dancefloor nous without sacrificing a moment of beatitude In response, Moritz Von Oswald bathes the brass and the bliss of "Attenuator" in the accomplished dub texture he's long been known for, unspooling layers of musicianship to roll forward a loose, fresh and equally fulfilling atmosphere, one that still maintains the arresting pulse established at the heart of the duo's sophisticated, futurist philosophy.”
Natural Sciences celebrate 50 releases with a 2LP spanning Detroit style electro, Regis style broken techno, drum & bass and Memphis influenced rap. Features music from Sansibar, Galaxian, Mutant Joe, Prequel Tapes and more.
"Age in Decline marks the 50th release and 5th year in operation from Manchester based label, Natural Sciences: a v/a comp of new tracks from the contemporary underground alongside choice cuts pulled from the labels annual Future Works series available on vinyl for the first time. Get ready for the beat down."
Crooked ambient jazz techno action from SW., nodding to Detroit style hi-tek jazz and its echoes in classic UK AI for Avenue 66, the sublabel of Tin Man’s Acid Test
A bit grittier than we remember of Stefan Wust’s albums for SUED, the tracks on ’TRUE lipS’ cut a rugged groove somewhere between the early-mid ‘90s and today, coaxing out angular breaks and arcing harmonies that nod to Shake and Derrick May via B12 and 4Hero. Check for classy tackle in the swingeing drum programming of ‘meanDreaMbeam’ and ‘theMartianswing’, a silky alien dancer in ‘JAZZmassLESS’, and sweet ambient kiss off ‘ambientRAND’.
Sydney dance-funk combo Bellydance laid down their sampledelica blueprint in 1991, thinking in parallel with Weatherall’s revelatory work with Primal Scream. A candy flip of streetsoul, festival jam band and Chip Monck’s cautionary brown acid address, 3 Days Man! was primed for open fields and discotheques, in an age when the deejay was royalty.
"With an elastic lineup that boasted up to 9 members, Bellydance synchronised more with the club scene than the city’s straight-ahead pub rock racket, naturally recruiting hometown heroes Peewee and John Ferris to remix their multi-track concoction. A certified party closing anthem, the brother’s sun-smacked breakbeats elevate a collective consciousness beyond the clouds.
Originally issued on Regular Records sub-label Boomshanka Music as a precursor to their album One Blood, the now sought-after 12” sports characteristic artwork from Mambo visionary and Mental As Anything co-founder Reg Mombassa. Instigated by Sydney selector Ben Fester, this Efficient Space reboot arrives fashionably late to Woodstock’s 50th anniversary but just in time to help soothe universal division."
Dispatches From Elsewhere (Music From The Elsewhere Society) is a guitar-based album composed for the AMC show by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross & Claudia Sarne.
“Music From The Jejune Institute” and “Music From The Elsewhere Society” both represent opposing factions in the series.
Created by and starring Jason Segel, “Dispatches From Elsewhere” is an original anthology series centered around four ordinary people who feel there’s something missing in their lives, but they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. This diverse foursome is brought together by chance – or perhaps it’s by design – when they stumble onto a puzzle hiding just behind the veil of everyday life."
Dispatches From Elsewhere (Music From The Jejune Institute) is a meticulously crafted electronic score, composed for the AMC show by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross & Claudia Sarne.
“Music From The Jejune Institute” and “Music From The Elsewhere Society” both represent opposing factions in the series.
Created by and starring Jason Segel, “Dispatches From Elsewhere” is an original anthology series centered around four ordinary people who feel there’s something missing in their lives, but they can’t quite put their finger on what it is. This diverse foursome is brought together by chance – or perhaps it’s by design – when they stumble onto a puzzle hiding just behind the veil of everyday life."
Returning to Opal Tapes after the highly lauded ‘Royal Dungeon EP’, Medellin, Colombia’s Filmmaker issues a damned statement in the form of ‘Late Stage Earth’ a 4-tracker of scorched electro and slamming EBM.
"Perfectly poised and composed dance music formed over pointillist electro melody and swung out druggy drum programming replete with wheezing pained pads."
Dope Body are back with their first album since 2015 - with all the gnarly, bisected body rock of their great records from the far side of the teens.
"A decade plus from the audacity of their debut cassette, ‘20 Pound Brick’, and four years after calling it quits, ‘Crack a Light’ is about getting back to essentials. In 2016, Dope Body were fairly much burnt from seven years of nonstop playing and recording, feeling as if their four albums had tracked away from the early days’ intentions of spontaneous weirdness. The band had formed in the abstract, an art project designed to provoke by embodying values that didn’t necessarily reflect any deep roots in their collective mindset.
They were good with this approach for a minute but by their final release of the initial run, ‘Kunk’, they were composing new pieces from leftover parts of the ‘Lifer’ sessions, as if trying to relocate the almost out-of-body state that they’d been conceived in. Turns out they just needed a bit of time off. Even (or perhaps especially) with a couple of the guys on the West Coast and the other two back east, the energy is again surging out of the Dope Boys, as witnessed by ‘Crack a Light’s explosive and exuberant opening track, ‘Curve’. The refrain “I think I feel alright” expresses relative optimism on the oft-scorched earth of Dope Body and it should - with ‘Crack a Light’ they’ve come all the way around to the stance of their experimental genesis, while continuing to evolve the identity that’s emerged since then - all of which bodes well for the future of rock music.
Essentially a power-trio with singer, Dope Body have traditionally excelled at projecting monstrously-voiced street music, artfully welded to the massive space of rock anthems, hardcore and metallic, hard-rolling funk, driven by incisively pounding rhythm and attenuated with guitar loops and FX."
This is ace -a compilation of weird experimental drones, glitches, cut-ups and more- made by a bunch of artsts who won’t reveal anything beyond their unlikely locations: San Marino, French Guiana, Philippines, Lesotho, Oman, Faroe Islands, Tuvalu, Liechtenstein, Kyrgyzstan.
"As far as creation itself is concerned, big cities do not manifest anymore as the catalytic cultural centers they used to be. Their iconic status as hip locations seems more symbolic than real. The combined mighty forces of neocapitalist gentrification and telecommunication / information decentralization might have generated a substantially different landscape of geographical cultural distribution.
And so unlikely places are also sources of physically-isolated, but culturally-interconnected, new creation. This is just but one more example of the larger phenomenon of techno-cultural atomisation (not to be confused with the more restricted so-called “democratisation”) that allows millions of people to create and share, pre- and post-internet. The amateur is the new potential master; and that is decided by the crowd in the circus and the stadium, not at the academy. With all of this comes the potential for new aesthetics, or at least the open-ended evolution of the previous ones, –far better than the current confusion between ethics and aesthetics- from the uninformed and the unknown. Atomization of this kind also brings for some the desire and the right to anonymity.
And so it is for the unknown obscure artists of this compilation of weird experimental music –“gritty, odd & good”, with drones, glitches, cut-ups and more- who won’t reveal anything beyond their unlikely locations: San Marino, French Guiana, Philippines, Lesotho, Oman, Faroe Islands, Tuvalu, Liechtenstein, Kyrgyzstan. An innovative compilation presenting a world of unusual experimental de-constructed and recombined music casting a strong and exciting light into the unusual corners of our world. Dive in."
Sound artist Jasmine Guffond and composer Erik K Skodvin bring the best out of each other in a masterfully moody, unpredictable collaboration featuring sylphlike guest vocals by Finnish psych spirit Islaja.
Brought together by Sonic Pieces’ Monique Recknagel for the label’s 10th anniversary show in 2019, Guffond and Skodvin’s live performance was so strong that an album was commissioned and ‘The Burrow’ is the brooding result. Named after Kafka’s unfinished short story, written six months before his death, and revolving “a small creature who builds a burrow that's anxiously fortified in an attempt to protect against perceived attacks”, the album unfolds with a quietly immanent, intimate procession from stately classical minimalism gilded with haunting glossolalic vox by Merja Kokkonen (Islaja), before nesting in a prickly lush haze of cymbals and subbass on ‘White Eyes’, and further exploring that cocooning sub bass into ‘The Burrower’ and ‘Cozumel Trasher’, but somewhat threatened by anxious outside forces with a masterful grasp of quiet/loud dynamics.
The album gives both artists a mutual, inspired platform for summoning their ability to conjure uncanny, emotionally charged sensations and totally enveloping, abstract narratives.
Crackshot partner-piece to 2019’s ‘There Existed An Addiction to Blood’ by LA’s rap screwballs Clipping, one of the most intriguing acts on the current Sub Pop roster alongside Shabazz Palaces
Galvanised by experiences of the past year, and riddled with a sort of nervy ‘90s horror anxiety, ‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned.’ sees the trio moving from strength to strength with a hefty payload of noisy, grizzled hip hop abstractions and hyperrealism, framed by some of their crunchiest and most starkly dramatic productions.
There’s a certain LA Lynchian-noir/‘90s teen slasher/body horror atmosphere that percolates the album from its intro to Dungeon rap flex of ‘Say The Name’ or ‘’96 Neve Campbell’ and the cracked, needling trap drama of ‘Enlacing’, holding together a ruggedly fractious set that’s prone to bouts of darkside paranoiac panic on ‘Something Underneath’ and lunges into clashy industrial D&Breakcore on ‘Pain everyday’, and even some kind industrial-rap-jazz fusion with Chicago staple Jeff Parker on ‘Eaten Alive.’
Franck Vigroux pays heavy tribute to Mika Vainio, his late collaborator and major inspiration, with a powerful album of blacksmith electronic brutality finding a logical home on Raster.
Vainio’s influence inspires Vigroux to some of his most striking work on ‘Ballades sur lac gelé’, clearly using a similar palette and style to the late great pioneer, but patenting the sound with his own sense of dramaturgy and a more direct dancefloor approach that’s got us doing the office chair bounce right now.
The surging drama of opening cut ‘Drive’ dates back to when Vigroux was working with Vainio, and when corona lockdown kicked in, he was prompted to finish it off and expand on the results in a proper tribute to his late peer. The Finnish legend’s spirit is lurking over the rest of the album, from the scowling, icy stepper ‘Cygnus X-1’, to the effortlessly whirring mechanics of ’Styx’, isolationist ambience in ‘Acqua Alta’, and his manacled manipulation of raw electric noise in ‘Atotal’.
Swingeing, daring, deep Afro-Latin jazz finesse from Irreversible Entanglement’s Aquiles Navarro & Tscheser Holmes on Chicago’s amazing International Anthem label - another gem that may well refresh and reaffirm views on modern jazz, and its place in contemporary music
"Heritage of the Invisible II" follows Navarro and Holmes’s rise to prominence as members of free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements. In March of 2020 in "The Nation" writer Marcus J. Moore said "Irreversible Entanglements’ fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism." The revolutionary ethos that drives Irreversible Entanglements is no less present in Navarro and Holmes’s duo work, though their duo finds them much more wholeheartedly and jubilantly embracing their Latin and Afro-Caribbean foundations.
The tracks flash by in a rapturous onslaught, crystalizing in incantations by Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente (an apocalyptic fever dream on “Initial Meditation”), vocalist Brigitte Zozula (the bliss of bustling nightlife on “A Night in NY”), Navarro’s mentor and collaborator Carlos Garnett (the banality of economics on “$$$ /// billete”) and their own musings on friendship and community (the stoned soul picnic of “Plantains”). Of the album’s de facto anthem “Pueblo,” Navarro says “it’s a celebration of life, the coming together of the people, el pueblo, a celebration of who we are, where we come from, it’s our pueblo, our people, a feeling of openness, hope, and a future of unity from el pueblo, the people.” Identifying as active listeners and audience members as well, Navarro and Holmes step back on “M.O.N.K (Most Only Never Knew)” to shine a light on the solo improvisation of pianist/composer Nick Sanders. On the 8-minute duet “NAVARROHOLMES,” the two players reach a summit as they face off in spirited alliance, conjuring visions of legendary free jazz telepathics – Braxton and Roach, Coltrane and Ali, Cherry and Blackwell.
Navarro and Holmes never idle on "Heritage of the Invisible II," choosing instead to ponder their origins in a devout charge of ecstatic cooperation. Meditating on the unseen constructive forces of culture and rhythm as a cadence encoded in one’s heritage, with "Heritage of the Invisible II" they share a volume of their story in rich color – a brilliantly imagined testament to generations of memory, creation and existential joy.”
Radiant international debut from a contemporary Balinese gamelan master and collaborator with Bang On A Can and Ensemble Modern, working around a unique 11 note scale in slowly pointillist to frenetic moves in a 32 minute work that highlights Gamelan’s connections to electronic music.
"The first release outside Indonesia from contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat. Alit is a major force in contemporary Indonesian music, presenting his work extensively throughout Asia, Europe and North America and collaborating with renowned ensembles such as Bang On A Can and Ensemble Modern. Involved in the composition and performance of works for Gamelan ensemble since he was a teenager, in 2007 he founded Gamelan Salukat, a 25 member ensemble that perform on instruments specially built to Alit’s designs, using a unique 11-note scale.
The single composition that unfurls over the two sides of Genetic is an enchanting introduction to Alit’s magical sound world. Beginning with a stately procession of isolated, hanging chords sounded on the ensemble’s uniquely-tuned metallophones, the piece abruptly launches into a stunning passage of rhythmically complex call-and-response motifs, making striking use of abruptly muted chords – one of many moments where the acoustic ensemble sounds uncannily electronic. The piece continues to alternate between spare investigations of resounding tones and sometimes frenetic ensemble interplay using unorthodox techniques, including a stunning moment around half-way when the entire Gamelan seems to transform itself into a single, gigantic zither. Later in the piece, drums and wind instruments enter, and the metallophones begin to play virtuosic, rapid-fire passages of fragmented scalar melody.
As Alit explains in his liner notes, the music of Gamelan Salukat is grounded in the tradition of Balinese Gamelan; however, he approaches this tradition not as something static, but as a set of concepts and principles that can be used to create something radically new. For many listeners, Genetic will inhabit precisely this space between the familiar and the invigoratingly unheard, as it takes the stop-start dynamics, unison melodies, and much of the instrumentation familiar from traditional Balinese Gamelan and puts them in the service of rhythmic, harmonic, and timbral experimentation, crafting a work possessed by at once by mysterious grandeur and a joyous volatility."
Aahhh yes, another classic Bohren album reissued.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s vital reissue scheme looks to Geisterfaust (2005) after giving Sunset Mission and Black Earth much needed vinyl lives. Very safe to say that if you fell for either of those, this one will keep you right down there.
Nerds will need to know that the tracklisting has been reshuffled for the purposes of this vinyl edition, now still kicking off with the 20 minute sorrow, Zeigefinger but deviating the sequence in favour of Ringfinger, Mittelfinger, Daumen, and Kleiner Finger, for your information.
The effect remains the same, though; sublime, pensile, deeply evocative of Lynch & Badalamenti as much as doom metal and the most poignant, lonely moments of your life.
Recorded at the NRML Festival in Mexico, in early March 2020, Juana Molina’s live recording ‘ANRMAL’ will bear forever the memory of the world “before”.
"When she started out, over two decades ago, Juana’s music was rather reflec- tive and stripped down. She mostly performed solo concerts, with her guitar, a keyboard and effects. Over the years, her output gradually became wilder and more extrovert. The tours following her latest couple of releases definitely took Juana’s live show to a different level. ‘ANRMAL’ sees Juana Molina and her excellent band- mates Od n Schwartz and Pablo Gonz lez at the top of their high-energy shape."
Originally released in 2011 on cassette on the Magic+Dreams label.
Here's some words from Bass Clef:
"2010-2011, I’d quit my job to try and do music full time, it never really worked out but there were great highs and lows to make up for that. In a kind of chaotic freefall, I was in between labels, looking backwards and forwards at the same time. This record was made very quickly and was very personal, really just made for me and for a few close friends, some of whom I’d grown up with.
I feel very differently about sampling now than I did at that time, and am not sure I would make a record like this again. I wanted to use very familiar sounds, sounds that had been all over the records I loved as a teenager, and along with the vocal samples, to tell a story. Of the sense of freedom that dance music had brought to me, and of the mental costs of living that kind of life, and of the beautiful joys too.
Some of my most vivid listening experiences in my late teens were always walking home coming down after parties or nights out, so Inner Space was intended as a reverse time capsule - a retrospective soundtrack for those early mornings. It was dedicated to the tunes, DJ’s, soundsystems, noisy neighbours and pirate stations that inspired me and repeatedly turned my head inside out"
The Chi Factory unfurl lushly overgrown 4th world drones, voices and field recordings made on a greek island, naturally drifting between time-slowing beats, FM radio interference, and languid instrumentation in four parts that describe a transition from dawn to dusk...
“Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American poet who lived on Patmos, Greece, as a self-exiled hermit since the sixties. Jack Kerouac called Lax “one of the great original voices of our times, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence”.
The Chi Factory would like to give special thanks to his good Patmian friends Ulf Knaus and Nikos Eliou, who showed us his house on Patmos (everything is still the same since he left) and also his favourite old wooden door (see leaflet). His great minimalistic poetry became a source of inspiration for the Mantra Recordings. His life on Patmos was far away from public attention - quiet and always surrounded by the skies, seas, cats and birds. Lax was a real dreamcatcher.”
Stunning debut release from Confuso Editions, a new label operating out of NYC/Rio de Janeiro here venturing into the furthest realms of outsider pop with the first ever public airing of recordings by John Zieman, a student of electronic synthesis at Hampshire College and collaborator with Nam June Paik, John Sanborn, and Dara Birnbaum. Distilling 80s midtown sleaze (digi-saxophones, drum machines, listless ballads), we’re once again reminded of the sheer volume and wealth of outsider brilliance lurking in archives, drawers and lofts across the world - there really is no end. Fans of James Ferraro, Ariel Pink, John Maus, Vazz, Stano, Talking Heads, Roxy Music...look sharp!
As far as we can tell the first compilation, or even release, of John Zieman’s music to the wider public, ‘New York City 1980-1984’ spans years of work created after-hours at Manhattan’s now-defunct Intergalactic Studios, covering an era-consistent gamut of itchy new wave machine rhythms and guitars ranging from gangly to jangling and pop-tart, all embedded in cruddy and offcentre FX and synths.
It comes with an amazing backstory too; Zieman took up residence in the studio’s bathroom, using soundproofing foam as a bed in a demolished stall as he began composing on the studio’s Fairlight CMI synthesizer-sampler. Over the following seven months, working commercially by day and recording by night, Zieman produced the tracks which would become the basis for this set of tracks before you.
Revolving the fizzing drum machines of lead single ‘Flying Nine (Dara)’, which first appeared on the soundtrack to Dara Birnbaum’s video piece ‘Damnation of Faust: Evocation’ (1983), the set sprawls out between something like an unzipped Woo with ‘Gamelan Skate’, to ohrwurming off-beat pop in another big highlight ‘Hi-tech Love Song’, alongside more solitary and melancholic charms in ‘Occasional Thing’ and the loping ‘Leave You In The Park’, and something that could have almost appeared on a James Ferraro tape 10 years ago in ’Better When It’s Deeper’.
As Joshua Daube puts it "The compilation stands out as an uncanny reflection of New Wave, at once rooted in its time and place and yet deeply singular. Across the twilight of a smoke-filled bar, Zieman’s edgy synths fix us with a thousand-yard stare, hungry sounds from the wrong side of Port Authority: “can I go back to sleep?” confuso revives these overlooked hypnagogic gems in New York City 1980-1984, which shine across the decades like a streetlight in a snowstorm.”
‘Holy Palm’ is the debut album by Flora Yin-Wong, an artist, writer, DJ and journalist, summoning the ghosts of her life in a masterful meditation on metaphysics, superstition and memory. It’s part collage, part audio diary, part reflection; a sort of private ritual purification that comes highly recommended if you’re into works by Mark Gergis, Philip Corner, Mark Leckey and Hildegard Westerkamp.
Following her mesmerising turn on PAN’s ‘Mono No Aware’ comp and a string of wildly varying productions and mixes in recent years, ‘Holy Palm’ appears like a woven tapestry of interconnecting recollections, rendered with and around an extensive repository of field recordings made over the past 6 years.
Deploying production strategies ranging from Max processing to sharp/stitched collage work, Flora filters and tiles aural snapshots of far-flung places - from an abandoned Arctic settlement in Svalbard, to an accidental recording of a monk chanting prayers on a radio in rural Chania, Crete, and drug-fuelled Tokyo club scenes - into an uncanny investigation of how ritual punctuates and gives meaning to life.
With an abundance of references, each piece toys with the imagination’s sense of place; memory is permeable, plasmic and recalled here through abstract, textured sound design. The 10 original compositions flicker to hallucinatory effect, brooding with a dark soul as traces of gamelan intersect ghost radio signals from the Arctic and a windswept Dungeness; real, unreal, surreal.
The final pair of extended ‘Loci’ parts present the source material at its rawest and most suggestive, with fleeting grime & jungle car stereo blasts seeping into Indonesian street scenes, insects in rice paddy fields, the Chicago subway, thunderstorms, yangqin recordings; gongs, Mariah Carey, a Greek wedding in Thessaloniki, crickets at night, running water, fire safety training, a street festival in Buenos Aires, bubbles, whale calls on a boat in Tromso, wind chimes on a mountain on Teshima Island - snagged in imperceptible transitions that mirror delirious, unfathomable impermanance.
In effect ‘Holy Palm’ perceptively outlines the uncanny magick in the rift between the real world and faith-based beliefs, hyperstizing a personalised, syncretic book of sonic spells.
Ripe ambient dance sauce from 100% Silk corps Damon Palermo (Magic Touch) and Nick Malkin (LA Vampires) on the Vancouver-related Total Stasis label.
‘Private Lesson’ trades in four pieces of sashaying downbeats, including two struck with tender vocals by Japanese legend Takako Minekawa. Takako’s sweetened vox are lightly woven into the breezy swang, soft focus textures and drowsy breaks of ‘Digital Native’, and again with really cheesy effect against the melodramatic keys and turgid groove of ‘Highland’, while Palermo and Malkin make their intentions instrumentally clear with the hair-kissing melody of ‘Erotique’ and early ‘90s grease trail of ‘Rooftop Garden.’
First vinyl edition of Zoviet France’s 1990 album of folk from adjacent dimensions, arriving in V-O-D’s 2nd batch of comprehensive reissues spanning the Northumberland band’s first decade, ‘Châsse 2ᵉ’
‘Just an Illusion’ is a potently hypnagogic example of ZF’s hallucinatory lo-fi dub tekkers in effect. As we can tell, the band’s foundational line-up of Ben Ponton and Robin Storey are manning the controls, typically syncretising surreally natural elisions of far-flung styles into a singular sonic vernacular that transcends time and place.
We’re instantly snagged on the mid-eastern blues lilt and hard-to-place vocals of ‘Lief Lulla’, and transported perpendicular across eons to glorious cosmic noise, grinding berimbau-type rhythms and genuinely heart-in-mouth moments of ambient beauty that are worth the price of admission for the opportunity to discover them alone, nestled in between the moonlit moorland scapes and wide rolling river masses of their sound.
If you love getting stranded at the bleakest/lushest points of their early work, or indeed AFX’s SAW II, which came out a few years later, this one will take you there, and beyond.
First vinyl edition of Zoviet France’s sought-after 1991 album of ambient-industrial nuance, originally issued via Canada’s Death Of Vinyl Entertainment, now as part of the ‘Châsse 2ᵉ’ set in Vinyl-On-Demand’s comprehensive reissue programme
With patented hypnotic traction, ZF invoke mesmerising ur-states of mind with mystic loops and vocal mantras encrypted in the band’s secretive matrix of FX. It’s definitely not recommended for use while operating heavy machinery, or even writing for that matter - it’s a sort of “ambient” musick but will lure your attention away and absorb susceptible heads in its nuanced, inharmonic complexities with uncanny traction and potential. Seriously save it for somewhere padded, lowlit and private and allow the shamans to do their work in return for a rare session of the lushest, altered, hypnagogic states.
Massive RIYL Eliane Radigue, Two Daughters, AFX’s SAW II
Canny debut album of quizzical, noirish pop with nods to drill, R&B, dubstep, and a crafty electronica and folk bent - think a gallic CS & Kreme, Laila Sakini, Coil. Strong stuff
“An extraordinary twilight world opens while listening to Organizatisya. Adventurous yet humble, they push the limits towards the unknown. One thing’s for sure, it’s fresher than the juiciest peach on a perfect summer day.
Organizatsiya hail from Lyon, France. Leo and Zoe clearly have strong roots in folk and acoustic music. These ‘old worlds’ blend in surprisingly well with more contemporary digital, futuristic sounds. Soothing analog recordings meet hyperdigital compositions reminiscent of IDM creations and peppered with spoken words that dance around in unexpected ways.
Seductive, intelligent and deeply hypnotic, this esoteric material delivers a dreamlike experience.
Like finishing a game and celebrating victory with cheap champagne in a neon light lit bubble bath with the end tune of The Legend of Zelda in the air.”
Out of print for 30 years, ZF’s sublime 1988 trip resurfaces via V-O-D with a superb example of their weathered Northumbrian drone ambience at its most spacious and porous to influence from all corners of the world
Following 2019’s treasure trove of reissues spanning their earliest 1982-1987 phase, this first vinyl reissue of ’Shouting at the Ground’ (1988) continues a comprehensive archaeological survey of the band’s seminal first decade of action at the borders of post-industrial, folk, drone and concrète dub musicks.
This one’s new to our ears, and has us by a thread thru its maze of screwed samples, possessed incantations and richly otherworldly apparitions, stretching out loops thru enigmatic FX matrices into infinitely timeless, enchantingly barren widescreen steppes and hypnorhythms that induce altered states of mind and flows of consciousness with an uncanny effect that many artists may attempt, but few achieve with such haunting affect as these guys.
Lovers of isolationist sonics from Kevin Martin to Thomas Köner and the loneliest ends of Muslimgauze will find a lot to get lost in.
First ever reissue of Zazou Bikaye’s pioneering 1985 Afro-electro-pop album, reissued and expanded with singles and bonus unreleased cuts on Crammed Discs, including remixes by label boss Vincent Kenis + Marc Hollander (Aksak Maboul)
‘Mr. Manager’ is the 2nd album by Congolese vocalist/composer Bony Bikaye alongside French musician/producer Hector Zazou and modular synth wizards CY1 after their ‘Noir et Blanc’ debut in 1983, which saw reissue shine in recent years, along with their ’88 acid house funk turn, ‘Guilty!’.
Their follow-up feels very much of that swanging mid-‘80s era, just before computer grids took over, and captures a slick mix of soukous, synth-pop, and Afro-funk performed by a crack squad of Congolese and Belgian musicians/singers, including Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout on trumpet & harmonica, Vincent Kenis on guitar, three brilliantly soulful backing singers (Mwamba Kasuba, Nicole MT & M’Bombo K) and two percussionists (Chris Joris & Bigoune). Marc Hollander played a bit of sax and produced some of the recordings, alongside Hector Zazou, Vincent Kenis and engineer Gilles Martin. ‘80s groove fiends should be checking for slippery aces in the quicksilver rhythmelody of ‘Le Menteur (Mokosi)’, the brassy synth funk swerve of ’Sopa’, and the acid house remix of ‘Get Back (Longwa)’ by Per Martinsen (Symese, Mental Overdrive).
No-Wave / Neue Deutsche Welle leaning madness from Sauerstofff, 150 copies only
"Three sick tracks, with a very German imprint, came out from their last meeting and we caught it on the fly and engraved on the groove for the pleasure of your ears."
Long overdue first-ever vinyl edition of Jan Jelinek’s minimalist ambient gem for Pole’s ~scape, newly remastered and cut for this issue with Jelinek’s Faitiche 14 years after original CD release.
Proceeding from reissues of the master minimal illusionist’s ‘Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records’ and his classic Gramm side ‘(Personal) Rock’, this one sidles now the timeline to 2006 and finds Jelinek combing strands explored on those records into more frayed and drifting ambient designs less concerned with club-related rhythms and more defocussed into a sort of cottony ambient bliss humming with folksier and early electronic/radiophonic themes.
The charmingly ‘“retro” album artwork gives away the album’s slightly wood-cut, ambient chalet (as opposed to house) aesthetic, conjuring a pastoral vibe for ending healthy days of outdoor pastimes in the German countryside or Swiss Alps that will surely also suit and probably enhance the vibe of your lockdown bedsit in Levenshulme or shared studio closet in Peckham.
Whether lolling about in frothed loops on ‘A Concert For Television’, or imagining Gas strolling off into the undergrowth with ‘Palmen Aus Leder’, recalling a “laptop-steel” echo of Mike Cooper’s exotica in ‘The Ballad Of Soap Und: Die Gema Nimmt Kontakt Auf’, simply ‘Up To My Same Old Trick Again’, or dialling into Oramesque electronics in the album’s title track, Jelinek’s mesmerising ambient textures will charm anyone with a penchant for hypnagogic ambient music.
Haunting, soporific solo debut from cellist and electro-acoustic dream weaver Judith Hamann, whose playing has previously appeared alongside Eliane Radigue, Jürg Frey, Graham Lambkin, Áine O'Dwyer, The Necks, Alvin Lucier, Tashi Wada, and La Monte Young in recent years.
Stepping from the metaphoric shadow of her peers, ‘Peaks’ presents Hamann as a skilled sorceress of quietly rustic, funereal music It’s sorta dewy with pastoral melancholy in a vein recalling everyone from Laura Cannell to Anne Guthrie and Kassel Jaeger in her dreamlike transitions between real instruments and their processed apparitions.
Deftly repatterning her daily life into a woozier dream state, Hamann combines fragments of recordings made on tour into a pair of durational dreamscape collages that, to our ears’-eye, sounds like a music for steep sided valleys to the ‘Peaks’ of the title, hugging wooded clefts where the sun doesn’t always get through and life deciduously goes on in the shade.
Her decayed, organic decompositions connote a sense of melancholy whoch can be taken as intended - reflecting a state of homesickness on tour - or perhaps a sense of sehnsucht for something more indescribable, existential, most like Elodie or Akira Rabelais, that’s always going to haunt and soothe us at the same time, especially when it’s done well; just like this very fine introduction to Judith Hamann’s dream world newly uncovered by Oren Ambarchi’s ever on-it Black Truffle.
Dreamy doo-wop and swaying R&B from Jamaica, scanning the roots of what would become ska and rocksteady with early appearances from Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, and Alton Ellis
“A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s. These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances. Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably prolific and unparalleled for an island of it's size.”
John Frusciante releases the first instrumental electronic album under his own name on Aaron Funk's Timesig label. The record is dedicated to his cat Maya who recently passed away, a fellow traveller in his otherwise solitary music making sessions.
"He says "Maya was with me as I made music for 15 years, so I wanted to name it after her. She loved music, and with such a personal title, it didn't seem right to call myself Trickfinger, somehow, so it's by John Frusciante."
'Maya' is inspired by his favourite music: '91 to'96 UK breakbeat hardcore and jungle. It’s a varied and personal take with sophisticated, authentic production balanced against John’s acute sense of melody, an inspired blending of machines and samples infused with a joyful energy.
After discovering early UK rave music, John started dancing at drum & bass club nights in Los Angeles. He then got into Venetian Snares' music at the Autechre curated ATP in 2003, eventually becoming friends with Aaron resulting in the Speed Dealer Moms collaboration which boosted his confidence in making electronic music.
The process of making his tracks changed over time as John explains; “For a full year before I started this record, I worked within self-imposed limitations and rules that made the music-making process as difficult as possible, programming for programming's sake. After a full year of that, I decided to make things easier, to the degree that I could regularly finish tracks I enjoyed listening to, while continuing many of the practices I‘d developed. Throughout the recording of Maya, I would prepare to make each track very slowly, but would finish tracks very quickly. I'd spend weeks making breakbeats, souping up a drum machine, making DX7 patches, and so on. By the time an idea came up that seemed like the beginning of a tune, I had a lot of fresh elements ready to go."
John says his solo music has changed; "I don't have that interest in singing or writing lyrics like I used to. The natural thing when I'm by myself now, is to just make music like the stuff being released this year. I really love the back and forth with machines and the computer." The fun he’s having on 'Maya' is infectious."
Seasonal synth-pop and shoegaze from Penelope Trappes on a new EP with Houndstooth.
The London-based Australian songwriter’s icy vox are wrapped in high tog new age synth arps in the wintry panorama, ‘Eel Drip’, whereas they turn into cottony clouds of reverb against the backdrop of slow, plangent shoegaze strums in ‘Break’ with sanguine effect that seeps into her Julia Holter-esque torch song ‘Afraid’, and the washed out choral vox and strings of ‘Berceuse’ surely recalls Tape Loop Orchestra’s paranormal ambient investigations.
Minimal house producer Mathias Kaden steers to deep, strolling dub house in a plush full length for Echocord
Across an immersive hour long album Kaden firms up the styles of his 12”s in this mode for Raum…music, Mule Musiq, and Ornaments in a sprawling album format, elegantly weaving between Tomomi Ukumori’s hushed Japanese vocals and perfectly poised dub house motion in the likes of ‘Kioku’, thru to offbeat underwater steppers recalling T++ on Shao’, a splashy roller from the Substance playbook in ‘Asaka’, and the solemn dub chord reflection of ’Soso’. Very nicely done.
To mark this year’s Piano Day Nils Frahm released eight solo piano pieces.
"Conceived of just before Nils broke his thumb and composed the similarly intimate solo piano album Screws, Empty is a soothing vessel of eight simple and serene pieces originally recorded as the music to a short art film he shot with his friend and film director Benoît Toulemonde. Drifting through emotions from the stark and sobering opener ‘First Defeat’, to the gently euphoric ‘No Step On Wing’ and the contemplative but hopeful closer ‘Black Notes’, with its poignant minute of silence, Empty is a comforting score for these turbulent times.
“When I came back from the hospital with a broken thumb and listened to the recordings, I felt they were unfinished. I decided to put them aside and started to work on my small album, Screws. Many many other notes of the piano have been struck since these days, and before we all forget about this, I thought it would be a good moment to share these lullabies with you. I hope they help you stay all strong and calm in these days of solitude – despite the hardship, we can discover introspection and reflection unexpectedly. Who knows what it is good for.
Much love, Nils”
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."
Empire of Signs follow Hiroshi Yoshimura foundational 'Music For Nine Postcards' with a much needed look at Makoto Inoue and Yasushi Yamashita’s Inoyama Land project, expanding on their sound heard on 'Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990' to illuminate material that is even lesser known outside of Japan – some of it presented publicly for the first time, written as the soundtrack to a museum exhibit on slime molds and now making its vinyl premiere after years in the archive.
"A portmanteau of their family names, the “Land” of Inoyama hovers between imagined mythical space and concrete reality, extending beyond physical releases into installations, site-specific sound design and theatre scores. After their famed Haruomi Hosono-produced 1983 release Danzindan-Pojidon, the duo became involved in the budding environmental music business that was taking shape in Tokyo during the development boom of the asset bubble – working directly with figures like Hiroshi Yoshimura (with whom they developed sound design for the International Stadium in Yokohama) and Takashi Sekiguchi (Bamboo from Asia).
Working initially with Munetaka Tanaka’s Sound Process Design (an acoustic consulting company formed by Tanaka with Satoshi Ashikawa, before Ashikawa’s tragic death in 1983), their commissioned work mirrors the sound world first fleshed out on Danzindan: chiming synthesizers, pastoral hues, childhood memory – all pulsing with a distant, emotional resonance. This material – culled from limited CD issues of the material on Tanaka’s Crescent label, Kazunao Nagata’s Transonic Records and self-released CDRs – presents a window into this process, illustrating how Inoue and Yamashita’s idiosyncratic musical identity gelled perfectly with all of the disparate environments of their commissions. Included is music written for the Kankaku (Sense) Museum in Miyagi, an exhibit on slime molds at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno park, the 1977 stage performance Collecting Net (which also included music that would later become Danzindan-Pojidon) and their score for a Tokyo re-staging of New York avant-theatre pioneer Richard Foreman’s post-modern stage piece Egyptology."
Featuring two completely unreleased works and offering many of them on vinyl for the first time, already sold out at source.
Lp1: The End of Nothing, the Beginning of Everything Lp (unreleased)
Lp2/3 Shouting at the Ground 2Lp (1988)
Lp4/5 Just an Illusion 2Lp (1990)
Lp6 Russian Heterodoxical Songs Lp (unreleased)
Lp7/8 Look into Me 2Lp (1990)
Lp9/10 Shadow, Thief of the Sun 2Lp (1991)
Lp11/12 Collusion 2Lp (1992)
Lp13 Vienna 1990 Lp (1991)
Lp14/15 What Is Not True 2Lp (1993)
Lp16/17 Further Collusion 2Lp (1992-1996)
On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising ‘Black Willow’ from Loma’s self-titled debut. He said he’d had it on repeat.
"At the time, a second Loma album seemed unlikely. The band began as a serendipitous collaboration between Cross, the multi-talented musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg, who wanted to play a supporting role after years at the microphone. They’d capped a gruelling tour with a standout performance on a packed beach at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 festival, in which Cross leapt into the crowd and then into the sea, while the band carried on from the stage - an emotional peak that also felt like a natural ending. “It was the biggest audience we’d ever had,” she says. “We thought, why not stop here?”
Following the tour, Cross went to rural Mexico to work on visual art and a solo record, while Meiburg began a new Shearwater effort. But after a few months apart (and Eno’s encouraging words), the trio changed their minds and reconvened at Duszynski’s home in rural Texas, where they began to develop songs that would become ‘Don’t Shy Away’. Loma writes by consensus and, though Cross is always the singer, she, Duszynski and Meiburg often trade instruments. Meiburg compares their process to using an Ouija Board and says the songs revealed themselves slowly, over many months. “Each of us is a very strong flavor,” he says, “but in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other - and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own. I think we all wanted to experience that again.” The album that emerged is gently spectacular - a vivid work whose light touch belies its timely themes of solitude, impermanence and finding light in deep darkness. “Stuck / beneath / a rock,” Cross begins, as if noticing her predicament for the first time. Then she adds: “I begin to see / the beauty in it.”
A series of guests contributed to the absorbing soundscapes of ‘Don’t Shy Away’, including touring members Emily Lee (piano, violin) and Matt Schuessler (bass), Flock of Dimes/Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and a surprisingly bass-heavy horn section. And then there’s Brian Eno. Loma invited him to participate in the mantra-like ‘Homing’, which concludes the album and sent him stems to interact with in any way he liked. He never spoke directly with the band but his completed mix arrived via email late one night, without warning and they gathered to listen in the converted bedroom Duszynski uses as a control room. “I was a little worried,” says Cross. “What if we didn’t like it?” But it was all they’d hoped for: minimal but enveloping, friendly but enigmatic, as much Loma as Eno - a perfect ending to an album about finding a new home inside an old one. “I am somewhere that you know,” Cross sings, above a chorus of her bandmates’ blended voices. “I am right behind your eyes.”
The first new Magik Markers album in six years is a great reminder why we always loved the psychedelic blues-sludge trio: this is mind-altering clatter-rock of the highest order that hangs out bumming rolling papers at the intersection of Neil Young, Popol Vuh and early Sabbath.
Elisa Ambrogio, John Shaw and Pete Nolan have always been a formidable trio, with a startling slew of material emerging in the mid-00s on labels like Ecstatic Peace!, Textile and even Dominic Fernow's Hospital Productions. But since 2009, they slowed down considerably; the trio's last full-length "Surrender To the Fantasy" appeared in 2013. "2020" is a blistering return to the spotlight, following July's short "Isolated From Exterior Time" EP, and finds the band stepping right back into their alluring, endless psychedelic groove.
Ambrogio's characteristic vocals and fuzzy riffs yet again anchor the tracks, fleshed out with Spectre Folk's Pete Nolan's assured drumming and additional elements (memorably Mellotron on chirpy album highpoint 'Born Dead') from John Shaw. There's something unshakeably American about this music - rooted in blues and then shaped by riot grrl punk, 70s psychedelia and basement noise. The title is almost a joke - the music never feels rooted in the present, and that might make it more 2020 than anything else.
Lake Turner was introduced to Kompakt by his sometime collaborator Yannis Philippakis of Foals. He’d previously made music in post-punk and indie groups Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, but Videosphere is the first time he’s fully articulated his own vision of electronic music, aside from one limited lathe-cut 12”, 2018’s Prime Mover EP, on Algebra.
"The lush ambient-disco-techno dreams of Videosphere were constructed and completed in his London studio and at his parents’ arable and sheep farm in Worcestershire, which might help explain the hazy, unhurried pastoralism of the album.
Across its brief 109 seconds, it manages to traverse evocative terrain – something mythopoetic, something both humble and grandiose, a glimpse of the other behind the sky’s curtain. “I wanted to conjure up something resembling an ancient ceremony or death procession,” Turner nods. “Like a hymn to the surroundings of a faraway hill.” It’s both sky-bound and earthen, a ritual incantation to call in the music of the spheres.
Turner was introduced to the Kompakt family by his sometime collaborator Yannis Philippakis of Foals. He’d previously made music in post-punk and indie groups Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, but Videosphere is the first time he’s fully articulated his own vision of electronic music, aside from one limited lathe-cut 12”, 2018’s Prime Mover EP, on Algebra. The lush ambient-disco-techno dreams of Videosphere were constructed and completed in his London studio and at his parents’ arable and sheep farm in Worcestershire, which might help explain the hazy, unhurried pastoralism of the album.
“There was a slight bittersweetness in finishing the record (in Worcestershire) as my parents were in the middle of selling my childhood home,” he sighs, before quipping, “on the plus, I ended up shearing a lot of sheep over the summer.” A student of archaeology and ancient history, Turner is no doubt carefully attuned to the twisting cogs of history and memory, and it’s no surprise that Videosphere has a nostalgic, melancholic cast; much of its beauty rests in the way it tugs, gently, at the heart strings – see the tear-stained cheeks of the lush, dappled “Honeycomb”, or the sweetly sad electro-roundelay of “No Way Back Forever.”
It’s not all drift-dream hypnosis, though – Videosphere is very much grounded in the now. ““No Way Back Forever” is a nod to the linear nature of time,” Turner explains by way of example, “and the tipping point of the world climate crisis that scientists have now declared.” Jayne Powell’s vocals are sent spinning through the song, wound like candyfloss; she takes centre stage on the techno hymnal title track, too. Throughout, there’s a sense of forward movement, despite the life stasis we find ourselves collectively bound by in mid-2020; there’s also a yearning for the communal, for community, that’s captured in the album title, a nod to an object Turner encountered at London’s Geoffrey Museum, “a television set in the shape of a spaceman’s helmet from the 1970s.”
“The vision I loosely had was to make an electronic record that had a communal warmth and almost ceremonial or ritual feel. I wanted to examine the relationship of our archaic minds in the trappings of the modern world,” Turner concludes. “What the Videosphere also symbolizes for me is the oneness of humanity and community, prevailing.”
Another Bohren & Der Club of Gore classic seeps up from below, seeing its first vinyl reissue since the original 2002 pressing. Like its predecessor, Sunset Mission, the tone and feel of Black Earth is steeped in a smoky history of noir jazz x avant metal, all perfectly weighted for head-plunging midnight immersion tipped to all Lynch/Badalamenti freaks.
It's impressive Bohren manage to play so slow without at least one of them nodding off; In their world everything operates at an opiated pace, with silvery solo piano, resonant double bass dabs and spectral voices seemingly curling off the wax into acres of negative space and taking your thoughts with them.
In terms of a sonic experience, basically everyone needs to undergo a Bohren album at least once in their life, and if you’ve never squinted into the distance of Sunset Mission or stared into the abyss of Black Earth, nows the time.
Half of Deaf Center, all of Svarte Greiner, and boss of the Miasmah label, Erik K Skodvin has long flirted with cinematic sounds and now he's turned in his first solo film score - a chilling, drone-heavy accompaniment to Mo Scarpelli's Ethiopa-set "Anbessa".
Erik K Skodvin was probably always meant to make film scores. Since Deaf Center's 2004 debut EP "Neon City", the Norwegian producer has been taking influence from composers like Angelo Badalementi, Clint Mansell and Cliff Martinez and juxtaposing these cinematic elements with the kind of low-end drones fellow Norseman Deathprod made his calling card. Skodvin's solo material as Svarte Greiner was doomier still, hinting at noise and metal but never losing the magical glow of the silver screen.
Now, Skodvin has turned in his first solo score for American director Mo Scarpelli's "Anbessa", a documentary feature set in Ethiopia, about a young boy whose family are displaced from their agricultural community as Addis Ababa becomes quickly urbanized - and gentrified. Skodvin's treatment won't initially surprise fans of his Svarte Greiner or Deaf Center material - those calling-card shadowy, wavering guitar drones and melancholy strings are all present - but the scope, sound and additional elements in the material make this a very different kind of record.
Recordings from the movie are folded into Skodvin's music, like distant animal sounds or children talking, giving the record a narrative quality even without the visuals. Eventually percussive elements are introduced: sparse, clattering sounds on the terrifying 'Dream of Becoming an Animal' and bass-heavy East African percussion on the title track. It's not a fusion we expected, but it works. Brilliant stuff.
Sister album to the dreamlike ‘Ashiata’ ace for Black Truffle, ‘Ashiato’ features Eiko Ishibashi’s enigmatic flute, keys, and electronics woven into billowing drone ambient tapestries by revered Japanese drummer, Yamamoto. Mastered by Jim O’Rourke.
“Tatsuhisa Yamamoto is a drummer from Yamaguchi, Japan, well known throughout the country for his work in Jazz, Improvisation, Rock, and more. He performed on the acclaimed Drag City records "The Dreams My Bones Dream" by Eiko Ishibashi, "Simple Songs" by Jim O'Rourke, and his wide interests have led him to be the drummer of choice for Free Jazz legend Akira Sakata. Yamamoto has also performed with Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, and Phew among others. He has toured extensively throughout Europe and is also known in the world of theater for his work with the internationally renowned Japanese troupe "Mum & Gypsy."
Recently, Yamamoto is actively releasing solo and collaborative electronic music and experimental works. Now, he's releasing two completely different albums born from the same concept, from two labels in two different countries. ashioto from "Black Truffle Records" a label run by Oren Ambarchi that has attracted much attention in the electronic, experimental, and improvised music scenes. And ashiato from "NEWHERE MUSIC" a Japanese electronic music label that's released work by Jim O'Rourke, the Japanese edition of an album by Phew & Ana da Silva (Raincoats), and more.
"Music fans around the world might come across these two at a record store somewhere." In 2020, with the world cut off by distance, this simultaneous release from two labels in different lands and with different cultures teems with a playfulness for the enjoyment of music. The artwork for the two albums also incorporates a surprise you can discover when handling the records.
What happens when you apply different directorial approaches to the same script at the same time? This was the impulse that set production of the albums in motion. In addition to playing drums and percussion Yamamoto also takes on electronics, synthesizer, piano, and field recordings to produce the entire work by rearranging the guest musician's superb improvisations. He is making a crucial leap from drummer to a musician with a strong will.
Several keywords beat a path to this work: drone, ambient, improvisation, etc. But this music represents a world born from Yamamoto's unique fluency with sound dynamics and the acoustic and electronic in the context of live performance.”
bdrmm follow their debut album 'Bedroom' with 'The Bedroom Tapes', a new seven-track EP rounding up remixes and sessions.
"The EP features bare bones versions of ‘Gush’, ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ and ‘Forget The Credits’ from the album, plus a version of their 2019 single ‘Question Mark’. Originally recorded at home by the band’s Ryan and Jordan Smith for various radio sessions, these fragile versions expose the feelings that are often obscured by the noise of Bedroom.
“They were recorded over a three-day period at the height of our lockdown anxieties,” explains Jordan. “They are intentionally stripped back and loose, juxtaposing what we set out to do with the album.” He continues: “We pulled together a small recording studio in my bedroom; there were cables everywhere and it was all quite a mess. As a result, these versions are more reflective of the times they were recorded in: suppressed, uncertain and alone.”
The EP is rounded out with three radical reworkings of songs from Bedroom: Andy Bell’s take on ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ under his GLOK guise, which explores the previously uncharted middle ground between the late Andrew Weatherall and underrated 4AD outfit Ultra Vivid Scene; Ditz’s dynamic deconstruction of ‘If….’ (which you can listen to below); and International Teachers Of Pop’s almost obscenely cheerful ‘de-mix’ of ‘Happy’."
Yeah this one’s a little bit special. Sonic Pieces have long set themselves apart from the plethora of home-spun, hand-made, overly-serene imprints out there, both in terms of their exquisite packaging but more importantly via their patient, hand-picked selection of some of the finest avant-classical, drone and experimental yet accessible music out there.
And this new release - from the largely unknown Jasmine Guffond - really stands out as their best release yet. You may or may not have come across Guffond's other projects - Jasmina Maschina or Minit - but this debut album under her own name is something else entirely. in the space of the opening 20 minutes Guffond takes us from utterly brilliant drone/bass-treatments reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s finest, most dense electronic work, to the kind of lump-in-the-throat bare-boned songs Grouper has more or less made her own these last few years.
The production here is just incredibly good - an absolute masterclass in restraint through the arrangements, and fearlessness through her use of frequencies - taking you through emotional and sonic highs and lows without ever sounding contrived. It takes us back to Julia Holter’s early material for NNA Tapes, weaving in and out of field recordings and intense bassline oscillations through to the gentlest lullabies - a fully formed suite of songs that we’d be really surprised if we didn't hear much more about over the coming years. It really is a remarkable debut this - keep ‘em peeled for this one.
Second album for Blakk Harbor, a prolific sound designer at Native Instruments.
"Waves of noise and advanced sound design through pattern repetition and pulsating percussive blasts. Fairly terrorizing yet hypnotic with flashes of raw electricity and feedbacks riding on thick grainy waveform textures. Broken hardware transmissions and in-depth manipulated signal processing tamed to craft filmscaping monolithic sub-techno structures.
Staying devoted to his cinematic approach in music and darker narrative storytelling "A Modern Dialect" is an edgy backlash on our modern dehumanized declining society, a harsh uncompromising "dialect" against an ever-deteriorating globalization"
One night in 1975, a successful tax lawyer named Rafael Machuca had his mind blown in Barranquilla’s ‘Plaza de los Musicos’. Overnight he went from a high ranking position in the Columbian revenue authority to visionary production guru of the newly formed record label that bore his name, Discos Machuca, and for the next six years he devoted his life to releasing some of the strangest, most experimental Afro Psychedelia Cumbias ever produced.
"La Locura de Machuca is the story of one man’s bizarre odyssey into Colombia’s coastal music underground, and the wild, hypnotic sounds he helped bring up to the surface. The Colombian music industry was thriving in the mid-seventies, but while homegrown bolero and vallenato tunes were doing well on the charts, it was imported African records that were setting crowds on fire at the picos - the sound-systems that fuelled neighbourhood parties - and wherever those records were played there were always a handful of groups who were inspired to plug traditional Cumbia directly into the electric currents coming from across the Atlantic. It was these obscure bands, who fused Colombian and African rhythms with the swirling organs and psychedelic guitars of underground rock, that fired Machuca’s imagination.
While the label made its money releasing popular hits by legends such as Alejandro. Dur n and An bal Vel squez, that money was poured back into a unique run of experimental releases by fringe artists such as La Banda Africana, King Somalie, Conjunto Barbacoa, and Abelardo Carbono, one of the godfathers of Champeta Criolla. When Machuca couldn’t find groups to realise his particular vision, he simply created them himself. Drawing on a fearsome roster of musicians associated with the label, he assembled bands that lasted only as long as it took to record an album ,and unleashed the results - complete with arrestingly unusual album covers - under a series of different names such as Samba Negra or El Grupo Folcl rico. This unorthodox approach led his longtime recording engineer, Eduardo D vila, to describes Machuca’s productions as the “B-Movies of Colombian music.” The story of Doctor Machuca and his eccentric exploits tells of one of Colombia’s most atypical and peculiar record companies; a defining pillar of Afro- Caribbean psychedelia. His productions have come to represent the roots of Champeta and set the pedigree standards for Afro and Coste o avant-garde. The seventeen tracks on La Locura de Machuca, harvested from the darkest, strangest corners of the Discos Machuca catalogue, sound like little else recorded before or since."