Zingers from the New York Disco: Danceteria 1981-1985 phase: blindsiding with John King’s masterful, Italo-esque winner Munich  - any clues on this one, anybody?! - then whipping out the mega-chuff of Klaus Schulze’s soaring Macksy , and cycling on thru the funked-up synth-pop swerve of Save Our Love  by Escape From New York, and checking out on the sultry downstroke of Hold On To Your Dreams  from the top shelf of Wobble, Edge (yep, that one), Liebzeit.
A wickedly skizzy session recoiling from cosmic electronics to crunching noise and Autechrian techno, from UIQ’s Latvian ambassador, Martins Rokis aka N1L on excursion for Where To Now?
As opposed to the short sharp ‘floor shocks of his Ikea Zen EP, N1L’s 3rd EP catches him dilating his structures for a more immersive effect; firstly executing a gripping transition from avian harmonics and sloshing tribal drums to tremendous squashed noise in Chasing The Sun, before Mud Diver recalls Æ’s Fol3 ace in its roiling viscosity and then Jaget Och Maskerna brings back that lush 3D thizz just like one of Lee Gamble’s ambient moments from Koch, leaving the convulsive, arid knot of Clockroach to emulate the effect of being slung in a metal barrel and rolled around an underwater rave.
Sun Ra's second album, Super-Sonic Jazz was recorded in 1956 at RCA Studios, Chicago, and was the first album to be released on Saturn records, the label run by Sun Ra and Alton Abraham, one of only three albums by Sun Ra to have been available in the 1950s.
"Saturn released their first singles, including doo-wopgroup The Cosmic Rays and the Arkestra's Saturn, at the beginning of 1956, and had recorded the whole of this label first LP by the end of that year. Saturn often pressed in editions of as few as 20, made for specific concerts - the records would be manufactured using local black businesses, and often put together in Abraham's own home.
As John F. Szwed described: "El Saturn Records purchased no advertising, gave out no promotional copies for review, and no distribution channels except mail order, hand delivery to the record shops, and, in the southern tradition, sales from the bandstand after performances. An order to the El Saturn address might or might not get a response, and when a record came it might be a different one than ordered , or arrive months later."
Fortunately these wonderful albums can now be purchased from your favourite record store, courtesy of PoppyDisc/RevOla."
Gigi Masin, Jonny Nash and Marco Sterk reconvene their soothing Gaussian Curve trio with a faithfully mellow and utopian suite of ambient lounge jazz themes for Music From Memory. Bath time music
“The Distance is a different musical beats to its predecessor, but shares the same timeless, emotion-rich feel that made Clouds such a hit. While the fundamental ingredients remain the same - Masin’s masterly piano and synthesiser work, Nash’s blissful, meandering guitar lines, and Stewrk’s synths, drum machines and production - The Distance is an album brimming with fresh ideas, and more complex musical arrangements. It’s the sound of three confident collaborators crafting magical musical moments in their own unique way.
This expansive new approach can be heard on “T.O.R”, where Nash’s haunting trumpet and hazy guitars wrap themselves around the kind of hypnotic piano and synth patterns that were once the preserve of American minimalist composers, in the gently breezy positivity of “Ginger Lemon”, and in the loved-up chord progressions and bubbly electronic beats of “Last Breath”. Close your eyes, and you’ll also hear it amongst the sunrise shuffle of “The Distance”, Masin’s hushed vocals on “Smile For Me”, and within the kosmiche influenced sensuality of “Birthday Song”.”
Slow banging house from your boy Anthony Naples, cannily punning on the usually parenthesised Us Mix (US Mix, geddit?) with four dabs of North American ruggedness for thee and we.
Sky Flowers goes first on a muggy sort of NYC electro-boogie chug feathered with flyaway arpeggios; Seello keeps that hustle burning with natty congas and Anthony Shakir-style gospel/disco chord chops, saving a lip-smacking surprise til the later stages.
At Ease looks father out/inwards with mystic jazz key phrasing locked to a slow simmering Chicago bassline; Us Mix seals the vibe for vintage freshnuss on a hypnotic disco-house tip, like some Herbert or Soundhack gem sent back to source.
Call Super and Shanti Celeste bring the jelly and Gary’s to the 2nd part of Dekmantel’s 10th anniversary celebrations...
...with the former feeling out the merry carillon melody and wobbly bass funk of Flunk Spoke, and the latter bringing the feeling from your toes up to the head with the Claude Young-ish Detroit house flush of Hinoki.
'Jazz By Sun Ra was the debut album length recording by Sun Ra. The LP originally appeared on the short-lived and pioneering label Transition Records, which was headed by the young Tom Wilson, and released a number of unique jazz albums in this period by the likes of Cecil Taylor and Donald Byrd.
"Transition releases tended to include elaborate if home made looking packaging more perhaps in tune with today's buyers and artists than those of the 1950s, When originally released, Jazz By Sun Ra came with an extensive booklet featuring words and photos of Sun Ra and his Arkestra. from which we excerpt Sun Ra's own comments on the album contents.
Wilson was to continue in an extensive and successful career as a major label A&R man/producer, with a range from Bob Dylan's ''Like A Rolling Stone'' to the first 2 Velvet Underground albums and way beyond...he was to remain close friends with Sun Ra, re-entering the story on a number of occasions in years to come. The LP features original compositions by Sun Ra along with one by Arkestral bassist Richard Evans.
The single non-Arkestral composition is Possession, by Harry Revel, which had been written for Les Baxter's slightly bizarre Exotica album oddity Perfume Set to Music, which shows just how wide ranging Sun's listening and how open his mind was to the unusual even in the 1950s!!"
The post-genre sounds Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records has mined and curated over the past couple of years might not immediately code as metal, but as early as our home-dubbed tape days we were exploring death metal’s potential as vocal-only music with blue ten: EyeSea.
"Jute Gyte is unambiguously metal music and I genuinely believe that Adam Kalmbach, the sole musician and producer behind the project, is the most important musician in metal since Death’s Chuck Schuldiner, himself the most important metal musician since Tony Iommi, the man whose fingers created metal. As a teenager into the Mortal Kombat soundtrack and Nine Inch Nails, Adam learnt metal guitar.
Later, he studied composition at university and had his brain nuked by early and baroque music, serialism and Sibelius, and the universes of potentials opening like wormholes in his head created Jute Gyte. Jute Gyte applies microtonality and modernist compositional approaches to black metal. This isn’t in itself what makes Jute Gyte’s music great, though it does explode an increasingly conservative musical tradition out into something new, that no one has heard before. New sounds and new feelings.
Jute Gyte’s orchestra of microtonal guitars sounds as though it is vomiting blackholes. But maybe what initially scans as occult horror in Jute Gyte’s music is just seasickness caused by the unfamiliarity of this new terrain.
“I understand how stuff I've done sounds ugly to people,” Adam concedes, “but it doesn't sound ugly to me. Or, it doesn't sound exclusively ugly. It's just a different kind of language. If you haven't internalised that language, then you're going to hear a lot of things that sound like 'wrong' notes. I hear little musical jokes, I hear happy parts and sad parts, and I hear a lot of parts that don't seem to have any emotive content at all. It's not just uniformly ugly, just as Schoenberg's work is not intended to be uniformly ugly.” For x-ray five, Adam has crafted two side-long pieces.
The first of these, The Sparrow, is a kind of modernist black metal symphony that might share some signifiers with the despair-loaded blizzard hymns familiar to fans of Norwegian BM. But those beautiful flocks of guitars - sometimes they sound like they’re hovering, or scrolling back and forth, rather than ‘riffing’. A dazzling murmuration. And it wasn’t some grimoire that provided the lyrical inspiration for the piece, but Stoner author John Edward Williams’ 1965 poetry collection, The Necessary Lie.
The second piece, Monadanom, is from a suite of ambient microtonal guitar pieces that Adam has been incubating for us since early 2014. It is oceanic, not in the usual new age-y sense most often applied to ambient music, but in that it is raging with life and detail; unfathomable."
The first part of Leyland Kirby, aka The Caretaker's, 'Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was' series, originally released back in 2009 and now finally reissued. It's a prescient hauntological elegy somewhere between Vangelis’ Bladerunner OST, Lynch & Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score, Erik Satie’s solo Piano works, William Basinski’s gradual tape decompositions and James Ferraro’s washed out visions, like a slowly abstracted Berlin/Manchester night-scape. Tbh it seems to have even more emotional resonance and evokes an even more forlorn beauty today than it did a decade ago... if you've never heard it, you're in for a treat...
The series returns to vinyl nearly a decade since James Kirby marked his break with the pivotal V/Vm project and started to wander off into the mists of his mottled memories. It’s may be fair to say that Kirby has picked up a whole raft of new disciples since 2009 who weren’t aware of his earlier work, so this pivotal set re-arrives nicely in the wake of The Caretaker’s latest Everywhere At The End Of Time instalment, as a promised future seems to slip farther out of reach and become replaced with a sort of confused, melancholy resilience.
Back in 2009, Kirby explained: "Here we stand, twenty years on from the first CD, and our optimism has been gradually eroded away collectively. 'Tomorrows World' never came. We are lost and isolated, many of us living our lives through social networks as we try to make sense of it all, becoming voyeurs not active participants. Documenting everything. No Mystery. Everything laid bare for all to see”.
A decade later, it could hardly have been more prescient.
It’s with this pessimistic sense of being that Kirby constructed these incredible pieces, creating a sequence of music designed to overwhelm and absorb, affecting our sense of time and place by tracing and retracing musical steps into a blur, re-using the same motifs with incremental differences, trapped in our own feedback loops of lost emotion.
The album starts with a gently soaring piano rendition accompanied by location recordings from Kirby’s Berlin apartment as it stood all those years ago, captured forever for posterity across 15 minutes of the most beautiful music he has ever recorded. It documents an aching sense of loss through both its contemplative duration and quite literally through it’s title - When We Parted, My Heart Wanted To Die (Friedrichshain Memory). The Sound Of Music Vanishing follows and drifts into a beautifully disfigured fug of memory full of mis-shapen strings, distant echoes, lost aspirations.
It’s a case in point for Derrida and Fisher’s use of the term ‘hauntological’, filtering osmotic memories of shared culture as well as personal experience of pop and rave music’s unfulfilled political promise. Remember, this album was recorded in 2007 - 2009, which, with hindsight, arguably saw the major calcification of independent music (cheers, Bankers, RSD, Facebook). You imagine Kirby perched, owl-like, watching and listening for the best part of a decade now, absorbing the world’s ills and transmuting them into the ether. The feeling is also reflected in the original artwork by Ivan Seal, whose original composition is painted over and again for each instalment, shifting patterns with traces of what came before them and affecting the layers that succeed them.
On this long double album, James Leyland Kirby once again acts as a spiritual bridge, holding fast against the perceived current of time and culture in order to afford a slow, lingering gaze on its ambiguous, ever-shifting ripples and eddies. Like staring at a body of gently moving water, the effect is strangely soothing and meditative, encouraging immersed reflection and dilated focus...
With his third album “vin ploile” the bucharest, romania based producer, musician and dj petre inspirescu captured a whole new audience in 2015 and reached out with minimal leftfield ambient sounds to music loving folks, that are not part of the world-wide dance music universe.
"Well known as one of the key figures of the romanian electronic dance music scene since his first ep “tips” on luciano’s label cadenza, inspirescu stepped away from club sounds that made him famous due to releases on labels like vinyl club, lick my deck or amphia.
also his two solo albums “intr-o seara organica...” and “grădina onirică“, both released on [a:rpia:r], the record label he initiated with his buddies rhadoo and raresh in 2007, do not have much in common with the sound of “vin ploile” - a mesmerizing deeply musical album that he only tuned in with some elements of piano, string and wind instruments as well as analogue electronics.
at the end of 2015 his nine slow swinging arrangements where celebrated in many polls and now, just a bit more than one year after the release of “vin ploile” petre inspirescu delivers “vîntul prin salcii” – another longplayer enlarged with seven, up to epic twelve minutes long arrangements, that continue where “vin ploile” ceased.
they all listen to the name “miroslav” and only differ numerically in their title. you can call them ambient. you can call them minimal music in the sense of classic compositions by steve reich or terry riley. they groove – sometimes more, sometimes less. and they spread the sounds of flutes or saxophones, delicate piano figures, organic jazz drumming, arpeggiated analogue synth-lines, mesmerizing strings, choral singing, alienated looped vocals and spaced out new aged spheres.
what unites them all is the way, the melodies dance upon and in each single tune. their beautiful textures ensnare and they are continuously engaged with experimentation. a mystical album full of evolutionary music to which each listener is able to paint his very own emotional picture. moody, dark and at the same time light-flooded shape-shifting compositions - made for those who love to surrender themselves to a gentle dance between experimentation and attractiveness.
the cover artwork for petre inspirescu’s album was made again by the illustrator and photographer julian vassallo, who’s artistic works fascinate with a touching spirit of distance, that captures the truth in each single motif. just like petre inspirescu’s music, only that his art grooves with notes that tell somehow: there is no truth. there is only perception."
Denmark’s øjeRum makes a sublime vinyl debut with the anaesthetising ambient tones of When Birds Fly, The Eyes of Heaven Can Rest for London’s Aurora B, who, if you remember, also issued The Haxan Cloak’s Observatory vinyl debut back in 2010.
Veritably curling off the platter like opium smoke, the two sides of When Birds Fly… place the listener in a gorgeous state of suspended animation akin to the blissful serenity encouraged by Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Distortion, but perhaps massaged with Elodie’s special oils, which should maybe come as little surprise as Elodie’s Andrew Chalk is responsible for post-production on Part I.
That first side is a real beauty, unfurling some 17 minutes of thee most languid, golden synth and choral harmonics and shivering partials with a patience and steadiness of hand that’s just an absolute pleasure to undergo. Likewise, Part II is a pure dream sequence, but this time riding dense, phosphorescing waves of organ drone with a deeply blue, melancholic quality that places it in a very special category on our shelves.
Don’t sleep on this one!
Chicago’s Very Own Glenn Underground says it’s Party Time on this reissue of his 1995 session and who are we to argue?
The bubbling congas, hazy rhodes and shimmering guitar of the original heat up first, next to the super infectious swing of a Detroit Mix burnished by Chez Damier and Ron Trent, and backed with the wiggly-ass take on Sylvester’s disco evergreen You Make Me Feel, trimmed to a jazz hustle, and the debonaire pivot of a Bonus cut.
Haunting New York industrial / ambient / noise. RIYL Croatian Amor, Pharmakon, Drew McDowell, Cold Cave, Atelecine
Wharf Cat Records present a very welcome introduction to Brooklyn noise agitant Rene Nuñez with an eerily effective side of amorphous modular scree in Misogyny Stone, which firmly yanks him into the half-light of recognition beyond a plethora of notorious live performances and a handful of tapes for Ascetic House and Roxann Spikula/Jason Crumer’s No Rent Records since 2013.
One of the most compelling experimental/noise sides we’ve heard outta New York City in some time, the by-turns convulsive, slugging and strangely emotive appeal of Misogyny Stone was borne in the crucible of live practice where Nuñez developed a keen improvisational affinity with his modular set-up thru infamous, feral performances often involving broken glass, blood and tears.
With Misogyny Stone however, he perhaps defies and f**ks with expectations that come attached to that sort of show, offering a bittersweet but surprisingly palatable and refined brand of crankiness that comes from a particular place and mindset; brought up by his mother in Miami’s macho Hispanic community, and then via scuzzy punk scenes and the hard edge of NYC electronics.
His resultant sound is instinctively raw and accomplished, sensitive to light and dark and the spaces between those perspectives or schisms, one operating on sort of highly attuned sixth sense between the roiling metallurgical workshop klang of Drone Gold to the divine, reverberant dimensions of Bought To Protect My Daughter and the head-curdling dissonance of New Piece (For Christian Marande).
But the biggest highlight is the record’s title track; a genuinely haunting coil of dank and glassy ambient industrial driven by beautifully wide and booming kicks and gilded with a distant female vocal which comes in cold, transfixing focus in the closing quarters.
Theo Parrish on the heaviest, rudest flex, getting on a purely rugged sound with the exclamatory styles of My Soul for his Sound Signature stronghold.
On the 3rd and best yet in Theo’s Gentrified Love series, he’s joined by an Amp Fiddler swerving between burning gospel and whirligig psych-jazz-techno vamps over the bumpy knuckled drums of Trust - one of those rare heaters that Theo turns out every couple of years - whereas My Soul follows a more direct line of spiritual inquiry with bluesy keys and jazz vox locked to his patented velvet bass drums and moisturised claps in the flipside’s My Soul burn.
Theo Parrish for president.
Hospital Productions coincide their 20th anniversary with that of Mhlehst’s masterfully cryptic collage, The Difficulty In Crossing A Field; an album hailed by Dominick Fernow as hugely important to the development of his label’s aesthetic. It can be said that where NWW’s sinister whimsy stops short, Mhlehst screws that thread tighter into areas of un/conscious desire with a genuinely unbuckled and abstract approach to surrealist sonics that leaves much to the imagination.
Originally issued by the UK’s All Brentnall aka Mhlehst on his Bandaged Hand Produce label 1998, The Difficulty In Crossing A Field patently scissors with Hospital Productions own unheimlich impetus in terms of its dank surreality and tortuous nature, dealing with its themes in a manner of saying it without saying it, by using a combination of eerily suggestive track titles and oblique tonal abstraction to imply or prompt questions that aren’t easily answered.
If we’re to mark any line in the dirt between the aesthetics of Mhlehst and HP, it’s that Mhlehst seems to be in possession of that putatively British, or even english sense of reserve, and affords a slightly more ginger, cautious approach to his arrangements, which are porous to traces of eldritch folk melody and detached street noise - check the distant dub bassline that infiltrates the end of What Comes Round Goes Round, or the almost ambient tonal sensitivity of Can Such Things Be? for example - but it’s still very easy to hear how it all intersects with Hospital’s own elusive and mysterious leanings, in conjunction with its more obvious power noise and raging industrial influences.
It’s all dead, dead uncanny stuff and should be considered equally important both as a key to HP’s make-up as much as an introduction to a lesser known, yet crucial, aspect of the UK noise scene - whose peculiarity feels more relevant to the modern world than NWW’s archaic arcane.