New album from Valentina Magaletti & co's Vanishing Twin - ‘Ookii Gekkou’ (Japanese for Big Moonlight).
"Vanishing Twin explore new ground on ‘Ookii Gekkou’ incorporating elements of afrofunk, outer jazz and avant-garde, all while referencing Sun Ra to Alice Coltrane, Martin Denny to Morricone, Can’s Holger Czukay to meditative Gamelan, or The Free Design, to library music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Locked into their strangely-accessible groove is a history of ‘other’ sound, a crafted hauntology that evinces something completely new.
Hurricanes, organisms, vibes, bells, and percussive rallies purvey throughout ‘Ookii Gekkou’, each infiltrated with influences as diverse as Piero Umiliani, Art Ensemble of Chicago and ELO among others. Indeed, even a cursory earful adds to an ever-expanding palette of sound, no mean feat for the newly-trimmed quartet of songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas, drummer Valentina Magaletti, bassist Susumu Mukai, and synth/guitar player Phil MFU, this reduction resulting in no fewer ideas and even bigger steps."
Thrumming deep techno abstraction from Sa Pa, chasing up spots on Marcel Dettmann’s label, plus Giegling, and a fine album with Mana with four tracks for the purists on Melbourne’s Rosa
Swimming in the space between dub techno, proper, an more experimental variants, ‘Vessel’ rolls out into the depths where the sun doesn’t penetrate. ‘Wet Weather Way’ trades in mesmerising subaquatic dynamics shades away from Porter Ricks, where the crunchier, stormier flow of ‘New Music New dance’ patently take its cues, too. ‘Cultural North’ focusses the funk below the belt with kinkiest bass swivel primed for club drive in a mode of early MDR releases, and they really push out into abstract techno with the tempestuous greyscale rollick and clogged filtration systems of ‘States of Mind: The Farewells’.
Ghostly debut from Portland, Oregon-based musician Graham Jonson.
"A student of the Stones Throw catalog (his favorite is Madlib’s Quasimoto), Jonson remains rhythm-driven at heart, trusting his instincts in this new palette of organic instrumentation and verse-chorus structure. Tracks glide and bump with tasteful care to tempo as his scene-building and storytelling knack comes into focus. Jonson’s past material often suited passive listenership, the kind of bedroom-produced beat music that offers secondary utility and function as a companion to primary activities. The Long and Short of It showcases an evolutionary step into a style that uses chops cultivated in that niche that demand a more active listenership. That attention is rewarded with earworms, dazzling production flare, and earnest, genre-spanning songwriting."
After really snagging our attention with the electro-acoustic sorcery of ’Freedom’, Yvette Janine Jackson supplies a stunning 2nd release; an utterly absorbing 20 mins of avant sci-fi noir jazz soundtrack scaping for Longform Editions
Occupying her own slipstream of consciousness, Jackson doubles what we know of her music with ‘Test Flight No. 1’, offering an equally inventive but far more elusive angle that encompasses streaking cinematic synths, treacly subbass and sax in properly beguiling style. Again, her work here is rooted in her practice as theatrical sound designer, and her fascination with the fantastical radio plays of the ‘30s, and uses these relatively anachronistic reference points in the uncanniest ways that finely reprise a sense of mystery and immersive appeal specific to them, but in a personalised, timeless manner.
Lodging to these ears somewhere between Chris Marker’s soundtrack to ‘La Jetée’, elements of Louis & Bebe Barron’s ‘Forbidden Planet’, the enigma of Teresa Winter’s hardest-to-place works, or even Nate Young’s ‘Regression’ sessions; the 20’ piece unfurls like a febrile dream with a mind-bending sense of hypnagogia, feeling as though we’re melded into a moebius tape loop smeared with sax and synth gunk that gradually, haphazardly slackens and warps under its its own strange pressure systems. It’s somehow enervated yet full of intrigue, organic but alien, and just properly trippy in the best way.
Domino sign my bloody valentine, with the band’s seminal catalogue being made available digitally in full for the first time ever as of today. New physical editions for each release will follow on 21st May 2021 and are available to pre-order now.
"Isn’t Anything and loveless have been mastered fully from analog for deluxe LPs and also mastered from new hi-res uncompressed digital sources for standard LPs, with each being made available widely for the first time ever. Fully analog cuts of m b v will also be available on deluxe and standard LPs globally for the first time.
my bloody valentine, the quartet of Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Deb Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig, are widely revered as one of the most ground-breaking and influential groups of the past forty years. During an era in which guitar bands denoted, at best, a retro-classicism, not only did my bloody valentine sound unlike any of their contemporaries, the band achieved the rare feat of sounding like the future.
With their debut album, Isn’t Anything (originally released in 1988), my bloody valentine revolutionised alternative music and heralded a new approach to guitar music for generations to come. The album birthed a sound which became a template for thousands of new subgenres, heralding a new approach to guitar music and studio production. Not only was it a new type of music, it paved the way for a new type of journalism; inciting comparisons to elemental phenomenon, tapping into how the music affected the psyche. Shields and Butcher frequently sang in a similar vocal range that allowed their voices to blend together. This had the effect of making their gender indistinguishable, to the point where their voices could be used as another melodic layer to complement the vertigo-inducing sounds made by Shields’ guitars.
The second my bloody valentine album, loveless, was released in 1991. Musically, it took an unexpected leap forwards, standing ahead of anything released at the time. Shields and the band moved further towards a music of pure sensation, creating textures and tones that could be felt as much as heard; with loveless the band created an album that overwhelmed the senses. loveless is widely considered a flawless whole and rightly regarded as a masterpiece; a 1990s equivalent to Pet Sounds, In A Silent Way or Innervisions, a record constructed by exploring the edges of what a recording studio is capable of. It is a record best experienced as a whole, in one sitting - a listening experience like no other and unmatchable in its sonic brevity.
ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compiles the group’s four EPs, wherein many of their devoted fans’ favourite music lies. You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss both preceded the band’s debut album in 1988 in quick succession. In the gap between Isn’t Anything and loveless, the band released two further EPs; Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991).
Finally re-emerging in 2013 after two full decades in relative hiding, their third album m b v is by turns their most experimental record but also their most melodic and immediate; proof real of their unerring desire for re-invention. Continuing to push boundaries of both music and genre, m b v is an album of astonishing music, some of which could lay claim to being of a type never been made before. Otherworldly, intimate and a visceral listen, m b v is a startling and beautiful metamorphosis of what was known of the my bloody valentine sound, pushing the boundaries of genre unlike any other band. The album’s closer, “Wonder 2” is an example of this, seeing Shields meld hypnotic guitar with drum’n’bass to astonishing result."
Inspired by photos of moody skies, Matthew Sage, Patrick Shiroishi, Chaz Prymek, and Chris Jusell’s remote quartet, Fuubutsushi unfurl 25’ of enchanted late summer dream-scaping
Formed during the onset of the pandemic, Fuubutsushi missed a CDr to cult acclaim in late summer 2020, and follow-up with ‘Good Sky Day’, where they transmute cues from band member Chaz’s photos in the group chat, into a quietly ribboning sequence of extended, intricate melody and harmonious drones. From respective bases in Arizona, California, Illinois and Missouri, the project came about via mails, with Chris Jussell taking the lead to sketch out the pieces’s narrative structure, and the others helping colour in the spaces with a rich palette of oils and earthy textured instrumentation.
They spend the first 20 minutes describing an oneiric landscape of rolling, pastoral scenes interwoven with lyrically melodic rivulets of violin and shimmering percussion, until more pronounced electronics gloam over, joined by wistful sax, and surprisingly, a lonely vocal denouement that really brings it all together, and promptly exits stage left to leave us with the elements. It should be noted that their band name, Fuubutsushi is also used as title for their first CDr as a quartet, which would surely be a good place to go next if you feel their appeal.
The 2012 debut album from Holy Other.
It carries the same quietly anguished vibe as the acclaimed 'With U' EP, virtually every sonic element - from Burial-esque vocal clips to the pads, even the drums - seems to sigh. For all their DNA-level foundation in US hip-hop/R&B and British soundsystem music, the crashing waves of 'Tense Past' and the magnificent 'Love Some1' owe as much to the airy gothic grandeur of This Mortal Coil as they do to, say, Keyboard Kid or Clams Casino.
On the more lithe, club-attuned 'Inpouring', the clicky, scuttling drum patterns deftly summon UK garage and the taut d'n'b minimalism of Instra:mental's mid-decade work, while 'U Now''s teasing suggestion of a footwork riddim opens up space for more melancholy drift. Subdued, heartbroken and drug-hazed, this is one of the most satisfying iterations of the Tri Angle aesthetic, an impressive statement in its own right.
Composer for film and media, Matthew Liam Nicholson touches on the sublime with his 9-part, playthru piece for the ace Longform Editions series
Hailing from Australia, but based in the mountains of northern California, Nicholson’s music perhaps can’t help but reflect a widescreen sensibility that comes form life in big country. Accompanied by LA’s spiritual jazz se’er Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, he commands a lush panorama in ‘Nine Movements’ that sweeps from floating field recordings to dawning strings and duskier sensations across its languorous narrative arc.
Technicolour rave freak Zomby comes with a bit of a shocker, setting aside his signature style for a hot minute to produce a rough, ready and raw album of Piano rave and '91/'92 'ardkore variants.
Firing up with a neat rave riff on 'F*ck mixing lets dance' and launching into a dope 138bpm breakbeat bomb you're immediately dumped into the middle of the dance, lazers scouring your retinas and everything. Then there's the staggered chords of 'Euphoria' setting up for a right little skankout, before the loony grinning cheekiness of 'We got the sound' and onto the horns and subs of 'Tears in the rain'.
It all starts to get a little more happy hardcore with 'G.T.I', pitching up the pianos and deploying some mentasms for the Swindon crew. 'Pillz' krunks it up for the 2008 crew with a hyper collision of Ghetto-tech, B-more bounce and Dutty South Vibes, while 'Hench' sends it back for the darkside set over in the corner and 'B With me' does a naughty badman interpretation of Lenny de Ice's 'We are IE' and 'U are my fantasy' lets his imagination run wild with a mash of Baby D's classic with The streetfighter theme tune.
Do you like rave mate?
Gorgeous outsider/intimate parlour music - one of our most played/referenced/loved records of all time - an introduction to the wonderfully moving and expressive music of Belgium’s Dominique Lawalree who sadly passed away in 2019. He’d been recording since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label and counts Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music, so consider this first-ever retrospective of his recordings an essential primer.
Entirely drawn from self-released titles recorded between 1978-1982 on Lawalree’s Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in nine parts - so quiet and intimate in fact that we feel like a privileged fly on the high ceiling of his apartment studio, twitching our antenna whilst the baby-faced maestro sups an Orval and strokes his keys and synths into thee sweetest tapestries.
In the enlightening liner notes by Britton Powell, Lawalree’s music is perfectly described as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” when compared with the music of Satie and Eno, with whom he clearly shares an affinity for subtle and meditative musicality, but the distinction lies in the inherent surreality of his music and its ability to entice and encourage closer listening, quite the opposite of background, Ambient music.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to his music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; conveyed with an honesty that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom Lawalrée analysed for a book of second-by-second analysis, culminating in a meeting with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, to whom he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
Ahh, this record is just a dream.
Utterly unmissable first ever reissue of SND’s god-tier triple pack, cruelly out of print since 2008, now finally available to discerning dancers/DJs - packing a pinnacle of avant-dance beat science certain to connect with fans of garage, UKF, footwork and experimental techno. If yr into owt from Beatrice Dillon to Timbaland, Ryoji Ikeda to El-B, Autechre to The Neptunes - this is a must have... and an education.
A peerless masterclass in nanoscopic funk editing, ‘4,5,6’ has never been bettered in our books. It originally arrived as a limited pressing of 300 x 3LPs in 2008 but has been sorely notable by its lack of availability ever since, often leading us to offer wild handed descriptions to bewildered mates, who, even if they looked for 2nd hand copies, would still be stumped as nobody in their right mind is selling a set. However that is all corrected with this new edition, representing one of the most crucial reissues of the decade and an unmissable opportunity to revel in some of Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s finest work, bar none.
When it landed in 2008, a decade after SND’s seminal early trio of self-releases, ‘4,5,6’ frankly took our heads off. It marked a leap in form from their self explanatory ‘Tender Love’ LP of 2002 with a return to their early EPs’ avant club focus, but drawing on processes and tekkers they had sharply refined over the interim. Aspects of the deep house, garage and computer music that originally inspired them are rendered inside out, revealing and recalibrating their mechanics in something like an iridescent Haynes manual one could dance to, or simply marvel at if the legs weren’t willing.
It stood out a mile from the rote minimal techno and dubstep of the time, which had started moving in the “future garage” direction by 2008, and effectively gave the sharpest side-eye to that sound, innovating-not-imitating in order to update and galvanise the original ‘90s forms with visionary mix of pointillist and mercurial flex. But, no mistake, for all its radical restructuring of garage and related styles, the results aren’t intended for chin stroking: they’re a direct, physically urgent extension of Mark and Mat’s deeeep love of dance and electronic music, itself rooted in original synth-pop/industrial and the first wave of US deep house/garage/techno that took their generation, and cities such as Sheffield, by the balls.
In 2021, the ten tracks of ‘4,5,6’ are effectively (give or take) equidistant from the original wave and now, and uncannily stand futureproofed by their vacuum-sealed reductionism and metallic lustre. However in many cases they’re still too much for DJs who all too often patronise their crowds with predictable pap. But if you’re a rare one, the likes of ‘C1’ are utterly primed to get fader chopped with early Roska riddims, and ‘E1’ is waiting to be threaded with Autechre and El-B’s most advanced funk, while the rest offers myriad options for interpretation at the craftiest hands. Basically, if you don’t already know this stuff; no excuses.
Unmissable stuff here, collecting Japanese avant pop and ferric beats from the scene's darkest, most thrilling corners.
Compiled by Yosuke Kitazawa and Dublab's Mark “Frosty” McNeill, this latest collection of Japanese obscurities from Light in the Attic sweeps up bizarre loose threads that fall through the cracks between the label's already released collections of city pop and ambient and new age music. Those two compilations spoke to the YouTube-driven resurgence of interest in albums like Hiroshi Yoshimura's "Green" and artists like Happy End's Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, and "Somewhere Between" investigates the fringes, dark crevices and unpicked crates.
Here, the sounds are exceptionally varied, falling from Mammy's twinkling odd-world electronix on 'Mizu No Naka No Himitsu' and D-Day's shimmering, dry ice-laced 'Sweet Sultan', to the gloomy avant synth pop of Neo Museum's unforgettable 'Area' and R.N.A-ORGANISM's gurgling, hiss-soaked 'WEIMAR 22'. The theme that unifies all of the selections is an unshakable sense of exploration and joy from the artists. The era's optimism is palpable, and it's a rare pleasure to hear musicians driven so wholeheartedly by exploration, experimentation, innovative song forms and bold artistic strokes.
Diggers will clearly get a kick from these rarities, but Kitazawa and McNeill have done such a great job with the selection that it's far more than just a curiosity. "Somewhere Between" is an invigorating listen, like a particularly wild and wonderful mixtape handed over by a trusted friend. It's a musical time capsule to get lost in.
Venerable minimalist Éliane Radigue continues her ‘Occam Ocean’ adventures at the threshold of perception on a third volume in collaboration with string trio Julia Eckhardt, Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker
Performed and recorded in September, 2019 at the Abbazia di Santa Maria Assunta, Bologna, Italy, the 3rd volume of ‘Occam Ocean’ features the pioneering French composer’s radical thoughts on time, tone and timbre carefully manifest thru the trio’s fingers and strings in the model of preceding volumes, also for France’s Shiiin label. Incredibly patient in its sustained drones and incremental developments, the results return an experience that really only comes with Radigue’s work, among a few others, holding the ability to generate moments of revelatory epiphany from the subtlest alterations.
Where previous ‘Occam Ocean’ instalments fielded a mix of solo and duo works (Occam Ocean 1) and a broad orchestra (Occam Ocean 2), this one is perhaps most focussed in its triumvirate of works written for solo, duo and trio configurations of Julia Eckhardt (Viola), Silvia Tarozzi (Violin) and Deborah Walker (Violoncello). The first, for Tarozzi and Walker resonates with an intense immanence as the Violin’s icy high register is underlined by glyding lower end Violoncello contours, creating a unique weather system of mid-air dissonance, which makes Walker’s lone performance on ‘Occam VIII’ only appear hauntingly nude by contrast.
When all three players converge at ‘Occam Delta III’ they create a more sublime tension, adhering the composer’s instructions to follow a razor fine line between microtonal frequencies and making the piece’s technical challenges feel effortlessly natural, really honing in on tones that resonate the pharynx and get up in your head quite unlike anything else.