Tint is an intently focussed showcase of the sound sensitivities which have made Joe Talia a cult figure in contemporary electro-acoustic and avant garde circles. If you’ve ever been caught by the work of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Andrew Chalk, John Duncan or Jean-Claude Éloy, you need to clasp ears on this album!
“Tint is the first new solo recording from Joe Talia in over a decade. Australian-born but now based in Tokyo, Talia is known to many listeners as a drummer (frequently collaborating both live and in the studio with artists such as Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke) and as a recording and mixing engineer responsible for dozens of releases across the fields of contemporary experimental music, wayward pop, and jazz. Alongside James Rushford, he is also responsible for one of the most legendary releases in the Kye records catalogue, the creaking electronic morass of Manhunter (2013). Lovingly crafted over many months in his tiny Tokyo studio, Tint is an album-length electroacoustic suite that brings together Talia’s expertise as percussionist, studio engineer, and performer on analogue electronic instruments (primarily modular synth and Revox tape machine).
Ranging from minimalist austerity to kosmische lushness, Tint refreshingly refuses the dark and moody sonic palette of much contemporary electroacoustic music in favour of an airy, at times almost weightless sound-world of gliding tones, skittering percussion, and burbling field recordings. Drawing inspiration from Jean-Claude Eloy’s epic concrète love letter to Tokyo, Gaku-No-Michi, Talia makes extensive use of his own recordings of his new home, but removes any sense of audio verite, abstracting them into transparent glosses of outdoor ambience or unidentifiable chimes and creaks. Flowing seamlessly between distinct episodes, Tint is compositionally controlled while retaining a sense of played spontaneity, eventually building to a maelstrom of analogue synth zaps and tape manipulated percussion that reflects Talia’s deep engagement with the relentless yet constantly shifting dynamics of free jazz.”
Following dissolution of the Yussef Kamaal project, Kamaal Williams a.k.a Henry Wu spreads his jazz charms solo on a debonaire début The Return, delivered via his newly minted Black Focus label. The spectres of ‘70s jazz fusion are felt strongly on this one, but updated with a rugged South London vibe that will bring feet to the ‘floor and see some heads get hot under the collar. RIYL Dego, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson
“The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.
Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Salaam', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'LDN Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on 'Broken Theme', and 'High Roller'.
The Return is the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.”
Utterly charming Calypso Limonense from Costa Rica by the king of his style, Walter Gavitt Ferguson. Totally remarkable songs salvaged from home-recorded tapes made during the ‘70s and rediscovered in an attic, all awash with background sounds from roosters to road traffic. Folkways fans, this one’s for you!
“99-year-old Walter Gavitt Ferguson from Costa Rica is a humble soul and a living legend, a Calypsonian of mythical proportions. Rooted like an old tree on the caribbean shore, he has never left his home town to look for fame, instead fame did come to look for him. Throughout eight decades, rumours of his musical gifts have attracted people from near and far, contesting Calypsonians, fans, tourists, musicologists, musicians, pilgrims and the President of the Republic. They once even moved a recording studio to his house as he refused to go to the city.
But many years before that, Ferguson used to sell his legendary self recorded cassettes to travellers and music lovers from all around the globe. He never kept a copy for himself and with age started to forget many old compositions. A recently started, international "Tape Hunt" was able to locate 9 such tapes in Canada and rescued 50 of his forgotten songs. Vol.1 of this tropical treasure is now available, resurrected directly from original cassettes of the Calypso King.”
Naturally, Tresor 303 is a killer album of 8 driving acid studies by Italian maestro Donato Dozzy
On ‘Filo Loves The Acid’ Dozzy presents his first solo album since ‘The Loud Silence’ [Further Records, 2015]. But, where that album and his collaborations with Anna Caragnano, Bee Mask and Neel have tended to his experimental side, this is the first time that Dozzy has focussed on dance music for a long player, finally exploring the functions of his numerable 12”s in a broader, durational format, and with predictably immersive results..
It’s all supremely strong and slick gear, opening out with the panoramic pads and plangent tweaks of ‘Filo’ - named after his best bud, whom the album is dedicated to - before getting crafty with the slipping kicks of his ‘Vetta’ pounder and the overpronating drive of ‘Duetto’, to go hard for a late ‘90s skullhead style on ‘Nine ‘o Three’.
With ‘Back’ he brings a flavour of early ‘90s psycho-tribalist stompers, while ‘Vetta Reprise’ ramps the energy level to breakneck, and ‘TB Square’ settles its arse down to a more hypnotic swing jack, before ‘Rep’ rips out with a proper, brain-drilling riff and martial tattoo of the type you’d expect to hear in Tresor, cloaked in smoke and blinded by the strobes.
Dom unleashes two deep, ravenous ’94 jungle dubplates by Dillinja from his special archive (presumably a steel and concrete reinforced bunker somewhere in the home counties)
So, yeh, You is pretty much almost an alternative version of Deep Deadly Subs (Remix), and we can’t really believe it’s been sitting unnoticed or unused for this long - spliffs will drop from slack jaws ‘pon hearing it! - while we’d speculate that the tuffened hardstep of King Of The Beats hearkens from a later date, possibly ’97.
James Ferraro offers an insightful critique of modern day America viewed thru the grim prism of one of its largest stable homeless populations in the notorious, eponymous district of L.A.
Arriving two years since 'NYC, Hell' and, six months since the very sad loss of his early patron and ally, Hippos In Tanks' Barron Machat, the album straddles a typically ambiguous line between cliches of burnt-out urban ennui and excess, and a sense of psychedelic, soulful sincerity with much the same sort of class and verve of his sometime collaborator, Dean Blunt.
The unshakeable influence of late '80s/early '90s commercial music, pop and R&B and cinema lingers from his earlier phases but, those elements feel more sculpted, uncannily spaced-out and with eerie room to breathe in-the-mix.
First and foremost, though, these are proper songs and it plays thru like a proper album, rather than a concept suite or stream-of-consciousness spool. Ferraro sings, raps and talks about his everyday observations, with lyrics about psycho cops, mediated violence and racism often stemming from his poetry and attempting to sum up "the state of the world around me, living on what feels like the brink of societal collapse while also seeing high excess everywhere… all the sounds of the streets crept in."
From our relatively detached position in the UK, 'Skid Row' offers a unique, anachronistic and possibly, darkly romanticised insight to a world far removed, usually only glimpsed in newsreels and internet video clips and effectively unrepresented in 99% of the American music that we stock.
Repeat listens will unpackage its themes further, but for now you can colour us beguiled.
Steve Hauschildt’s grasp of synthesis reaches alchemical, intuitive levels of lushness in ‘Dissolvi’, keening towards a broadly appealing ambient-techno-pop sound without losing the enigmatic, abstract, deep space quality of previous efforts. It’s his finest achievement since striking solo from the influential Emeralds and, quite honestly, isn't a million miles away from late 90's IDM keeprs like Arovane's Atol Scrap. And on we go in circular motion...
“In search of the sublime, contemporary electronic musician Steve Hauschildt has designed grids and panoramas of sound across multiple releases through the rise and dissolution of his former band, Emeralds, an American touchstone of 2000s home-recorded psychedelic noise music. Consistent with his solo work is Hauschildt’s ability to coil his craft in precise, varied, and distinctly physical forms. Gently spinning arpeggios converse with post-industrial decay. Sonic fibers sway like pendulums from static melancholy to motorik bliss. Dissolvi, the artist’s first full-length with Ghostly International, engages sublimation from an ontological perspective: by dissociating the self. Hauschildt steps out from the singular path, for the first time in a traditional studio, to compose and arrange contributions from friends. As a result, his most collaborative work to date extends a vast, vibrating framework in which to consider the state of being.
The album's title — a reference to cupio dissolvi, the Latin phrase meaning "I wish to be dissolved" — needn't be taken one-dimensionally or as purely solipsistic. It does, however, serve an apt reference. Physiological phenomena are of interest to Hauschildt. These back-of-mind ruminations find their way out. Songs are cerebral in orientation, but beyond explanation, the music is truly visceral. Involuntary eye movement inspires the serene, sanguine-nearing-suspicious "Saccade." Hauschildt feathers soft percussion beneath the echoed refrains of Los Angeles musician Julianna Barwick, together shaping a svelte suggestion of the anxieties brought about by modern-day surveillance; if everyone is being watched constantly, there is no individual, no self, only a broadly monitored and clumsily cataloged populous. The work of Chicago poet Carl Sandburg comes to mind: “I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.” The individual dissolves into the taxonomic crowd.
Minimalist techno impulses provide a stylistic through-line for Dissolvi. Understated synth phrases and drum grooves take hold in selective moments, like synchronistic structures onto which nebulous mists, like the rapturous voice of Gabrielle Herbst aka GABI on "Syncope," cling to and cloud, producing a dazzling rift in consciousness. The 7-minute centerpiece "Alienself" reiterates this creative logic, burbling like an amorphous body of water on a low-gravity planet, on the verge of dissolving, but never fully dematerializing. The album was constructed in Chicago (where Hauschildt now resides) and partially in New York. "Much of it was recorded in a windowless studio which removed elemental or seasonal references to time in the music," says Hauschildt. "The focus this time was on mixing the album and incorporating a broader set of instrumentation. I describe my compositional approach as being quasi-generative." Embracing new methods and philosophical curiosities, and in turn, expanding the range of his repertoire, Hauschildt proposes a fascinating and profoundly rich experience in listening, being, and deliquescing.”
Organ whirling Turkish psych soul heavily influenced by classics from Baris Manco, Selda and Erkin Koray, but produced in in 2018 with a contemporary concision. B-side is peach! The 6th instalment of Bongo Joe’s 7” series...
“Altın Gün offer an exciting mix of Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock.After performing in Istanbul with Jacco Gardner, bassist Jasper Verhulst became fascinated by the Turkish sound of the 70s. At that time, artists like Selda, Barış Manço and Erkin Koray combined traditional music with western rock influences. Along with bandmates Ben Rider (guitar) and Nic Mauskovic (drums), Verhulst searched for Turkish musicians to revive this sound. They found Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Erdinc Yildiz Ecevit (vocals, saz, keys) through Facebook. Jungle by Night’s energetic percussionist Gino Groeneveld joined the groupand the band was complete.Altın Gün play songs from the aforementioned artists from the 70's and their lesser-known contemporaries and also make their own arrangements of Turkish traditionals. This way different worlds meet and form a refreshing danceable sound.”
Two discs with 17 tracks on each of Beuger whistling, quietly and with a silence and patience of intense concentration emerging from near silence...
"I am well aware of how mushy and subjective this review may read, but for me, from the moment I pressed play on the CD player for the first time on Friday, this music has had a profound, and yet very simple effect on me. Throughout the two pieces there are basically two sounds to be heard. The first is a barely audible, but constant layer of roomtone, presumably where the microphone gain has been brought up. This soft background is perfect for the CD, somehow giving it all a context and just enhancing the human aspects of it all. Then Beuger whistles… softly, always with a slight breathy hiss, never full on piercing notes. The sound resembles little gasps of air forcing their ways through a crack in the door more than anything tonal, though as the score seems to dictate particular notation then there are certainly particular pitches here, just softly, cloudily picked out.
Its the human aspect of it that works so well for me though, and also the fact that it is Antoine whistling here, not anyone else. I say this because the power of this music comes from its direct simplicity, and so hearing the composer pick out what he wants from his score himself and then just performing it, presumably while alone in a room (the score says the whistling should be “whispered very quietly to oneself”) adds to this feeling of directness, and brings a sense of incredible intimacy to the music.
The actual sounds are mostly short lines, roughly three or four seconds in length, spaced apart by silences that aren’t overly long, but leave the listener enough time to contemplate each short burst before absorbing the next. There are also a few little shorter sections which occasionally run through scales, and also hint at bits of melody, but for the most part (as with much of Beuger’s work) there isn’t much in the way of silence here, just a sense of incredible calm and peacefulness. The CD sleeve recommends that the music should be played at very low volume, a suggestion that will always win my approval, but here this is vital. I can’t think of any CD that would be destroyed more by being played at very high volume.
This is music I will return to often at the end of stressful days. It is music I will play when I wish to get off to sleep in a gentlest of manners, but it is also music that I will put on and just sit and listen to quietly, a kind of distillation of musical expression down to this most basic, refined human experience, and so a thoroughly uplifting and inspirational thing, not unlike the birds that can be heard singing every morning here, not unlike the simple beauty that poetry creates when two words are placed beside each other. For me, Keine fernen mehr portrays the very best of humankind, an antidote to the noise, to the chatter of technology, to the anger, to the cruelty that exists in the world today, two CDs that, for me, flood my surroundings with undiluted joy. I have heard so much wonderful music this year, and doubtlessly much of it is technically superior, structurally more complex or conceptually more intriguing to what is presented on these CDs, but nothing, nothing at all at all has had such a deeply moving effect on me as the music here. Utterly magical."
Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear.
After 10 years of releases, Synkro mints his eponymous label with ‘Luminous’, featuring two signature slices of Autonomic/Ambient D&B, backed with a killer Paradox remix
Produced at his studio in the Peak district, ‘Luminous’ is a fine example of Joe McBride a.k.a. Synkro’s heart-on-sleeve style, marrying ethereal synth voices with drizzly drums and sloshing Reese bass in the title cut, whilst ‘Weakness finds him vulnerably melodic i9n a way recalling BoC interludes or Bibio dream sequences.
Remixing ‘Luminous’ on the B-side, Paradox is on top form with freely fluid and sinuous drum programming underlining Synkro’s emotive synth arrangements with suspenseful, breathtaking impact.
John Cage's "Empty Words" (1974) is drawn from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau, written in four parts:
Part I omits sentences, Part II omits phrases, and Part III omits words. Part IV, which omits syllables, leaves us nothing but a virtual lullaby of letters and sounds.
On her widely acclaimed debut album proper, Philadelphia’s Moor Mother protests and sounds out against the current state of race relations in USA, using a dense weave of field recordings, machinery, analog noise makers and, most prominently, her wildly processed vocals to punch her message in no uncertain terms.
Variously self-diagnosed as “Low fi/dark rap/chill step/ blk girl blues/witch rap/coffee shop riot gurl songs/southern girl dittys/black ghost songs”, her heaviness is only rivalled by the likes of Death Grips for its thorny Black Punk sensibilities, which she refers to in a wider sense as Black Quantum Futurism, which arguably better covers her rich bed of influences reaped from the musics of Sun Ra to Alice Coltrane, and the literature of Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, for example.
Fetish Bones cropped up on many EOY lists in 2016 and it’s not hard to hear why. Pitting unflinching, documentarian lyrics about low income life in North Philly and the battle of Black bodies against the police state, with chokingly layered location recordings, palmed noise and turgid, rollicking rhythms, the results are a furnace blast of energy which, once witnessed, indelibly imprints the mind with her sound and politics much in the same way that, say, Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin chapters take us deep into those places, but far more violently and relevant to right now.
The godfather of Afrobeat and the Finnish funk freak go to town, well Cafe Oto to be exact, on this live recording, featuring Allen using a prototype, drum-triggered Moog to devilish effect
“SEPT 2016. The Moog Sound Lab’s first trip out for a live session at Café Oto’s project & café rooms. Jimi Tenor, finnish futurist, shako & Warp Records confederate, jazzed, funked, far-ra’d out. Tony Allen – original drummer to Fela Kuti – Godfather of the Afro-Beat.
These two titans of the beat strange -fed & watered through the mighty Moog Sound Lab via a prototype future sound systems drum trigger unit built & operated by UK moog minder engineer Mr Finlay Shakespeare. New sound universes emerge, collide.
Explosions & implosions make sonic debris. Cosmic dancers prepare to be run ragged by a feral ‘tronic funk that brings to mind early ‘D.A.F” [Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft].”
Finally available again - Second of two crucial Shackleton singles on Honest Jon's, weighted with dynamic remixes by T++ and Mordant Music.
In contrast to the coffin intensity of 'Deadman', 'Fireworks' is widescreen and viewed from above (perhaps best imagined from the perspective of the unfortunate soul in Gaspar Noé's 'Enter The Void'?), suspended in up-drafting columns of ghoulish synth voices, silvery hi-hats and convulsing kicks evaporated from viscous subs way below.
With 'Undeadman' his zombied cadaver arises again, divined like a worm from the ground by plunging subs to join the skull disco on consecrated ground. T++ is similarly averse to gravity, his agile rebuild feeling like it's being dragged upwards by the chest, limbs carving 'ardcore torque in mid-air, buffeted by sub-harmonic turbulence. There's a reference to his classic Dynamo 12" in the title 'Außen Vor', but we haven't the foggiest what it means. Kindred darkside shamen, Mordant Music plays the 'Undeadman' like a dread-dub marionette, trapped in halfstep inertia at the centre of a dizzying atmospheric pressure system. Essential!
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
Khotin smushes your temples with soothing ambience in ‘New Tab’, newly availed on vinyl via Pacific Rhythm Music following self-released tape.
Drinking deeply from the cup of Vancouver’s new age spirit, Khotin presents a lovely suite of feathered ambient chords fringed by field recordings and laced with various voices - Japanese, Russian, English - in a milky sequence of sounds, mostly beatless but with a handful of dips into effervescent breakbeats and glassy balearic downstrokes.
Trust Music From Memory to serve the loveliest thing you’ll hear all week with Orquesta De Las Nubes’ ‘The Order Of Change’ continuing their excavation of Suso Saiz’s 1980s gems with a sublime 10 track compilation showcase of his new age/ambient band
“Following on from a retrospective compilation of solo work and an album of recent work in 2016, Music From Memory continue to explore the work of Spanish ambient and experimental pioneer Suso Saiz. The subject of Music From Memory’s latest compilation focuses on Suso Saiz’s output as part of the group Orquesta De Las Nubes, formed by Suso Saiz and percussionist Pedro Estevan when the two met whilst studying a course on ‘Techniques of Contemporary Composition’ in Madrid.
Sharing a curiosity for American minimalist and Non-Western music, the pair began to share music through many listening sessions, during which the idea slowly evolved to try and make music together. Pedro’s partner at the time, soprano singer Maria Villa, would later join the two on vocals. With Suso’s sparse us of guitar loops, synthesizers, and drum computers in combination with the hypnotic percussion of Pedro Estevan and the wordless drifting vocals of Maria Villa, Orquesta De La Nubes would evolve as a group with a truly unique musical language; an ethereal and almost otherworldly musical realm.”
There are few contemporary musicians who have had as much of an impact on us as Mika Vainio, so each new release is always cause for celebration. Whether exploring the grim underbelly of the electric guitar on ‘Life (… It Eats You Up)’ or haunted minimalism in his collaboration with Kevin Drumm and friends on ‘Venexia’, Vainio somehow manages to throw us into a state of awe consistently time and time again.
‘FE3O4 – Magnetite’ manages to uphold this quality but takes a stylistic about turn, exploring the two poles of noise and silence, finding Vainio explore distortion and contrast in a way he hasn’t for many years now. Radio static emerges from almost nothing, sounds appear for a second and are gone and cables are established and removed without warning. This dynamic is offset by Vainio’s well-documented expertise with very loud drones, and the drones we’re treated to on ‘FE3O4’ are louder and more intense than you’re likely to find almost anywhere else. Sub bass tones tear through the silence heralded only by small pops, and wavering, distorted oscillators cut and slice like a lone machete in a dark night.
This is often terrifying music, but thanks to Vainio’s calm hand it never devolves into mere theatrics. Rather the sounds are so well paced and expertly handled that you feel like you are being treated to the work of a pioneer, and someone whose work is a direct descendent of Bernard Parmegiani, Luciano Berio and Throbbing Gristle. Incredible music, and yet another totally unmissable full-length from Mika Vainio.
Awesome 2nd volume of ‘Midnight in Tokyo’ jams, with selector Dubby taking over from Toshiya Kawasaki to pick a diamond-studded set of ‘80s jazz fusion vibes from Japan...
All but the most ardent Japanophiles will be new to the sounds in ‘Midnight in Tokyo Volume 2’, which takes the listener for a personalised cruise around Dubby’s hidden gems, collected over decades and perfectly picked to brief.
To play favourites, the delicious warped slump of ‘Hikobae’ by Genji Sawai is frankly unmissable, as are the glittery glyde of ‘So Long America’ by Yasunori Soryo & Jim Rocks, the slinky tickle of ‘Imagery’ from Katsutoshi Morizono with Bird’s Eye View, and the glam strut of Parachute’s ‘Mystery of Asian Port’.
Compelling Ballardian descriptions of life in a seaside town, rendered in textured ambience, melancholic techno and warbling, degraded synth vignettes. RIYL Leyland Kirby, Bellows, Helm...
“Vast, expansive and introspective works utilising place-specific found sound on this second Cremation Lily LP for Alter. Contemplating mortality, illness and the perennial bleakness of British winter in a seaside town we find Zen Zsigo experimenting with piano, violin, synthesiser and walkman tape players. Layering field recordings of the Hastings shoreline atop druggy, stretched out 303 basslines and snippets of spoken word there seems to be an overarching thematic of memory and reflection at play.
From vignettes of crumbling glass and bittersweet drones through to sprawling, semi-rhythmical pieces (‘As a sea creature...’) it seems as if Zsigo is trawling the coast for fragments of its former glory. The end result of his study manages to echo the work of Yoran, Leyland Kirby and even Jacob Kirkegaard yet the rare moments where he lays bare his own vocal narrative seemingly transforms In England Now, Underwater into sonic diary territory. Mixing salt-water soaked cassette loops with haunting, minimalist piano motifs and warped recordings of crashing waves and bird noise an intense atmosphere of Ballard’s drowned world is evoked through sound.”
Antipop Consortium’s High Priest a.k.a. HPrizm drops a rugged batch of illbient hip hop instrumentals on New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records
Only recently we had been wondering where the heck he’d gotten to, and now here he is, nearly 20 years since we first emerging with the pivotal APC, and still pushing a uniquely flavoured and crooked style of beat craft.
Pretty much picking up where our last memory of his work - the ace Airborne Audio project - left off, the vibe on ‘Catching a Body’ is in heady flux between vaporous drone dubs styles in ‘Knitted Crown’, skulky street corner at dusk feels in ‘Clearbody’, and a proper killer in ‘Asiatic’ recalling Mutamassik’s ‘War Booty’ zinger.
‘Emotional Music’ is a beguiling suite of ambient electronica synpathy from L.A.’s Robert Girardin, marking up his début proper and first solo release with Palto Flats and Elon Katz’ Zero Grow. RIYL 0PN, Rene Hell, Visible Cloaks
“R. Girardin – Emotional Music is a collaborative release from Palto Flats and Zero Grow, a contemporary rendering of synthetic midi-fusion and DAW experimentalism. Drawing links between Rashad Becker’s textured compositional approach and the multicultural electro-fetishism of Benjamin Lew, Emotional Music uses known palettes in non-traditional methods.
In Emotional Music we are treated to Girardin’s tooling of the synthesizer as a spiritual instrument, one where the typical motifs of musicality and style degrade in favor of poetic modulation matrices and breath controlled hopefuls. Synthesizers occupy a special place in sonic energy, dependent on electricity for physical sound creation, void of voice without human intellect and touch. Emotional Music is a synthesis of both the human and synthesizer’s expressive logics; one of internal architectures capable only through external inlets and outlets.
R. Girardin is a Hollywood location scout living in Los Angeles. Recent work includes contributions to the score of Invernomuto’s film “Vers L’Europa Deserta, Terra Incognita,” and lectures on the aesthetics of decentered spatiality in Southern California at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland and UC Irvine. Girardin has previously released music on Italian label Hundebiss.
The artwork features a cover photo by Girardin and blind drawings by artist Roee Rosen.”
Slowdive’s Simon Scott unfurls a panoramic scene of widescreen strings and organ drone with a patina of autumnal crackle and drizzle in ‘Grace’ for Touch...
“Grace begins with a 12 string acoustic guitar fed into a modular synthesiser that spits out beautiful grains of sound that rise and fall like the sun. Textures build up and then slip away leaving a pipe organ playing and the church room recordings sonically revealing passing cyclists, rainfall and Cambridge bus station.
It shimmers like an oscillating river until the strings fade and the final third section slips in and a deep organ tone leads the tapestry of sound into field recordings, strings and processed instruments. The contact mics on the organ pipes are heard, floorboards and unidentified human sounds appear and the alarm call of a blackbird seeps into the piece.
Written recorded, mixed and mastered by Simon Scott at SPS in Cambridge. Strings performed and recorded at Green House Studios, Glendale, California by Charlie Campagna ('cello) and Zachary Paul (viola and violin). Pipe organ recorded at The Unitarian Church, Cambridge, UK.”
Mbulelo heads up a pair of killer, deep forward South African 12”s on Derrick May’s Transmat that recall everything from SND and Gábor Lázár to Anthony Shakir
On ‘The Robotic People’ EP, Mbulelo Mehlomakhulu effectively bridges Durban Gqom and Detroit house in killer style with the title cut’s brute low end offset by breezy but dark jazz chords, while ‘Orchestration’ sidewinds off between SND and Second Woman with breathtakingly fluid form, and ‘Panacea’ explores balmier, rhythmelodic percussion in sweetly charming style.
Killer fresh rap music from MC Yallah, backed with cavernous Jay Glass Dubs versions on Hakuna Kulala - the mean yung sibling of Nyege Nyege Tapes...
Kenyan, but Ugandan born and raised Yallah Gaudencia Mbidde a.k.a. MC Yallah oozes style inside the cold, sparse boom/crack and vaulted electronica atmospheres of ‘Ndi Mukazi’ - one of the most urgent yet deep, dark blue rap tracks we’ve heard in a minute - while Debmaster’s instrumental carries its weight beautifully well.
In a genius A&R move, Jay Glass Dubs is tagged in for two versions, vocal and instrumental, embedding Yallah in acres of spiralling psychedelic space ducking his ricocheting snares and sweltering electronics.
In the wake of ‘White1’, Sunn 0)))’s equally whelming ‘White2’ receives full remastering by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, re-awakening its ungodly spirits to utterly jaw-dropping effect
Building on the energies unleashed with White1, Sunn 0))) go deeper into the abyss of subharmonic distortion on White2 flanked by torch-carrier Attila Csihar ov Mayhem along with Dawn Smithson (from Rex Ritter’s former band, Jessamine), and fellow explorers Nate Carson and Joe Preston. Like White1, this set was originally intended to be acoustic, but fate worked its ways, leading the clan to a trance-inducing electronic conclusions.
Ask almost anyone who’s spent time with this one, they’ll might well tell you that Decay2 (nihilis’ Maw) is one of the most powerful Sunn 0))) tracks in their immense catalogue. Featuring seminal and hugely influential BM vocalist Attila Csihar reciting in Sanskrit from the ancient Indian Veda, and tied to their tarriest bass, together with Decay (The Symptoms of Kali Yuga), it towers over almost everything else imaginable, and still hasn’t been surpassed to this day.
Factor in the sky collapsing rifle of Hell-0))) - Ween, and the plasmic dubbing of Bassaliens, and you have one of this century’s first great Metal albums - a record by which to mark everything that came before it, and since. Now sounding closer to their original intentions than ever before, if you don’t know it, there’s never been a better time to go head-first into Sunn 0)))’s black hole.
Superb deep techno and ambient electronica from Yügen Disciple, a new name on Andy Lyster’s Youth following their blink-and-miss introduction to FUMU
Pretty flawless from any angle, the A-side features the systolic thrum and heavy-lidded pads of ‘IBEX 2 (MD-A02_XOX-101)’ and the spectral acid of ‘Luxury Flat’, while the B-side hearkens back to vintage Mille Plateaux daze in ‘Pattern Recognition’, and checks out with the sdancign dust mites of ’Shinkansen Blur’.
Big tip to fans of Shinichi Atobe, SND, Actress
The seminal eccentric maximalist composer uses a Moog to conjure something like a swarm of mechanical bees making a hive in your nasal cavity for the 50 minute entirety of Ttuunneesszz Duh Rruunneesszz.
The first of two sides by the venerable Charlemagne Palestine recorded using Surrey Uni’s extensive Moog Sound Lab System 55 set-up runs to over 50 minutes of swarming oscillators that ultimately sound like a grist of bees nesting in your noggin
“Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
These two releases come from our second ever UK lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings.”
It’s nowt less than avant garde honey for the mind.
Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
"But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
This release come from Moog's second ever uk lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings."
Kathryn Joseph releases her new album ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’, via Rock Action Records.
"The follow up to 2015’s acclaimed debut Bones ‘You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’, which was named the Scottish Album of the Year, this album is a captivating set that documents both life’s traumas and their resolutions. Produced by Marcus Mackay, who also worked on her debut album, ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’ mixes new songs with material gathered over the past ten years to create an intimate and often devastating portrait of Joseph’s world."
Matthew Herbert flexes his broken beat and discoid house chops on Accidental Jr with this reissue of a 1995 classic...
Taking a minute out from his soundtrack work, Herbert heads straight for the ‘floor with classic breaks percolated on a funk tip in ‘Rude’, along with the classic-sampling deep house blush of ‘Oo Licky’, and the warm, dusky house breeze of ‘See You On Monday’.
They don't makkkkkeum like this anymore!
Sunn 0)))’s entrancing, crushing doom metal totem ’White1’, entirely remastered by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, including the beastly rarity ‘Cut Wood(ed)’ from their rare-as-heck ‘White’ box
Notably featuring guest appearances from Julian Cope and Joe Preston, White1 is an exceptional highlight of Sunn 0)))’s near-sacred catalogue of doom metal drone recordings. Originally intended as an acoustic album, the recording session took a different route towards psychedelic electronic experimentation, with the results originally issued in 2003 on CD and as a now sought-after 3-sided LP packaged in a pillowcase and including a sleeping pill.
In the same year of its release, this reviewer popped their Sunn 0))) cherry at Autechre’s ATP, which was nothing short of a life-changing revelation, seeing Julian Cope prostrate, front of stage, surrounded by candles and dry ice, flanked by axe-wielding druids clawing the most monstrous riffs this teenaged bean had ever heard.
On disc, you might not get the full visual glory of O’Malley, Anderson, Ritter, and Cope on stage, but provided you crank it loud enough at home, you can now come closer than ever to the void of White1, from Cope’s foul mouthed induction in the 26 minutes of My Wall, to the brainfeezing blend of traditional Norse vocals and the super rare appearance of Joe Preston’s achingly tight drumming on The Gates of Ballard - one of scant few Sunn 0))) cuts to feature percussion, and which still makes us want to knock down skyscrapers - and right thru the subharmonic ritual of A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.
Always pushing it one step farther, this release also now includes the abyssal dimensions of Cut Wood(ed), their 2003 collaboration with Ulver which didn’t make the original LP, later found on the White box in 2006, and now retrospectively added to this definitive edition of a staggering masterpiece.
Soft-touch, lower case ambient compositions. Good stuff...
“H.Takahashi, Tokyo based Architect and sound designer. ‘Low Power’ draws strands of Minimalism from the Japanese Minimalist works from the likes of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa, to masters such as Erik Satie and John Cage, and Ambient leaders Brian Eno and Roedelius.
His sound sometimes seems to be drizzling like rain, but still the feeling of refreshing sounds sinks pleasantly inside the body like a shower bathed after running 100 meters with full power.
A genuine melody gives a feeling that drifts in the water. The philosophy of simple timbre composition and placement makes me feel the composition of the Japanese garden and the minimalism of Sen no Rikyu.”
Ragged, off-centre techno sloggers from Bergsonist, following up Where To Now?’s ace Ben Vince LP
“Bergsonist is the moniker of Moroccon born and NYC based Selwa Abd. 'Solyaris' follows the self-released '' and a prolific slew of releases for labels such as Styles upon Styles, Borft, and Angoisse amongst others. For Selwa her uncompromising & otherworldly, hypno technoid creations aim to capture a given moment in time, contextualising her often direct, hugely affective, & unpolished approach to production.
'Conflict in Yeman' opens with a gambit of off-kilter percussive experiments & electronics, conveying a sense of determined urgency. Things grow more & more intricate & immediate as we progress - layers of disruption weave around a reoccurring 140BPM shuffle, anchoring Selwa's constant explorative concrete diversions.
'Former Alien who has been naturalized by a U.S Citizen' brings things down a notch - skittering drums linger below a truly haunting whispered melody, occasionally broken down by collapsed rewinds and thunderously raw in the red beat grit - to dizzying effect. Whereas previously 'Solyaris' had taken its cues from Drexciyan Detroit Electro 'Former Alien...' stands closer to a Fantastic Damage era EL-P instrumental rather than anything aimed at the floor.
The EP rolls out with 'Fidel Gastro', a structured & focused piece of Machine Funk & end of days drop cues, conjuring an effective mix of both euphoria & imminent dread.”
Tirzah pursues the slowest-burning soul feels on Devotion, the London-based singer-songwriter’s humbly singular début album, produced by Mica Levi and providing us with total life affirming summer listening - most probably the record we've listened to most this year so far, and one that lingers on and on...
Since her first solo 12”s and thru frequent collaborations with Mica Levi - including the Taz And May Vids  for DDS - Tirzah has quietly blossomed into one of the UK’s most precious and peculiar artists working at the fringes of experimental pop, post-grime and R&B, and Devotion is set to bring her love to a wider audience.
Plaintive and low key, Devotion presents Tirzah’s vocal in the most evocative light, framed by backdrops of bleary-eyed and bent vibes and the kind of half-finished, permanently work-in-progress production style that's become a calling card of her music and her tight knit crew including Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May.
Album of the year? Aye, quite possibly.
Old skool and radgy-sounding house and breaks from Drummer B on Derrick May’s legendary Transmit label
‘In Case Yall Forgot’ reminds of Detroit house at its loosest and deepest with nods to Motown and Mad Mike, whereas ‘What That Jxxy Bout’ is built for the jits with fast-paced bass and sparking drum machines.
‘Again’ roots the sound back in Detroit jazz with a strong vocal by Jessica Care Moor, and the suspension-testing ‘Diamond’ rolls out on a wicked slow/fast flex compatible with the Autonomic sound.
Banging, funked-up Detroit techno on Derrick May’s Transmat label
‘Sunday on Saturday’ starts up with a killer organ-riding vibe for the Mad Mike / UR fiends, and ‘So B It’ follows with a loopy garage-house swing.
‘He’s Able’ brings the tempo and vibe up for a soulful burn, and ‘Here After’ settles back into a hard-working garage-house groove.
Split session of psychedelic excursions on Den Haag’s Bakk label
Bear Bones, Lay Low chase up their encrypted outing with the No ‘Label’ on ‘Dissolve Into The Night’, a 15 minute traverse of expansively widescreen desert psych with trundling caravan groove and a sort of ancient Aztec atmosphere.
Don’t DJ takes even longer on ‘Rag for Rudolph Rocker’, and again it’s not not about the destination but the journey, as he plays out myriad permutations of bustling, polymetric patter stealthily layered up with non-standardly tuned horns and woodwind in a way like Hassell and Reich emulating tropical breeze dynamics.
Dead solid breakbeat techno-house from Glasgow institution Wheelman, backed with an unmissable 313 electro-jit mix by D.I.E.
Following the angles of his 12”s for Studio Barnhus and Belters to tuff, deeper conclusions, Wheelman meshes rolling house heft with deep techno pads and ruder breakbeat chops on the wobbling bass axle of ‘Signal’, which D.I.E. refits as a percolated Detroit electro ace with funked up bassline and perfect 808 snare crack.
Wife and Mumdance wed Black Metal and power electronics as Bliss Signal with a whelming debut for True Panther Sounds
No half-stepping here, as both artists go all-in with the bludgeoning force and apocalyptic guitar noise of ‘Bliss Signal’, and again with ‘Swarm’, whereas ‘4AM Drift’ tends to a needling BM guitars and desiccated ambience with a knife-edge tension.
The first in a trilogy of vibraphone solo albums by Berlin-based composer Masayoshi Fujita.
"This quietly exquisite album is like a book of illustrations, evoking scenes of natural beauty and poetic poignancy that combines climactic crescendos laced with electronic detail and luxurious melody. Stories is the beginning of Masayoshi’s mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight.
Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound. Focussing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often under appreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one."
Chris Watson divines ghosts in The Moog Sound Lab’s System 55 machines, following in the footsteps of Jamal Moss, Mika Vainio and others on the Blue TB7 series
The eminent sound recordist and erstwhile member of Cabaret Voltaire here shifts his focus from capturing birdsong for David Attenborough to impressionistically document human animals in their natural, urban and industrial environments on ‘Locations, Processed’.
Attuned to the subtleties of everyday listening life, Watson intercepts and reframes sounds from undisclosed locations, almost imperceptibly processing and layering those isolated scenes into a sort of stealthily hypnotic dramaturgy of hyperreal, intra-dimensional scope.
Quite simply, it’s required listening for any and all field recording enthusiasts and industrial dreamers.
Silkie brings a dubstep drama to Deep Medi
One of the scene’s most singular artists, Silkie plays deep into and out of the now-classic mode with the brassy pomp and evil swagger of ‘Impervious’ leading to a very canny switch up into spy funk themes.
Flipside, ‘Reevea’ catches him updating the style with skittish trills and churning subs in a stunning sort of broken beat-electro-jungle twiss-up, and the pizzicato strings and 2-step tic of ‘Egyptian March’ come off like a stray instrumental grime bullet that’s just begging for a bolshy vocal.