Bolshy Bristol bassbin business from Lamont, astray from duties for Loefah’s 81 with a first shot for Orson’s Version
‘Dominant’ lurks up with drill-style minor key intro and finds its groove on a half step skank with plunging subs and cruddiest drums. ‘I Won’t Ask’ leans off-kilter on a wonky, darkside 2020 mutation of UK bleep techno steez.
Wonderfully bittersweet modern composition from Oliver Leith, who piqued our attention with an ace debut for Herbert’s Accidental, and grabs it again with his puckered melodies and keening tunings for SN Variations
Where his introductory EP was off-kilter lush, there’s a more aspartame flavour and rubbery harmonic feel to ‘Balloon’ that puckers up somewhere in our minds between The Automatics Group and Markus Floats on the first piece, and Entr’acte’s six swords enigma in the expressively sharp electronics of the second. ‘Balloon III’ is given to a more stately procession of curdled melodies and dead strange harmonics that appear to incrementally ascend across the track, and ’Slide’ drips with the prototypical algorithmic slime of Æ circa LP5 and EP7. 100% one to keep an ear on, this guy.
Kelly Lee Owens crisps up and expands her melodic synth-pop style on a well anticipated follow-up to 2017’s breakthrough debut LP - including a smart Radiohead cover and guest feature by John Cale.
'Inner Song’ sees London’s Kelly Lee Owens hone her sound to a fine blend of sleek, late ‘00s melodic minimal techno and timeless, shine-eyed synth-pop with neatly tempered nods to her home city’s rude club swing.
Going deeper on the sound of her debut LP, she stakes her tastes for classic and experimental pop between the album’s two key reference points: a nimbly stepping cover of Radiohead’s ‘Arpeggi’ from ‘In Rainbows’; and the husky guest appearance of Velvet Underground’s John Cale over her dreamy electronics on album highlight ‘Corner Of My Sky’.
In between, she recalls everything from a moonlit meeting of Four Tet & Julee Cruise with the synth-gilded 2-step of ‘On’, to Fever Ray doing R&B in ‘Re-Wild’, or some Mathew Jonson tech house twirler from the mid ‘00s in ‘Jeanette’, and a sweet piece of Sally Shapiro-esque dry iced synth-pop in ‘L.I.N.E.’
Brooding synthy introspection from Linja, making his debut album turn on Tel Aviv’s Malka Tuti with a hypnotic set of arpeggiated arabesques and night flights
Shades-on, cig lit, Linja goes into the night with a furtive sound drifting between the bittersweet modular synth tang and smoky jazz notes of ‘Into The Nowhere’, and crepuscular scenes of ‘Echoes Of Nothingness’, roll out like a lost Legowelt number with ‘In The Darkness of the sleeping streets’, before the trip turns more acidic, byzantine with the mazy shape of ‘Reflection’, and ‘Koda’ rounds the album up in desert-psych guitar strokes, but leaves his story open-ended for future volumes.
MFM return to a precious strain of their interests with a second volume of ‘Music For Dance & Theatre’ packing dreamy and slinky treats from another batch obscure artists.
Delving deeper into their shelves for music “initially created for or inspired by dance and performance” they highlight the porous borders between avant garde art, theatre, and music, lulling us into hypnagogic states with the almost Ethiopiques-esque keyboard lilt of Craig Kupka’s ‘Electric Piano, Vibraphone and Percussion’, the infectiously slinky, metallic rhythmelodies of Ray Lynch’s ‘Cooking Till It’s Hot’, and the expansive freeform movement of Scan Lines, dancing on some mutant, liquid-limbed early Autechreian tip.
GAIKA's latest set was recorded in Puerto Escondido during a Mexican tour, and the collision of sounds is a subtle revelation.
NAAFI's finest appear on production duties - TAYHANA, OMAAR, Lechuga Zafiro, Zutzut, Wasted Fates, Debit and Lao - anchoring GAIKA's hazy poetry in an unmapped location that's a hyperspace leap from his usual South London base. It's a vital matchup, dripping syrupy, weightless outlines of dancehall, reggaetón and smudged Mexico City club over GAIKA's fleshy ASMR whispers and quietly pushing the limits of what pop might suggest or represent.
The TAYHANA-produced 'Of Saints' starts things off slowly and sexually as the Argentinian producer's glassy PS1-boot-screen melancholia underpins GAIKA's lusciously annunciated words. 'Lord Zemel' pits the rapper against Lechuga Zafiro's slithering, bass-heavy neon flicker, while the Zutzut-produced 'Brutal' vaporizes a dancehall banger, suggesting spiritual kinship with Felix Lee's fantastic "Inna Daze". "Seguridad" is sci-fi futurism for fantasy airlock isolationists.
Shamos takes his debut album bow on Youth with a classy set of furtive synths and sneaky drum machine swagger steering away from the ‘floor to your headphones and late night city streets
‘Music For Broken Adverts’ is biased toward the moodier ends of Shamos’ styles for Apron and two self-released tapes on Role Model, taking stronger cues from ‘80s/‘90s cinema and anime soundtracks, offbeat wave and ambient techno, to finesse a fine line of dark cyberpunk moods and grooves.
Dance trax are there if you need them in the staccato electro-breaks of ‘Baby Birds Flying to Satan’, and the scudding lowkey zinger ‘Try Taking To Water’, but they’re best taken as cogs in the machine or scenes in a broader narrative, from the gorgeous middle-distance gaze of ‘Advert 1’, to Caroline K-esque stately procession of ‘FFF’, and like Legowelt meets Pametex in the deep electro creme of ‘Rihiyil’, replete with ace credits sequence ‘Rethink That Conclusion’.
Final Fantasy soundtrack composer Yasunori Nishiki joins Anastasia Kristiansen, Yamaneko, Ziúr and more to remix superstar games soundtrack designer Lena Raine’s debut solo album for Local Action
Yasunori Nishiki’s gloriously melodramatic breakbeat reworn of ‘Light Rail’ is no doubt a big attraction for the gamers and those who know Lena’s award-winning work from that world, including their breakout indie success ‘Celeste’ and recent Minecraft updates. They’re joined by Finnish composer Jukio Kallio, who also worked on ‘Celeste’ and supplies a hyperpastoral-pop spin on ‘Wake Up’ here, while the dancefloor is left to Anastasia Kristensen and her grouchy breakbeat-techno take on ‘Trance State’, and Al ‘D’Anthoni’ Wooten (Deadboy) cushions the breathy dreampop of ’Tsukuyomi’ in creamy subs and feathered city-pop ambient styles.
Under the pseudonyms 4 A.M. and Beat Per Bar, Lupos Sobre-Vega released two eccentric 12”s, of what, in retrospect, can be called vernacular house music.
"Both records are individualistic collisions of New Wave, Bass, Freestyle, Hi-NRG, Acid, and Sample House recorded in Sobre-Vega’s home studio in Orange County, Los Angeles. Using a Yamaha QX-5, Roland S-50, his mom's Roland Juno 60, EMU drum machines, and Yamaha DX-7, he put his nascent jazz chops to use and laid down the idiosyncratic dance tracks that he would self-release on his own label, House Hold Records, in 1988 and 1989 respectively. Although both 12”s were credited to groups, Sobre-Vega confirms that “the so-called band members were club friends. A couple were models and actors, or just plain good ol’ dancers. They were strategically picked by me, of course. So yeah, 4 A.M. and BEAT PER BAR are 300% me. There is no other.”
Despite working within the confines of dance music’s ready-made rhythms, Sobre-Vega’s sensitivity transcends the inarticulate 4/4 beat - vulnerable, idealistic and yearning. The timeless themes on the records reveal his youthful worries about money, intimacy, love and sex. Looking back at dance music history, it is luminaries such as Arthur Russell, Sylvester, Grace Jones, Theo Parrish, and Larry Heard, that stand out as enduring visionaries that transcended stylistic trends. Mixed Signals is proud to illuminate Sobre-Vega’s work in the constellation of dance music’s radical dreamers with this EP comprised of two songs from each his scarce and singular 12”s"
“In today’s world, it’s harder than ever to let go & find sleep. So kick back and let this pastel soundscape from the NYC synth rocker, TM™ ♪ drift you off to dreamland like it was 1984...” -Tommy Mandel
"New York synth magician Tommy Mandel has an astonishing career as a composer, sideman, and electronic pop artist. Since the late 1970s, he has toured or recorded with a laundry list of talents including Todd Rundgren, The Clash, The B-52s, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, and countless others. Yet it is Mandel’s solo pioneering keyboard work that has captured the attention of Invisible City, first documented on the Mello Magic compilation of his largely unreleased new wave explorations. Now, the label follows it up with an even more scarcely heard project, working in cooperation with Mandel to reissue his 1984 private press cassette, Music For Insomniacs. Recorded on four-track, each of the album’s eight songs is inspired by a wave of sleep from Alpha to Theta. Its playfully psychedelic sound features shimmering synths, baked electronics, soft drum machines, and various vocal treatments guiding listeners into a peaceful slumber. Yet Mandel can’t resist adding traces of abstracted boogie-funk with propulsive rhythms that will keep you dancing through your dreams. Fans of Mort Garson, Woo, Brian Bennett, Angelo Badalamenti, Klaus Schonning and Bruce Haack will rejoice at their new sleepy time soundtrack." - Jesse Locke
dunno, just dunno how to feel about a label called 'a strangely isolated place' releasing a christian kleine record. it's like a meta timebubble.
"When you’re young, you’re heavily inspired by what you love and will do anything to be a part of it. The more you create, the more familiar you become as the years move on, and your ambition to perfect it becomes even stronger.
This natural evolution is something Christian Kleine is well versed in and since his first releases in the early 00’s, Christian has been synonymous with perfecting a particular sound that draws from early IDM, breaks and influences as far reaching as Punk music.
Touch & Fuse continues the melodic, drum-driven finesse he has become known for, but instead of trying to perfect anything new, different or conceptual two decades later, we’re treated to an album unconsciously inspired simply, by the wide variety of music he likes.
The slow waltz of album opener Return of The Underground; the nostalgic synthesizers in Nearfield to Nowhere; the electro-punk undercurrent of Number 6; the acid-tinged Val 2, or the Shoegaze-lulls in album closer Room In The Mirror; Touch & Fuse plays like a trip through Christian’s musical upbringing - snapshots in time, told in a timeless manner.
“Touch & Fuse is my way of reflecting where I am and what interests me, in the hope that other people find something for themselves in there as well. For me, music has the power to change my perspectives on time - it can act like a drug pretending I have seen and experienced things I never would have otherwise” - CK.
Hull/Leeds based five-piece bdrmm release their much anticipated debut Bedroom.
"The 10-track album was recorded late last year at The Nave studio in Leeds by Alex Greaves (Working Mens Club, Bo Ningen) and mastered in Brooklyn by Heba Kadry (Slowdive, Beach House). It’s a hugely accomplished debut and a real step up both sonically and lyrically from their early singles, which were rounded up on last year’s If Not, When? EP.
Musically, there are nods to The Cure’s Disintegration, Deerhunter and DIIV, while the band reference RIDE and Radiohead. There are also echoes of krautrock and post-punk, from The Chameleons to Protomartyr, plus the proto shoegaze of the Pale Saints’ The Comforts Of Madness, not least in the cross fading of some tracks, meaning the album is an almost seamless listen. As a result, Bedroom becomes an unexpected and unintentional concept album, running through the different stages of a break-up set against the backdrop of the ups and downs of your early twenties. “The subject matter spans mental health, alcohol abuse, unplanned pregnancy, drugs… basically every cliché topic that you could think of,” reveals frontman Ryan Smith. “But that doesn’t mean they ever stop being relevant. It’s a fucker growing up, but I’m lucky enough to have been able to project my feelings in the form of this band, surrounded by four of the best people I’ve ever met.”
And that band name, in case it needs explaining, is pronounced the same way as the album title. “I never thought I’d get to the stage where I would have to explain it so much,” says Ryan. “We have been pronounced as Boredom, Bdum and my old boss thought we were a ska band called Bad Riddim. We’re all sarcastic cunts, so Bedroom spelt correctly seemed like the perfect title.” He’s right. The perfect title for the perfect debut album."
With everything shut by nine, Ben Holton and Rob Glover were trapped in bedrooms; too young to escape the watchful eye of parents. They were contemplating starting a band. New sounds emerge from across the hallway. A sticker covered door, entry denied by an older brother sat behind blasting out pirate radio; not suitable for young ears. Perhaps a familiar scene from the 90s...
"And so, drawing on a musical palette of those heard sounds, coupled with ruminations on ageing and a dose of epic45 shimmer; Cropping The Aftermath makes its way into the world.
“The 90s were our adolescent years, in which we grasped around for an identity and set of ideologies to live by. Of course, guitars won through in the end but these sounds were always on our periphery and an indirect influence." agree, Ben Holton & Rob Glover.
Cropping the Aftermath is the second release by epic45 in 2020; the ‘We Were Never Here’ photobook project came out in May. It was an instrumental release featuring large scale photography taken during 2018-2019, of ‘nowhere places’ eerily devoid of human life.
The current line-up consists of founder members Ben Holton and Rob Glover, with James Yates, a long term collaborator whose role within the band has grown organically over time. epic45 will be rescheduling all cancelled UK and Japanese live dates when appropriate."
Pierre Elitair is Antwerp’s loudest and oldest DJ; now 60 years old, his weekly Radio show has been on air since the early ’80s and was the first to ever play acid house in Belgium. His legendary Sunday afternoon slot, usually hosted after a sleepless, drug-fuelled night, saw him interview prostitutes, musicians, very sick people, beer brewers, DJs, night crawlers and basically anyone around. All this on-air activity resulted in a mountain of undated cassettes of which this record is a product of, all previously unreleased drum machine jams, new beat, DIY punk and improvised lunacy - a proper curio, completely our kinda shit.
One of the only artists (to our knowledge) to have recorded for both a bunch of techno labels and Ultra Eczema, Pierre Elitair is renowned for playing practically every discotheek and club in the country. His week-ending show ‘Radio Ventraal’, broadcast on Radio Centraal, was a “legendary freakshow” according to UE madhead Dennis Tyfus, with “hosts storming the station every Sunday afternoon, usually after a sleepless night and lots of XTC”, and as you’ll hear across these nine gobs of sputtering jakbeat and variations on punkish acid and new beat, they come from the top shelf of beery Belgian lunacy.
Dug out from stacks of old tapes by Dennis Tyfus, ‘Pierre Elitair’s Digitised Cassettes’ effectively goes above and beyond recent remits of new beat compilations and reissue series from likes of TSOB and Stroom to reveal a key, if lesser known node of that culture to keen ears beyond the tidgy country that punched well above it’s weight during this period. Expect to hear Pierre going wild over the likes of ‘French Kiss’, and jam out his own frazzled take on ‘Pump Up The Volume’ alongside some uniquely crazed no wave acid skronk like ‘Le gendarme de la gendarmerie’ in one of the most charmingly mad and mucky doses of DIY brilliance we’ve heard all year.
Nairobi, Kenya’s KMRU debuts on Mego with a suite of serene ambient scenes after emerging with Four Tet-like electronica releases in 2019 and recently starring on ‘Alternate African Reality - Electronic, Electroacoustic And Experimental Music From Africa And The Diaspora’
Known as Joseph Kamaru to his pals, KMRU was hailed by RA as one of ’15 East African Artists You Need To Hear’ in 2018 and is a regular performer at Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda, beside performing at CTM and Gamma Festival. For his Mego release ‘Peel’ it appears he’s been listening to label hero Fennesz, the Austrian experimental guitarist, or Will Long aka Celer, with whom his tracks share a certain, longing melancholy in their long, sighing arrangements of glistening and creaking ambient pads and mournful post-rock/cienmatic elegance.
“The subtle calming atmosphere within Peel belies the compositional prowess as layers of delicate sounds wrap around each other creating a hybrid new form ambient musics both captivating through it’s textural depth and kaleidoscopic patterns. The track titles lend themselves to the themes and mood set within: Why are you here, Well, Solace, Klang, Insubstantial and the title track. This is a deep heartfelt journey with a new strong voice being expressed through the means of organically presented electronic ambient sounds, one which reveals further layers on repeat listens.”
Martin Rev's fourth solo album See Me Ridin' was released on the New York label Reachout International Records (ROIR) in 1996.
"Received by the critics with amazement, it proved to be a watershed moment in his career. Martin Rev's vocals are as minimal as they are sentimental, wonderfully poetic like a latter-day Chet Baker perhaps, or Jonathan Richman. This solo album not only blindsided Rev's critics and fans alike, but also painted a personal, nostalgic portrait of his home, New York; fading out the noise and contradictions of the city to channel the romantic energy of the metropolis."
On the cover: William Basinski: The rock ’n’ roll animal of ambient music talks disintegration, memory, punk and process as he prepares to release an elegiac new album. By Dan Barrow
Limpe Fuchs: For 50 years, the German self-made instrumentalist and improvisor has been building new worlds of sound out of unexpected objects. By Frances Morgan
Homeboy Sandman and friends: A plethora of interconnected personalities and projects in the US rap scene are looking inward, Homeboy Sandman’s new album Don’t Feed The Monster being the latest example. By Mosi Reeves
Invisible Jukebox: Thomas Fehlmann × Gudrun Gut:The first couple of German electronic music subject each other to The Wire’s mystery record selection
Petr Válek: The anarchic Czech turns junk into gold. By Miloš Hroch
Steph Richards: The US trumpeter is to be sniffed at. By Phil Freeman
Molchat Doma: The power of dour in Belarus. By Ilia Rogatchevski
Tatsuhisa Yamamoto: Japanese percussionist goes off beat. By James Hadfield
Unlimited Editions: Noa Records
Unofficial Channels: Sounds Of The Forest
Global Ear: Our regular column continues to report on music in the time of pandemic. This month: long distance collaborations, and New York street performances
The Inner Sleeve: Krust on Genesis’s The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Epiphanies: Eddie Prévost questions the controlling conventions of Western music after the revelations of bebop and improv
Print Run: Side By Side: Selected Lyrics by Robert Wyatt & Alfie Benge; Opposing Apartheid On Stage: King Kong The Musical by Tyler Fleming; Bedroom Beats & B-Sides: Instrumental Hip Hop & Electronic Music At The Turn Of The Century by Laurent Fintoni; John Cage’s Concert For Piano And Orchestra by Martin Iddon & Philip Thomas; Rave by Rainald Goetz; Wagnerism by Alex Ross
Music composed for SKALAR, an audio-visual kinetic art installation by light artist Christopher Bauder & Kangding Ray.
"SKALAR is a large-scale art installation that explores the complex impact of light and sound on human perception. Created by light artist Christopher Bauder and musician Kangding Ray, this monumental artwork is a reflection on the fundamental nature and essence of human emotions. By combining a vast array of kinetic mirrors and perfectly synchronized moving lights with a sophisticated multi-channel sound system, SKALAR offers an audio-visual narration of radiant light vector drawings and multi-dimensional sound in enormous pitch-dark spaces.
SKALAR is an intense journey through the cycle of basic human emotions. Everchanging tonalities trigger the full spectrum of emotional experiences using light, sound, and motion. The feelings of awe, surprise, exhilaration, and anticipation of having one’s senses overwhelmed are created, explored, and repeated in cycles throughout the piece, providing a collective, yet highly individual emotional experience.
Light and darkness as endless cycles of day and night define our perception of time and influence our emotions. SKALAR is a central piece within light artist Christopher Bauder’s body of work, reflecting his deep fascination with light. In this gigantic installation, light is treated as a solid material that can be dimensionally sculpted and shaped, evoking abstract emotional associations. Intertwined with the tireless exploration of textures, rhythm, and sound design by musician and composer Kangding Ray, the silence of darkness is filled with iridescent forms of spatial light and sound."
The origins of Three Point Circle go back to 1980, when K. Leimer, Marc Barreca, and Steve Peters met for two sparsely-attended shows in Olympia, WA. Some forty years later, they have regrouped as Three Point Circle.
"Perhaps better described as a process than as a musical group, Three Point Circle has developed a collaborative system that replaces standards of improvisation and authorship with a new, independent, compositional identity removed from the individual habits and traits of the members. Layered Contingencies presents the first results in this quest for uncertainty -- five long form pieces of sharp and smooth contrasts taking place in a soundstage of rest, unrest, shallows, and depths that manage to maintain an unpredictable coherence."
Spellbinding return of Belgium’s Orphan Fairytale with a new chapter of surreal “ambient” compositions induced by lockdown’s slow burning cabin fever
‘Titania Moon’ allows four glimpses of Eva Van Deuren’s wyrdly enchanted inner life issued in parallel to her side of harp music for the excellent Kraak Records. She conjures sprawling back-of-eyelid vistas with a warbly BoC-like wow and flutter and worldly, folksy elegance in ‘Boerzoem’, and a delectable piece of lysergic magick recalling Teresa Winter visions with the feely synth fronds of ‘Octopus in Orbit’. Again her sorcery works best given time to settle in as the 11 mins of floating synth phantasms and plasmic vox unfold in ‘brieno dodoens’, and her iridescent vignette ‘Luminous Creatures’ threads the finest line of sinister whimsy recalling Ectoplasm Girls and Elodie.
“First first-length release in eight years by the leading lady of sadtronics, psychedelic harmonies and blurred-out therapy tunes! The glass is never half empty and it’s overflowing right now. Eva Van Deuren scrubbed away her past with a neon pink sponge to create a hyperreal album of old-skool fairytale sadness for Ultra Eczema, and simultaneously a harp-based record for our pals at Kraak Records in Ghent. The covid-19 crisis seems to be the catalyst for an abundance of creative madness; deadbroke but ready to gogo. Titania mask replica!”
Martin Rev's fifth solo album - Strangeworld - was released on the cusp of the new millennium. The label responsible was Puu, a Finnish imprint belonging to Tommi Grunlund and Mika Vainio's Sahko Recordings which came to fame in the 1990s on the strength of its uncompromising minimalist sound.
"Four years earlier, in 1996, Rev had unleashed See Me Ridin, an album which surprised its listeners with keyboard melody sketches and distilled doo-wop compositions. It was also the first solo album to feature Martin Rev on vocals. Strangeworld started where its predecessor left off. Melodic passages dissolved into a thicket of fragments and set pieces, coalescing in a celestial shimmer between rhythm loops and Rev's voice, which assumed the role of an additional instrument rather than a standard singing part."
David Webb’s hypnotic and raw Elevate 12” from 1994 reveals an overlooked region in Detroit’s seemingly-endless musical landscape, linking the narcotic minimalism of Theo Parrish’s Ugly Edits with the uninhibited, spontaneous, and jazzy jamming found on J Dilla beat-tapes.
"Raised in the musically fertile and adventurous atmosphere of Detroit, Webb got his start as a mobile DJ while in high school during the late 70’s. Captivated by the local boom of soul, funk and disco, he’d frequent the social clubs, soaking up sounds. His earliest experiments in mixing led him to form a DJ crew with his pal Paul Johnson. Paul enlisted a friend, Jeff Mills, pre-Underground Resistance, to join the trio and they called themselves Frequency Sounds. The three would play underground parties and college events for Michigan State students. Throughout the 80’s, Webb and his friends would play at the local clubs around town, like 431 East (now called Saint Andrews), where he played alongside Ken Collier and other Detroit legends. Each week he found new sounds at his local record shop Buy Rite Records on West 7 Mile, where he’d dig for Italo, New Wave, Disco and House, buying 12”s from labels like Prelude, Trax and Beggars’ Banquet on sight.
Webb’s earliest experiments with producing his own sounds started when he bought an Echoplex and ASR-X Drum Machine. During his sets he’d add live effects & rhythm to his favourite songs. This led to building a mini home studio where initially he would record all his songs overdubbing on two tape decks. Two of his earliest experiments, Elevate and Who Am I? Were self-released as a small- run promo 12” that he would hand out to his friends and local DJs. Webb quickly sold out and gave away the pressing, and he would often hear it played by DJs around town, but over time it drifted in the margins, as an obscure footnote in the history of Detroit Techno. Mixed Signals is proud to bring this important record back into circulation, seducing a whole new generation of DJs and dancers with Webb’s dark and silky pleasures."
Motorik, kosmiche bleeps and alien dissonance from Shapes, the solo project of Phantom Horse’s Niklas Dommaschk, landing somewhere in orbit of Felix Kubin and Harmonious Thelonious
“As one half of Phantom Horse, his long-serving electronic duo with Ulf Schütte, Niklas Dommaschk co-produces beautifully muted, Kraut-inspired jams that seem to soundtrack fictitious TV ads for wondrous imaginary household appliances, e.g. a calmly efficient, if slightly unsettling kitchen robot with an integrated lava lamp feature.
In contrast, Shapes cuts tracks down to size – nothing here is longer than five-and-a-half minutes. Also, Dommaschk has turned up the treble, the prominence of the higher frequency spectrum adding bite and menace to these deceptively simple synth polyrhythms.
Whereas opening track “Benzin” (German for “Petrol”) manages to conjure the paradoxical image of something or someone meandering with urgency, “Einzeller” (German for “single-celled organism”) channels a John-Carpenter-style pulse, complete with horror sound effects. “Interference” is a truly effective representation of the term, with piercing, but quiet tinnitus frequencies set above a beat as sparse as it is crunchy. “Two Stones”, by contrast, offers a kind of robotic wistfulness whereas closing piece “Energies of the mind” fizzes out like a jumble of toy keyboards attempting to score a science programme - and failing, but instead revealing some much grander emotional truth.
This is the sound of breaking some kind of inner lockdown, of turning inwards and then projecting parts of murky inner shadows outward, as well-defined and sometimes lurid shapes, individually clear, but still in the process of becoming organized into a complete whole. The unfinished is what excites us the most. May the shapes never find their slot in the jigsaw puzzle.”
Fourth vinyl installment for the duo, 'Iwa Gaaden' is also their third collaboration with Random Numbers.
Pushing forward their commitment for processed field-recordings, micro-samples and poly-rhythmic patterns, this 5 long tells a singular and dark tale about spirits and revenge. Mixing contemporary techniques and ancient sonorities, martial marches meet ghostly rave-esque rituals. A club ready but cinematic oriented odyssey, a pitch-black ballad in the Iwa Gaaden.
Growing up in Milton Keynes, the largest of the "new towns" outside of London designed and built in the 1960s, perhaps explains why producer Nicholas Worrall is subconsciously drawn to clearly delineated sonic structures and flawed techno utopianism, two concepts that are ever present in both his sound and aesthetic approach to music.
"Wordcolour was formed just two years ago, at a time when Worrall was habitually cutting up and splicing human voice samples ripped from YouTube memes, film dialogues and musique concrète tapes.
The first artistic demonstration of these ideas arrived in 2019 via his mixtape “I Want To Tell You Something” for the Blowing Up The Workshop platform. This unique set immediately grabbed the attention and support of the specialized music press and media, including Pitchfork and Resident Advisor.
“Tell Me Something” is Wordcolour’s official debut EP and heads straight for the dance floor. It is comprised of an unusual melting pot of influences that fuse the UK club sound, post-dubstep and a style akin to Paul Lansky's ‘90s musique concrète. “Tell Me Something” offers a vibrant leftfield, avant-garde techno and edgy electro, all immersed in the vast cosmos of the human voice."
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
First LP in five years from Mica Levi & co's newly renamed scuzzy garage-pop band with Raisa Khan, CJ Calderood and Marc Pell, for a new bag of jangly, guitar + vocal-centred charms.
The band’s first LP in half a decade arrives via Parisian label Textile Records, and by design or coincidence, it has something of a puckered Gallic insouciance to its mix of sweet and bitter, beret-wearing vocals, and no-no wavey skronk that sits very well next to the label’s works from Joanne Robertson & Dean Blunt and Jackie O Motherfucker.
If we’re playing favourites, then the driving riffs and Mica’s grungy vocals on ‘Reaching’ are a must check, but they equally prove adept at sweeter dream-pop with sun-blistered guitar optimism in ‘Do It’, and the dubbed-out garage-pop vim of ‘Blessed’, while ‘Star’ is the one for Sterolab and Broadcast fans with hooks that won’t leave your head for days, and we can easily imagine ‘Honey’ beaming off a radio in a Glasgow (shared) kitchen circa 1985.
Crucial shots of dancefloor suss from original UKF don Apple on London’s Housupa Records - Supa D’s new stronghold for UK garage and Funky producers making up-to-the-minute new bangers
Apple’s early 12”s circa 2007-2009 were the epitome of percussive UKF, hitting right on the cusp of garage, grime and house with a proper UK style that’s properly updated and in effect on the ‘Bongoclart EP’.
The tempo is noticeably slower than his early joints, and the vibe is less grimy, more deep-tech, but still with the hardest, swingeing rhythms in the roto-bongo-led syncopation of ‘Inna Your Bongoclart’, while ‘Picky Head’ possibly betrays some slinkier influence from Nuyorican and Yoruban house styles in the boinging square bass and skidding cowbells.
It’s top to have Apple back in circulation! No napping.