Balmy Scando disco moves from Little Dragon on ninja
“Little Dragon wanted to bring new music into the world that has an airy and fun lightness to it. “For all the lovers out there, chant along! Dance for peace and unity in this world of madness!” declare the band. Lead singer Yukimi Nagano adds that the EP is about, “The force of love. Not only between two people but the force of love in this universe as the ultimate ecstasy. Whether that is while you’re dancing at a disco forgetting where you are or just staring at the moon on a clear night, it can be anything. A swim in the ocean, a glance at a stranger--it’s a personal individual thing. Call it what you want but we have all felt it. So, embrace the great mystery of everything that your brain can’t grasp and lose track in the most beautiful sense.”
The story behind the track’s origins is as idiosyncratic and left-of-centre as you would expect from a band that have spent their career consistently playing by their own rules. "It started with Fred searching for a wedding march inspired by a Swedish prog funk folk keyboardist called Merit Hemmingson”, explain the band from their Gothenburg bunker. “Erik got inspired by the track and started singing! After Erik wrote his vocal verses Yukimi got a bit worried about his lyrical abilities and stepped in to add her part on the song. Håkan flew to Germany to record a beautifully tuned clavinet. Once the clavinet was recorded Fred and Erik added their flavour with some drums and deep synth bass. For all the lovers out there, chant along! Dance for peace and unity in this world of madness.”
Since his recording debut as Choir Boy in 2016, Adam Klopp mined a sound swirls 1980s synth noir with captivating, cinematic songs sweeping with pensive sorrow and glowing hope. As a former member of the Mormon faith, Klopp spent his youth both in the pews of his place of worship, but also churning through DIY punk venues, before leaving the sect in the thick of a mission in Tahiti.
"The duality of faith and fiction are central to the lush explorations on his debut album Passive With Desire. Recorded at Studio Studio Dada, the album’s tracks permuted as bedroom sketches, awash with camp, the sting of loss, and allusions to halcyon days of nocturnal, electronic driven pop. Retaining elements of Klopp’s original demos, Passive With Desire was recorded with a full band and polished with trumpet, strings, as well as archival samples calling back to Klopp’s hazy youth.
Engineered by Klopp, Bret Meisenbach, and Stephen Cope, Passive With Desire is the entry point to Choir Boy’s world of emotive wit, novella kissed lyricism, and bouncy, synth-forward takes on traditional song writing bound by the universal themes of loss, desire, evolution, and exploration."
Another massive 4CD payload of prime New Beat - no Nougat Beat! - including way more than your RDA of late ‘80s Belgian bangers
Synthesising a crossroad between US house and techno, Italian disco, Mittel Euroepean EBM and frothy Belgian sensibilities, New Beat is the much maligned precursor to rave techno, which, in recent years, has seen a long overdue reappraisal of its charms by dancers and DJs who’ve become snagged on its direct, to-the-floor rhythms and addictive hooks.
For the massive 2nd volume of ’New Beat - The Compilation’, they’ve pulled together 57 heaters from the short-lived heyday of New Beat circa 1987-1990. There’s a lot of well known and fairly easy to find pieces, but also a lot of choice rarities, most notably the likes of Blue Vertigo’s tuff but sexy ‘Abadan (Monday Morning Mix)’, the amazing staccato perk of ‘Komobinn’ by Acidity - an alias of the legendary Tony Baron (Teknokrat’s) - and the steely hardball of ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ from another Teknokrat’s member, F.X. Intruder a.k.a. Mike Butcher, plus oddities such as Rebel X & Vector S’ ‘Controller II’, Inter Phase’s darkside acid trip ‘Back From The Space’, and New Design’s acid jacker ‘Some Like It Hot’.
Cue gushing waves of nostalgia: Sandra Kerr & John Faulkner’s soundtrack forkids TV animation ‘Bagpuss’ is finally available on vinyl. It’s definitely one for the over ‘40s, and younger folkies who’re old at heart.
"Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss , Old fat furry cat-puss , Wake up and look at this thing that I bring, Wake up, be bright , Be golden and light , Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing. 12th of February, 1974, and for an audience of small children at 1:45pm, a life irrevocably coloured by the wayward wonderings of one saggy cloth cat...
Some 44 years later and Earth Recordings opens the door to Bagpuss & Co. once again, revealing for the first time the original music in all its newly-mastered splendour. The 32 tracks that make up the main body of the compositions are – like all good folk music – a patchwork of traditional pieces, half-remembered tunes and pure improvisation. It's testament to Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner's musicianship that the recordings work so well, not only within the context of the television episodes, but as an album in its own right.
Of the recording, Oliver Postgate (in his exquisite autobiography 'Seeing Things') says: "Between them Sandra and John could play every sort of instrument from a mountain dulcimer to an Irish fiddle. They knew and could sing every tune in the world and didn't bother with written music, except as a last resort. They were exactly suited to Gabriel the Toad and Madeleine the Rag Doll and in those roles were happy to play whatever music and sing whatever songs would be needed." Those songs manifested themselves as reworkings of familiar tunes ('I Saw A Ship'; 'Row Your Boat'; 'Bucket's Burning'), takes on traditional ballads ('Brian O'Lynn'; 'The Frog Princess'; 'Weaving Song'; 'The Old Woman Tossed Up in a Basket') and delicious flights of fancy ('The Bony King of Nowhere'; 'Turtle Calypso'; 'Uncle Feedle').
The counterpart to Madeleine and Gabriel's more polished ditties are the interludes from the mice; a raggle-taggle chorus that accompanies the creatures' efforts of help (with the mice once famously going on strike when they were not permitted sang as they worked). Again, Postgate muses: "Once I had worked out a few episodes I would make a very rough list of the bits where I though music would be appropriate. I would send it to [Sandra and John] to think about. Then we would borrow a fairly silent room in a remote house and, taking the various articles that we intended to celebrate with us, would spend a happy day with a tape recorder, thinking up and recording whatever songs and tunes came to mind."
The outtakes provide an intimate – and often very humourous – insight into the trio's work ethic, if it can be called such a thing. (By all accounts they sound as though they're having a very jolly time indeed.) Highlights include alternative opening words and end music, as well as Postgate sound-checking in character as Bagpuss. This never-before heard audio provides a real treat for fans (and indeed those new to the Smallfilms stable) – affirmation again to the enduring quality of these special recordings, and the beloved programme that inspired them. "An accidental classic of the folk-roots underground that we never dared hope we’d hear with such clarity."Stewart Lee.. And so their work was done."
‘My East Is Your West’ appears here in its full unedited glory, Sarathy Korwar’s album is in collaboration with the UPAJ Collective, a group of estimable Indian jazz and classical musicians, members of which include Tamar Osborn (On The Corner Records), Al Macsween (Omar Puente, Pee Wee Ellis) and Aditya Prakash (Anoushka Shankar).
"A unique homage to the Spiritual Jazz music of the 1960s and 70s and to artists such as Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It’s a culturally diverse album rich in musical colour. Sarathy Korwar’s pioneering approach and ethnomusicological background allows him to develop and innovate upon the Indojazz genre.
Fans of Korwar include Floating Points, Gilles Peterson and Keiran Hebden. Of his previous album Four Tet said: “Refreshingly different, this is a deep and powerful listening experience.” Korwar has won great acclaim supporting Kamasi Washington on tour. More recently he’s collaborated with London luminaries Binker and Moses and Shabaka Hutchings."
Loose, bashy, funked-up house chops from the LMYE duo, leading on from solid 12”s for Idle Hands and Funkineven’s Apron Records
Bridging the gap between rugged US originators such as Theo Parrish and Rick Wilhite, and UK rogues such as Altered Natives and Mr. G, LMYE (Lend Me Your Ears) marks out gritty, soulful territory with the 10 tracks of their eponymous debut album.
On the first disc they swang out with the swollen subs and frayed percussion of ‘All Aboard’ inna UK style, whereas ‘The Gift’ gets down with wilder sample cut-ups on a Soundhack or Shake tip, and ‘Song Six’ slings it jazzier, duskier, with powerful bass weight.
The 2nd disc opens with a wicked, Pepe Bradock like flurry of avian keys and frisky swing on ‘Elements’, along with the killer Steve Gurley styled 2-step of ‘XTC Rising’, a Todd Edwards-flavoured buzz in ‘Hypnotised’, and serious deep rave panache in ‘Steel City Blues’.
Young Hunting kneel before Ancient Methods’ Persiphonic Sirens with two cinematic synth vignettes clad in beautiful sleeve adorned by Nick Hedges’ photo; ‘Street, running down to the Tyne, Newcastle (1970)’
The keener eared and clear of memory may recall Young Hunting from their 2011 debut on Blackest Ever Black, before they became Dalhous. We’re not sure if these two tracks are new material or vintage cuts from back in the day, but either way they’re some of the strongest we’ve heard from the Scottish duo.
The A-side’s ‘List of Indignities’ is a gloriously sullen, wordless hymn to heck sung by a burned-out synthetic chorale, while the flip side’s ‘Melancholia’ is a heart-rending swell of coruscating harmonics and sore, plangent chord changes bound to speaks to the bitter romantic in all of us.
Mercurial, nippy, ‘Anoima’-style Nigerian highlife, reissued on vinyl for the first time
“For the casual fan of Nigerian music, certain names immediately come to mind at the mention of the phrase “Igbo highlife”—internationally recognized stars like Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, Celestine Ukwu, Oliver De Coque, and The Oriental Brothers. Intermediate students of the genre might cite less universally lionized but still tremendously influential players like the Ikenga Super Stars, Mike Ejeagha, or Goddy Ezike. The true aficionado, however, is likely to chatter enthusiastically about someone like Franco Lee Ezute, and how he was the avatar of a spirited new take on the style that revitalized and redirected the genre in the 1970s and 80s.
To this contribution to the conversation, the purist might counter that Ezute, and others of his ilk (King Ubulu, Ali Chukwuma, Rogana Ottah, Bob Fred, Mmadu Osa International Band, etc.) despite singing in what appears to be the Igbo language and utilizing Igbo cultural motifs, technically do not qualify as Igbo highlife at all. Instead, they should be categorized as Anioma sound.
But what exactly is Anioma sound? Well, that can often be a complicated to quantify as the concept of “Anioma” itself, and both continue to stoke passionate debates: Is Anioma music simply a variety of Igbo highlife, or its own unique genre? And are the Anioma people Igbos… or something else altogether?
The word “Anioma” is an acronym encompassing the names of four language groups in present-day Delta State, Nigeria: Aniocha, Ndokwa, Ika, and Oshimili. The tongues spoken in these regions are generally considered to be mutually intelligible with standard Igbo, and are frequently counted among the over 30 distinct dialects of the Igbo language. Over the years, the Anioma peoples have variously been described as “Western Igbos,” “Bendel Igbos” and “Delta Igbos.” But many indigenes of this area stubbornly maintain that despite speaking variations of the Igbo language and bearing what sound like Igbo names, they are not of Igbo descent culturally or genealogically. Contemporary Anioma historians have popularized the theory that they are descendants of the Bini peoples in neighboring Edo State who migrated to the western border of Igboland and took on much of the language and culture. While there is not much substantial evidence to support this narrative, it’s one that is easy to believe when you listen Anioma music—specifically the highlife produced by the natives of the Ndokwa (or Ukwuani) area. On the surface it sounds like Igbo highlife, but something about it is… different.”
A proper dub-house love-in from Remote_ and A New Line (Related), sharing previously unreleased material recorded between the late ‘90s and 2017.
We have no idea who did what or when, but that may be missing the point slightly, as the two artists make such comfortable bedfellows.
On the Remote_ side, Mike Oliver follows the woolly handle of his 12”s for the Meanwhile and Smallfish labels with 43 minutes of scudding chords and low sunk subbass shift smudged into a drowsy shimmer that holds dancers and reclined bodies in a cats cradle moire of ambient dub rolige, gradually nudging the energy levels until you’re in the grip of proper Detroit style tekkers.
Andrew Johnson (Hood, The Remote Viewer) also makes us feel like it’s 2005 eternal on the B-side, coaxing out 44 minutes of sublime, claggy chords and undulating dub house, holding the line into blunted tribal percussion, thrumming slow techno and touches of gentle ambient pop.
Josephine Foster raises a stained-glass lamp and shepherds us spelunking the depths of spirit in this four-part double album.
"Following the fame of her voice are choruses of winged entities (and a space shuttle) that ascend and descend a maze of spirituals: ritual prayers, blues laments, vestal hymns and jubilant benedictions. The edges of the natural world are revolving backdrops from which our narrator perches upon symbolic precipice or saunters desolate snow-blanched forest, exploring eternal themes of mortality and morality, beneath the moon and in occasional dialogue with a mysterious lord of love, an ambiguous mystical figure.
Accompanying herself on guitar, piano, organ, harp & autoharp, this cycle of 18 new songs hearken back to various facets of Foster's anachronic oeuvre (the esoteric balladry of This Coming Gladness, native rhythms of Blood Rushing, somnambulist waltzes of I'm a Dreamer, the Shaker primitivism of Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead you). Celestial humor and devastating innocence are delivered with contributions from Victor Herrero (lead guitars), Gyða Valtýsdóttir (cello), Chris Scruggs (pedal steel), Jon Estes (bass), as well as cameos by members of The Cherry Blossoms and others. Recorded, engineered and mixed by Andrija Tokic at his Nashville Bomb Shelter Studio, mastered by John Baldwin, and produced by Josephine herself."
Following their recent 'Passion' doublepack, Demdike Stare unveil 'Stitch by Stitch', an epic four hour mixtape series recorded over summer 2018 and split into 4 distinctive parts in turn exploring UK-centric ‘nuum pearls, concrète, library music+noise and outsider pop - with the last tape reserved for unreleased material recorded especially for the series. It documents and re-shapes archival oddities, treasured finds and important influences that have inspired Demdike over the last decade since their first recordings; a vast, sprawling world of sound.
The first tape - Part 1: Stem is an hour long session made up of DDS edits of mostly UK-centric Techno, UKG, Grime and hardcore Jungle funnelled through unspooled pop, R&B and dancehall. It’s a spacious, frenzied builder that joins the dots between David Sylvian, the two G’s and Wiley in a way that you’re unlikely to have ever heard before - a proper headmelter that’s in turns deep and delirious.
Part 2 - Chain dives deep into an ocean of abstracted recordings; from site-specific art records to found noise tapes, unlabelled library records, lo fi 78’s, field recordings, garbled spoken word, slowed down free-jazz, gongs and bells - properly indefinable weirdness collected over the last two decades and deployed here to terrifying, engrossing effect.
The third and fourth parts will follow in the next few weeks - keep ‘em peeled.
16 hours of peerless, important works by Eliane Radigue relating to her work with the ARP 2500 synthesiser between 1971-2000. Prior to this period, Eliane worked exclusively with feedback on tape and oscillators, but her work from the ‘70s onward is defined by an uniquely meditative and transcendent grasp of microtonal minimalism which has latterly come to place her among the 20th century’s most esteemed and truly inimitable composers. Bearing in mind that Eliane realised this fathomless body of work in her Paris apartment away from professional recording studios, only makes it resonate more strongly with the idea that Eliane was a genuine outlier whose uniquely sober work divined an unquantifiable yet ultimately human nature in electronic music.
"Eliane Radigue was born in Paris. She studied “musique concrète” techniques at the “Studio d’Essai” of the RTF under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1956-57). She was married to the painter and sculptor Arman and devoted ten years to their three children. She then worked with Pierre Henry, as his assistant at the Studio APSOME (1967-68). She was in residence at the New York University School of Arts (1970-71), the University of Iowa and the California Institute of the Arts (1973) and Mills College (1998). She has created sound environments using looped tapes of various durations, gradually desynchronising.
Her works have been featured in numerous galleries and museums since the late 60s and from 1970, she has been associated to the ARP 2500 Synthesizer and tape through many compositions from Chry-ptus (1970) up to L’Île resonante (2000). These include: Biogenesis, Arthesis, Ψ 847, Adnos I, II and III (70s), Les Chants de Milarepa and Jetsun Mila (80s) and the three pieces constituting the Trilogie de la Mort (1988-91-93). Since 2002, she has been composing mostly acoustic works for performers and instruments. Her music has been featured in major international festivals. Her extremely sober, almost ascetic concerts, are made of a continuous, ever-changing yet extremely slow stream of sound, whose transformation occurs within the sonic material itself.
Radigue found her musical voice through the decisive encounter with “musique concrète” and its founding fathers. With Pierre Schaeffer, first, and then Pierre Henry, with whom she learned and perfected the art of tape recorders. She then developed a unique style by herself, freely continuing the exploration of electronic sounds, progressing with tenacity through her musical quest, without worrying about current trends or fashions, paying no attention to creeds or dogmas. An isolated course, out with fashions and institutions, such a singular and intense music, so remote from everything..."
Brian Eno’s pioneering ambient cornerstone is available on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years!‘Discreet Music’ (available as a single LP or half-speed mastered 2LP), is here available on this facsimile reproduction affording a whole new generation the chance to bathe in some of Eno's most pivotal and important work.
Context is always key with historic releases, and could hardly be more so than with ‘Discreet Music’. Famously, Eno was hospitalised following a car accident in 1975, and while laid up, his friend Judy Nylon brought him a record player and an LP of harp music. The music only came out of one speaker, and at low volume, and the incapacitated Eno struggled to do anything about it, so he accepted this as a new mode of hearing music as embedded in the ambience of the environment. While Eno had previously arrived at similar conclusions with Robert Fripp on ‘No Pussyfooting’, here the idea ironically became more firm, yet diffused in the classic style he would develop on ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports’ and over his next 40 years of recordings.
The two pieces on ‘Discreet Music’ beautifully play with this idea of a background music. To make the title piece, Eno established a near autonomous system of synth and tape loop feedback which rendered his simple melodic motifs, input via synthesiser, as 30 minutes of calmingly serene wilt and decay whose simple, plaintive elegance patently endures now, over 40 years later. The other piece finds Eno’s ideas applied directly to classical music with a much slowed-down take on ‘Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel’ performed by The Cockpit Ensemble, conducted by Gavin Bryars.
Out of print on vinyl for over 30 years, Brian Eno’s foundational ambient recording is finally placed back in circulation, newly remastered.
While we could be here all day debating when ambient music really became a “thing” (others may argue it was ‘Discreet Music’ or Harold Budd’s ‘The Pavillion of Dreams), the putative consensus remains that Brian Eno birthed the genre, proper, with ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports’.
Originally dispensed in 1978, it is perhaps one of the most commonly referenced ambient recordings in the history of electronic music, marking the point where musical composition became conceptually and truly decentered, diffused, and practically taken out of the composer’s hands, yet still conveys something ultimately human; serving to enhance or encourage our unique ability to reflect, meditate (ok, so I saw a video of Goat meditation the other day, so maybe we’re not that unique?!).
Brian Eno’s 6th studio album, ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports’ was conceived while waiting hours for a flight at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany in response to the airport’s uninspired sound atmosphere. I’m actually struggling to think of what airports sound like now, apart from cackling hen do’s and crying kids, but we can imagine that ‘70s airport muzak could have been seriously bland. Enter Eno and his cosmic imagination, who imagineered the solution with synths and tape loops, and the help of peers such as Robert Wyatt, who provides the keys looped up on ‘1/1’, along with engineering by Conny Plank and longterm collaborator Rhett Davies.
It’s maybe hard to imagine ambient music without this record. From the radiant serenity of the first part, to the angelic choral drift of the 2nd and 3rd sections, thru to the shimmering, quietly optimistic promise of the 4th part, this is a record that defines the ideal of sublime and contemplative music - sound freed of heavy-handed connotation, and succeeding by way of gentle, unchallenging inference.
Sepulchral, shoegazing goth-pop modelled in the classic image of Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, The Sundays
“SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew) is the solo project of Kennedy Ashlyn (vocalist/keyboardist of Them Are Us Too). Creative voids aren’t filled, but rather holes left that push the edges of the present into new realms of consciousness. SRSQ’s pulse began after the death of Kennedy’s closest friend and TAUT collaborator Cash Askew, a casualty in the sudden and tragic Oakland Ghost Ship Fire of 2016. Driven by loss, SRSQ became the vehicle for Kennedy’s transformative process, exploring nuance, nostalgia, reflection, and reconciliation, manifesting in the aural landscape of Unreality.
As a debut, Unreality is entrance into a new form of storytelling, traversing the present while pulling from a deep swath of experience, immersion, and sound. Like the impulse it pulls from, each song evokes the complex duality of meditation—where simple intersects with infinite. Ambient synthesizers that approach harshness, relentless arpeggiations act together with Kennedy’s vocals as a lush weapon, weaving cloudlike fables over orchestration that’s familiar and foreign. Trance-like at times, yet always rooted in cadence and structure, the synesthesia of sound and feeling takes cues from the delicate miasma of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, or Dead Can Dance, using their example as the ground floor for building a new temple of frequency. Kennedy proves an adept architect of rhythm, using sequenced electronics as a deep backbeat that allows the harrowing beauty of her vocals to lead the journey.
Produced by Matia Simovich of Inhalt, Unreality is simultaneously crisp and full, each tone and note occupying its own unique sonic world - grief butted against power, tracked to a heavy heartbeat.”
Classy reissue/compilation of mid ‘90s deep house pearls from Ed Marshall’s Dreamscape, by the people for the people at PPU
Applying the same stringent quality filters as PPU have previously applied to boogie, their first house reissue, proper, collects seven charms that were originally dispensed by New Age House Records between 1994-1995.
It’s all pure killer, no filler, from the hair-kissing strut and horny lixx of ‘New Age’, to the kinky lather of ‘Forevermore’ and the mad technoid jam, ‘We Are’ on disc 1, thru the exulted vocal house brim of ‘New Day’, and a new, 45rpm cut of the divine shimmy, ‘To Think We Just Met Yesterday’ on the 2nd disc. Party guaranteed.
Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Films’ is a definitive example of a “soundtrack for an imaginary film”. The first of three volumes, it features a number of short tracks recorded 1975 - 1978, and includes styles and equipment that also carried over into Eno’s work on David Bowie’s ‘Low’. It has been our of print on vinyl since 1982
First issued in 1978, ‘Music For Films’ was first promo’d a few years earlier in edition of 500 as a collection of potential pieces for filmmakers. This reissue of the official release features 18 gorgeous shorter form pieces (especially when compared with his tendency for durational works) that were intended to lend subtle emotive colour to films. They feature a combination of Eno’s patented synth work with more conventional instrumental contributions from Robert Fripp, John Cale and Fred Frith, among others, and would appear in films ranging from John Woo’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’, to Derek Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’, and Jim McBride’s ‘Breathless’
Filling the gap between Eno’s ‘Discreet Music’ and ‘Another Green World’, and his later classic, ‘Ambient 1 (Music For Airports)’, this album is clearly blessed with Eno’s rarified, breezy feel for melody and space, making concise, pointed use of textural fusions and contrasts in a way that resonates with, as much as stands out from, his other work during that era.
The Death of Rave plates up the first ever vinyl release from NYZ; the cult, algorithmic/generative music project of award-winning artist/scientist Dave Burraston (Bryen Telko, Noyzelab), featuring one track using synths given him by Richard D. James - a peer and star of Dave’s famous ’SYROBONKERS!’ interview. ’It comes highly recommended to followers of Russell Haswell’s kaotic gnash, the mind-bending tunings of Aphex Twin, the visionary algorithmic scapes of Roland Kayn, and Eliane Radigue’s microtonal meditations.
’SHFTR FRQ’ showcases the breadth of Burraston’s experimental research into algorithmic/generative composition. The A-side revolves 14 succinct blatz ranging from cranky percussive pieces to queered microtonal dissonance and SAW II-like atmospheres - notably including one track made on a Sequentix Cirklon sequencer and PreenFM2 synth gifted him by Richard D. James - while the B-side contains a steeply immersive spectral drone tract that (never) ends in a locked groove, especially cut at D&M, Berlin. The results are wholly unique and speak to the endless, playfully experimental variation of NYZ’s art/research. They reveal visceral, alien microcosms of curdled microtonal tunings and proprioceptive chicanery bound to thrill and induce strange, new sensations in even the most hard-to-please fiend of electronic music.
In Dave’s own words: “SHFTR FRQ is a series of experimental studies into simple synth setups controlled by varying levels of generative complex systems [MANIAC cellular automata]. Recorded over the last 6 years on an ever changing hybrid of equipment encompassing the domains of modular & MIDI based microtonal sound synthesis [analogue & digital]. Setups were always ultra-minimalist, often with just the MANIAC cellular automata sequencer and 1 or 2 modules/synths to provide a consistent sensory focus. The studies range from ultra-short sequences, micro-ditties, investigatory motifs, to a full length high spectral drone meditation.
+ [Special note for track A9 - SHFTR_CA#BB1] => A huge shout of thanks to Richard D James for gifting me a Sequentix Cirklon sequencer and PreenFM2 synth during my Regional Arts Fellowship in 2017! This was the first track I made using this gear."
For more technical info on NYZ and his research in Cellular Automata, run check his Noyzelab github page.
Heart-on-sleeve dramatics from Seoul-born, Boston-based 24-y.o. artist MMPH - a classically-trained musician whose Cello studies at Berklee College of Music soon evolved into these grandiose, romantic and tragic electronic symphonies
In recent months MMPH has been credited with production on records by serpentwithfeet, David Byrne, and Lauren Auder, as well as a tender remix handling of ‘Braid’ by Perfume Genius. Followers of Nico Jaar, 0PN, Arca will likely get something out of MMPH’s angsty emotive gut load.
Left Ear keep ‘em coming with reissue of ‘Percussions Pour La Danse’, a sought-after 1989 side of computer-processed rhythmelody written for the choreography of Tony Kenneybrew. Afro, balearic, cosmic disco ‘eads and fiends gonna freak out over this one, especially for their 9 minute, Pekka Airaksinen-like jazz out on ‘Vas Y Peter’
“Percussions Pour La Danse was a collaboration between North American born jazz & contemporary-dance instructor Tony Kenneybrew and French musician Jean-Pierre Boistel. Tony, a Washington native who had studied, taught and danced professionally since the age of 12, found himself in France in the late 80’s. It’s here that he linked up with like-minded musician Jean-Pierre; who had recently returned from a 6-month trip to West Africa. A trip that helped refine his craft that begun in the early 70’s.
The music was created for Tony to use when teaching contemporary jazz-dance classes and to accompany live performance, allowing students to “dance slowly, rapidly and change speeds without changing the tempo!”. This work of rhythmic research was based on the “Balance of The Walk”; in 4 times, in 6 times, in 7 times & in 3 times. In order to reach the spatial possibilities he was striving for, Jean-Pierre would also use computer assisted programming to sample and re-play his own instrumentation. This allowed him to lay down the tempo of the track and then play live over the top, which in turn gave him the freedom to add the desired instruments and effects to each song.
Jean-Pierre’s use of instruments such as the Kalimba, Talking Drum & Sanza gives the album a distinctly African feel, while contemporary Jazz-dance time signatures adds a unique perspective to these traditional instrumentations creating an ethereal balance between the old and new.”
Kassem Mosse and Lowtec mint their Kolorit duo for Workshop with six tracks of frayed percussion and wigged-out rhythmelody in a ruffcut cosmic house style.
Littered with surprising twists and turns, Kolorit’s ‘Workshop XXI’ catches both producers at their loosest, jazziest and rawly psychedelic, with stacks of sloshing rhythms and woozy licks that lead dancers right down the rabbtihole.
If we’re playing favourites, the jiggy jazz parry of ‘D1’ gets us dancing like boneless marionettes, and the teetering percolations of their C-side get right under the skin, but the best of the lot is their lysergically frazzled Afrobeat fuss scrawled across the A-side.
Salty modern synth-pop from Amsterdam, the first release on De Vlieger, a new label coined by Job Jobse. RIYL Fad Gadget, John Maus, Robert Rental
“This collection of short songs by Karel marks the first release of my new label, De Vlieger.
I will always remember the first time I saw Karel live. Jumping and flying across the room. One moment hanging from the ceiling, the next taking a plunge into the night. His feet in the air and his head in the clouds.
A desire to release music from friends had always been there, but only when I witnessed Karel's unique energy and his ability to write a perfect pop song in just a few lines, this desire took its first form. The results are six synthwave songs that are low on fidelity, but high on feeling. Recorded between 2016 and 2018 at his home studio, using three synthesizers and a drum computer.
- Job Jobse”
A slow paced 60 minute piece performed by the 18 musicians 'vvolk' - one of the only acoustic ambient orchestras in the world, composed by Stijn Cools.
"This is the 3rd album in the 'Book of air series', as part of the granvat platform curated by the brothers Stijn and Bert Cools. As in the 1st Book of air album 'Fieldtone' and the 2nd 'vvolk', the parameters time and sound are again widely present. This time the 3 interwoven bass lines give the deep drive and foundation of the sound, completed with a layer of acoustic instruments and sparkling chords on top. 'Se (in) de bos' is inspired by the fluctuation objectivity of our daily observations.
'vvolk investigates performing and improvising music, in close relation to present time; what are the possibilities in playing music, when changes in this music pass by unnoticed? How do we as musicians relate to the running time of a performance? This clearly challenges the improvising musicians, and makes audience and performers discover new territories in collective improvisation."
Continuing the Cape Verde series Mar & Sol bring this fantastic masterpiece of an LP ”Nha D’stine” from the legendary singer Américo Brito and his band Djarama. Includes insert. TIP!
"Originally recorded in 1983 on a private press by Américo Brito , and now in 2018 we bring it back to life with the stamp of our label, from Mar & Sol records to all the world."
Smoky, low-key, leftfield house and beatdown styles from dj sacom, Elise, Patrick Flint and HANAH on London’s Man Band rec.
dj sacommakes their recorded debut with the dusty, Dilla-esque lope of ‘Wisdom’, and Rinse France resident Elise sends smoke signals with the crispy, smudged house hustle of ‘Seropram’ on a Kassem Mosse or Parris-like tip.
Bristol’s Patrick Flint serves the EP’s 2nd recorded debut with a haze of trilling flutes and drum machines sounding out somewhere to the quieter side of Hodge or Kowton, and Parisian HANAH serves the record’s 3rd recorded debut in a sloshing, grubbing percussive workout that sounds like it was recorded in the roof of a public swimming baths.
All killer, no filler 4-way from Amsterdam’s Knekelhuis, turning out rugged, psychoactive dance music from Sabla,Patricia Kokett, Maoupa Mazzochetti, and Job Sifre
Presented as a “document of modern contemporary music”, all tracks could have feasibly been made at any point between 1980 and now, which is pretty symptomatic of these flatland times, to be fair.
Up top, Sabla follows a pair of strong 12”s with Gang of Ducks and Disk with ‘Chant’, a haunting rhythm excursion focussed on pure rhythmelodic cadence and possessed by elusive electronic duppies. Patricia Kokett follows with ‘Luxor’, flipping the script of their slow and heavy ‘Diabel’ 12” with pulsating drums and dizzy hi-register squeal.
On the other side, Maoupa Mazzochetti works a tangy sort of Arabic, aerobic mysticism with the psychedelic spin and bump of ‘644 Beauty Marks’, and Job Sifre leans on the downstroke with the On-U Sound-esque ace, ‘We Are Monsters’.
Ruggedly pendulous and hypnotic house trax from Pyramid Lake and Sage Caswell, with discoid Quarion remix and deep electro re-rub from Mr. Beatnik
Pyramid Lake is the new alias of Canada’s Nautiluss. Working with LA’s Sage Caswell, they turn out the frayed garage-house lather of ‘Palms On Fire’, while Pyramid Lake struts solo in the dub-rounded skank of ‘Ital Vital’.
Quern smooths out the kinks and burrs for a rolling electro-disco-Italo rework of PL’s ‘Cease & Desist’, and Mr. Beatnik lets it flow easy breezy on an eletcro-soul remix of the title cut.
One of Coil’s most prized and distinctive albums, ‘Black Light District’ arises again on 2LP reissue with Dais Records, with all remastering and reproduction under the auspices of the group’s Drew McDowell. A phantasmagoric soundscape for those who shine darkly…
“During the transitional period in which Coil’s primary leadership, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and John Balance, reorganized their creative direction by taking on new membership in the group through their inclusion of Drew McDowall, Coil took a drastic turn towards the metaphysical unknown. Employing the subtle handiwork of Coil’s “real life” members, as well as the cleverly guised aliases and spiritual collaborators, the band chose to filter their identity through a the nome de guerre, Black Light District, setting the precedent of Coil’s future exploration of otherworldy influence.
Recorded during the Winter of 1995/96, Black Light District reflects more on their formal avant-garde pursuits and academic interests rather than their industrial pedigree resume. Starting off with an obvious nod to John Cage with their introductory “Unprepared Piano”, the tone is prepared in exactly the same way… unpredictable. Conceptually abstract, Black Light District shows Coil’s old guard disregarding the pop rhythms found on previous albums, such as Love Secret Domain, and fully embracing their experimental electronic trajectory. Subtle patterns of looping melancholy and malaise are placed delicately underneath ghostly electronic timbre. Approaching their creative method as something from the beyond, another realm in which sounds blur and performers seemingly appear from the ether.”
Mega digidub artillery form TNT Roots, backed with a spiralling version by John T. Gast, who’s also behind its release on 5 Gate Temple
Somehow manifesting as TNT Roots’ first 7” after more than a decade of CD releases via his Lion Musik label, and a recent 12” with London’s Bokeh Versions, the keen trample of ‘Chant Down Babylon Verse 2’ is a deadly steppers bullet eager for deployment on the biggest rig DJs can lay their hands on.
The British “neo-dub” producer finds a strong spiritual and physical ally in John T. Gast on the flip, who faithfully handles a ‘Gast Version’, running extra mentallic FX and extending the ting with an extra layer of gorgeous, dreamy ‘90s ambient pads, with no loss to the original’s heavy momentum.
‘Ambient 4: On Land’ is Brian Eno’s eighth solo studio album and the final instalment of his foundational ambient series that started with ‘Music For Airports’
Recorded between 1978 and 1982, ‘On Land’ sees Brian Eno take a decidedly darker turn, using samples and tape loops from the cutting room floor of previous sides to create a soundsphere of seamlessly shadowy ambient drift.
Perhaps most intriguingly here, Eno found the synthesiser to be of “limited usefulness”, and turned his attentions to physical objets, such as pieces of chain and sticks and stones, to shape what is effectively a form of ambient concrète music, rather than the gentle synthy lushness it’s more commonly associated with.
Featuring guest contributions from Jon Hassell (trumpet) and Bill Laswell (bass guitar), and engineered by ‘Danny’ Lanois, ‘Ambient 4: On Land’ is a total classic of eldritch-tinted, British ambient pastoralism, with all the dark underbelly that notion entails.
Mano a Mano, Kowton & Parris remix each other to the bone for Glasgow’s pivotal Rubadub gang
Both masters of economy, they pitch in super dank and restrained riddims raring for amplification on a proper system. Kowton’s is the most stripped down, with barely-there flickers of percussion trading space with air-shuddering subbass, always on a tense build into vacuum-like relief. Parris marginally fleshes out his side with spidery webs of dubbed drums and globular subs, but the tension is chronic this time, as the groove overpronates in spiralling forward motion until the bass/snare locks in for the final stretch.
Leading on from his sparkling debut album in 2017, Jacques Greene does his endocrine-tweaking dance-pop thing on the ‘Fever Focus’ EP
From the bittersweet curdle of ‘Convex Mirror’, thru the floating ambient rave of ‘Nordschliefe’, to his warmly melodic jacker ‘Perlant’, the MDMA-triggering acid of ‘Fever Focus’, and the trancey lift of ‘Avatar Beach’...
The new album Pastoral, by Gazelle Twin, exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present.
"Told through a troupe of multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new; from the shrill echo of folksong to tabloid-tinged jaunts, the artist aka Elizabeth Bernholz, presents the notion that “there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the “quaint” ”. The village square - once host to centuries of public torture - becomes a floral framed postcard, dolled-up for the Summer Fête. A sunny, afternoon walk over the hills unsettles a cloud of angry flies feeding from unidentifiable remains. Bigoted vitriol gently murmurs amidst tearoom chatter, as the neatly framed pastoral picture dissolves into a solemn ennui."
Eiko Ishibashi & Jim O’Rourke gaze out of the front cover and provide the key lead interview article this month.
Elsewhere, the Global ear is cocked to Jinja, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes Festival, and Melvin Gibbs is quizzed in The Invisible Jukebox, alongside features on Jpegmafia; Michele Mercure; London Improvisors Orchestra; Deena Abdelwahed; Colin Self. Plus all the usual news, reviews, listings.
Squeaky clean and sharp dance drills from Local Action’s Australian ambassador
“Having spent the last half-decade honing his sound and earning a reputation as one of the underground’s finest club producers, Strict Face releases New Racer - a nine-track mixtape that marks his most ambitious and rewarding project to date.
As inspired by classic r&b as he is future-facing electronic music, Strict Face boasts one of dance music’s strongest recent discographies, releasing zero-gravity grime anthems on labels such as Mumdance and Logos’ Different Circles and Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper, collaborating with Atlanta r&b artist K-Major on ‘Murderer’, and most recently releasing This Heat, an EP for Australia’s NLV Records that marked his most confident, all-encompassing work to date.
Although he wears his influences on his sleeve, Strict Face has developed a way with melodies that makes his music instantly recognisable - squeezing every last bit of emotion from them to ensure that they stay with the listener long after the track has finished, and that melodic sensibility runs through the veins of New Racer.
Bookended by two of his most emotive tracks to date in ‘Lethargic’ and ‘Starwipe’ - the first of which features his own guitar work on record for the first time - New Racer maps a tour de force through amped-up peak-time screamers (‘Viper Striking’, ‘Panther Pierced’), romantic r&b (‘Cherryhugs’, ‘Gold Citro’, ’Kiss Me Later’) and euphoric, trance-driven club workouts (‘Dial Fantasy’, ‘Crisis Combo’). Despite Strict Face’s rich history of collaborating, this mixtape is deliberately 100% instrumental and 100% him, showcasing his ability to creating unforgettable melodies and irresistible ear-worms on his own terms.”
An essential collection of work by pivotal writer Mark Fisher (1968-2017) spanning his seminal blog posts and essays through to his unpublished introduction for a new book ‘Acid Communism’, it comprehensively surveys Mark’s exhilarating dissections of modern culture during the period between his entry to the blogosphere in 2003, and up to his passing in 2017, weeks prior to the posthumous release of his book ‘The Weird and the Eerie’.
Over this period in particular, Mark offered a unique critical ballast for a whole generation via his blog posts and essays, and by extension via his academic work, as an editor of the Wire magazine, and co-founder of the Dissensus forum, and the Zer0 Books and Repeater publishing platforms. In these varying roles, Mark made us think about the world differently through his redefinition of Derrida’s idea of ‘hauntology’ - diagnosing a cancellation of the future through postmodernity and neoliberalism - while also leading us to the related question of ‘capitalist realism’, asking how the culture we all participate within relates to radical potential of counter-cultural ideologies. He was also instrumental in the emergence of some of this century’s most enduring projects - Kode 9’s Hyperdub website and label; Junior Boys ‘Last Exit’ album; and The Caretaker’s ‘Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia’ boxset. His legacy and ideas remain an eternal source of inspiration. Please use them wisely and extensively...
“Edited by Darren Ambrose and with a foreword by Simon Reynolds, this comprehensive collection brings together the very best work of acclaimed blogger, writer, publisher, political activist and lecturer Mark Fisher (aka k-punk) who died in 2017.
Covering the period 2004 – 2016, it includes some of the most incendiary and influential posts from his seminal blog k-punk, as well as a selection of his brilliantly insightful film, television and music reviews, together with his extraordinary writings on politics, activism, precarity, hauntology, mental health and popular modernism for numerous websites and magazines. Also included is his final unpublished k-punk post, the unfinished introduction to his planned book on “Acid Communism”, and a number of important interviews from the last decade."
Out of print on vinyl since 1989, the award-winning Kronos Quartet performance of Steve Reich’s momentous ‘Different Trains’ is made available again via Nonesuch, backed with Pat Metheny’s recording of ‘Electric Counterpart’
“On Different Trains, which combines string quartet with taped speech, Reich evokes his American childhood during World War II while also addressing the Holocaust. The New York Times declared it "a work of such originality that 'breakthrough' seems the only possible description."
Electric Counterpoint was written for Pat Metheny, who gave the world premiere performance of the piece at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in November 1987. The guitarist performs against multiple pre-recorded tape of himself—and "splendidly," said the New York Times. The piece is "filled with jazz and funk-inflected rhythms, reveling in the spirit of American vernacular culture ... [and] finds Mr. Reich capitalizing on his strengths. Here, at the point furthest removed from convention, is where his creative juices flow most freely."
Well-skooled mix of krautrock, Afrobeat and jazz from Amsterdam’s 9 piece instrumental ensemble, Jungle By Night
“5th album by the nine-piece instrumental collective from Amsterdam, Jungle by Night!
After almost a decade of heating up dancefloors across the globe, Jungle by Night have reached manhood. In the process of creating their 5th album, the nine-headed collective melted years of passion, friendship, and influences from krautrock, dance, jazz, afrobeat together into new instrumental prose, fluently speaking the language of their instruments.
The band is an oddball ensemble within its own cosmos. A danceable and thundering live-act, connecting with crowds like no other, with beaming fun and energy along the way.”
Unique psychedelic killers from Niagara, mounting a sterling debut album with Lisbon’s Príncipe five years after their first 12”, ‘Ouro Oeste’ . Trust that they have lost none of the weirdness that’s endeared them to freaks around the world ever since they emerged. If anything they’re stranger, more spaced-out and porous to wild influence...
Outlining Niagara’s definitive description of contemporary exotica, ‘Apologia’ limns a frayed, buzzing sort of “Fourth World PLUS” sound, where the “PLUS” refers to their embrace of noise as an agent of chaos. But it’s not necessarily malefic chaos, and should be taken as a smart acknowledgement of the overlooked yet crucial role that roughness of grain and construction play in contrast with so many clinically smooth and even anodyne efforts from the same, imagined arena of worldly music for a new age.
In allowing for the entropy of time and the inevitable infidelity of attrition to enter their soundsphere, Niagara’s organic machine music keenly reflects a natural world order without the need for algorithmic process. Their world is a fertile interplay of acoustic and electronic sources rendering hazy, fata morgana-like glimpses of musical possibility, practically triangulating the visions of likeminds such as Jamal Moss/Hieroglyphic Being and Dolo Percussion with the explorative precedents of Portugul’s Telectu to realise a fine expression of anachronistic modernism.
Most of the tracks loosely work around 3 minute timeframes, lending a zig-zagging mosaic quality to the tracklist in between its longer parts. Richly colourful spiritual jazz arps and raw machine grooves spring from opener ‘França’, triggering a cascade of ideas that bends between acidic kosmiche in ‘6:30’ to the heatsick boogie gliss of ’40’ and the stark emptiness of ‘Senhora Do Cabo’, to give up the gorgeous, extended flute and acid meditation ’Siena’, and mess with Vangelis-style synth majesty on ‘Via Garibaldi’, before spending their coolest energies in the drowsy Afro-latin swagger of ‘Cabo Verde.’
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Alberto, António and Sara a.k.a. Niagara have distilled their sound to imperfection on ‘Apologia’, resulting one of 2018’s most crucial and vital electronic albums.