Muggy mutant downstrokes from Apulati Bien ov Paris/Brussels crew Outreglot, doing lo-fi alien rap, juke and spannered, noisy audness in their own style for the excellent Promesses
Working shades away from styles also explored by Slikback and his Hakuna Kulala crew outta Central/East Africa or the PRR! PRR! lot in Belgium, Apulati Bien restlessly shifts patterns on ‘OO:NÉ’ from the insectoid scuttle and budge of ‘EPOC’ to munted rap on ‘HUMID’ with Zouccrashbaby, taking in the polytemporal G-Force of his killer ‘RIZ-VASTOS’ ft. Lord Cham, mutant Footwork in ’TARIF’ and ‘HARAMARA’, grimy cut-ups in ‘OPTON AÏZ’, and freaky gamelan in ‘LIL ALEX 2930’ ft. Santini.
A big look for anyone investigating mutant fringes of the modern dance.
Nourishing the zeitgeist, ‘Dancing In Darkness’ collects 14 EBM and industrial zingers from the ‘80s by Throbbing Gristle, D.A.F., Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, The Weathermen, Cabaret Voltaire and more
A primer for the budding darkroom fiend, the set runs the gamut from TG’s sewer-creeping ‘Dead On Arrival’ thru to DAF’s strident anthem ‘Der Mussolini’, Chris & Cosey’s eternal gem ‘Exotica’, the puckered EBM of ‘Control I’m Here (S.D.I. Mix)’ by Front 242, Borghesia’s moody nightlight ‘Ni Upanja, Ni Strahu’, and Meat Beat Manifesto’s proto-darkside hardcore ace ‘Radio Babylon’.
One of two killer Tarraxho thrown-downs by the sound’s Lisbon-raised, London-based pioneer, plucked out by the Paris-hailing Promesses label
Tarraxho is effectively the slower cousin to Angolan Kuduro and Tarraxhina. DJ Bebedera is a pioneer of the Lisboan sub-genre working with similar melodies and drum patterns, but screwed to a dancehall or reggaeton-style 90BPM pace.
‘Tarraxo Funguiça Das Negras’ feels super slow, even by Tarraxo standards, working sloshing drums and militant brass and flute to sound like an aggy UKF killer on 33 not 45rpm, while ‘Tarraxo Reboleixon Au Rubro hits haaaard with clipped, swaggering syncopation a shade away from dancehall, layered up with zimmering bleeps and dissonant stabs for rudest effect.
Extra strong vibes for Príncipe disciples!
Rustic rustles and synthetic burbles mesh in organic, synaesthetically heightened form on Ellicist’s debut release
“Creating a composition means making decisions. During times in which you virtually have all sounds that have ever been recorded at your availability, composers must choose between infinite possibilities. The duo Ellicist does not perceive this contemporary ocean of possibilities as too much choice, they are swimming in it. Ellicist are weaving thick textures from the most diverse tones and rhythms. Their tracks are placing synthetic buzzing, the croaking of frogs, low frequency billowing and humming, flutes, the droning of flies, and the whole spectrum of the digital creation of sound next to one another. This intensity of sensations is not supposed to overstrain the listener, it invites them to follow a process. This music does not have a strict structure; instead, it is breathing openness at every moment.
Ellicist are incessantly oscillating between abstraction and elements of pop music. Melodies are being hinted at, and sounds are being piled up, at times tirelessly. Fragments of etheric choirs or field recordings are unfolding their associative power. The melodious Ink is a track full of touching intimacy and is in constant motion until it eventually pauses to create a silent ocean of sound. "Passage People" is permeated by a groove of throbbing synths. The tapestries of sound of "Ponds & Graves", on the other hand, are creating the foundation for expressive percussions. "Ihnen Steg" is almost a dub track. During the opener Hennepin and its follower "Lilei" sounds of palpable corporeity are being combined with ones that are hardly tangible. Point Defects has an incredible spatiality. At one point you might believe that you are able to precisely localize the sounds in an imaginary system of coordinates. And then the whole systemization crumbles. It is an astonishing production: you can almost taste the sounds. Ellicist are Thomas Chousos and Florian Zimmer. Chousos studied composition in Greece before moving to Berlin, where he is working as a producer and sound engineer under the moniker Tadklimp. Florian Zimmer has been playing with several groups; Besides Ellicist he is a member of Saroos and Driftmachine”
Shapednoise reduces Mumdance & Logos, his bandmates in The Sprawl, to Ur, elemental noise for Tectonic
In both parts Nino Pedone aka Shapednoise extracts and intensifies the industrial spirits lurking in Mumdance & Logos’s rave machinery. On the A-side, the harpy divas and bashy drums of their reticulated beast ‘Chaos Engine’ are filtered thru a gauntlet of reverbs and metallurgic magick to form the demonic convulsions and gurning screech of his ‘Shatter Remix’, while the B-side sees him dissolve the skeletal bones of ‘Cold’ into a brittle lattice of icy particulates and Arctic cavern bass in the ‘Crystalline Remix’.
For fans of Shapednoise’s solo output or his work with Mumdance & Logos in improv n0!ze trio The Sprawl, this plate is tasty...
Doukkala exemplify the range and quality of Paris-based Promesses label with a wild ride between outernational ghetto rhythms, salty noise and industrial tekkers
Primed for the rave hours when it gets nasty, ‘Outrance’ pushes the vibe into the red in seven parts, starting out ambient but getting radge with cranky takes on dabble techno (‘Quartier Arabe’), slamming industrial techno (‘L’Âne de Zaouïa’), with a beatless wormhole passing into the snarling mid-range synth lash and rotted drums of ‘Dialectique du Maître et de l’Esclave’, and the saving Logobi rammer ‘Champion du Monde’.
Stunning debut by L.A.-based violinist Zachary Paul, of Touch’s mentorship scheme, yielding an elemental, time-bending suite of studies exploring the paradox of stasis/movement, and working in a rich vein of minimalism that reaches back thru Pauline Oliveros, Tony Conrad, and La Monte Young
In three durational parts ‘A Meditation On Discord’ introduces a promising and timeless new musical voice, showcasing an expressive range and style porous to nature and the elements. The opening, 30 minute live recording ‘Premonition’ starts anxiously jagged but beautifully warms up as he channels the sun beating down on the Desert Daze festival stage, opening out into the kind of curdled tunings that make our heads fizz, and which we imagine must have sounded incredible in open space. Another live piece ‘Slow Ascent’ follows, glacially coning from wide, lo lying into a peak of looped voice and strings, before the album’s single studio recording ‘A Person With Feelings’ plays to his full range, segueing from luxuriant to atonal with discernibly electronic designs cut to purpose as the soundtrack to a short film by Tamer Smith. Trust we’ll hear more from this bright star in future.
“"'Premonition' (October 12, 2018) was recorded on the first day of Desert Daze music festival. For this performance I tuned my violin in open G (G-D-G-D) for the very first time. The afternoon was warm and bright, but storm clouds, yet to be seen at the time of this recording, loomed on the horizon. My improvisation began in the present moment, reflecting the vibrations of the sun. Once locked in with these higher frequencies, the instrument took control and painted the evening. This performance was both a premonition of night and an astral projection towards the clouds crawling towards the festival grounds, catalyzed by an instrument resonating with the frequencies of the earth. 'Slow Ascent' (February 23, 2018) was recorded at Human Resources, Los Angeles, for an event celebrating the release of Yann Novak's second album. This performance was an inverted guided group meditation. In front of my biggest audience to date, I was extremely anxious. Rather than letting my nerves lead the way, I fed off of the energies of the audience, letting their patience, calm and warmth guide the instrument. 'A Person With Feelings' is a score for a short abstract film to be released in 2019. A modern trance film, the piece follows a young actor's internal journey. The soundscape reflects the arc of the film and showcases the textural range of my instrument." --Zachary Paul
Yes ayyye! Paris-based Promesses come into their own with an infectious batch of Kwaito styles coaxed from Limpopo, South Africa’s DJ Call Me, and so titled after the WhatsApp number they used to find him
After getting hooked on DJ Call Me’s neon-coloured melodies and elastic electro-bass via YouTube, where his tracks posted by fans have millions of views, Promesses’ Samos & Härdee managed to track him down for this release and the good of the dance via WhatsApp number ‘+27 73 121 5626’.
All recorded 2009-2010, the tunes are pure fire, full of limb-bending, belly-twysting synth funk shackled by UKF-compatible clap/snare patterns and good times melodies, at best between the burning sensation ‘Celebration’, the virulent leads and lush pads of ‘Face To face’, the darker blue vibes of ‘Return of DJ Call Me’ and ‘Say Goodbye’, and the Calypso-esque heat of ‘Mama I’m Sorry’.
A big RIYL Errorsmith, S.A. Bubblegum, and the more electro-tinged ends of UKF
Straight outta Eastern Congo, Will’Stone aka the “Lion of Goma” delivers dread heavy rap on Slikback & Nyege Nyege Tapes’ Hakuna Kulala label
Hailing from the Eastern Congo city of Goma, Will’Stone’s barking, stentorian style has come to define the sound of his city’s war torn youth. On ‘Mbv5’ he’s joined by Kampala-based Congolese MC, Le Bon to spray fire over a crushingly heavy groove built from drop forge drums and sweltering, even panicked patina of field recordings, and in a way that wouldn’t sound outta place on JPEGMAFIA’s ‘Veteran’. Cutthroat, hardcore business.
Not to be missed!
Broshuda warps the new age meditation/self-help tape template to taste for Ossia and co’s No Corner
“A meditation on cyberspace self-help, using text-to-speech conversions from a self-help Twitter bot, his work takes a look at a darker aspect of a very imminent social future for us humans.
But rather than an obvious criticism, ‘You’ll Always Stay Beautiful’ lets the listener indulge in which ever way they feel. Placing the all familiar, and ultimately still very human commentary in a light-headed tangle of computerised harmony, melody and abstract rhythm…
‘Spend Time With Your Parents, Treat Them Well… Because One Day, When You Look Up From Your Phone – They Won’t Be There Anymore’.
You’ll Always Stay Beautiful points out the absurdities of such automated emotional help facilities in our social internet age, but also remembers the beautiful fragilities that make up the human mind, which is always in search of strength and reassurance, and ultimately – love.”
Optimo grips your hips with three slinky bits by Bruno Deodato’s Internal N.Y. Rhythms, leading on from his 12”s for Innervisions
The EP sashays from the shakers, snaky bass and psychedelic electronics of ‘Poli-Ritmo I’ to emphasise the clipped clave patterns in ‘Poli-Ritmo II’, and then follow a rugged tribal hunch into the crunchy drums nd nagging drone of ‘Futurismo’.
Keysound roll in with a blazing slab of ruffneck grime from DVA featuring Badness, Riko, Flowdan and Killa P on firing mic duties, and remixed by Dusk & Blackdown. This is probably one of the most shocking and uncompromising slabs of Grime we've heard in a looong time. DVA is the incredibly consistent producer behind cuts for No Hats No Hoods, beats for Durrty Goodz seminal 'Axiom EP' and a downright killer on Logan Sama's Adamantium imprint (check 'Nasty Nasty Nasty' for the full frontal experience!). Dusk & Blackdown embellish probably one of DVA's heaviest beats so far, with their signature bass, strafing gunshots and industro-bashment vibes primed to shock your senses. The pairing of riddim and vocalists goes together like rice and pea, with the menacing ruffness of the riddim more than matched by the range of vocalists, from Flowdan's gruff poetics to Riko's accented flow and Killa P's skulking delivery. Authentic future grime to the core - Massively Recommended!
Optimo Music ally Julienne Dessagne aka Fantastic Twins commits three highlights of her live show to wax for the righteous Against Fascism Trax
Inspired by the fundamental right to dance, Fantastic Twins plays out three infectiously pulsating workouts that say their piece in no uncertain terms. ‘Why Are You Here?’ is a stealthily powerful Italo disco roller gassed on layered arps and head-high melodies; ‘Wrong Place Wrogn Time Wrong People’ is more locked-in, latinate, and primed for dancing in altered states; and ‘Stunden Lang (Lost In Germany)’ offers a dreamy kosmiche utopianism, beautifully sung in German, then pushed with happy clapping rhythms.
“Why are we here if we can’t dance? That reminds me of the words of Pina Bausch “Dance, dance or we are lost”. Lost in our internal struggles as individuals (or imaginary twins). Lost in a society where our relation to the other is often marked by fear, power or violence. We feel the need to resist. Yet nowadays, taking a political stance as an artist is too often being instrumentalised as another tactics or accessory to gather more popularity, reducing the political message to nothing else but a branding attempt. Isn’t it anyway the power of capitalism to assimilate everything, even contradictory or once-upon-a-time subversive voices? All to end up on a “Rave” or “Feminist” H&M t-shirt. Slogans that have been emptied of their initial force and substance, now replaced by their commercial value. I strongly doubt that more empty words poured in vain on social media will help us much. But, like Pina Bausch, like JD Twitch, I have always firmly believed in dancing as a physical, social and fundamental act that leads us to share a common space with others and embrace otherness. Standing together, dancing together when everything else forces us to divide. May the music on this EP be, I hope, a possible answer to its own title. - Fantastic Twins”
Deep heat from Paris-based Mad Rey, following up their house outings with D.KO Rercords and REKIDS with a first album of exclusively computer-based productions landing somewhere near DJ Python or Anthony Naples’ kinked depths
Adding another stripe of individual colour to the Promesses label, ‘U.M.A.’ covers a fine spectrum of tempos and feels under Mad Rey’s banner, and linked up by an overarching reference to Quentin Tarantino (in the way he samples movies, Rey samples music) and Kill Bill.
They from thizzing, cinematic pads and rugged dream sequence motion in ‘Hanzō’ (a reference to Uma Thurman’s Japanese made sword ((say it like RZA swaard)) in Kill Bill), to the melancholic house of ‘U’, before pushing the vibe into dreamily ecstatic Detroit techno with ‘I’ll Never Forget You’, and rollin the rhythm off the bone with classy swerve in ‘Quantum Lag’.
Heady, impressionistic ambient scenery from Matthew Sage, limning a windows-open summer vibe as heard from a crumbling old apartment in Chicago. Transmuting the intangible into a fizzing, warm sound, there’s a beautifully nostalgic, heavy-lidded drift and waft to proceedings that recalls everyone from Roberto Carlos Lange to Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Hood and Bibio, all heard thru a smudged kaleidoscope...
Recorded "over a summer in a tiny room on the second floor of a 120-year-old apartment in Chicago” 'Catch a Blessing’ falls into the quietly grand tradition of instrumental albums steeped in nostalgia without becoming too cloying. It’s there on the opening "Avondale Primer Gray” - perhaps the first piece of music we’ve heard in over a decade that pushes the same care-free, doe-eyed, 1980’s buttons as Max Tundra’s evergreen 'Chimes Corner’, and taken further on "Michigan Turquoise”, casting a more solemn hue the label astutely compare to Sparklehorse, with its slightly detuned guitar fed through an aged super 8.
As the label explain, Sage approached the album from an impressionistic perspective, painting sound in broad strokes conveying the ecstatic warmth you only really feel when you look at the sun with closed eyes. "The moods and modes are constantly, entirely at odds with themselves: private vs. public, abject vs. profound, rural vs. urban(e), and so on. Where other players of experimental studio music take a more high-minded, often stuffy approach, 'Catch a Blessing' floats in airier, more refreshing modes.. endlessly lush but sincerely marked by decay..."
An effortlessly lovely offering from the same label that gave us Félicia Atkinson’s sublime ‘Coyotes’ last year.
Following his ambient atmospheric project, ‘Phantom Brickworks’, Stephen Wilkinson returns to the path of structured songwriting last explored on 2016’s ‘A Mineral Love’.
"Ribbons yields folkloric charm with an organic palette, incorporating a mostly acoustic-led approach exploring ‘60s and ‘70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and field recordings. The title ‘Ribbons’ is extracted from the most electronic-leaning track on the album, ‘Pretty Ribbons And Lovely Flowers’. On the track, haunting, processed female vocals illuminate a route through dark ambience and a repeating earthy distorted chord sequence. Referencing the endless ribbons of analogue tape and film used in his music, photography and cinematic work, the album artwork is designed by Wilkinson, where his portrait offers a window onto an English woodland scene with spring bluebells adorned with ribbons.
Wilkinson’s folk influences span ‘60s and ‘70s styles from Britain, Ireland and America; he mixes influences of homegrown acid folk with the dreamy harmonies of its Californian counterpart. He also pays homage to his past J Dilla and Madlib-inspired works, this time drawing influence from the eras and records those producers sampled - such as ‘60s and ‘70s Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Sharp and other soul artists - but rather than relying on sampling records, Wilkinson creates his homages from scratch with appropriate instrumentation."
Following the release of 2018’s pair of albums ‘Staccato Signals’ and ‘Drone Signals’, Ben Chatwin returns in with ‘Altered Signals’, featuring reworkings by Sevendeaths, Visionist Remix, Steve Hauschildt, Ital Tek, Konx-om-Pax Remix, Paul Corley, Vessels, From The Mouth Of The Sun and Pye Corner Audio.
"Highlights include Planet Mu stalwart Ital Tek’s remix of ‘Silver Pit’, which seizes the slow-burning cataclysmic energy of the original and reforms it with the bold, cinematic crescendos that characterised his 2018 album ‘Bodied’. Steve Hauschildt, who also released a new album last year, ‘Dissolvi’, repurposes the alien yet organic synth sounds from ‘Helix’ into a multi-dimensional blissful ambient techno workout.
Strictly speaking, this is the second ‘remix’ album of the ‘Signals’ project - with ‘Drone Signals’, Ben already took the material in one direction by feeding string parts into an array of modular and analogue synthesisers. With this new album, he once again relinquishes control - a central conceptual underpinning of the project - by working with some of his favourite producers working in the electronic world. Though the music ranges from ambient to acid techno, this is nevertheless a dynamic and cohesive work that’s sure to excite fans of both of ‘Staccato Signals’ and ‘Drone Signals."
Almighty sophomore album by industrial overload Kris Lapke aka Alberich - Hospital Productions’ mastering engineer, scene-defining producer, and right hand man to Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, RSE).
Where Alberich’s infamous, 3 hour long ‘NATO Uniformen’  series can be heard as a cornerstone for this decade’s tilt into noise techno experimentation, its follow-up is a bitterly refined and exquisitely crafted single disc bedevilled by increasingly excoriating detail via bombed-out rhythms and eschaton-limning atmospheres. Lapke distills and pokes his most potent ideas into their most succinct, brutalist forms, but also makes room for one durational pulverizer that is on its own worthy of the cost of admission.
A master of calibrating maximalist and minimalist scopes, Lapke has a gift for getting right in-the-mix and pulling sounds to the biting point or allow them to glisten in the periphery; emphasising their grotesqueness, stark beauty and visceral nature in the process. It’s an approach which has elevated him to the vanguard of modern industrial music, evidenced in production work and mastering for Prurient, The Haxan Cloak and Nothing, as well as audio restoration for COUM Transmissions and Shizuka, but rarely felt as strongly or as nuanced as in his solo work.
Between opener ‘Upper Mountains’, casting some of the gloomiest synth pads this side of Silent Servant’s ‘Negative Fascination’, to the entrenched techno of ‘Unity House’ with its asphyxiating, buried-by-mud effect buoyed only by drily resigned vocals, and the aching synth poignancy of ‘No Reference to The Absence of Allegory’ at the album’s charred heart, Lapke's sounds adopt a frightening meaning thru their manacled grip of reality.
But its the B-side that will really see off any half-hearted types, as he sucks us down the title track’s rabbit hole of collapsing techno and lo-NRG vox into the reverberating negative space of ‘Freeze’, and the masterfully dense yet wide open paradox of his closing ‘Radio Op’ transmission.
‘Contrée’ is Recollection GRM’s first survey of work by Régis Renouard Larivière, three pieces variously exploring granular evolutions (‘Contrée’), hacked strings (‘Allégeance volatile’), and a rapid, chattering avian flux (‘Esquive’). This is one of the harder nosed GRM issues, but those with attentive ears and patience will be rewarded in multiples...
“Allégeance volatile and Esquive each tackle the same issue in their own way. Overcoming time: whether it be successive, additional, enumerative, or repetitive. However, there is nothing here about the ensuing nature of so-called "repetitive" music. These are types of high-end music. And it is more about insistence, the obstinacy of an individual who keeps knocking on a door that will never open.
Allégeance's rustic drumming, talkative, acidulous, colourful and overarticulated, with almost clownish desinences, eventually dies out in this very respite. The iterative and puffy shimmering of Esquive with its dull, thin and precise sounds, shifts and is engulfed into another sonic world — which appears as a gaping and collapsed response to this prime insistency.
This is, indeed, a ‘volatile allegiance’ and ‘avoidance’ from the sonic to the musical elements: the musical phenomenon anticipated and pursued as the non-sound of sound — or, in other words, the void of sound. This seems to be the lesson of the concrete attitude in music. Such is the kind of questioning that stirs the composer. He returns with another title: Contrée, which, once again, speaks of a counter-event. Here, the movement is broader, more generous, more confident. Time spreads and stretches out. What seems to be a landscape of entanglements, trajectories, influx, masses and points emerges. “Something” rises and presents itself out of the sounds - these escaping beings, these "relatively short combustion flames " (Schaeffer).
The piece consists of five consecutive and uninterrupted parts: Entrée and Stance I — Véhémence de l’air and Stance II — Grande Allure. It is the central section of an electroacoustic triptych with Sables (2011) as the first and Nil (2017) as the last. Contrée is dedicated to Philippe Mion, whose friendly ears have been entrusted with my music for so many years.
- Régis Renouard Larivière”
Hypnotic, offbeat, earthy dance music from Stefan Schwander’s Harmonious Thelonious
Leading on from turns with Kontra-Musik, Disk, The Trilogy Tapes and Versatile in the last year alone, ‘Petrolia’ keeps up the quality levels with a six choice new cuts roving between the almost New Beat styled chug and fiery pipes of ‘Disko Marak’ to the spiralling stereo helix of ‘Just Play’, and the effortlessly mesmerising swag roof ‘Petrolia’, along with the Dembow-like bump of ‘Nous n’Avons Jamais’ and the fractal synth noise mosaic, ‘Tig Tig Tig’.
Icy grime/drill badness from the OG Terror Danjah
Upfront and up-to-the-moment, the ‘Red Fag EP’ wins big with the title cut’s frozen glitches and pointillist drill/grime rhythm diction, before he bruks out the brass on the nasty/nutty ‘Snapper’, gets spaced-out in a drill style on ‘Ozark’, and comes with signature, fwd R&G flavour in ‘Light Years’.
Downbeat free jazz verging on 4th world terrain, from bass player Joshua Abrams and his Natural Information Society. Mastered by Helge Sten (Deathprod) at Audio Virus, Oslo
“mandatory reality, the new album by joshua abrams & natural information society, is here. setting aside (for the moment) the electric instrumentation of simultonality (2017) & magnetoception (2015), joshua abrams conceived mandatory reality for an eight-piece acoustic manifestation of NIS, consisting of himself on guimbri, lisa alvarado - harmonium & gongs, mikel avery - tam-tam & gongs, ben boye - autoharp & piano, hamid drake - tabla & tar, ben lamar gay - cornet, nick mazzarella - alto saxophone, & jason stein - bass clarinet. a 2 LP set, the album is comprised largely of two performances, both joshua abrams compositions, 24 & 40 minutes in length. while new to the band’s records, long duration pieces are familiar to those who’ve heard JA&NIS in concert in recent years, where elaboration on a single composition for an hour or more is not unusual.
gradual tempos dominate mandatory reality. recorded two months before the 2017 solar eclipse, mandatory reality is the sound of joshua abrams & NIS taking its time. merging methodical compositions with sonically voluptuous orchestration, abrams heightens the immersive & hypnotic qualities JA&NIS music is known for, taking the band & the listener deep into a collective meditative space. a grand realization of long-form psychedelic music, mandatory reality is a dispatch from a sound world that is increasingly unique to itself.
all performances on mandatory reality are full takes recorded live to tape by the full ensemble, magnificently captured by greg norman at electrical audio, chicago—the first true ‘audiophile’ recording of joshua abrams & natural information society. mastered by helge sten at audio virus, oslo.”
Dresden’s Sneaker helms a strong pair of New Beat-y/haunted house jams with RVDS, Katrina Fairlee and Joshua Cordova for Fit Detroit
Alongside the Golden Püdel’s RVDS, he cooks up the nagging latin swerve and spooked-out electronics of ‘Inside Me’ in a style heavily recalling La Rolls’ Belgian classique ‘Sure Is’ and stacks of raw Chi-jackers, whereas ‘Geist Bahn’ catches him with Fairlee and Cordova pushing a similar groove into more fetid niches of inquiry with druggy dark room results.
Destroyed beyond recognition, 200bpm edits of mainstream 2018 dance trax, plus a trio of ace digital bonus remixes from numèric, PLOU PLIM, dj))water)) on the reliably bonkers Fluf label
“Recording documenting the soundtrack of PLOM's sporadic performance at La Capella (BCN) during the exhibition 'Les escenes. 25 anys després. Escena 2 '. An exaltation of the peripheral.
Made between December and February during his daily trips to work using the regional train network, PLOM uses as a base material, the songs contained in the last Top 51 of 2018 on the Maxima FM radio station.
At full throttle and under the eyes of the rest of passengers, uses his laptop to square Trance EDM, Big Room House and Pop and homogenize them to 200 bpm, accelerated mixes that then silenced using French audio signal tracking techniques. It ends up filling and superimposing a string of noises and nervous modified rhythms from his own sake that lead the crew towards their cathartic final destination.
An appropriationist massacre of the best 51 dance anthems of late 2018 on Máxima FM, whose visual equivalent would be a 4K HD film on a 50-inch screen that would explode over and over again and be rebuilt in 3D graphics made from tiny fragments of glass and plastic.””
Students Of Decay re-release this digital compilation of Alex Cobb aka Taiga Remains' out-of-print tapes, 'Thereafter' and 'Beneath The Weeping Branches' as 'Works For Cassette'.
Originally issued in 2008 on the Arbor and Ekhein labels, they remain some of Taiga Remains' most affective pieces of work and well warrant reappraisal as the Students Of Decay label boss has now moved into slightly different spheres under his own name. 'Beneath The Weeping Branches' gently radiates three pieces of solemn solo guitar submerged in plangent FX marking spectral ground between Loren Connors and Grouper, whilst the two slightly longer pieces of 'Thereafter', recorded live at home in the early morning , late February 2008, are glacial drone-scapes rending lush harmonic overtones.
Big Tarraxho bullets from London-based Portuguese producer DJ Bebedera, jointly launched by Paris’ Promesses and Bazzerk - the label who brought Kuduro to the EU masses a decade ago
Tarraxho is effectively the slower cousin to Angolan Kuduro and Tarraxhina. DJ Bebedera is a pioneer of the Lisboan sub-genre working with similar melodies and drum patterns, but screwed to a dancehall or reggaeton-style 90BPM pace.
DJ Bebedera’s ‘Tarraxho Bandido Organização Criminal’ follows a wickedly hypnotic hunch for wonky flute licks on electro-stung drums, lit up with furtive cop samples and well timed vocal stabs. ‘Fodência Rijo Rijo Rasgo De Cuecas’ is ruder, highlighting a woozy, sexed up side of the Angolan/Portuguese sound that’s usually neglected for its more boisterous flex.
Strong vibes for Príncipe disciples!
Sonic postcards from warmer places, ranging from lush field recordings to solo piano meditations and computer music, courtesy of Belgian sound cartographer Lieven Martens Moana and his Dolphins Into the Future alias
“Songs Of Gold are nine small portraits, culled from compilations, limited run cassette releases, choreographies, and singles. Some pieces were worked on for a length of time, others materialized in just about one take. All the songs are derived by an encounter with an object, a place or a person. Or by a combination of these. The events are translated into the work through the intermediary of symbolic sounds and notes. There is no thematic link between the compositions.”
‘Erwartung 1 und 2’ is an in-depth exploration of a single chord, encouraging the user to inhabit the spaces between and around the notes, played on piano and organ. It is about savouring time and being aware of perspective
“Eva-Maria Houben's music has somehow always been about perspective. These two new pieces, one for piano and one for organ, are once again prime examples. The title is borrowed from Arnold Schönberg's one-act monodrama Erwartung Op.17, in which a woman wanders through the night in search of her (dead) lover. According to Schönberg, his work aims "to represent in slow motion everything that occurs during a single second of maximum spiritual excitement, stretching it out to half an hour". And this, in a certain way, is very descriptive of Houben's calm, patient recordings as well.
As she disassembles a piercing twelve-tone chord of the said Schönberg piece, rendering it unrecognizable and making it fully her own. Changing the perspective. Once for piano, and once for pipe organ. Her respective protagonists.”
Hard-nosed breakbeat rave styles from Mark, Unterton’s resident rave mutant
‘Fuckign Sick Of Myself Since Day One (Hot Desk Mix)’ starts out promising with a brooding payload of darkside rave pressure, but quickly gets a bit dodgy with splashing big beat breaks that take us right back to early ‘00s raves we’d rather forget.
‘Hats Off To Herr F.’ is much more successful, working whirring breaks and grumbling Reese into an IDM tizzy, before the title track rolls out like a Krust or Digital c. 2000.
This pair of masterpieces by the pivotal 20th century pioneer and poet of musique concrète were previously only available on his ‘L’Œuvre Électronique’ boxset. ‘Music Promenade’ is an absorbing study of peacetime late ‘60s Europe, with chattering ladies and brass pomp intersected by fireworks/artillery and atonal blasts of serialist music, whereas ‘Unheimlich Schön’ effectively explores the inverse, with nothing more than whispered syllables wisping across the stereo field in utterly hypnagogic style. It’s a perfect example of Ferrari’s fascination with observing daily life, and finding poetry in the prosaic.
"Music Promenade', composed in 1969, has been realized from a certain number of recording I have done on journeys in different European countries. The first purpose of this realization was an acoustic installation based on four independent tape machines unfolding the tapes in loops. Thus this sound events scattered to the four corners of the hall met one another permanently in an aleatoric (generated by random means) encounter. The duration of the piece was indefinite. So the issue on CD is an immovable version of a possible stabilized mix version.
Each of the four tapes was about twenty minutes long (each tape has a different duration so that the cycles can never encounter in the same manner). The structure of each tape consists of a succession of short characteristic an dynamic sequences alternating with blurred and slight, sometimes nearly silent sounds. When one characteristic sequence encounters by chance a slight sound, this one colors that one. On the other hand, when an event sequence encounters another one, they perturb each other, for their good or for their evil. Such is life.When I consider this piece now, I notice that I am still working on the same principles of random variations that create encounters and superimpositions of cycles that combine themselves by alteration. This concept I called « tautology » in the 1960s is still present in my recent compositions.
- Luc Ferrari”
Athens-based Pi catch Jk Flesh in a wickedly rotten, up-for-it mood on their 4th release, backed with a lean Silent Servant remix and now available to download
The big man comes out gnashing and brawling with ‘PI04 1’, then grouchy and sozzled with the loose blows of ‘PI04 2’, and with thunderous depth charge gabber kicks offset with UK rave regime in ‘PI04 3’, leaving Juan Mendez to lend a fine contrast with his wiry groove and spacious atmosphere in the remix of ‘PI04 2’.
L-Vis 1990 does freaki Chi styles as Dance System for Modeselektor’s label
Check ‘Wind ‘Em Up’ for a bucking, bumpty Sneak style; ‘Heeez Baaad’ for a heavily infectious cut-up disco house jig; some loosey goosey saxy shiiiit in ‘That’s That Sh**’; and a hard-to-resist spin on Gherkin jerk styles in ‘Body’.
More Gqom-styled bangers from UK grime donny Scratcha DVA, including a tuff but warped link-up with Nan Kolé
Trim back from DVA’s more colourfully warped UKF and instrumental grime productions, he goes dark, minimal and heavy with the martial, staccato attack of ‘FOH’, before welding UK-style grime strings on the clipped, Durbvan-style drum diction of ‘Influencer’.
Nan Kolé jumps in to loosen and light up ‘Influenza’ with cartoonish boings and bleeps on its warped garage ballast, while DVA wickedly marries UK and SA sensibilities in the wigged-out and uptempo pressure of ‘Scorpio’.
‘Aurobindo: involution’ is a series of encrypted, hallucinatory visions realised by Daren Seymour (Seefeel) and Mark Van Hoen (Locust) for CM Von Hausswolff’s Ash International
Perhaps the starkest, strangest release in Mark or Daren’s catalogues, the album offers clues to its reasoning through the track titles, which suggest, as one discogs user points out, that they all relate to the birth and death dates of important, gnostic figures and important events such as the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo of the title, Herman Hesse of ‘Glass Bead Gamne’ fame, Brian Eno, Andrei Tarkovsky, and the launch of the Voyager 2 probe. Recommended to listen at night for optimal scares.
Neon-glowing deep house and R&B swerve from L.A.’s Bludwork and Canada’s AFK
Intriguingly detached, acoustic/offline ambient-pop from 2 Mothers, recorded as the title suggests, ‘Live In Brixton’ for Kamixlo and Uli K’s Bala Club
Recalling shades of Natalie’s doodly sketches for Lynn, the strung-out psychogeographic reportage of Burial, and even Loren Connors chiaroscuro air etchings, ‘Live In Brixton’ is the sort of surreal beauty one might not typically expect from Bala Club, but it’s totally welcome all the same. The voyeuristic feeling of eavesdropping on a precious, private bedroom recording session is strong on this one.
Ontal’s 2017 EP of hard-nosed techno for Athens-based Pi Recordings available digitally
It’s elbows out for the galloping scrum of ‘PI02 1’, before they properly put some back into it on the bruxist charge of ‘PI02 2’, and flash their teeth on the murderous pelt of ‘PI02 3’.
Industrial techno legends Orphyx dial in reinforcements for an armour-plated retread of ‘PI02 1’ primed for dancefloor war-faring.
Paris-bassed label Promesses joins these pages with Mobbs’ scuzzy, soundtrack-like blend of ghetto-tech, rap and gritty ambient caulk in ‘OneLord’
As a resident of London’s NTS, Mobbs’ monthly radio shows follow a similarly mazy, mosaic style of tiling found here in his first album. Formed of 22 fractured vignettes, the album unfurls like a modern noir thriller set between the Banlieues and the Bits, full of tense synths and interludes recalling late ‘90s style D&B intros and breakdowns as much as immersive computer game tropes, but pulled by rhythms from ghetto-tech, reggaeton, dungeon rap and modern, roadwise African styles.
Highlights come in the likes of his murky stepper ‘Bees’, the teasingly short Arabesque ‘Khat Lip’, the cold and brittle sound design of ‘Belly’, and the parting rap shot ‘TBS’ starring L.A.’s Kane Grocerys, Marcy Mane and SickboyRari. But, as suggested by the fades between cuts, and the album’s undulating flow, it’s best consumed in one go, on headphones, on the bus or on the mooch.
Back on her Noise Manifesto label, Paula Temple hammers out two cavernous bits of techno drama
‘Raging Earth’ goes on hard and gloomy with powerful kicks and sky-searching pads, before breaking down and doubling down on the darkside bassline.
‘Raging Noise’ is even nastier, developing 4 minutes of distorted drone-noise designed to bring crowds to their knees, before pushing into the red for a severely atonal climax.
Houston meets Bristol at the hands of Sam Binga...
...linking with Paul Wall on the brooding low rider ‘All Cap’, then with Bristol MC Redders again for the dutty dancehall of ‘Vandilero’, and Rider Shafique for the cold bogle of ‘Organic’, plus a Zomby-esque instrumental ‘I’m An Adult’ with Halogenix, and a canny beatless roller with Om Unit, ‘Find A Way’.
Anna Homler presents a new album of quietly inquisitive collaborations following that acclaimed RVNG Intl reissue of her eponymous 1982 debut, which famously depicts her Breadwoman character (imagine John Merrick channelling an ancient babushka) providing a combination of inimitable gauzy electronics and vocal abstractions. On this new album she hands co-production over to PAN-affiliate Steven Warwick aka Heatsick, Gang of Ducks’ Alessio Capovilla, Mark Davies alias The Pylon King and the late Steve Moshier, who produced the original Breadwoman tape.
In opener ‘O’sa Va’ya’, Capovilla buoys Anna’s starkly impassioned cry with floating organ passages to utterly transportive effect, a kind of detached mirror image of This Mortal Coil / Liz Fraser’s take on 'Song To The Siren’, while Steven Warwick lends a more retro-futuristic melody to ‘Nepenthe’, named after the ancient Greek drug of forgetfulness, but ironically working as the most memorable piece on the album, framing Homler against a divine choir of herself and undulating, iridescent arps.
Steve Moshier appears posthumously on the album’s standout title track, underlining Homler's prelinguistic vocal with 15 minutes of whirling ambient passages that do much to highlight her instinct for inescapably formless shapes; a genuinely alien, multi-faceted and uncompromising exercise in sound art that we still can’t fully get the measure of several listens later.
The latest in a series of remastered archive releases on Fonolith from Neil Scrivin (aka Phono Ghosts and Meatbingo).
"Recorded during the winter nights of late 2004, ‘Stars and Rumours of Stars’ explores the duality of inner and outer space by way of digital soundscapes, reverb-heavy textures and crunchy percussive elements. From the chilly, wind-swept ambience of ‘Skywatch’ to the interstellar rush of ‘Omni Voyager’ and cyclical hypnotic groove of ‘The Power of the Spiral’, SAROS illustrates a moonlit meandering into darkened woods for encounters at the interstices between worlds."