‘FRKWYS Vol. 14 - Nue’ is a brilliant and uniquely beguiling study in non-standard tunings by Tashi Wada and his father, Fluxus artist Yoshi Wada, including input from Julia Holter, Simone Forti, Cole MGN, and Corey Fogel
Collaborating properly for the first time, Tashi and his father effectively serve an extension of the ideas in Yoshi’s classic side, ‘Earth Horns With Electronic Drones’. While we haven’t got an instrument list to hand, we can detect them using electronic synthesis, along with bagpipes, percussion, and vocals arranged at varying angles, smartly blurring their electro-acoustic distinctions at times, and at others using them quite explicitly in what may be perceived as richly dissonant tonal clashes.
In a very special way, the album is coolly tempered but riddled with wild unpredictability from song to song, starting out with the wilting electronic oscillations of ‘Aubade’, to scale the swelling bank of electronics and plangent bagpipes in the preceding single ‘Ground’, before massing in keening vocal harmony against a bed of electronics in ‘Ondine’.
The bagpipes return in a different way on ‘Double Body’, curled in almost jazzy ellipses around Corey Fogel’s slow, reverberating percussionin wonderfully unexpected ways, whereas the chiming percussive tingles of ‘Bottom Of The Sky’ recall stately Japanese Gagaku, and the pipes make another welcome return in close duet with the electronics on their self-explanatory and frankly fucking beautiful ‘Fanfare’.
For our money this is the strongest, spellbinding FRKWYS volume in its 10 year run - one of those records that restores faith, where needed, in the mysterious, inexplicable power of far out experimental music.
The Sufi Letters is a vast project of 28 compositions (for the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet) undertaken in 2000 and still ongoing, drawing inspiration from the symbolic charts found in Sufi mysticism.
"Each Letter is a sonic meditation on the frontiers of conscience and the paradoxes of time.Today's word, Du seuil [From the threshold], is the third word to be released by Sub Rosa. It is a journey of sort through grief: stages of conscience, journey through hell, nocturnal anxieties, meditation, resilience. Do not worry too much though, for isn't it from the distance of death that one can shine the best light on life? Isn't all grief also a threshold?" (JLF)
Jean-Luc Fafchamps is a pianist and composer. He studied at the Conservatoire in Mons and at Louvain University. A member of the Ictus Ensemble, he has taken part in many concert performances in large ensembles or chamber groups (performances of works by Lindberg, Reich, Aperghis, Mernier, Leroux, Harada, Francesconi, etc.) and in mixed performances, particularly accompanying dance (multiple performances with Rosas (Anne-Teresa de Keersmaeker)) and theatre (several creations with Aperghis). He has made recordings for Sub Rosa - with the Bureau des Pianistes and as a soloist - of works by Bowles, Liszt, Feldman, Dallapiccola, Duchamp, Scelsi and Berio and has contributed to numerous recordings with the Ictus Ensemble (Francesconi, Aperghis, Lindberg, Harada, De Mey, Mernier, Harvey, etc.) and has accompanied many singers."
Wolf Eyes prototype, Universal Indians, remerge with their hairier offspring for the wild and free trip metal scuzz of ‘Four Variations on ‘Artificial Society’’ under the Universal Eyes guise.
To make it clear - Wolf Eyes are now John Olson and Nate Young, while Olson has also been part of Universal Indian with Gretchen Gonzales and the (now) former Wolf Eyes member Aaron Dilloway since 1995. To make it simpler, Universal Eyes are basically Wolf Eyes with Gretchen Gonzales.
The addition of Gretchen seems to have triggered an acute regression to their most primitive shared states, prompting an hour long cold bath of no wave rock, animalistic electronics and improvised noise that recalls a dream we once had about an orgy of hippos and seagulls on quaaludes at a busy worksite in midwinter Michigan.
“You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?” - Thelonious Monk
"Hot on the heels of Impulse’s recent unearthed Coltrane Number One hit album comes another beauty from jazz’s ‘holy trinity’. This is a previously unreleased, precious lost treasure from Monk’s most critically acclaimed line-up; Charlie Rouse on saxophone, John Ore on double bass and Frankie Dunlop on drums.
Known as the ‘High Priest of Bebop’. Without a widely agreed must-have Monk release, could this fill the void as
the Monk everyone should own? Recorded live in Copenhagen in 1963 at the peak of Monk’s career. A year later he was to feature on the cover of TIME Magazine, one of only for four jazz artists ever to do so."
Western Vinyl present Brocker Wey’s original score to Netflix documentary series ‘Wild Wild Country’ - the story, which you simply couldn’t make up, about a controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his assistants, and their followers in Wasco County, Oregon in the 1980s
While there’s nothing particularly outstanding about the soundtrack, it simply did its job accompanying the images without distracting from them, there are some stronger moments to be found inside on the electronic work Be Grateful for This Beautiful Home, and the grandiose symphonic swells of The Burning Ghats, with its epic piano flourishes.
RIYL Osho, brainwashing, Sainsbury's vinyl section, vinyl frames.
After 25 years out of print, Julee Cruise’s 2nd album, produced by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, is finally pressed to vinyl by Sacred Bones. In case you’ve never heard it before, the vibe is as languid and dreamy as you could hope for, with highlights in the carmine noir of ‘Up In Flames’ and the subtle industrial underpinnings of ‘Until The End of The World’. Just unmissable late night music…
“25 years after its initial release, Julee Cruise’s sophomore album The Voice of Love is being issued for the first time on vinyl as a deluxe 2xLP, and returning to print on CD. In 1992, after the release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti, and Julee Cruise returned to the studio with new compositions as well as the intent to craft previously instrumental score-based material from Fire Walk With Me and Wild at Heart into Julee Cruise songs. The result was 1993’s final studio album The Voice of Love. “In the studio, David would always say ‘[sing] like an angel, like an angel…” Cruise remembers.”
A collection of valuable passages recorded by The Durutti Column between 1979 and 2011 for various iterations of Factory Records, including poignant tributes to manager/mentor Anthony H. Wilson.
“The Durutti Column was Tony’s baby,” says Durutti mainman Vini Reilly. “We were the first act signed up to his Factory club night, and the first band signed to Factory Records. Tony became my mentor, somebody to look up to. He was a very tough character, yet he was very gentle. He had many sides. The biggest arguments with Tony were that he wanted to stop me singing with my schoolboy lyrics and my dreadful voice.”
Reilly’s music remains resolutely unclassifiable, and sounds better and better with each passing year. “Don’t listen to the form,” he insists, “listen to the content. Don't listen to the style, the tradition, the technique, just the content of the music. Then judge. People say The Durutti Column is this or that. I don’t care so long as we make good music. There's so much good music around. Don't bother with form. Just enjoy.”
Max Richter supplies the brooding OST for ‘White Boy Rick’, starring Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt and directed by Yann Demange (Dead Set, ’71, Top Boy)
Accompanying the story of teenager Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison, Richter’s soundtrack oscillates tense minor key symphonies with passages of electronic dread and jagged synth rhythms in timeless fashion...
Cult slab of hybrid Japanese new wave, disco, avant synth-pop and electronic funk from 1981 Japan, dished up for a first vinyl reissue by Switzerland’s WRWTFWW Records. Strange, lingering echoes of ‘70s prog spill into the ‘80s, landing somewhere between David Bowie and Haruomi Hosono...
“WRWTFWW Records is deliriously happy to announce the reissue of the 1981 self-titled album from cult Japanese duo Colored Music, available on vinyl (housed in a Stoughton tip-on sleeve) and digipack CD, with liner notes by digger, curator, connoisseur, writer and legend Chee Shimizu.
An incredible mix of cosmic new wave, unconventional disco, avant-garde synth pop, and hybrid electronic funk, Colored Music is enchantingly unique, a sort of experimental and magnetizing take on David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy with a psychedelic Haruomi Hosono touch. From the groovy post-punk glam title track to the proto-house dance floor killer "Heartbeat", Ichiko Hashimoto and Atsuo Fujimoto hit all the right (and sometimes not-exactly-right-but-truly-genius) notes to create the odd and beautiful, an unparalleled audio escape to the best elsewhere you can think of.
Also playing on the album are celebrated musicians Mansaku Kimura, Shuichi “Ponta” Murakami (Pacific, KI-Motion by MKWAJU ensemble, collaborations with Jun Fukamachi, Yasuaki Shimizu, Haruomi Hosono…) Kiyohiko Semba, Tamio "Doyo" Kawabata, Pecker (Pecker Power recently reissued by Rush Hour) and Tatsuhiko Hizawa.”
What do you do when you’ve done a private gig performing MJ classics in Quincy Jones’ lounge in front Mr. Jones himself, supported Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour, co-written tracks on Thundercat’s opus ‘Drunk’ and written a song for the Lego ‘Ninjago’ movie? Sign to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, of course.
"‘Time’ is Cole’s third album - a casual but addictive blend of quickfire, hook-laden electrofunk bullets and wistful, soft-focus balladry - and it’s compelling. Featuring guests Thundercat, Brad Mehldhau, Genevieve Artadi and Dennis Hamm. For fans of Mac DeMarco, Thundercat, Connan Mockasin, KNOWER."
Written over the last year and, for the most part, written and recorded live in the Invada studios, Beak> continue to forge a path through their own genre of oddness.
"The production and feel of the first two albums was like listening through frosted glass; a band playing behind a curtain. Now we are hearing Beak> in sharp focus, but without forfeiting what the band see as its ‘wrongness’. This could be the result of having played bigger stages and festivals - something that was never part of the plan - or perhaps it is just a reaction to the infinite cut & paste fuzz pedal kraut bands on the planet.” – Redg Weeks, Invada Label Manager"
Prepare to be floored again by the great Lonnie Holley, back with his 3rd album - his 1st in five years - serving a unique perspective on contemporary America as the result of some 68 years living at its fringes; from a whisky house, to numerous foster homes, and later as an eminent outsider artist.
It’s hard to forget a first encounter with Holley’s singular style - ‘Just Before Music’ back in 2012 stuck out like one of his massive “thumbs up for Mother Earth” from everything around it, and to be fair it still does. While we weren’t so immediately enamoured with its follow-up, ‘Keeping A Record of It’, there’s no denying that his 3rd LP ‘MITH’ is a stunning and welcome return, delivering a necessary dose of emotional punishment that’s bound to resonate just as strongly, if not more than his debut.
More layered and diaphanous than either of Holley’s first two records, ‘MITH’ is an astonishing development of Holley’s soul-hocking sound, effectively blossoming from his bluesy seeds into staggering psychedelic blooms almost comparable to the difference between original blues and the freedoms of spiritual jazz, with Holley’s utterly inimitable voice bridging the difference, along with extra musical contributions from fellow travellers such as new age maestro Laraaji, jazz duo Nelson Patton, and production by Pakistani/American artist Shahzad Ismaily.
We’ll keep it simple: this record hurts in the most powerful, extraordinary way. Unmissable.
The master of slow-motion ambient/trance owns his style on ‘Infinite Moment’, his 6th album for Kompakt since the seminal ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ side won everyone’s hearts in 2007
Axel Wilner a.k.a. The Field has made his name with a smudged, looser take on Wolfgang Voigt’s grand billows as Gas, or the rolling Teutonic trance of Reinhardt Voigt.
On ‘Infinite Moment’ he once again hits the pleasure centres dead on with his blend of gauzily rugged grooves and hypnotic loops, but allows for some unexpected moments such as the junglist rush that crops up mid-way thru the slow, towering beauty of ‘Made of Steel. Made of Stone’, while the hazy drums of ‘Divide Now’ feel rawer, more affective than usual, and the slow, bobbing linearity of ‘Something Left, Something Right, Something Wrong’ feels as though it’s unravelling in myriad directions at once, while the title track simply plays deep into his classic formula of mesmerising, phasing slow trance.
Mats Erlandsson’s new collection of sound work, Hypodermic Letters, embodies a vast array of sonic multiplicities.
"Like light magically made audible, while in continuous disintegration, oscillating between the real and the illusory, the works contained in Hypodermic Letters insistently highlights the in-between only to forcefully push us to the beyond. By challenging our conventional ways of structuring the sensory into categories, e.g. the pure and the impure, the changing and the unchanging, or the unitary and the manifold, Erlandsson’s work provides an opportunity to let go and to dwell in unstructured phenomenality.
Hypodermic Letters is a shimmering interplay of the extremely remote and the radically proximate, the vast and the intimate. A sense of substantial materiality and referential stability is established momentarily only to face its immediate dissolution. Erlandsson’s use of ambiguity reveals a fundamental fragility at the core of certainty. But fear not, although elegantly masquerading as ambiguity, the dominating affective state of Erlandsson’s Hypodermic Letters is that of clarity.
The instrumentation of Hypodermic Letters is a careful combination of synthesized sounds, all of which were generated by analog means, recorded acoustic sounds of stringed instruments and the employment of algorithmic processing techniques. Erlandsson’s display of the molding of multistable textures with continuities of intervallically modulating modalities ultimately lends itself to a listening experience as intense as it is pure: a non-referential melancholia, a sorrow beyond sorrow.
With close attention to the most subtle facets of the sonic and a use of intonation and tuning as an integral part not only of harmony, but of the total field of sound itself, Erlandsson’s work makes us aware—that is, if we truly listen—of our capacity to enter worlds, or modes of being, and perhaps more importantly, of our capacity to leave our dysfunctional constructions behind. "
Bossman Aphex Twin coughs up a full gob of brainsmarts after teasing with some ace promo over the past few weeks
Fronted by the preceding ’T69 collapse’ sidewinder, the rest of the EP is actually stronger than that cut hinted at. ‘1st 44’ is the kind of darkside, slow/fast electro-dub workout we’ve craved to hear him make for time, while ‘MT1 t29r2’ also explores a sort of mutant electro-dub momentum, but spliced with a breakbeat hardcore fluidity riddled with proper gremlin synth voices.
Like we said, it only gets better, though, especially in the way he juggles complexity with a sort of rarified dance-pop elegance in the frenetic poise of ‘abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]’, and the fine tuned tangggggggg and mouth-watering pads of his jelly-limbed drill ’n bass exercise, ‘pthex’.
Following hard on the heels of BBE delving into the archives of Detroit’s Strata Records and delivering their widely acclaimed and hugely in-demand exploration of J-Jazz, comes another crate digger’s delight- Ralph Thomas’ ‘Eastern Standard Time’, which dropped the USA back in in 1980, on the obscure Zebra Jazz imprint.
"This is the is the kind of “spiritual’ jazz gem that appears on You Tube and upon checking it out on Discogs reveals a price well in excess of £150.00. To have it widely available in its original vinyl format, as well as digitally and on CD, is a real treat. So, who is Ralph Thomas?
The self-produced ‘Eastern Standard Time’ features Thomas on baritone, alto and tenor saxophones as well as flute and percussion. He describes himself as a practicing ethnomusicologist whose musical vision evolved during the Sixties and it’s Thomas’ multifaceted, global approach that gives the music on Eastern Standard Time’ an engaging and distinct flavour.
"My music has always been open to different cultures and sounds Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Mexican, Peruvian, American, Hebrew, Turkish, African, Indian and Japanese,” declares the Chicago born musician. While attending the Chicago conservatory of music in 1969 he became a member of the Chicago A.A.C.M, studying with master musicians Phil Cohran and Richard Muhal Abrams. He also recorded with well-known blues legends, Howlin' Wolf and Mighty Joe Young for the Cadet imprint of Chess records.
In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles and was employed as a session player with both 20th Century Fox and Motown – where he recorded with Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Rick James. In the early Eighties he was working for Quincy Jones Productions appearing on the soundtrack of Roots and The Color Purple but a passion for reggae music led him to Jamaica where he recorded with producer Jack Ruby and artists like Augustus Pablo and Gregory Isaacs.
In ’86 he moved to NYC where he collaborated with Boogaloo legend Johnny Colon and played with like-minded musical explorers Sun Ra, Don Cherry and Olatunji. However, by 1993 his restless spirit carried him to Paris where studied Ethnomusicology and performed with trumpeter Mra Oma and film-maker Ranaivo-Rajaona Hery. There were also gigs with percussionist Trilok Gurtu as well as drummer Sunny Murray and saxophone legend Archie Shepp. Upon moving to the South of France Thomas ran an art gallery and initiated his MusArt project – which has since toured in the US, Canada and Japan
After a productive stint in Chiang Mai, Thailand – where he immersed himself in Issan culture – Ralph Thomas recently relocated back to the US to live and work. Though creating a huge amount of music over the years ‘Eastern Standard Time’ remains Ralph Thomas' only album."
The final performance of Throbbing Gristle before their initial breakup, at the Kezar Pavillion, San Francisco on 29 May 1981.
‘Mission of Dead Souls’ documents the notorious final performance of Throbbing Gristle in their original incarnation (1975-1981). Recorded at Kezar Pavillion, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco on 29th May, 1981 and unavailable on vinyl since the early ‘90s, it’s now back on wax with a new inner sleeve including photos and a passage of text by Jon Savage
Recorded by Monte Cazzaza, long a satellite member of the band, ‘Mission of Souls’ captures the band in a period of broken relationships and internecine collapse, which definitely only adds to its historical weight as a document of the late 20th C’s most important band in its death throes.
Counting Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Peter "Sleazy” Christopherson on stage, the infamous four generate a dense black energy in ten parts, culminating in killer and now classic takes on ‘Spirits Flying’, a possessed version of ‘Persuasion U.S.A.’, and a trampling curtain call with ‘Discipline (Reprise)’.
A 2018 funk odyssey by keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer and astral traveller Brandon Coleman.
"A regular fixture in the Kamasi Washington band, Brandon Coleman is introduced onstage at gigs as ‘Professor Boogie’ by his longtime friend and collaborator. ‘Resistance’ represents a new chapter in the funk dynasty that spans Parliament, Funkadelic and Zapp through to Dr. Dre and Dâm-Funk as Coleman salutes his musical heroes - Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton, Roger Troutman - and honours their ethos of freedom and experimentation in his search for funk’s future. For fans of Kamasi Washington, Dâm-Funk, BadBadNotGood, Yussef Kamaal..."
Feeding strings through an array of modular synthesisers, Ben Chatwin remoulds his recent ‘Staccato Signals’ album into new microscopic electronic textures. ‘Drone Signals’, a companion piece to the original album.
"With all of the ‘Staccato’ material on hand, the task became dismantling the tracks - stripping them apart to see what was left, letting certain sounds or instruments become the focus and then rebuilding the arrangements around them. This allowed elements to breathe yet also to become more static. The less chaotic and more ambient nature of these pieces suggested a related album of versions, a conceptual sibling.
‘Drone Signals’ might best be understood as the aftermath of ‘Staccato Signals’, retaining much that made the latter such a rewarding album - its mournful beauty, the tense,ambiguous relationship between electronic and acoustic elements and a delicate if not volatile balance between elegance and intensity. ‘Drone Signals’ will no doubt appeal to fans of the experimental world-building of recording artists and soundtrack composers such as Ben Frost, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Max Richter, Johann Johannsson and Ryuichi Sakamoto."
Recorded as a piece of art for Italian National Radio RAI in Rome March 1981. On the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, RAI originally commissioned Cosey Fanni Tutti to create a sound work based on the theme of ‘A Journey Through The Body’. It became a Throbbing Gristle project which was later broadcast by RAI.
‘Journey Through A Body’  was the final Throbbing Gristle recording made at RAI Studios, Rome during their pivotal first phase of action, prior to reforming (and eventually disbanding again) in 2004. It’s long been a bugger or simply expensive to get hold of, and now reissued in the wake of a 40th anniversary edition of ‘The Second Annual Report’ and new editions of ’20 Jazz Funk Greats’ and ‘The Taste of TG: A Beginner’s Guide to Throbbing Gristle’.
Originally a Cosey Fanni Tutti commission from RAI Rome at the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, ‘Journey Through A Body’ became a full-blown TG project with all four members recording for five days at the legendary Roman studio in March 1981. Improvised recording sessions focussed around sections of the body were mixed down to tape immediately afterwards, with no re-recording allowed. In effect, the results land somewhere between “live” and ”studio” sessions, coughing up an uncannily acoustic-sounding portrait of the group at the end of their hugely influential early run.
The group’s response to the theme ‘A Journey Through The Body’ is typically variegated, forming a fascinating push and pull between industrial noise, Denny-esque exotica and a marvel of prepared piano abstraction in a way that doesn’t easily fit with any other period of their recordings. Making fine use of the esteemed facilities at RAI, Italy’s National Broadcaster, TG come off like a gnarled echo of Gruppo Di Improvvisazzione Di Nuova Consonanza or a prototype of Wolf Eyes’ trip metal in the 15 minute dosage of ‘Medicine’, before Cosey pulls out her wonky cornet on the gristlized electro slop of ‘Catholic Sex’, starring a blunted poem recited by Genesis P-Orridge.
Their core inspiration from Martin Denny meanwhile comes through patently in the unsettling exotica simulacra of ‘Exotic Functions’, before the prepared piano prangs into play along with rancid guitars and concrète cut-ups in ‘Violencia (The Bullet)’, and a wickedly refined sting in the tail with the warped, chamber-like piano abstraction of ‘Oltre Morte, Birth and Death’.
A new collection from Soul Jazz / Studio One focussing on the intense period in the second half of the 1960s when Studio One’s vast and unbeatable output of ska, soul, rock steady and reggae made it literally one of the hottest musical empires in the world.
"During this highly successful period, Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd released hundreds and hundreds of superlative singles seemingly on an almost daily basis, in the process making huge stars out of Jamaican singers such as Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, The Wailers, Slim Smith, Jackie Opel and many more. Powered by the finest in-house musicians working in Jamaica, whether it was The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo’s Soul Brothers, The Sounds Dimension or The Soul Vendors, Studio One functioned as hit factory on the scale of Motown in the USA, shaping and defining reggae music for decades to come. Singlehandedly Studio One’s founder Clement Dodd was able to create the most successful vertically-integrated record company that Jamaica had ever known with pressing plant, printers, studio, shops and sound systems all running at once, with over 50 employees and hundreds of artists working with Studio One during this time. "
Sublime, string-laden soundscaping, the full-length debut for Kranky by Julie Carpenter’s Less Bells, a must for fans of Stars of The Lid, A Winged Victory for the Sullen...
"She cites certain compositions as being “specifically inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry nights.” Utilizing an array of electronic and acoustic instruments, including cello, Optigan, violin, voice, and modular synth, Solifuge conflates not only the solitude and refuge of its title but also intimacy and grandeur, fragility and force, “building from austerity to wild overgrowth.”
She speaks of a creative process involving cut-ups and rearranging, mapping a melody for strings only to transpose it to synth, or refashioning a rigid classical piece as stream of consciousness soundscape. Carpenter’s versatility and embrace of flux fills these songs with a living, breathing quality, restrained but responsive, adapting to shifting conditions and emotions beneath the surface."
Who do we become when we live our dreams? It’s all here—the high hairdos, the dreams and schemes, the tender camp, the wedding bell fantasias and chaste tragedies.
"Sister acts, studio receptionists, classmates, angelic voices of the 1960s; some legendary, many hidden in the basement of expired rainbows. Gathered on this deluxe double LP (or CD) are 28 (56 on the compact disc!) foiled escape attempts, now free to soar in girl group heaven."
Capital Punishment’s 1982 sole LP Roadkill, reissues. For a band of high school weirdos who actually got their shit together enough to make a completely uncommercial album with no means to sell it shows a lot of determination, persistence and perhaps insanity. But it’s always those kinds of weirdos who go on to do great things – just ask Judge Peter Swann, Professor Peter Zusi, Kriss Roebling and Ben Stiller...
"If I were to tell you that a band of NYC teenagers who met in 1979 decided to form a band influenced by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Eno, Chrome and released a privately pressed record, it would be enough to pique your interest. When you find out the band consisted of a future Supreme Court Justice for Arizona, a Professor of Slavic Studies, a Musician/Documentarian whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge, and an A-list world-famous actor the story goes from being about another rare, privately pressed recording that’s been re-discovered, into something that’s pretty incredible."
This triple LP reissue of the band’s first two albums - the first installment in a three-part series dedicated to Dur-Dur Band - represents the first fruit of Analog Africa’s long labours to bring this extraordinary music to the wider world...
"Some thirty years after they first made such a splash in the Mogadishu scene, they have been freed from the wobble and tape-hiss of second and third generation cassette dubs, to reveal a glorious mix of polychromatic organs, nightclub-ready rhythms and hauntingly soulful vocals. In addition to two previously unreleased tracks, the music is accompanied by extensive liner notes, featuring interviews with original band members, documenting a forgotten chapter of Somalia’s cultural history.
Before the upheaval in the 1990s that turned Somalia into a war-zone, Mogadishu, the white pearl of the Indian Ocean, had been one of the jewels of eastern Africa, a modern paradise of culture and commerce. In the music of the Dur-Dur band - now widely navailable outside of Somalia - we can still catch a fleeting glimpse of that golden age. When Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Mogadishu in November of 2016, he was informed by his host that he would have to be accompanied at all times by an armed escort while in the country.
The next morning, a neighbour and former security guard put on a military uniform, borrowed an AK-47 from somewhere and escorted him to Via Roma, an historical street in the heart of Hamar-Weyne, the city’s oldest district. Although previous Analog Africa releases have demonstrated a willingness to go more than the extra air-mile to track down the stories behind the music, the trip to Mogadishu was a musical journey of a different kind. It was the culmination of an odyssey that had started many years earlier. In 2007 John Beadle, a Milwaukee-based musicologist and owner of the much loved Likembe blog, uploaded a cassette he had been handed twenty years earlier by a Somalian student.
The post was titled ‘Mystery Somali Funk’ and it was, in Samy’s own words, “some of the deepest funk ever recorded.” The cassette seemed to credit these dense, sonorous tunes to the legendary Iftin Band. But initial contact with Iftin’s lead singer suggested that the ‘mystery funk’ may have actually been the work of their chief rival, Dur-Dur, a young band from the 80s. Back then, Mogadishu had been a very different place. On the bustling Via Roma, people from all corners of society would gather at the Bar Novecento and Cafe Cappucino, watch movies at the famous Supercinema, and eat at the numerous pasta hang-outs or the traditional restaurants that served Bariis Maraq, a somali Beef Stew mixed with delicious spiced rice. The same street was also home to Iftinphone and Shankarphone, two of the city’s best known music shop. Located opposite each other, they were the centre of Somalia’s burgeoning cassette distribution network. Both shops, run by members of the legendary Iftin Band, would become first-hand witnesses to the meteoric rise of Dur- Dur, a rise that climaxed in April of 1987 with the release of Volume 2, their second album."
Sleaford Mods' first new music since last year’s ‘English Tapas’ album.
"The mini album was recorded in Spring 2018 in Nottingham and features five new tracks including lead track ‘Stick In A Five And Go’. Jason Williamson says about the new songs: “The lead tracks are mostly full of violent tendencies that only transpire through imagination. People are powerless under the political monster and the intense anger and frustration morphs into illusions of attacking each other through the bravado of social media, depression and paranoia.”
A live document of a performance by TG to a small and invited audience on 16 February 1980. Neither an insight into TG’s recording process nor private live show, Heathen Earth is it’s own entity and exists as a document and testament to a group of people at the height of their creative powers, recorded just over a year before they disbanded and terminated the mission.
Live performance brought out Throbbing Gristle's talents for improvisation and provocation, and it's no coincidence that most of their classic albums contain sizeable extracts and edits of their shows; the live arena - be it grotty club, gallery space, concert hall or even the band's own rehearsal space - is where the action and the innovation really happened.
The bulk of Heathen Earth documents one particular performance which took place in 1980 on "Saturday the 16th February between 8:10pm and 9.00pm"; the tracklist is filled out with two recordings from two separate performances in '78. It's a hugely enjoyable listen, arguably capturing better than any of the "studio" albums the tension between free-wheeling abstraction and structural discipline which defines the group. It's also probably the most obviously electronic TG album of its time, Gen's guitar and Cosey's cornet duelling with Carter and Sleazy's clipped, clammy minimal synth constructions: 'The Old Man Smiled', 'Something Came Over Me', 'Don't Do As Your Told, Do As You Think' and 'The World Is A War Film' are all breathtakingly, pulsatingly ahead of their time.
'Still Walking', first heard on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, sounds even more surreal and seductive in its live incarnation, Cosey's dour East Yorkshire vowels echoed to infinity, before P.Orridge presents a vision of paranoia and self-loathing purified in 'Sub Human' and 'Adrenalin' brings things to an oddly ecstatic, hi-NRG close, Carter fully indulging his arpeggiated Euro-disco inclinations.
Infinite, illusive, illuminating, What?? [1967/1977] is a focussed masterpiece of microtonal composition rendered with macroscopic vision by Swedish composer Folke Rabe. Intently grounded in studies of sonic phenomena and an urge to undo the strictures of Western composition in the late ‘60s, it exists in the same liminal, hypnotic category of sound craft as the work of contemporaneous artists such as Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock or Tony Conrad.
First written and released as one side of a split LP, this edition features the 25 minute original and its half-speed 50’ version - working one octave lower - which were issued together on CD by David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke’s Drag City subsidiary, Dexter’s Cigar in 1997, and then by Important in 2012 - both highly respected sets of ears who clearly acknowledge the enduring relevance and fundamental timelessness of What?? with subsequent generations of discerning listeners.
Incredibly complex yet soothingly sensitive, What??, (or Was?? as it’s also known), is an immersive attempt at isolating, controlling and smoothly consolidating the pitch intervals and tone colours of varying tuning systems foreign to the classical European canon. Embracing both the physicality and metaphysics of sound in a way that has been integral to ancient Indian musical systems for eons, yet pointedly backgrounded by the “ethnocentric idolization” of the west, whose notated systems restrict the potential for this sort of synaesthetically heightened expression.
Ultimately the results of Rabe’s explorations have a deep richness of intricacy and intangibility that reveals sound at its purest, unconditionally transcendent.
The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most unusual bands of their generation.
This is double CD Best-Of compiling all their best hits and a live show recorded at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London) in 2004.
Uncompromising and intensely high-register 26 minute computer music piece
“Second Editions presents Conduit by Kaori Suzuki. Originally conceived for live context employing high volume playback and extended duration, Conduit pushes the parameters of musical composition and perception. Minimal in construction, applying high frequency staccatissimo that gradually turns in on itself, Suzuki's latest output delivers a striking twenty-six minutes of intoxicating computer music. A remarkable statement.”
‘End Of The Game’ is the debut full length by Eyes Of Love, a band helmed by Brooklyn songwriter Andrea Schiavelli.
"Assembling a crew of some of the most skilled musicians in New York’s underground; Lily Konigsberg (Palberta, Lily and Horn Horse), Sammy Weissberg (The Cradle, Sweet Baby Jesus), Paco Cathcart (The Cradle, Shimmer), Schiavelli has cultivated a long player that is obedient to feeling and pulsates with urgent, anxious beauty.
These 14 tracks harness the chaos of reckless abandon amid classic structures. Fans of Eyes Of Love’s self-titled 7” EP will recognize a mastery of breezy pop in tracks like ‘Homeowners’ and ‘Players Of The Field’. We see the band turn toward experimentation on tracks like ‘New’, which alternates between driving power pop and percussive breakdown. The lush strings, arranged by Weissberg, on tracks like ‘Elevator’ and ‘End Of The Game, starkly frame Shiavelli’s earnest songs while adding a depth and variation to this album’s song cycle, as do the solo piano instrumentals ‘Piano1 Final’ and ‘New Piano’.
The full band tracks on ‘End Of The Game’ were recorded live, have no overdubs and are mixed with little or no effects - a rare technique these days and a sign of a band devoted to the details of their arrangements."
Midori Takada’s highly sought-after early recordings come to light in WRWTFWW’s reissue of her sublime début of chiming, minimalist percussion with Mkwaju Ensemble, ‘Ki-Motion’
Readily availed outside of the Japanese domestic market for the first time, Ki-Motion captures the essence of Takada’s music coming into being alongside Yoji Sadanari’s vibraphone and marimba, drums by Shuichi “Ponta” Murakami, and synthesiser gilding by Shuichi Chino.
Inspired by the myriad applications of the tamarind, or Mkwaju as it’s known in Swahili, which ranges from use a staple food, to craft the earliest marimbas and mallets, and a symbol of life in the dry Central African grasslands, Midori and co explore a synthesis of African and Far Eastern percussive traditions coupled with influences from American minimalism and emergent ambient styles in a way that creates timeless connections between far-flung cultures.
The result is a uniquely immersive environment meshed from swaying, moire patterns that evoke both Japanese and Central African traditions. However, they are often more rugged than you may have come to expect after being snagged on Takada’s Through The Looking Glass classic. In Wood Dance they catch a turbulent roil of proto-techno pulses prime for adventurous ‘floors, while Angora Steps is almost No Wave punkish in its dissonant drive, and Zindo Zindo trades in proper, raw, scratchy and buzzing rhythms in a way you won’t find her latest work. Of course, there are sweeter bits, too; Maximum could be an early pre-echo of the Ghost In The Shell soundtrack, and Ki-Motion and Hot Air are just melt-on-the-mind- beautiful.
Don’t sleep on this. A must have for all Japan-o-philes and ambient lovers!
Rarely has an album owed so much to production... Low return with their most daring, experimental release in years, co-produced by James Blake's man at the controls B.J. Burton, at times verging on a layered, pulsing electronic sound you'd associate with the likes of Andy Stott. Doused in distortion, throbbing electronics, submerged vocals, side-chain effects - this could easily have been a nauseating exercise in modernisation; but instead the strength of the songwriting shines through for one of Low's best = a standout full-length for 2018.
"In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.
Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fightsfor the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?"
Sarah Davachi serves her 2nd album of 2018 with ‘Gave In Rest’, offering a studio developed follow-up to her mesmerising album ‘Let Night Come On Bells End The Day’, which has quietly dominated our listening lives for months already...
As her beatific blends of early church, medieval and Renaissance musics have patiently and patently revealed over the past five years, Sarah’s works for piano, organ, synth, and woodwind demonstrate a unique gift for extracting and reworking the most affective spirits of church music to a secular appeal, effectively voicing a sort of metaphysical minimalism that could be explained as a result of deeply focused technique, but is perhaps better regarded as a timeless form of sonic alchemy.
Where her previous records were documents of a shorter time spent with her instruments, Sarah dedicated herself on ‘Gave In Rest’, spending a summer giving deeper consideration to how Renaissance musicians experimented with new instruments, forms and texture, and “how the quietude… and the openness of physical space, the stillness of altars“ in churches would have affected how they wrote. Subsequently recording with Howard Bilerman at Montreal’s hotel2tango (home of myriad, seminal Constellation recordings), Sarah brought those instrumental ideas to life with the modern addition of tape delays and chorusing effects to infuse and render shimmering new layers of timbral depth to her plaintive melodic gestures, and with a subtle yet unmistakably visceral impact.
In album opener ‘Auster’ she uses tape to slow down a recorder and open up its vibrating innards, revealing a tremulous, transfixing soul in the most humble of instruments, while the LP’s closer ‘Waking’ finds her locating elusive echoes of Baroque harmonies in that most soulful machine, beautifully realigning its putative purpose. In between, her tracks’ moods and titles chart a slow passing of day and night, from he ghostly elegance of ‘Third Hour’ to her sylvan ‘Evensong’, thru to the stately yet lip-wobbling beauty of ‘Matins’ at the album’s core, and perhaps best of all in the achingly evocative coruscation of ‘Gloaming’, a song we already know we’ll be returning to for many, many years to come.
The loaded, polysemous word ‘soul’ springs to mind, on the one hand connoting lofty notions of transcendence, contemplation and reverence, while on the other also helping to define a gentle, slow-burning modesty and broad appeal to practically anybody with ears and a functioning sense of empathy. But most of all, ‘Gave In Rest’ will strike a chord with anyone who listens properly and attentively. To use another loaded phrase, the devil is beautifully apparent in its gilded detail.
Hinosch is a probing, minimalist collaboration between Koshiro Hino ov the amazing Goat group and YPY project, with Düsseldorf’s Stefan Schneider. Mazy rhythms and electronic chicanery in very curious and nimble effect...
“They first met and began their collaborative work of musical interaction and exploring contrasting possibilities in 2017. After a number of concerts in the EU and in Japan, they released their self-titled debut EP (TAL 005EP, 2017). Fully instrumental, their first full-length album Hands offers a more steeply focused approach than its largely improvised predecessor. Encouraged by the momentum generated during a number of on-the-spot recordings in Osaka, where Schneider had held a residency in April 2017, the overall sound of the album has been honed down through meticulous studio engineering.
One of the outstanding qualities of Hands certainly is an unprejudiced approach of sound and song structures. The instrumentation is confidently reduced to a small range of analog and digital machines. Snatches of tape-loops deliver lower-pitched vocal and drum machine samples. This characteristic technical set up soon proved ideal in order to define a tactile vocabulary of fully unsynchronized rhythm patterns. The word tactile perfectly conjures that quality which is the very essence of Hands. It is the result of the manner in which interdependent threads of rhythm units are deliberately disconnected to form a cohesive, soulful and flexible whole.
Most tracks on Hands are devoid of a central motif and examine an unpredictable dialogue. A fantasy of constant change and a search for musical suggestions is the most vital ingredient in this abstract environment. The album title Hands refers to physical aspects of electronic music production. Every live concert of Hinosch usually starts out with a hand shake between Hino and Schneider. The general process of collective music making, programming, button pushing, playing, recording, decision making, all-demand utmost concentration.
The image on the front of the album sleeve -- designed by Takashi Makabe -- reflects the general approach of Hands: layers of tucked fabrics confronting one another to articulate a form for themselves to no other end than their own orchestration. Koshiro Hino's solo activities as YPY and his involvement with the band Goat have already garnered him a favorable international reception. Stefan Schneider has over the years produced and collaborated with, amongst others, Joachim Roedelius, Arto Lindsay, Klaus Dinger, Dieter Moebius, Alexander Balanescu, John McEntire, Katharina Grosse, Bill Wells, and St.Etienne.
132 Ranks for Pipe Organ was composed by Olivia Block in 2016-2017, as a commission for LAMPO and The Renaissance Society. Block composed the piece specifically for the enormous Skinner Organ at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago. The world premiere was performed by Block on April 21, 2017. The concert, free and open to all ages, and attracted a large crowd.
"132 Ranks was conceived as a hybrid of concert and sound installation. Six speakers were placed throughout the chapel. These speakers played white noise, sine tones, and prerecorded organ sounds, designed to interact acoustically with the live performance, and bring out the acoustics of the chapel in unconventional ways. White noise and low bass tones pulsed and sliced through the air, while sine tones and organ clusters created complex beating patterns and inner ear sound phenomena.
Audience members were participants, quietly walking through the majestic, dimly lit chapel. Listeners noticed how the acoustics, materials and shape of the space altered the live and recorded organ sounds as Block performed. Some audience members relaxed on the floor of the chapel, listening, while others explored the upper balconies and hallways.
132 Ranks was designed to emphasise the architectural qualities and unique sonic and spatial capacities of the Skinner Organ. The piece included both the lowest pedal notes, felt in the body, as well as the highest bell tones, played at extreme dynamic levels. At times, sounds were isolated in discrete locations to emphasise the chapel’s shape."
‘And Nothing Hurt’ is Spiritualized’s eighth album, the follow up to 2012’s ‘Sweet Heart, Sweet Light’.
"From the opening lullaby of ‘A Perfect Miracle’ through to the fading Morse Code at the close of ‘Sail On Through’, it painstakingly wraps layer upon layer of gloriously transcendent sound together to create a mesmerizing and cinematic collection of songs. There are points - the thunderous climax of ‘On The Sunshine’; the spectral waltz of ‘The Prize’; the towering guitar solo on ‘I’m Your Man’ - where the waves of blissful noise are almost overwhelming, where one can imagine the studio’s speakers vibrating themselves off of the walls. Which is an incredible feat when you discover that the album was conceived and recorded almost entirely by one man - Jason Pierce, AKA J.Spaceman - in an upstairs room in his east London home. Sat in an edit suite in Whitechapel a month or so after finishing recording, Jason talks honestly about the painstaking, frustrating process of creating ‘And Nothing Hurt’: “Making this record on my own sent me more mad than anything I’ve done before. We’d been playing these big shows and I really wanted to capture that sound we were making but, without the funds to do, I had to find a way to work within the constraints of what money I had. So I bought a laptop and made it all in a little room in my house.”
For the listener, the nine tracks on ‘And Nothing Hurt’ effortlessly replicate the scale and power of Spiritualized’s previous releases, whether it’s the sonic blowback of ‘On The Sunshine’, the last dime in the jukebox love letter of ‘Let’s Dance’ or the swell of an imaginary orchestra that seems to lift ‘Damaged’ towards the heavens as it plays out."
Chilly Gonzales kinda puts everything else into perspective with this time-stopping solo piano delicacy. Delivered on his personal imprint, Gentle Threat, this third volume in his much loved Solo pIano series teases out fleeting emotions with each flurry of keys, sure to seduce anyone who’s still smote by the now classic album first volume.
"The album comes six years after Solo Piano II and, according to Gonzales, at “a more problematic inﬂection point”. "Like its predecessors, it’s a mostly happy ending in C major, but there is more dissonance, tension and ambiguity along the way… The musical purity of Solo Piano III is not an antidote for our times, it is a reﬂection of all the beauty and ugliness around us.”
Known as much for the intimate piano touch of best-selling albums Solo Piano I and Solo Piano II as for his showmanship and composition for award-winning stars, "Gonzo", as he is known to close collaborators, aims to be a man of his time, approaching the piano with classical and jazz training but with the attitude of a rapper. He holds the Guinness world record for the longest solo concert at over 27 hours. He performs and writes songs with Jarvis Cocker, Feist and Drake, among others, with recent collaborators including the likes of Ibeyi and Toddla T. With Never Stop, Chilly Gonzales composed a global hit for the inaugural Apple iPad 2 campaign. In 2014 he won a Grammy for his collaboration on Daft Punk’s ‘Best Album of the Year’ and composed the best-selling book of easy piano pieces Re- Introduction Etudes. With his last album Chambers, Chilly Gonzales devoted himself to ﬁnding a modern take on chamber music.
Most recently, Chilly Gonzales ventured into a new form of entrepreneurship. A culmination of recent years’ explorations in teaching, Gonzo inaugurated his very own music school: The Gonzervatory.
During this all-expenses-paid residential music performance workshop held in Paris, 7 selected students explored Musical Humanism, audience psychology and what it means to be a performing musician in 2018. After a week of intensive coaching, masterclasses and rehearsals, these young musicians performed a concert for an audience of 1500 fans with Chilly Gonzales himself as Master of Ceremony."
After announcing he’s winding down from duties in The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann “checks the juice” with a fine, squashed set of ambient-dub-techno jaunts. Make sure to check for the roiling acid-dub flow of ‘Morrislouis’, the way that the bassline on ‘Window’ practically drops out of the speakers, and the spiralling waltz of ‘Freiluft’.
"Establishing a picture of his current artistic condition, as suggested by the title - los lagos / die lage / the situation (literally translating to 'the lakes' but taking the meaning of 'wassup' in the context of a relaxed discussion between friends), the album refers to Fehlmann's "musical motivation, dreams and wishes" through the language of music exclusively: a way to "allow myself to techno" he says, "to techno as a means to deconstruct and rebuild again. Set up an area of tension, loose it in the flow of the grooves. Magnifying some detail out of proportion, regroup around that and slowly knit a texture. Expand."
"It was time to take a bend and head where the sun rises or sets, wherever my heart drives me." This is pretty much the kind of decision Thomas Fehlmann has made. 61 and shining, longstanding member of The Orb, multi-talented composer and boundless experimentalist, had to make in the twilight of his collaboration with Alex Paterson, eager to taste the flavours of the unknown on his own again. "It was the moment when felxibility would have become compromise”. Far from being the demise of their joint dream, this was bound to split it in two distinct, parallel fantasies - rich of their own singularity.
As goes with that essential love of his for the free-flowing nature of electronic music, a fascination born out of its "lack of borders", capable of "inventing, changing the emphasis, experimenting with an unpredictable outcome", 'Los Lagos' "freely connects disparate extremes. Art, disco, minimalism, schmalz, jazz and funk". As he likes to say, Fehlmann's head functions as a sampler, capturing elements and re-assembling them under his own embracing perspective ; not afraid to leap from a deep, dubbed-out hypnotism ('Window', 'Morrislouis', 'Freiluft') to the playfulness of '90s-style bleepy schaffel ('Tempelhof' featuring Max Loderbauer), through out-there, muscle-flexing dancefloor cuts ('Triggerism') onto the calmness of ambient ('Geworden’).
In need to keep his inner balance in check, Fehlmann committed himself to "switch off the control" and follow his intuition, which isn't so much of an easy process as he also wanted to incorporate the side disturbances experienced: "it’s a complex process of search and destroy to bring out a new beauty trying to expand my vocabulary". With 'Los Lagos', Fehlmann looked at finding "the structure that's surprising, disturbing and rewarding". The artwork for the record, courtesy of contemporary artist and friend Albert Oehlen whom he shares lots of artistic ambitions with, echoes the producer's "funky use of shape and space, sludge and clarity" like a second skin. A search for light and harmony that Fehlmann sums up eloquently: "Does your inner musical voice respond?", that is the question. Then "doors open up in unexpected corners, rays of light appear; you follow through and you're in - in your oasis."
Highly impressive new full-length from Ipek Gorgun. Eschewing any notions of easy-to-consume ambient music, Ipek instead orcestrates an ambitious mass of sound indebeted to musique concrète but also taking in field recordings and a documentary style that lends the album its winding narrative structure. If you're into anything from Lenka Clayton’s collage work to Ilhan Mimaroglu’s pioneering electronic works - we wager this one will rule your world.
"Ecce Homo explores the lighter and darker shades of the human psyche, behaviour and existence, and humanity's ability to create beauty and destruction. What lies in the essence of such complexity has become a core idea for the album, while Gorgun seeks to figure out if there is a true meaning to being human, and human being.
Starting with “Neroli” as a human fascination with nature and finalising with “To Cross Great Rivers”; a never ending hopeless dream of the mankind to conquer and control the world, the album reflects the contemplations of a spectator being exposed to the human civilization, and witnessing human activity, including his/her own.
Trying to acquire a glimpse of the multiple layers of such narrative, the sound of the album aims to present a diversity of the sonic spectrum, with tracks varying between ambient and noisy landscapes.”
‘Burn Slow’ is a 10-track album from Chris Liebing with vocal contributions from a diverse range of artists: Miles Cooper Seaton (Akron / Family), Mute labelmate Polly Scattergood (onDeadWaves), Cold Cave, Aleen and, of course, Gary Numan.
"‘Burn Slow’ is a minimalist electronic epic and the start of a new chapter for one of techno’s leading authorities. It might not be what you expect for a DJ synonymous with fast, hard and heavy techno but, according to Chris Liebing, he’s always been something of a slow starter: “I’ve wanted to do something like ‘Burn Slow’ all my life,” he says.
While retaining the framework of the techno beats that Chris Liebing has dedicated his life to for the past 25 years, here he also seeks out new harmonic territories, taking aim at the heart rather than the feet, in order to tackle some deep themes. The key concept of presence - the idea that everything is happening in this moment and that everything in the past is mere memory - form the thematic backbone of the record. It’s something Liebing got in touch with via philosopher Alan Watts, not to mention decades of getting entire dancefloors lost in the present: “If people would stay in the now, everything in the world would just have a bit more harmony,” explains Liebing.
Liebing has teamed up with Ralf Hildenbeutel (a key part of the long since defunct Eye Q family) for ‘Burn Slow’ and it was at his new musical ‘enabler’ Hildenbeutel’s Frankfurt studio that Liebing began drifting into new territory."
Ital Tek re-emerges with ‘Bodied’, his 6th album of sci-fi electronic scaping, with an increasing emphasis on the sci-fi part, and more sparing, spacious use of rhythm. make sure to check for highlights in the escalating energy of ‘Hymnal’, the teetering sound design of ‘Lithic’, and the staggered fulminations of ‘Bodied’
“Ital Tek's 'Bodied' is the follow up to his acclaimed 2016 album 'Hollowed'. Stepping in a different direction from that album, It’s as if Hollowed's detailed world has been fleshed out and filled with the spectre of human voices.
As on his last album, the sounds on 'Bodied' are highly designed, but this time barely a whisper of dance music remains. Instead it's built around acoustic elements and ghostly choral arrangements, refracted and transformed into atmospheric, alien forms which are given the time to settle and transform. Rhythm is used only as a tool to give his world a sense of dark, mechanical momentum.
Alan explains; "After completing 'Hollowed' I had over a year away from writing any of my own material. I was working, composing music for a video game and a number of different projects. I needed to find a way back in and I rediscovered the joy of music being a release as opposed to a job. I was getting up really early and sketching out lots of ideas very fast, squeezing in quick bursts of writing at the beginning or end of long studio day spent working on other musical projects."
"It was important for me to define the world that the album was going to inhabit before taking it any further, so I put a much greater focus into the sound design and palette than I had before. I wanted to make the music sound very physical, geometric, and monolithic, as if it inhabited a physical space."
"On 'Bodied' the music focuses on the interplay between the minuscule and the vast, beauty and brutalism. With this album I was much more concerned with dynamics and the discipline of holding tension; the use of space and silence to provide a counterpoint to the intensity."
"Most importantly, I was keen for there to be a human acoustic foundation, so I did a lot of live recording of cello, violin, harp and guitar - anything I could get my hands on. I was certain that I wanted there to be a greater vocal presence - nothing lyrical or at the forefront but to give it an underlying organic quality - to impart some humanity into the music."
As Ital Tek moves further from his roots, he's creating new sounds and spaces in which his music can exist. It's up to the listener to decide what kind of world 'Bodied' evokes, but it's certainly one that's beautiful and rewarding to spend time in.”
Thomas Ankersmit, last seen on a pair of excellent albums for PAN and Touch (in 2011 and 2014, respectively) pays tribute to legendary Dutch composer / electronic and tape music pioneer Dick Raaijmakers with an extended study in electronic music, utilising Serge Modular feedback and sine/pulse/random generators, contact mic, and tape speed variation to mirror some of Raaijmakers’ deeply weird experiments. As the label so eloquently explain - despite the abstract nature of the material, a sense of loss somehow pervades.
Raaijmakers is a genuinely legendary figure in the history of electronic music, and Thomas Ankersmit’s fitting homage lands almost five years to the date of his passing, aged 83, in September 2013. Replete with experiments with sounds not found in the music, but generated by the listener’s own ear as a strange side-effect, this extended piece re-contextualizes Raaijmakers’ ideas about composition and spatial experience to focus on the sounds of raw electricity through creatively abused electronics, composing with analogue micro-sounds, and the three-dimensional sound fields; referencing storms, thunder, crashing and falling objects, and distant radio transmissions.
The concept of the recording is directly inspired by Raaijmakers’ thoughts on “holophonic” sound fields to be individually explored by the listener. With this phenomenon, the listener’s inner ears actively generate sounds that don’t exist in the recorded signal, and which can change with a small movement of the head. In other words; it’s unlikely that you will experience this piece of music in quite the same way as anyone else, or that you will experience it that way more than once. And it’s perhaps this sense of transience; of not quite knowing whether what you’re listening to has a real, physical presence, or is a direct result of strange otoacoustic phenomena, that imbues this work with such unexplained melancholy.
Listening to music borne out of conceptual curiosity, it's rare to suddenly find yourself staring into space, thinking about time, about the intangible essence of experience and beauty, of life itself. Homage To Dick Raaijmakers is an exceptional recording; approach with patience and care.
Supersilent maestro Arve Henriksen yields a proper release of his haunting suite, ‘The Height of the Reeds’, originally commissioned for a sound walk over the Humber bridge in Hull. In its play of scale, scope, and its balance of quietly fraught tension and epic symphonic gestures, this one is another masterpiece in Arve’s huge oak cabinet...
“"The Height Of The Reeds" started as a commissioned work to the city of Hull, Great Britain´s cultural capital 2017. Composed by Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang, the work celebrates the longstanding seafaring relationship between Hull and Scandinavia. It was originally the musical companion to a sound walk that took place in April, May and June 2017.
Those who took part could listen to the music on headphones while crossing the Humber Bridge. Initially intended for April only, the arrangement proved so popular it ended up with selling out three months, a total of 15.000 tickets. This beautifully evocative music can now be experienced through this release, where only minor adjustments have been done to justify the transition from sound walk to album. It´s an exquisite addition to Arve Henriksen´s large and fast growing discography, and sits perfectly well with his popular Jan Bang contributions "Chiaroscuro" (2004) and "Places Of Worship" (2013).”
Factory Benelux presents a deluxe edition of Without Mercy, the fourth studio album by cult Manchester group The Durutti Column, originally issued in 1984 and widely regarded as Vini Reilly’s most ambitious album.
"In 1983 Durutti Column mentor/manager Tony Wilson asked Vini Reilly to abandon fleeting guitar miniatures in favour of a long-form modern classical piece. The result was an ambitious 20 minute instrumental suite, Without Mercy, performed by core Durutti duo Vini Reilly and Bruce Mitchell along with Blaine L. Reininger and John Metcalfe (violas), Caroline Lavelle (cello), Tim Kellett (trumpet) and Maunagh Fleming (cor anglais).
Explains Vini: “Tony had just come in for a conversation one day and said, ‘Look, you keep making these albums that you want to make, and I’m quite happy with you doing that, but just give me this one album and do it my way.’ He wanted it to have a narrative determined by a Keats poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which he said was the poet’s version of a pop song: boy meets girl, falls in love with girl, loses girl, blah blah blah. It was a very, very Tony way of looking at it. He had aspirations that I should be taken seriously.”
Produced by Reilly and Wilson at Strawberry Studio and Britannia Row, Without Mercy was originally split into 19 separate stanzas, some of which have now been restored using digital cue points on the CD. Bonus tracks include the original recordings of Duet, Estoril a Noite and Favourite Descending Intervals (all re-worked for inclusion on Without Mercy), as well as companion EP Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, collaborations with John Metcalfe, Steven Brown and Benjamin Lew, and two previously unreleased live sets across Discs 3 and 4, recorded at London School of Economics in December 1984 and Oslo in December 1986."
Ólafur Arnalds' new record 're:member' features Ólafur’s new software, Stratus, which transforms the piano into a "unique new instrument".
"The Stratus Pianos are two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Ólafur, and are the centrepiece of his new works. The custom-built software is born out of two years of work by the composer and audio developer, Halldór Eldjárn. The algorithms generated from Stratus were also used to create the innovative album artwork. On the album Ólafur uses these methods reinvigorate the compositional experience, feeding back into the creative process in a completely new way.
As Ólafur plays a note on the piano, two different notes are generated by Stratus, creating unexpected harmonies and surprising melodic sequences. Speaking of the album, Ólafur says, “This is my breaking out-of-a-shell album. It’s me taking the raw influences that I have from all these different musical genres and not filtering them. It explores the creative process and how one can manipulate that to get out of the circle of expectations and habit.”
Carsten Nicolai’s Noton present a masterclass in minimalist electronic discipline with Mika Vainio, Ryoji Ikeda + Alva Noto’s powerfully future-proofed Live 2002 performance, recorded at Newcastle’s Baltic arts centre.
The only known recording of the trio, as far as we’re aware, Live 2002 documents three visionary artists in seamless, indivisible collaboration segueing from sublime drone darkness (Movements 1) thru what sounds like a massive computer server centre playing dancehall (Movements 2 + 4), to fiercely dense electro dynamics (Movements 6) and passages of purest, rolling techno pressure (Movements 8), intercut with bodiless, beatless electronic frequency massages.
Being familiar with each artist’s respective, individual catalogues, we’re pretty astonished at the level of democratic control between the three singular producers. While it’s maybe possible (or pedantic) to pick out who’s doing what, and where and when, ultimately the 45 minute performance is a lesson in subtlety and restraint at the service of generating powerful, coolly organised pressure systems, without recourse to convention/cliché (delete as applicable), offering electronic sounds at the purest and perhaps even egoless. Definitely no grandstanding doofus in front of a massive IPhone screen filtering dull as fuck doofs here.