Cult DJ/producer Wata Igarashi's long-awaited debut album is a sci-fi tinged, psychedelic headmelt that takes its cues from Drexciya, Jeff Mills and Steve Reich, spiraling from foot-stomping 4/4 into xenharmonic, Fourth World oddness. RIYL Donato Dozzy, Don't DJ, Rrose.
There aren't many myths with the enduring allure of the "hollow Earth", the idea that beneath the crust lies a hidden kingdom inhabited by an advanced race of demi-gods. Igarashi takes his concept from the legend of Agartha, a land that was perhaps designed by alien colonists millennia ago and fascinated German occultists in the early 20th Century. In Igarashi's hands, Agartha is a way for him to exercise his most free-flowing ideas, released from the dancefloor utilitarianism of techno and his day job writing music for TV and adverts. He imagined the tracks as cues for an imaginary movie about the mythical kingdom, weaving his wiry influences into a glittering, narrative-driven tapestry. And if you're sensing a Drexciyan undercurrent here, it's entirely intentional - in considering the album format, Igarashi has clearly gone back to the techno full-lengths that actually last, and it's records like 'Neptune's Lair', 'Grava 4' and Jeff Mills' hyper-conceptual 'Metropolis' that cast the longest shadow on 'Agartha'.
That's not to say that the album is stylistically lashed to history either - Igarashi's been developing his vortex-like, psychedelic brand of techno for years, and it's still present on 'Agartha' even though it's been given more of a cinematic thrust. While gaseous, beatless tracks like 'Abyss I' and the Reichian, kosmische slow-burner 'Floating Against Time' enhance Igarashi's narrative, they inevitably couch more upfront tracks like the serpentine, electroid 'Searching' and Jon Hassell-inspired 'Subterranean Life'. And on the lengthy 'Burning', Igarashi mashes his influences into one extended track, touching Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze's most celestial beatmusic. 'Agartha' meanwhile is slowed to a crawl, all glacial hand drums and peculiar arpeggiated modular bleeps. Very strong stuff!
Instrumental hip hop nuts snagged on J Dilla, Prefuse 73, Express Rising or Mike Slott need to check for the rugged morsels in Joni Void’s DIY sampledelic downbeats - one of those unexpected curveballs Constellation have a knack for. Also features Owen Pallett up in it.
“Everyday Is The Song is Joni Void’s third album for Constellation and a deeper plunge into emotive audio montage; the Montréal-based French-British producer calls it “Tape Vortex / Musique Verité / Memory Collage”. The album’s raw material relies centrally on a Walkman bought at local record shop Death Of Vinyl in spring 2020 and lost at a Backxwash show two years later, but not before hours of audio snippets were captured and archived. Everyday Is The Song is an evocative sample-based sonic diary brimming with warmth, transience and hyper-specificity where Void explores a more abstract and interstitial terrain of drifting miniatures. It remains very much a collection of songs, but relative to the more assertive and intensive tracks channeling explorations of traumatic interiority on their previous pair of acclaimed LPs, Void’s new album flows with intentional lightness and a more incidental atmosphere. Songs are constructed from audio recordings made all over and often while literally on the move: walking, cycling and skateboarding around the city; in bus and train stations; from car windows. The album’s overt musical material was recorded, often spontaneously and informally, in all sorts of jam spaces, living rooms and at local live shows. Perambulation is a central theme and constituent fabric of Everyday Is The Song, carrying with it a colloquial spirit of gentle, intrinsic sentimentality. The self-proclaimed “love, soul, agency, and whimsy” virtues of Ruby Yacht (R.A.P. Ferreira, Pink Navel, et al) have also been a lodestar for Void in this respect.
As Sasha Geffen writes in their glowing 8.0 Pitchfork review of Joni Void’s last album Mise En Abyme (2019): "There is still experience that can't be atomized and analyzed, however slippery it may be even to those feeling it; [Void] hunts that sensation of flux and liminality, unearthing warmth in a landscape of paranoia." Everyday Is The Song continues in this ineffable vein, but on an explicit mission to substitute psychosis with the ephemera of fleeting delight in observation, documentation, participation, the daily small acts of sharing, caring, enthusiasm and kindness of creative being-in-the-world. The album’s sonic travelogue through local audio geography and community conveys a sort of urban pastoralism and charming softness. Less kinetic and beat-driven than previous work, a field recording and audio art sensibility prevails, with a tempered intimacy that sends this new song cycle sailing along mostly dulcet but detailed waves of materiality. The result is an electro-acoustic tape collage album of beautifully drifting melody, occasional voice, wide-ranging ‘instrumentation’ and enchanting texture. Void’s deeply personal and keenly original aesthetic of assemblage and experimentation is on fine display, less burdened by forceful statement-making, but scrupulous, generous, and full of feeling.”
Contemporary, avant hip hop and jazz fusion from MC and producer Kassa Overall starring guest vocalists Danny Brown, Laura Mvula, Lil B, Shabazz Palaces, and arrangements by Jherek Bischoff.
“On his first two studio albums GO GET ICE CREAM AND LISTEN TO JAZZ and I THINK I’M GOOD, Kassa layered virtuosic drumming, meticulous production techniques, and incisive lyricism to establish himself as a rhythmic innovator and visionary poet, using his voice to address the injustices of the carceral system, the pharmaceutical industry, and anti-black racism, while wrangling with the perils of his own mental illness.
On ANIMALS, his Warp Records debut, Kassa pushes his kaleidoscopic, subversive vision further. He layers Roland 808s against avant-garde drumming in the vein of his mentors Elvin Jones and Billy Hart, the latter of whom he studied with at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Virtuoso musos appear alongside rap poets, including Danny Brown, Wiki, Lil B, and Shabazz Palaces. Top-flight jazz improvisation weaves in and out of orchestral string arrangements by Jherek Bischoff. The album’s diverse, all-star roster of collaborators includes several of his close friends, like vocalists Nick Hakim, Laura Mvula, Francis and the Lights, and jazz stars like Theo Croker and Vijay Iyer.
ANIMALS pushes Kassa’s message further too, the title a loaded metaphor for the paradoxes of his life as an entertainer and as a black man in America. ANIMALS is the sound of an artist aware of the cost of embodying one’s natural self in the public eye, a deep reckoning with the two-sided truth that to perform one’s freedom for an audience can mean succumbing to life inside a cage.”
Kieren Hebden's Fridge released 'Happiness' in 2001, moving away from the post-rock that dominated their earliest releases into a clattering hybrid sound that Four Tet would later continue to develop solo.
It's remarkable how tracks like 'Drum Machines & Glockenspiel' foreshadow the music Hebden would later perfect on 2003's "rounds". At the time Fridge, a three-piece band Hebden had formed alongside Adem Ilhan and Sam Jeffers, had been moving further and further from their roots as a broadly rock-focused outfit. 1999's "Eph" brought two step rhythms and electronic techniques into the process, and "Happiness" built out from that point, hinting at contemporaneous "folktronica" but not completely leaning into it.
In fact, the album doesn't really lean into anything. "Happiness" is pleasantly unmoored, and works well as background music, its repetitive, mantra-like formulations coming across like a rudimentary, sober answer to Ash Ra Tempel and Amon Düül II's far more psychedelic experiments a couple of decades earlier.
Welsh post-punks Chain of Flowers find a levitational space between Joy Division, Talk Talk and The Cure on "Never Ending Space", their long-awaited second album.
The pandemic album might be a cliche at this stage, but it's a reality for many bands and artists who were given a long spell of relative inactivity to work out where they wanted to head creatively. "Never Ending Space" was formed during lockdown, when Chain of Flowers relocated to London from Cardiff to extend a handful of songs into a proper full-length. The time and focus was important to the band, who'd been stewing over the direction of their sophomore album since the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2015. And it was worth the wait: "Never Ending Space" realizes their vision artfully, diluting their anthemic post-punk poetics with cavernous shoegaze reverberations and the kind of high-minded instrumentation (trumpets, saxophones) that isolated Talk Talk from the rest of the scene in 1988.
The band's cosmic coruscations shine through most vividly on memorable stand-outs like 'Amphetamine Luck' and 'Serving Purpose'. On the latter, frontman Joshua Smith bellows like it's 1982 over jangling riffs and druggy synths, letting the percussive drive of the track blur into white noise - it's a pop song, just about, but smudged into an echo of forced nostalgia and strangled contemporary hope. We're most excited about the band's more low-key movements mind you, like the David Sylvian-esque 'Praying Hands, Turtle Doves' that stifles the pace and fleshes out the instrumentation, building a neo-fourth world atmosphere out of hollow percussion, twinkling electronics and brassy inflections. Strong stuff.
British folk music’s most important, historic voice presents her 3rd solo LP with Domino after returning from 50 years in the wild, including a song recorded with her sister Dolly in 1980, nestled amid a dozen new charms.
Shirley Collins is a national treasure and a legend in her own lifetime. Her songbook opened in the ‘50s as part of the British folk revival, which saw her introduced by Ewan McColl to ethnomusicologist and field recordist Alan Lomax, with whom she would live in London, before famously travelling to the US deep south, where they documented myriad strains and styles of blues and folk just as the commercial recording industry was beginning to extinguish their flames.
Decades of classic LPs followed between Shirley’s ‘Sweet England’ (1959) and ‘Amaranth’ (1976), and then next to nothing (aside a guest vocal on C93’s Black Ships Ate the Sky’ in 2006) until she returned, rare comet-like, with ‘Lodestar’, a quietly breathtaking album unusually but fittingly recorded with Coil & Cyclobe’s Ossian Brown, Stephen Thrower and Michael J York, that would revive interest to her voice of ages. After dropping the ‘Heart’s Ease’ session during lockdown in 2020, ‘Archangel’ now marks another enchanting return to her craft, largely shedding the subtly cosmic psychedelic dressing of the last two in favour of hearty, original folk paeans to her native Sussex.
‘Archangel Hill’ is absolutely primed for a hot summer in England with a semi-reprisal of Shirley’s Lodestar band, produced by Ian Kearey of ‘80s Canterbury folk rock/punk group Oysterband, and featuring Pip Barnes, Dave Arthur and Pete Cooper on drums, mandolin, acoustic guitar, fiddle, harmonica, accordion, dulcimer - a classic folk set-up, in other words. The baker’s dozen songs depict Shirley as an enviably spry 87 year old with a legendary voice steeped in studious and osmotic experience that echoes across eons.
From the classic pastoral English lilt of ‘Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear’ to the knees-up Appalachian jig of ‘June Apple’ or the Irish-sounding ‘Swaggering Boney’, Shirley sounds incredibly comfortable in herself, exploring a spectrum of folk that leans hither/thither to captivating ballads set with stormy field recordings in ‘High and Away’ or ‘Archangel Hill’, alongside enchanting storytelling of ‘Oakham Poachers’, with licks of slide guitar nodding to US blues in ‘Hares on the Mountain’, and for great measure, a live 1980 recording of Shirley with sister Dolly Collins, herself a British folk legend, on ‘Hand and Heart’.
GUT, from Ivor Novello winning musician and composer Daniel Blumberg.
"An unflinchingly raw and personal album. A suite of six songs performed entirely by Blumberg comprising an extraordinary, soaring vocal take and an unconventional palette of bass harmonica, Steinberger ebass, synthesiser and electronic drums. The album makes reference to the intestinal disease Blumberg has suffered over the last few years, its songs tracing a body stripped back and rebuilt: renderings of pain, frustration and fatigue in ballads made sinew and bone."
Hako Yamasaki's extraordinary 1975 debut album 'Tobimasu' gets a long-overdue reissue - properly crucial psychedelic folk pop for anyone into Sibylle Baier, Linda Perhacs or Bridget St. John.
Yamasaki had only just graduated high school when she released 'Tobimasu' on one of Japan's first independent record labels, Elec Records. She immediately attracted attention for her blue-hued folk, and released over 20 albums between 1975 and 1996, moonlighting as an actress, but the secret to her success is more complex than it seems. Yamasaki's painful songs came from a woman's perspective at a time when feminism was gaining traction in Japan, and her voice added an air of nostalgia to progressive ideas.
'Tobimasu' has finally been remastered and repackaged by the ace WRWTFWW imprint, who have bundled it with original artwork - and the label has also re-issued the album's acclaimed follow-up 'Tsunawatari'. Light-headed and whimsical, Yamasaki's debut is a precocious memory of lost love and broken dreams that's rendered with heartbreaking accuracy. It's hard to believe that at 18 years old she was able to impart so much emotion from just her voice, but the album still sounds like little else - resonating well with the experimental psych-folk of the era. Recommended.
A haunting picture postcard of psych-folk past from cult Japanese artist and pioneering feminist Hako Yamasaki, issued in ’75 when she was aged 18, and now revealed as a must check for fans on the line from Maki Asakawa to Les Rallizes Denudes, Shirley Collins and Joni Mitchell.
"Recorded right after her outstanding debut Tobimasu, Tsunawatari was released in 1976 on Elec Records, one of the first independent labels in Japan, and solidified Hako Yamasaki as one of the most gorgeous voices of the country and an exceptional musician and singer. A truly perfect follow-up, it immortalizes the bitter beauty of heartache with tearful performances and nostalgic empowerment.
The beauty of melancholic songs reaches heartbreaking heights in Tsunawatari, a magnificent ode to the sorrow of lost love and the time that passes offered to the world with a very unique brand of folk music. The kind of folk that goes for the guts, folk that shamelessly flirts with tearful blues, contemplative soft pop and psychedelic nostalgia. Put the needle on "Help Me" - there’s simply no holding back.
Hako Yamasaki, a pioneer in both the creative boom and the rise of feminism of 1970s Japan, went on to release over thirty albums, building an impressive discography and a fascinating career filled with ups and downs. Her work, inimitable and timeless, deserves the utmost recognition and should be celebrated. Again and again and again."
Suicide’s deadly 3rd album of industrial rock ’n roll back on road for its 35th anniversary
Leathered up and hip-thrusting, ‘A Way of Life’ arrived as Alan Vega and Martin Rev’s 3rd studio album, a decade after their eponymous debut set the template for generations to come. Their swaggering new wave electro-rock is precision tooled to a helpless momentum across its nine songs, including a fiercely shark-eyed take on Alan Vega’s ’81 classic, ‘Jukebox Babe’, retitled ‘Jukebox Baby 96’ that’s handy for measuring the distance travelled since their early phase.
Alongside the bite cyberpunk brilliance of ‘Wild In Blue’, the darkly sublime ‘50s pop echoes of ’Surrender’, the campy prance of ‘Dominic Christ’, and the digital clarity of ‘Devastation’ and ‘Heat Beat’ the album marks a consistent variation within their tight, influential theme that possibly feels more relevant to now than their more classically skooled, if timeless, rock ’n roll origins.
Put your love-heart hands up, wave ya lanyard, Overmono and their debut LP of emosh 2-step electronica is here .
A decade since the duo’s Ed minted ‘Hackney Parrot’ as Tessela, and six years since they stepped out with the ‘Arla’ EP, the siblings spell out a glittering, hair-kissing style of UKG with emphasis on melody and vocalx in a Y2K meets hyper-pop manner. It includes established anthem ‘So U Kno’ next to 11 new cuts bound for rotation on festival stages and summer playlists, tempering the flow between upfront vocal tunes and swaying rave trax buffed-up with inch tight sound design.
Time spent on the road between mega stages has finessed the pair’s craft to a fuzzy gleam, evident from the ear-bug hook of ‘Feelings Plain’ thru the proggy pill-belly triggers of ‘Good Lies’ and its garage trance closer ‘Calling Out’. There’s ‘cella-friendly moments in the lip-smack arp and Two Shell-like vox of ‘Walk Thru Water’ and the puckered hook of ‘Cold Blooded’, and a nice bit of throaty, up-all-night acid meets R&B on ’Sugarushhh’, each refracting the history of the whole UK x US rave dialogue according to the sort of crisp but shabby chic formula that will be studied by music business students and production classes for time to come.
Compiling all of Terre Thaemlitz’s incredible K-S.H.E productions beyond the 2006 debut album 'Routes not Roots' including some all-time classics making their maiden outing on any digital format - if you obsess over Terre’s 'Midtown 120 Blues’ album as DJ Sprinkles - this is as crucial as it gets.
Tending to the Kami-Sakunobe House Explosion musical persona which Terre has explored since 2006’s seminal ‘Routes Not Roots’ album (awarded a rare 5/5 on RA), and on a bunch of unmissable remixes, she sums up the project via an hour and a half of top shelf cuts in ‘Spirits, lose your hold (route 69: 2006-2012)’, spanning masterful deep house flips of a notorious “gay exorcism” alongside a couple of collaborations with avant-garde performance ensemble Zeitkratzer.
Like the preceding sets of Terre’s Neu Wuss Fusion, ‘Fagjazz’, and ‘Gayest Tits & Greyest Shits’, the stylistic diversity is incredible and inimitable, seamlessly integrated with their politics in the most engrossing way that’s guided their work since the early ‘90s. As Terre now approaches 30 years of releases, these retrospective comps prove the enduring, timeless quality and spirit of her oeuvre with collections that we can see ourselves returning to 30 years from now.
Frankly it’s essential for the opening couplet alone. Stemming from Terre’s ’Soulnessless’ (2012) sessions, the corresponding K-S.H.E. remix 12” is now long out-of-print and impossible to find, understandably so after one has submitted to its masterful 13min+ plays of spare, rolling percussion and demonic pastor sampled from the Manifested Glory Ministries. The more percussive ‘Homosexual Spirits’ cut is more delirious, and honestly one of the most powerful club cuts you’ll likely ever hear - you almost need the stripped down ‘Spirits, Lose Your Hold’ mix for the comedown reflection.
Factor in the cinematic deep house hustle of 2006’s ‘Melancholy Grow’ and its earthier dub, plus the sizzling slow/fast drums of her remix to a previously unreleased original version of ‘Reverse Rotation’, or the grander staging of ‘Down Home Kami-Sukunobe’ and ‘Hobo Train’, with its chugging drums and almost MES-like vocal, and you’ve got a Thaemlitz shelf essential - one of the best things we’ve heard in forever.
please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Pop-not-slop producer Bullion wreaths Avalon Emerson in sublime synths and sun-kissed grooves on an unexpectedly excellent debut album for her new label minted with AD 93’s Nic Tasker, Another Dove
After a decade of penning and playing soft touch club music, Avalon Emerson ideally indulges her song-writing ambitions alongside studio genius Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion with ‘& The Charm’. Echoes of classic late ‘80s and ’90s pop by everyone from Paul Simon to Suzanne Vega, Prefab Sprout and The Cranberries brim from nine filigree songs that arc from downbeat bliss to more uptempo dance music familiar to followers of her works on Ad 93. The combo of Avalon’s glistening vocal thizz and Bullion’s ohrwurming hooks is timeless and certain to seduce attentions of anyone who’s followed his work, from his early versions of The Beach Boys in the style of J Dilla, thru his gems with Laura Groves to recent turns for Carly Rae Jepsen.
From the Balearic folk-pop lilt of ‘Sandrail Silhouette’ channelling The Cranberries, to the synth-pop shivers of ‘Karaoke Song’, we’re totally here for it. There’s pure magic in the gossamer touch pads and Belinda Carlile breeziness of ‘Entombed In Ice’, a certain Swedish wink to elegance of ‘Astrology Poisoning’, and a spine-strumming symphonic ballad ‘The Stone’ at the core of it all, while the 2nd half lifts up to soft focus dance-pop with something like Kylie-via-Kompakt in ‘Dreamliner’, and Avalon’s touch apparent in the 2-step sway of ‘Hot Evening’.
Taut, psychy, funked-up and progressive Kabyle rock from Algeria, peppered with disco-ready nuggets in ‘Akoudar’ and ‘Therrza Rathwenza’, or the unmissable trills of ‘Thilelli’
“Les Disques Bongo Joe return to the scorching Kabyle rock of Abranis, the pioneering Algerian band that blended traditional Berber music with western rock, folk, disco, and funk, all the while proudly celebrating their Kabyle heritage and taking the Maghrebi music scene by storm, from Algeria to France, the latter becoming a new creative center for the Kabyle diaspora.
Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 which follows the 2018 release of Chenar le Blues / Avehri as part of our 45s series, is a comprehensive look into their discography, from the garage-rock experimentations of their early days to their lushly orchestrated North African fusion masterpieces of the 1980s.
The Abranis story begins in the mid sixties, when two young Algerians crossed paths in one of Paris' bohemian neighborhoods. Both were Kabyle, the Berber people from Algeria’s northern regions, and both had escaped the repression that began with Algeria's 1962 independence and the establishment of its new, conservative constitution. The two young men, Shamy El Baz and Karim Abdenour, shared more than a common background: they both loved rock music, and both were passionate about fostering a modern Algerian sound, as inspired by Kabyle rhythms and melodies as it was by western rock. Living in cosmopolitan Paris meant that they came into contact with the wider North African community, whose sounds would increasingly influence the Abranis style, together with the musical trends of the time, from prog to disco.
The two musicians founded Les Abranis in 1967, joining forces with bass player Madi Mehdi and drummer Samir Chabane. Together they experimented by mixing Kabyle vocals and melodies with garage and psych-rock. The next few years saw the release of a handful of singles on several France-based North African labels, a raucous Algerian tour, and several lineup changes. Shamy and Karim honed their fiery Kabyle/rock blend on tracks but as the '70s progressed they increasingly moved away from the garage and psychedelia of their early days and began to interpret their Kabyle repertoire in more open and creative ways melting prog rock, jazz and some early electronic influences."
The mothership has landed: Roland Kayn’s mindblowing 1984 “cybernetic” masterpiece is finally available again, newly remastered by Jim O’Rourke, delivering hours of thee deepest space music ever conceived. “Visionary” only scratches the surface, this is truly next level, peerless work. This version features Tektra digitally for the first time in consistent channel order with ‘Etoral' and ‘Rhenit' in their original positions and uncut, revealing additional music not available on a digital format until now.
'Tektra’ is a standout in the catalogue of Roland Kayn (1933* - 2011 †) - a legendary figure whose work bridges the early electronic innovation of his tutor Oskar Sala; the free improv experiments of his work in Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza with Ennio Morricone; and the furthest limits of c.20th computer music. Despite cult acclaim from the heaviest synth heads, Kayn’s work has remained largely off-the-radar until relatively recently, with each reissue and archival deep dive now received with due reverence by new ears, ultimately leading to this, his 1984 payload of computer generated abstraction that absorbs the mind like nothing else. It’s been a proper touchstone to us for many years, and although available as compressed YouTube files, it has been out of reach in full fidelity for far too long, making this release utterly indispensable for listeners of insatiable persuasions who really want to get into it.
Issued over 10 years since the incredible German composer passed away, ‘Tektra’ is the one we’d recommend any newcomer with a glint in their eye and a hunger for the true electronic spice. It stands as an ideal example of Kayn’s “cybernetic music”, in which he tasked hugely unwieldy, early computers to express unfathomably complex functions, and modelled the results in sound. In ceding as much control as possible to the machines, Kayn comes uncannily close to voicing their inner thoughts and, with it, the mysteries of the universe. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but once experienced, it’s hard not to talk about his compositions in sacred terms, touching as they do on the ineffable, the sublime, and truly transcendent in their ultra fine gradated, star system-leaping, pitchbending harmonic transitions between milky way spumed angelic chorales and phantasmically chasmic darksides.
Frankly ‘Tektra’ contains some of the greatest electronic music ever made. It utterly uproots the fundamentals of musical structure and renders it anew, deeply probing its conventions and questioning the role of the composer in the age of computer-aided sound creation. But it should be considered that it was made long before the ready availability of DAWs and their colouring book templates, effectively starting from a sort of tabula rasa to create immeasurably billowing tapestries of sound with seemingly no beginning or end, that communicate in a language of sheer sensory reception that triggers the most atavistic, as well as futuristic, sensations.
Make some time and space, and dive in head first for untold rewards.
A special reissue of Terre Thaemlitz’s multi persona Fagjazz set from 2000, studded with over two hours of inventive, vintage diamonds replete with a masterful, hour long ’Superbonus’ piece on the 2nd disc that’s practically worth the cost of entry alone.
Among the most definitive, early examples of Thaemlitz work, ‘Fagjazz’ renders a palette of styles ranging from experimental deep house to ambient jazz at its most absorbing and effortlessly comprehensible. The nine pieces of ‘Fagjazz’ work as an ideal primer or briefing on Terre’s important work, spelling out the fine integers and incredible nuance of her style for those paying attention and keen to know more.
The first disc kisses the ears with ‘Pretty Mouth (He’s Got One),’ puckering a naturally rarified solo piano and keyboard rendition in an all too brief vignette, before exploring a formative passion for deep house at its most abstract in the full 13’ mix of ’Sloppy 42s (Terre’s Neu Wuss Fusion)’ - think Sun Ra meets Larry Heard on a disco break tip - while the flurried syncopation of ’Turtleneck’ showcases their most ravishing rhythmic instincts. Casting even further back, as Chugga they hail early inspiration from bass-heavy Memphis hip hop in a swaggering deep house fashion, and their prized, one-off alias Social Material crops up with 10 minutes of spirit-gripping piano house underlined by a sumptuous subbass movement.
Dancefloor aside, super early cut, ‘Thirty Shades of Grey’ harks back to their debut album ‘Tranquillizer,’ and the 2nd disc’s ‘Superbonus’ is a a properly incredible, hour-long slow burning piece of ‘Funk Shui’ unfurling double bass and signature keys to a dusky horizon, guided by brushed jazz drums and growing in tempered intensity with a sound sensitive approach that defines all Terre’s work, no matter if its party-starting house or double deep ambient experiments.
Taken in combination with the recently issued DJ Sprinkles 2CD set '"Gayest Tits & Greyest Shits” and the available-again 'Midtown 120 Blues’, that’s basically over 7 hours of no-filler, all killer from one of the greatest to ever do it.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Terre Thaemlitz digs deep into her archive for a dead strong 80 minute CD compilation of all her 'Neu Wuss Fusion’s' releases to date, including adjusted and tweaked versions of classics and hard-to-find gems dating back to ’93, including a remarkable liquid D&B cut and an utterly unmissable take on Tangerine Dream - exclusive to the set.
The overarching vibe here hits even deeper than the recent DJ Sprinkles 'Gayest Tits…' set, hovering between the edge of the floor and a late, late night flex instead of driving club pressure, with a focus on bustling breaks and spellbinding ambient jazz atmospheres.
The material here reaches back to the early ’90s, with the kick-less deep House shimmy of opener ‘Thirty Shades of Grey (Demo Version)’ harking back to their debut solo album ‘Tranquilizer’ (1994), and the ambient jazz house lather of ’Sloppy 42s’ connecting to 1999’s ‘Love For Sale’ album, both elegantly edited here, and shuffled up next to both sides of 1998’s ’She’s Hard,’ in its glorious ambient-to-breakbeat mix and rousing ‘Live At Hug Parade’ take.
The set only gets stronger on its 2nd half. The original 11:30’ mix of ‘A Crippled Left Wing Soars with the Right’ makes a welcome first digital appearance beside a mix of its ‘Steal This Record’ edit omitting the ambient breakdown, while also highlighting its incredible, liquid D&B-like ‘1-Step Forward, 2-Step Back’ version - think Calibre meets MvO Trio - seriously - and, just to absolutely polish us off, they include an e-s-s-e-n-t-i-a-l cover of Tangerine Dream’s ‘Love On A Real Train,’ re-titled and remodelled as their orgasmic ‘Sex On A Real Train’ version alongside the 12 minutes of lush, pastoral flutes and subbass in ‘She’s Hard (2007 Archive of Silence Mix.)
Utterly essential, once again.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
Mark & Moritz entrust their Basic Channel output to Pete and René (aka Substance & Vainqueur) who create a sort of immersive label mix featuring components from all 9 Basic Channel 12"s plus some choice cuts from Rhythm and Sound, remodeeled and reshaped in classic style.
The first cut employs fragments from Cyrus's 'Inversion', 'Mutism', 'Radiance III' and the Basic Channel reworking of Carl Craig's 'The Climax' - somewhere between mixing and remixing - and that's just the opening sequence. Flowing from first moment to last, it serves as a testimony to one of the most revered catalogues in all of electronic music - hugely enjoyable if you already know and love all contained within, and a good entry point for n000bs - if there are any left by this point.
Completely unmissable controlled chaos from one of 20th century experimental music's most overlooked, important composers. Three of Eastman's enduring epics are performed here by four European titans - breathtaking stuff that captures a charged, passionate and willful brilliance.
Alongside John Cage, Christian Wolff and Morton Feldman, Julius Eastman helped redefine the piano in New York's hallowed avantgarde scene. But unlike his white contemporaries, Eastman never commanded the acclaim or wide appeal he deserved, only attracting global attention decades after his tragic death. This contemporary recording of "Four Pianos" is the latest tribute to a Black, gay creative mind whose impact and legacy is still being unpacked in public, as listeners and critics scramble to revise their historical lack of interest.
The music presented here is an antidote to the placid, social-climbing indifference of so much contemporary piano music. Eastman makes no attempt to be pretty, he runs away from nostalgia and has no interest in writing in modes of mannered elegance. Here, Eastman translates the comlpex torture of existence into his compositions, beginning with the almost hour-long 'Crazy N*gger' that sounds like an earthquake, tidal wave and volcanic eruption crashing in unison. Not especially dissonant or minimal, the piece hinges on the physicality of the piano and its ability to convey energy and emotion.
Pianists Nicolas Horvath, Melaine Dalibert, Stephane Ginsburgh and Wilhem Latchoumia bring the material to life with their own virtuoso skill, clearly showing a passion for Eastman's material. 'Evil N*gger' and 'Gay Guerilla' complete the epic triptych, and continue the opening piece's reliance on dynamic and physicality, pushing the listener through emotional peaks and troughs that feel like a psychic rollercoaster ride. It's exceptional music that highlights not only one of the USA's most important 20th century composers but conveys a political message that's never felt more contemporary.
Powerfully trippy timbral meditations by unsung synth pioneer Gregory Kramer, bought to the attention of Important by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who opines “Greg is one of the pioneers of electronic music and these pieces are unique opportunities to discover how intricate and dynamic early synthesizers are.” - RIYL Éliane Radigue, Alvin Lucier, Kevin Drumm, Basil Kirchin, Coil, Carl Michael von Hauswolff
Perceptively investigating the materiality and quality of sound, Kramer’s methodically meticulous ’70s works exist in the space between composition and noise. Like the hard-to-define allure of Éliane Radigue’s longform transitions between particular tones, or likewise her enigma shared with Alvin Lucier’s psychoacoustics, Kramer’s four pieces here showcase a mix of deep research, Buddhist spirituality and technical ingenuity placed at the service of psychoactive effect. Trust there’s no fireworks or spectacular “transcendent” virtuosity, but an intently focussed arrangement of sound that exerts a powerful effect on the senses when given concerted time and space to absorb and experience.
“Kramer developed a musical language focused on continuous transformation of timbre, yielding a continuity of attention. This musical language, formed of timbral change, is a compelling aesthetic in its own right and a source of meditative experience. The four works on this album share a deep sense of order derived not from organizing pitches or rhythms, but from the evolution of timbre itself.
The four compositions collected here each represent Kramer’s unique approaches:
The structure of Meditations on 32 Parts of the Body (1978) is derived from the means of its production. Recording 5 people chanting an ancient meditation text, then layering to gradually achieve more than one million voices. The layering was all done using analogue tape recorders. The decomposition of the sound reflects the anomalies of tape machines out of sync, and the build up of artifacts from the audio tape itself, such as uneven response curves and tape hiss, are all engaged as musical materials.
Role (1972) was generated using one complex patch on a large hybrid Buchla 200/100 system. Emerging from a zeitgeist that valued pure synthesis as a combined artistic and technological research. At the time this piece was realized its as exceedingly difficult to produce electronic sounds that were internally complex.
Blue Wave (1980) is built on Kramer’s timbral development technique Veils Of Transformation which allows for disparate timbres to be woven into a continuously developing sound.
Monologue (1977) is a virtuosic performance of a massive patch on a Buchla/Electron Farm hybrid electronic instrument. Built into the patch is a pathway for continuous transformation of voice and voltage-controlled synthesizer. The blunt, raw and sometimes harsh sounds of this piece reflect an attitude prominent among composers that music can, or even should, be difficult, contrary to what’s already been done and, by all means, new.”
Peer into the abyss with NWW’s psychotomimetic batch of ‘Mutants, Misfits & Mongrels’ salvaged from the making of 2018’s ‘Trippin’ Music’ boxset
The “Son of Trippin’ Music” revolves around seven alternate takes and inversions of material found on the 3LP and 2CD releases, inexplicably including the same track twice in its number 5/6. Amid the more outré madnesses on board, there’s a strong glimpses of their quieter side in the 15 minute third track, with a plaintive, downcast waltz and strum swept across the stereo field in foggy cycles where filigree kosmiche melody accretes in the ether, and likewise on the last cut of unusually reserved, ringing harmonics that sounds like a grandfather clock playing a tune to itself while nobody is listening.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens' Reflections, a studio recording of his score for the ballet by choreographer Justin Peck, performed by pianists Timo Andres and Conor Hanick.
"Reflections was originally commissioned by Houston Ballet to accompany choreography by Peck and premiered March 21, 2019. Written for two pianos and eleven dancers, Reflections marks the sixth collaboration between Stevens and Peck, following Year of the Rabbit (2012); Everywhere We Go (2014); In the Countenance of Kings (2016); The Decalogue (2017); and Principia (2019).
Reflections is characteristic Stevens: dynamic, melodic, memorable, emotionally resonant and playful (one track is titled “And I Shall Come To You Like A Stormtrooper in Drag Serving Imperial Realness”). It is about “energy, light and duality,” Stevens says. “I’m constantly thinking about bodies moving through space when I’m writing for ballet — that is what has informed this music, first and foremost.” "
Become by Beach House, via Bella Union.
"The Become EP is a collection of 5 songs from the Once Twice Melody sessions. We didn’t think they fit in the world of OTM, but later realized they all fit in a little world of their own. To us, they are all kind of scuzzy and spacious, and live in the spirit realm. It’s not really where we are currently going, but it’s definitely somewhere we have been. We hope you enjoy these tunes.” - Alex and Victoria/Beach House."
Stockholm-based pop vocalist and songwriter Namasenda's debut mixtape ‘Unlimited Ammo’, for PC music.
‘Unlimited Ammo’ is Namasenda’s debut album for the globally renowned label, lit with guest vox and production chops by La Zowi, Mowalola, Oklou, Joey Labeija, and Hannah Diamond. Don’t expect to find many surprises, but for highlights we advise scoping the tongue-in-cheek winks of ‘Volvo’, a sweet slice of Scandi pop suss on ‘No Regrets’, and some clinically sharp percussion in ‘On My Mind’.
Deftest neo-soul and jazz-funk intricacies by Bay Area climate scientist turned jazz sprite Salami Rose Joe Louis, joined by Miguel Atwood-Gerguson, Dakim, Soccer 96, and nodding to everyone from Shuggie Otis to Stereolab and R. Stevie Moore
“Bay Area singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Lindsay Olsen is the mind behind the warped and magical project Salami Rose Joe Louis. Drawing from her studies in planetary sciences, she creates a unique experience: exploring ideas of multiverses and climate change through the lens of a fictional post-apocalyptic keyboard-toting earthling with a flashlight, a can of cashews and a hopeful optimism. Melding influences from jazz, rock and hip-hop – Shuggie Otis, Captain Beefheart, Stereolab, and R. Stevie Moore – she creates a unique blend of experimental galaxy sounds with jazz influenced vocals and keys.
“Akousmatikous” is the narrative sequel to “Zdenka 2080”: After the metropolis spaceship crashes into earth at the end of “Zdenka 2080”, there is a dimensional collapse. As a result, the earthlings have their heads and hands transformed into screens, which is where we begin the new album. The earthlings get stuck in a never ending video feedback loop between their heads and their hands. An interdimensional being, Zeeanori, is manipulating this feedback loop because he wants the plants to reclaim Earth and for nature to be flourishing and healthy again. An old friend and past love of his, Akousmatikous (from a distant planet), comes to earth to speak to him, curious about his motives and the complicated ethics of the situation. Akousmatikous agrees that nature will be beautiful and flourish, but is concerned for the fate of the earthlings trapped in infinite feedback loops. Akousmatikous hopes for a solution that can be beneficial for every being and entity, a path toward symbiosis.
As on previous releases, Olsen primarily worked alone to write, record, produce and mix this record on her beloved Roland MV-8800 music workstation, but did venture out of her comfort zone to bring in some of her favorite musicians: Soccer96, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Juuwah, Brijean, Sergio Machado Plim, Danalogue, Jason Lindner, Dakim and Dan Nicholls. “I am a very introverted producer which has sometimes hindered me from pursuing collaborations in the past as I am shy to work with others in person,” explains Lindsay. “Having the opportunity to collaborate via the internet was a wonderful experience and led to some beautiful connections and new friendships.”
Released posthumously, 'Seabrook' is cult country-folk artist Bob Martin's final album, rescued by Jerry David DeCicca and engineer Jake Housh after 13 years in the vaults.
Martin is best known for his 1972 debut album, the RCA-released 'Midwest Farm Disaster', an album that singer-songwriter DeCicca was sent to discuss reissuing a few years ago. Martin was already geared up to self-release the classic LP, but his daughter Tami was inspired by their meeting enough to hire DiCicca, along with engineer Housh, to work with her father on new material. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, Martin's melancholy songs captured the area's sardonic air of whimsy, but after he released 'Midwest Farm Disaster' he became disillusioned with the music industry. His handler at RCA wanted Martin to record songs set to his girlfriend's poetry, and Martin refused, choosing instead to take a break from music and focus on his family. He became a teacher, founding a school in West Virginia, wrote novels, and even played the odd gig or two. In 1982 he began recording again, self-releasing albums that built on his debut. But it's on 'Seabrook' where his story is sharpened into a fine point, juxtaposing new versions of older songs like 'My Father Painted Houses' with new ones like 'Midway Motel'.
While Martin was recording sketches for the album, the record deal fell through - he wasn't well known enough outside of cult diggers and he subsequently lost interest in the process, yet again. When his health deteriorated in 2021, Tami called DeCicca and invited him to revisit the recordings that had sat untouched for 13 years. DeCicca got a few friends from his old band The Black Swans together and called up Housh, and they finished 'Seabrook' - sadly not in time for Martin, who passed away in September last year, to hear it. The finished version sounds like an older, wiser Martin, different from the wide-eyed storyteller of 'Midwest Farm Disaster', but woven into the history of US psychedelic folk music, one that also reminds us how fickle the music industry is.
Properly compelling debut LP of contemporary synth-pop, edging on witch-housey, dream-pop and shoegazy American gothic, from the PC Music foundry’s Hyd - fka QT - maturing her sound shades away from Carly Rae Jepsen, Salem, SOPHIE, Chromatics, Hole, and featuring a song written together with SOPHIE.
Huddling a few cuts from Hyd’s run of 2021-22 singles beside mostly new material, ‘Clearing’ offers a wider, definitive portrait of the singer-songwriter and visual artist who has been part of the label’s extended family since the early years and her A.G. Cook + SOPHIE-produced single ‘Hey’ (XL, 2014). Swerving the label’s more childish affectations, Hyd’s music has a broader appeal to lovers of classic millennial synth-pop and its roots in ‘80s/‘90s styles, part due to songwriting credits for SOPHIE, Caroline Polachek, Jónsi, Easyfun, and a more reserved A.G. Cook, who all appear to take the project more seriously as a classic, grown-up pop record, rather than disposable fluff.
Yep, this one’s got real legs for us, running start to finish as an engrossing album in the most timeless, yet up-to-date style. Signature PC Music hallmarks are all in effect, but perhaps more judiciously applied than their hyper-pop reputation betrays. From the opening, Carpentarian synth tones of ‘Trust’ to the icy, haunted Chromatics-like glamour of ‘Afar’ it’s all richly satisfying to teens as well as more, ahem, experienced ears. Embedded with themes of rejection and loss transmuted into vitality, the songs proceed at a finely tempered pace from the Salem-esque ‘Fallen Angel’ to a standout ‘So Clear’, written with SOPHIE, to the Carly Rae Jepsen-like pop-positive ohwurm of ‘Breaking Ground’, with ace turns to ‘90s grunge recalling Hole on ‘Chlorophyll’, and dry-iced glyde in ‘Glass’ and ‘Bright Light’ all prompting us to name this among the pop albums of 2022, all considered.
Ambient accomplices Russell Burden (Being) and Craig Tattersall (The Humble Bee) depict the interaction of water and rocks in a soothing suite that continues their quiet work found on the ‘Atlantic Cables’ project
Typically taking their cues from the natural world, Burden & Tattersall converge from the english south coast and Lancashire, respectively, upon a glistening flow of textured electronics embedded with impressions of field recordings and sedimentary sentiment. The four parts were pieced remotely, each artist modestly inflecting the work with a mutually meditative spirit that prizes the materiality of the sounds over musicality, dissolving into a gauzy blur that loosely limns a process of “watery interactions, microbial activities, alterations, compactions, and chemical transformations of sediments slowly converting to rock.”
It’s not difficult to hear how the likes of Huerco S. and a new wave of ambient modernists have emulated this sound, and on a wider scale the sensitivities of Tattersall’s peerless, fathomless oeuvre at large, but still few, if none, can bring what Lancashire’s quiet man can to the mix, with his signature touches of glitchy diffraction, elusive melodies and windswept, ephemeral folk quintessence all secreted in the sound here.
The most fancied band in indie-pop chase cult sides for Dean Blunt’s World Music with their significant debut for major league indie label Matador - massive RIYL The Raincoats, Joanne Robertson, Mica Levi, Pavement, Moin, The xx, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
Ripe with vintage ‘90s musk, ‘Tracey Denim’ is a watershed moment for the fêted London trio of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton, whose word-of-mouth reputation precedes them as indie music’s bright new hope. Their 15 new songs supply an instantaneous nicotine and snakebite rush of hooks with a laconic urgency that’s snagged gen’s X to Z, and beyond, with their remarkably tight but scuzzy arrangements of detuned, jangle-pop guitar and drily tinny drums with ‘90s-puckered vocals. Depending on yr age and disposition, it’s either nostalgic manna or pure kryptonite, reprising the tropes of a bygone era that lurks in A&R dreams with an icky accuracy that’s only missing an intro from Steve Lamacq to complete the feeling.
A watershed moment for a band who built their audience the traditional way, via gigs and the grapevine, ‘Tracey Denim’ pays up dividends on the promise of bar italia’s now impossible-to-find early albums with more material than previous episodes, and all perfectly toned with a sort of ennui certain to provide succour from the ‘burbs to your 2KPM bedsit.
Hints of The Raincoats via Flaming Tunes lilt from ‘guard’ and the fuzzy bop of previous single ‘Nurse!’ hits between the eyes of Micachu & The Shapes/Good Sad Happy Bad and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. ‘my kiss era’ likewise reminds us of locking lips in the time before camera phones, and ‘Missus Morality’ swoons and jangles like something we’d cop on radio before heading to school in the ‘90s and ‘Clark’ comes off like Moin channelling Stephen Malkmus.
Foundational disco, rap and electro from the crucible of New York City’s Bronx and Harlem, cooked up during an eternally pivotal era and now compiled via Soul Jazz.
While sounding a million miles from modern rap, ‘Yo! Boombox’ charts its very earliest roots when spinners such as Kool DJ Herc and Grandmaster Flash sowed the seeds of its collage style, chopping funk breaks, disco basslines and horny vamps into pure block party fuel, ready to to be toasted and rapped by the earliest microphone innovators.
It’s a phase of music that has been endlessly covered in documentaries and articles over the intervening decades, to the point that it’s actually a turn-off for many youngers who struggle to hear its links to the sorts of ‘90s gangster and southern rap styles that more clearly underline contemporary rap iterations, but nevertheless, it’s a deeply charming era abundant with party-ready anthems.
Deaf Center's Erik K Skodvin returns to his Svarte Greiner project with a “zen music for disturbed souls” recording made in the bunkers of a disused brewery.
Made up of two lengthy tracks, "Devolving Trust" is another voyage across the Styx guided by Skodvin's patient strings, groaning with conspiratorial anguish. Skodvin uses silence here more than ever before, leaving the fx and electronics of his earlier material completely by the wayside, and instead tearing at strings and utilizing the booming room's natural reverb to enhance to the pitch-black sound. It's music for the end of the world - angry and mournful simultaneously, simmering with anxiety.
Noise wrangler Mondkopf masterfully tempers his sound with a widescreen quiet/loud rock vision, accentuated with elemental percussion by The Necks’ Tony Buck on its closing highlight
Evoking comparisons with Earth via Robbie Basho and Yellow Swans, ’Spring Stories’ heralds a triumphant return for keen veteran of noise Paul Régimbau aka Mondkopf, whose releases for In Paradisum, Hands In The Dark, Perc Trax and Opal Tapes have charted a singular path thru power ambient, rhythmic noise, and cinematic strains of electronic music since the mid ‘00s.
’Spring Stories’ marks his debut on Erik Skodvin’s (Svarte Greiner) Miasmah and a newfound focus of his style toward endless rolling landscapes informed by doom and drone rock as much as its modal psych and folk bedfellows. It’s an aspect that’s long lurked under the hood of his music but is here more explicitly articulated thru thunderous, improvised electric guitar riffs that sagely nod to the meditative mind storms of Cali mystic Master Wilburn Burchette and the gnostic pressure of Sunn o))) or Barn Owl.
Arriving with Elevation’s lonesome blues, the six part album stealthily blooms in scope thru its widening amp envelopes and lysergic electronic gnaw, opening out elliptically between the big skies of its ‘Phased Harmony’ parts and roiling romance of the centrepiece ‘Through The Storm, In Your Arms’, until Tony Buck’s percussion rolls in form a distance, finely mixed from gauzy to palpable patter that enlivens the scorched earth in tandem with Frederic D. Overland’s wailing dude on alto sax in the dramatic curtain closer.
Powerdrone vet Tim Hecker rails against Big Ambient with his 11th album 'No Highs'.
When post-rock was at its peak in the late-1990s and early-2000s, critics began to tire of the genre's formulaic emotional arc. Quiet would give in to loud, and fizzle into quiet again - rinse and repeat. And when its aesthetic was borrowed by electronic music, leading to the kind of rugged "power ambient" that Tim Hecker perfected on phenomenal early releases like 'Radio Amor' and 'Mirages', the same criticism still applied. But it was Hecker's acolytes who took it too far, using granular synthesis techniques to extend half-explored emotions into lengthy feel-good platitudes that quickly became easy fodder for use on TV, movies and advertisements. Hecker himself has built up a career as an in-demand composer, most recently penning the scores for TV miniseries 'The North Water' and Brandon Cronenberg's excellent 'Infinity Pool'.
On 'No Highs', Hecker surveys the popular Big Ambient sprawl and writes an angry invective decrying the corporatisation of ambient music. Honestly, we know exactly what he's saying - who else hears more of this dross? We'll wait - but it also feels a little like the Duffer brothers coming out against nostalgia in popular culture. The linking thread throughout the album is pulsing staccato synth bumps that split the difference between Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 Musicians' and Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein's 'Stranger Things' score. On opening track 'Monotony', he uses a single tone to build a rhythmic pattern that's glazed over with eerie orchestral blasts that might be terrifying if they weren't so familiar. It's a sound that's become the default cinematic language over the last decade, as streaming audiences have craved music that reflects their Spotify playlists and producers have demanded emotionally manipulative psychoacoustic tricks that hark back to a bygone era of Hollywood sleight of hand. To his credit, Hecker isn't just good at this stuff - he helped write the playbook. But just because the music isn't whimsical ambient fodder, doesn't make it less formulaic.
In fact with titles like 'Total Garbage' and 'Pulse Depression', it's hard to believe Hecker isn't trolling us. He's clearly and rightfully angry at the way his sound has been appropriated and (mis)used, but refuses to use that emotion to suggest a better world, he just shows us what he's able to do with top-of-the-line synths, mics and mixing equipment - but essentially the same formula.
Fascinating early/sacred music experiments from Belgian ensemble Razen, who use meantone tuning, pipe organ and vintage instrumentation to explore "pre-industrial, spectral and ethnic dreamtones ... trance and medieval mysticism".
There's no shortage of artists looking to Europe's Medieval musical traditions for inspiration right now. Razen uses a dizzying array of era-specific instrumentation: a 17th century organ, a hurdy gurdy, various recorders, the chalumeau, ondes-Marthenot, sarangi, violone and nyckelharpa. As you might be able to imagine the music is particularly en vogue, using the organ's tuning (398 Hz, natch) to inform and limit the arrangements that emerged around its sacred drones. Thankfully, this isn't merely an exercise - while the organ is a surprisingly subtle character here, the ensemble's additional instrumentation is arranged and performed beautifully.
Razen talk about accenting the drone potential of their chosen sounds, but the stand-out moments are when the music does far more than this, crossing early music with more modern, experimental ideas. The humble recorder stands out furthest, particularly on tracks like 'A Postcard from Oliver' and 'A Postcard From Carl', where its sublime softness contrasts perfectly with the organ's shrill wails. One for fans of Kali Malone, Ellen Arkbro and Laila Sakini.
Transfixing document of a clandestine synth séance in a walled East Berlin, 1986, by legendary kosmische pioneer and Tangerine Dream/Kluster co-pilot Schnitzler with his acolyte Gen Ken Montgomery.
“The first contact between Conrad Schnitzler, who lived in West Berlin, and Jörg Thomasius, who was based in the east party of the city, came about in the late 1970s. In 1985, Schnitzler visited Thomasius in East Berlin for the first time. In the meantime, Thomasius had released cassettes in the GDR both as a soloist and with his group DFO (Das freie Orchester). The following year, the idea of a joint concert in East Berlin's Erlöserkirche was born. In the GDR, it was not possible to hold events in public without a so-called state "classification".
DFO did not have this permit at that time and so public performances were only possible in the context of private or church institutions. In 1982 Schnitzler had already met the New York musician Ken Gen Montgomery, who then regularly performed Schnitzlers' compositions live at various venues worldwide. And so Schnitzler also produced 4 cassettes especially for his concert in East Berlin, which were sent by courier from West to East Berlin. On the evening of 3.9.1986, the privately announced and illegal concert took place in the Erlöserkirche in East Berlin/GDR.
Montgomery mixed Schnitzler's music live from the tapes. Jörg Thomasius recorded the performance and released the recording in 1987 on his own underground cassette label Krötenkassetten. The elaborately restored original recording is now being released for the first time on LP and CD under the title "CAS-CON II". In addition to photos and contemporary documents, it also includes Jörg Thomasius' and Ken Gen Montgomery's written memories of this very special evening.”
The debut album from Animal Collective remastered for 2023, originally released in 2000 and credited to Avey Tare & Panda Bear prior to the full, collective band name being used on releases.
"Chiming laments for a childhood's end, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished opens with the phrase "want to hear a secret, I know one," suggesting these secrets just might be buried deep within the flocks of high frequencies, electronic glitches, bleeps and swells that follow. The duo's approach is similar to Love's (circa Forever Changes), with Avey Tare's picked acoustic guitar flowing in perfect syncopation with Panda Bear's tumbling drum kit. But the layers of tonal and atonal electronics that fatten the thinner pulse of the songwriter's vision make this album resemble something closer to modern electronic composition.
The songs range from speedy patchwork pieces to slower piano melodies, a somehow coherent yet very fragile brand of psychedelic music - their grasp of pop hooks and dynamics being counterbalanced by a love of noise / friction and musical anarchy; their songs wavering on the tightrope between deeply affecting beauty and unrestrained chaos. Whilst the band have gone on to rightfully become one of the most name-dropped and influential groups of the past two decades, this debut effort reminds us of where they came from and remains a truly stunning and unique album."
Solitary Transmissions from Melbourne's Brown Spirits.
"Unbelievably killer and super, super heavy brand new Psychedelic Rock/Krautrock album coming out of nowhere from the group Brown Spirits. Their stripped down and tight musical unit is a trio (think Cream or Hendrix!) of raw bass, drums and shared guitar/keyboards meets the D-I-Y attitude and punk/post-punk intensity giving them a unique hi-octane sound.
With a range of influences that range from Neu! to Soft Machine, Gang of Four, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Argent, Lonnie Liston Smith, King Crimson and beyond, their powerfully progressive hard and hypnotic sound is truly unforgettable.
Like their labelmates Trees Speak, Brown Spirits have a love all things Krautrock - mixed with an overwhelmingly powerful lo-fi psych and punk attitude. The album features super heavy and raw drums, tough basslines, heavy fuzzed-out wah and psyche guitar and analog moog synthesizers, all recorded on analogue ¼ inch tape."
The Hum, the debut album by composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter, James Ellis Ford.
"James Ellis Ford has been hidden in plain sight for his entire two-decade-long career, he worked with some of the biggest names in music, from Arctic Monkeys to Depeche Mode via Foals, Gorillaz and Kylie Minogue and as part of Simian Mobile Disco and The Last Shadow Puppets’ touring band.
The Hum is as much a homage to the tender and eccentric English pop music of Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt as it is love letter to his wife and son’s Palestinian roots; as much exploration of the pastoral verve of Canterbury prog as it is informed by the dynamics of modern hip-hop production; as much a madcap Radiophonic voyage into the cosmic unknown peppered with Can-like grooves. With ‘The Hum’, James Ellis Ford has finally come out of hiding."
Trace from Helen Money and Will Thomas, via Thrill Jockey.
"Helen Money and Will Thomas are masters of invoking emotional atmospheres. Their music paints in vibrant hues with outlines blurred, often using dense layers of processed instruments and textural ambience as a backdrop for harmonic tension and melodies. Trace is thrillingly cinematic. Each piece tells a compelling story through ratcheting suspense, twisting shifts, unfurling arcs, and blissful repose.
Trace is a masterclass in sound design. Chesley’s formidable skill as a cellist and composer ground the compositions with rich organic sounds of cello and bow. Thomas’s equally deft hand manipulated electronics, keyboards create potent frameworks that bolster the sense of mystery and searching across the album. “Thieves” applies a jittering rhythmic pulse and sampled cello harmonics that tug forward anxiously before distorted cello thrusts transform the piece into something more resolute.
Chesley and Thomas’s unique voices as composers remain discernable and present throughout the album, but Trace is a celebration of connection of collaboration with an acute sense of details and the power they convey. On Trace, the duo utilize timbre, tone and dynamics as essential tools in crafting stunning emotive narratives. Together, the duo wield sound with inquisitive aplomb, burrowing into each other’s sonic aesthetics and unearthing irrefutable beauty."
Craven Faults second full-length album, 'Standers'.
"Meticulously curated, each release moves the Craven Faults story forward. Each one a self-contained analogue electronic journey across northern Britain, viewed through the lens of a century in popular music. Studios, venues and movements. Technology and ingenuity. Vibrations. Lines drawn to connect those moments of inspiration.
On Standers, there’s a sonic shift. A new palette to paint from and further refinement of the craft. We’re no longer exclusively travelling overland. Familiar landscapes are viewed from a different perspective. There’s a growing obsession in how this island came to look the way it does, and how its ancient and modern history affects its current population. Landscapes shaped by the elements, and then by countless conquerors and settlers. Livestock and machinery. Money, religion and politics."
Lungbutter's Ky Brooks gasps, wails and cries poetically on 'Power is the Pharmacy', drowning the noise-punk they're most associated in abstracted instrumentation and haunted, electrifying textures.
Best known as one of Montréal's punk lifers, with tenure in a slew of projects like Femmaggots and Nag, Brooks takes a left turn with their solo debut, drawing on the tragedy of the sudden death of their close friend and collaborator Joni Sadler to inspire emotions that hold the songs together like glue. During the pandemic, Brooks purchased two synthesizers and began writing music that helped them struggle through isolation and grief, eventually workshopping the songs with a group of local friends to evolve them to their final form. It's wide-reaching stuff too, beginning in a fog of backmasked vocals and synth vamps that centers Brooks' assured poetry, and immediately oozing into 'All the Sad and Loving People', a gentle AutoTune-led ambient pop moment that was written in response to Sadler's passing.
Elsewhere, Brooks toys with spirited cold wave on 'The Dancer', soaring, Diamanda Galas-inspired noise pop on 'Revolving Door', and tentatively approaches prog metal on 'Dragons'. But it's the quieter, more reflective moments that have us most intrigued: 'Elvin Silverware' is an eerie, distorted synth experiment that provides a good cushion for Brooks' words, and finale 'The Replacement' plays like doomed, Lynchian cabaret.
Markus Popp continues to advance his Oval project with 'Romantiq', an initially audio-visual project that looks to expand the definition of romantic music beyond its 19th Century roots, transforming well-worn nostalgia into cinematic electro acoustic abstraction.
Not content with kickstarting the glitch with his early Oval and Microstoria experimentations, Markus Popp has spent the last few years exploring new ground just as rigorously. 'Romantiq' attempts to re-imagine the European romantic canon, starting life as an A/V collaboration with Robert Seidel for the grand opening of the German Romantic Museum in Frankfurt. Popp was eager to drive the genre into new-er places, processing period instruments in an attempt to capture the luxuriant spaces where the music was first imagined, Popp creates traditionalist vignettes that are anything but; on 'Rytmy' the piano elements are as perfect as a bank advert, but Popp plays with expectations, filling out the empty space with plastic strings and grumbly distortion.
'Amethyst' is less placeable, stuttering through passages that could have been captured from a radio broadcast or a chamber music recital, while 'Wildwasser' sounds like the remains of an opera performance heard through a broken pair of earphones. Like the high concept deconstructions of Akira Rabelais, Biosphere or even Stephan Matheiu, these confident manipulations offer a fresh spin on well-worn cultural detritus, and feel relevant despite their source material's ubiquity. Popp's examination of the romantic era isn't completely scientific, like everything he's stamped his signature on, it's also sublimely eccentric.
Definitive reissue edition of James Stinson’s legendary, posthumous Drexciyan Storm #6, featuring the tracklist as intended, and marking 20 years since his untimely passing - 100% all timer gear
Among the most in-demand, Drexciya-related titles, ‘The Cosmic Memoirs Of The Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope’ holds among his sleekest and aqua-dynamic electro masterpieces. It was originally issued in the months following his much mourned death in September 2002, and as such has been subject of much speculation to the meaning of his one-time moniker for the project, and its evocative title. We’ll never be able to sift truth from apocrypha with this one, as even his Drexciyan co-pilot Gerald Donald holds his tongue about its provenance, but that’s half the attraction as listeners apply their own narrative and mythos to its enigmatic electro arrangements in a way surely intended by the late, great Detroit oracle.
Replete with the mesmerising ‘Flux’ which was mistakenly omitted from early pressings (which are now practically impossible to find anyway), the 11-track set is certain to stoke nostalgia for the early ‘00s in anyone who was around then, and, like the best, uncanny electronic music it’s one of those records that feels like you’ve heard it before - déjà entendu-style - even if you definitely haven’t. It sends us reeling back to the days of the IL3KTRO and Sequence club-nights in Manchester circa the early ‘00s, and the heyday of our Pelicanneck shop, when the Drexciyan mythos was only just starting to grow into the cult it has become.
Held up against previous Drexciyan Storms, the album is notably more minimal and hypnautically efficient, and perhaps the one that best reflects Stinson’s day job as a trucker hauling down long, straight US highways. Between the Red Planet adjacent pulse and powerful subs of ‘Solar Wind’ and the outstanding finale of ‘Flux’ it smoothly shifts gears between the acidic nag of ‘White Dwarf’ to the stark electro-techno of ‘Dance of the Celestial Druids’ and supremely twisted, even sleazy electro strains in ‘The Freak Show’ and the ‘Alien Vessel Distress Call’, with a fine cap-tip to his ancestors in ‘Crossing of the Sun-Ra Nebula’, and of course an unmissable centrepiece in the lip-biting melody of ‘Lonely Journey of The Comet Bopp’.
Roland Kayn’s extraordinary cybernetic firmament is brought into sharper focus by Jim O’Rourke’s sensitive remastering on the 2022 edition of ‘Infra’, some 41 years since it was generated at the Institute for Sonology, Utrecht.
Highlighting a true landmark by one of the c.20th’s legendarily unsung pioneers, this first reissue faithfully represents one of the handful of boxsets that brought Kayn’s peerless solo vision to the world between the recently reissued ’Simultan’ (1977) and ‘Tektra’ (1984) sets. Filling in a vast section of Kayn’s known, early cosmos, ‘Infra’ imparts the feeling of a millennia-wide, time-lapsed image of deep space condensed into 3 hours of astronomic roil and intergalactic sturm und drang with uniquely breathtaking results.
On its unfathomably panoramic electronic canvas, shearing masses of modular synth contours calve away to orchestral shock outs and what sounds like Cocteau Twins riffs slowed 1000%, provoking atavistic swells of emotional response as well as pangs of dread-filled futurism from its incredibly lush whorls and monstrous mechanical mastications. In terms of scale and scope, its might is matched by few others in the electronic music field, with forebears in the early electro-acoustic enigmas of Stockhausen and Éliane Radigue, and a lone contemporary in Jaap Vink, all paving the way for descendants such as NWW’s ’Soliloquy for Lilith’ and Jim O’Rourke’s ‘To Magnetize Money And Catch A Roving Eye’, but yet few open the mind’s eye so wide as Kayn.
Marking just over 10 years since Roland Kayn’s passing (1933-2011), it’s great to see the late, great composer receive his overdue flowers in recent years, as fascination with his previous band, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (ft. likes of Egisto Macchi and Ennio Morricone) has given way to obsessions with Kayn’s uniquely uncompromising solo pathways. With thanks to the archival endeavours of his daughter Ilse Kayn, and Finland’s frozen reeds label, Roland’s visions of a music unanchored from time, space, and - as much as possible - from human input has finally found its audience with a world edging ever closer to the brink his music describes.
Listening to ‘Infra’ it truly feels like Kayn has peered into the abyss, skirting the event horizon of a black hole in order to relay its terrors and beauty to our fleshy messes back on earth. It’s no quick fix experience, but one that needs requisite time and space to become properly immured in its jaws, but when given, the experience wholly swallows ones mind and transports somewhere completely else; subliminally suspending a sense of disbelief and recalibrating one’s proprioceptions in slow-burning, soul-combing and mindblowing form.
Björk’s 10th studio album is a ravishing set tracing rhizomic lines of thought that link traditional Icelandic musics to contemporary classical, reggaeton, and Indonesian avant-club styles via collaborators El Guicho (Rosalía), Gabber Modus Operandi, and serpentwithfeet
After an unusual gulf between albums since the Arca-produced ‘Utopia’ in 2017, Ms. Guðmundsdóttir binds fundamentals and fantasy in ‘Fossora’; combining dedications to her mother, Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, and contributions by her children, Sindri and Ísadóra, within a conceptual framework involving themes of survival, death, and ecological meditation. Aye, it’s Björk, alright, but also informed by her collaborators, R&B innovator serpentwithfeet, El Guincho, and Indo-nutters Gabber Modus Operandi, plus bass clarinet sextet Murmuri, who lend a rich insertmental colour and ravenous fervour to her wildly disciplined arrangements and head-spinning self-production.
Framed as her return to earth after dealing with the trauma of her divorce from Matthew Barney on the Arca co-produced “skybound haven” couplet of ‘Vulnicura’ and ‘Utopia’, Björk here seeds ideas of mycelia as alien lifeforms and communication networks that reflect the psychedelia and flux of info woven into ‘Fossora.’ More than ever she effectively acts as a conduit or hyperconnector for myriad energies that come to fruition most definitively in the album’s (3rd eye) opener ‘Atopos’ and its titular denouement, where chamber-like woodwind, doble paso dembow-gabber and avant-folk rush up in glorious style.
The rest of the album breaks down between stirring choral and chamber dedications to her departed mother on ‘Sorrowful Soil’ and ‘Ancestress’, the latter featuring her dóttir Sindri Eldon, and most quietly on the curtain closer ‘Her Mother’s House’ ft. Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney. We locate a highlight in the brooding might of ‘Victimhood’ with its spine-chilling string and clarinet arrangement, and the switch of energies between heart-in-mouth ‘Fungal City’ starring serpentwithfeet, and the uprooted hardcore techno touches of Kasimyn (Gabber Modus Operandi) lend a nervous, refreshing energy that sprouts up in wonderfully unpredictable forms.
Pre-eminent new music ensemble, Apartment House, realise seven works by pioneering, sound-sensitive, US composer, Pauline Oliveros, with vital Sheffield label, Another Timbre.
The late, great Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) was a leading light of the 20th century avant garde, whose innovative solo compositions for electronics and tape, and work with the Deep Listening Band, would expand perceptions of sound’s materiality and temporality with a radical focus on alternate tunings and timbres in Western contemporary music. ‘Sound Pieces’ revolves around seven of Oliveros' pieces composed 1975-1996 - a mix of text scores for open instrumentation, and a seven-movement work for violin, cello and piano according to specific pitches - interpreted by Apartment House, who are renowned for performing technically and imaginatively challenging scores by myriad pioneers of C.20th experimental avant garde composition.
Under the direction of Anton Lukoszevieze, the 12-piece Apartment House ensemble interpret Oliveros’ works with acoustic instruments in a strong primer on the range and depth of her work.Their starkly atmospheric use of negative space in a take on ‘Quintessential’ (1996), and the seat-edge deep listening encouraged by ‘From unknown silences’ (1996) highlights Oliveros’ work in relation to Cageian minimalism as much as her position as a godmother of "ambient" music - even though her prescribed "deep listening" comes from the opposite end of the conceptual spectrum. On the other hand, the dense clouds of lush/dreadful dissonance and complex timbral shifts to ‘Horse Sings From Cloud’ (1975), and the cranky gnarl to their take on ‘David Tudor’ (1980) characterise a core thrust of her work toward Eastern tunings and rhymelodic percussion, with implicit links to vanguard musics from Lucy Railton to GY!BE and Michael Ranta.
All her circles bleed most beautifully on the 7-part ‘Peace / Tree’ (1984), where Anton Lukoszevieze (cello), Mark Knoop piano), and Mira Benjamin (violin) play to her specified pitches in a floating chamber trio that brings to life her score with elusive melodies melting into her richly dream-textured play of timbre.
Alva Noto soundtracks Simon Stone’s theatre piece ‘Komplizen’ with a suite of sci-fi zoners with a romantic, oceanic depth sealed by his prized production methods.
Pregnant with dread and metaphysical presence, the soundtrack is Alva Noto’s first since his celebrated work with Ryuichi Sakamoto on ‘The Revenant’ in 2015. Supplying atmospheric colour to stage, rather than screen, ‘Kinder Der Sonne’ takes its title from Maxim Gorky’s Russian revolution play ‘Children of the Sun’, which forms the basis for Simon Stone’s ‘Komplizen’, performed by the Burgtheater Ensemble. In context of its origins, the music follows with Alva Noto clearly relishing the opportunity to deploy his coldest tones, icicle keys and projections of imaginary space, but also exercising his romantic side with flashes of the sort of widescreen pathos that lit up his cult ‘Xerrox’ series, and reflected in his re-staging of moody pop classics by The Cure and Bowie in recent years.
As previewed in its lead single ‘Die Untergründigen’, there’s a rich depth to the surface stillness of ‘Kinder der Sonne’ that rewards playback on a good system but will likely also be well represented on conventional set-ups. The precisely isolated string shivers of the intro and the cracked minimalist lacquer of keys in ‘Sehsuchtsvoll’ feels like a more maximalist echo of his early Sakamoto collaborations. But if you’re hankering for those pure sound design skills, check for the gloaming shapes of ‘Unwohl’ and the glassy tension ruptured by digital noise in ‘Aufstand’, or the resonant sferic plangency of ‘Ungewissheit im Sinus’ and the doomy invocation of the album closer.
Using the low-lit atmosphere of Medieval church music and the fluctuating tonality of folk music, Eden Lonsdale stretches avant classical forms into textured drones pregnant with mystery and magick. We're floored by this album - highly recommended listening if yr into Morton Feldman, Tongue Depressor, Arvo Pärt, Jakob Ullmann.
One of the most startling releases we've heard on Another Timbre in ages, Eden Lonsdale's debut is a dizzying mutation of Quiet music and classical minimalism that's buoyed by its remarkably perceptive sonic complexity. There's no shortage of contemporary composers challenging the hegemony of equal temperament with xenharmonic scaling and ancient methodology, but Lonsdale's approach is so even-handed and sensitive that it's never merely a flex, rather he uses a modified language to embed an artistic message in music that sweeps up centuries of European history.
Now based in Berlin, the composer grew up in London and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he developed an obsession with Simon Reynell's Another Timbre label. A few years later and his inspiration has fed back into the imprint's canon; ‘Clear and Hazy Moons’ reflects and channels work from Olivia Block, Lance Austin Olsen, Catherine Lamb and others, bringing a clear-sighted view of recent experimental-classical history to music that sounds almost completely out of time. 'Billowing' is as light and airy as Celtic folk music, but as exacting and ornamental as baroque, slowed to an inebriated crawl so we can hear not just the rubbery, elongated notes but the distinct resonance of each instrument and the measured spaces in-between.
Piano and bells echo into eachother on 'Oasis', with filigree frivolity casually thrusting against pious logic. Apartment House meet these foundational sounds with aerated, vacillating strings and gaseous woodwind that form light clouds around Lonsdale's punctuating clangs. The composer bravely resists the temptation to veer towards high drama: his compositions are animated by yearning and restraint, whenever they threaten to crescendo, they're pulled back from the precipice with a flourish.
Rothko Collective take over from Apartment House on the generous 20-minute title track, realising Lonsdale's cautious, slow-motion tones with grace. It's a piece of music that captures the stillness of an Edward Hopper painting, lit with woodwind that flickers like a gas lamp and hesitant strings that trace out the shape of an abstract, physical space. There's drama but it's not broadly cinematic music - Lonsdale's tonality is too suggestive and insurgent for that.
‘Clear and Hazy Moons’ is an essential listening experience, one that demands your full attention. We've been spinning it for days and still attempting to fully unravel it.
Slovak composer Adrián Demoč's latest is a study of tonality, with the title track pitching tempered chords against the same chords using natural harmonics. Just intonation nerds, this one's for you.
Take it from us, it's extremely difficult to explain alternative tuning systems, or the dominance of equal temperament, to anyone without a pretty extensive knowledge of music theory. Play people your latest example of Swedish just intonation drone and they'll tell you it's just out of tune, or even better, they won't notice at all. Adrián Demoč has the answer with 'Neha', a glorious half-hour composition that marinates in its own novelty. Demoč establishes his concept with 'well-tempered' chords played by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, that are eventually overlayed by the same chords using an alternative tuning system. And while that might sound jarring, Demoč's control over the process elevates it completely. It's quite enlightening to hear the difference between the two systems, and more than that Demoč makes what might be a dry academic exercise sound perfectly natural.
He backs the piece up with 'Popínavá hudba', a more straightforward piece that's no less satisfying, repeating a single melodic phrase that changes subtly with each cycle until it's almost completely unrecognizable. Like its predecessor, it's a composition that might look from the outside like style over substance, but a few minutes of listening and you'll be hooked - trust us on this one.