Isabella Koen debuts on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion with a personalised batch of power ambient aces, following the lead of Sissel Wincent with five curious explorations of high-velocity techno and queered electronic atmospheres, big recommendation if yr into Sissel, Via App, Peder Mannerfelt....
Slipping frictionally into Peder Mannerfelt’s label, Isabella plays out a killer jagged sound strung out between ostensibly opposing yet complementary poles of banging dance music and introspective tonal arrangements.
On the A-side, she spells out this paradox between the cascading chromatic arps and zinging vamps of ‘Dicey Takes Its Form’, and the starkly contrasting slug of sub-loaded, clambering 134bpm techno in ‘Penchant Disenchantment’.
For the B-side she flips the mode, kicking off with the bone-rattling 150bpm techno highlight of ‘Vain’ before slipping down the rabbit hole with the narcotic drip-off, ‘I Could Get You’, and clocking off with the groggy maze of cold, dubbed-out techno abstraction in ‘Residual’.
Craig Clouse’s $hit & $hine is an amorphous entity that’s forever in flux, from scuzzed up, bass-heavy and raucous noise sessions to inverted dancefloor shenanigans; this time round serving Diagonal with a 30 min plunderphonic special, curling purple funk, R&B and rap specials to order, the man just don’t give af...
So this is essentially the $hit & $hine edit whitelabel, scorched and blunted 30 min / 3 track madness somewhere between John Oswald and slowed down Secret Mixes & Fixes tackle, bubblin' computer funk > like Material and Rhianna on a slow spin oozing summer vibes and blurred vision. Here’s what Diagonal label head Powell has to say...
"i always loved craig's slow jamz from the various lps he's done over the last few years [anyone remember WHO'S YOUR WAITRESS] and we both were excited to work on a 12 like this together. seems like perfect music for the last few days of summer . . ."
Unique psychedelic killers from Niagara, mounting a sterling debut album with Lisbon’s Príncipe five years after their first 12”, ‘Ouro Oeste’ . Trust that they have lost none of the weirdness that’s endeared them to freaks around the world ever since they emerged. If anything they’re stranger, more spaced-out and porous to wild influence...
Outlining Niagara’s definitive description of contemporary exotica, ‘Apologia’ limns a frayed, buzzing sort of “Fourth World PLUS” sound, where the “PLUS” refers to their embrace of noise as an agent of chaos. But it’s not necessarily malefic chaos, and should be taken as a smart acknowledgement of the overlooked yet crucial role that roughness of grain and construction play in contrast with so many clinically smooth and even anodyne efforts from the same, imagined arena of worldly music for a new age.
In allowing for the entropy of time and the inevitable infidelity of attrition to enter their soundsphere, Niagara’s organic machine music keenly reflects a natural world order without the need for algorithmic process. Their world is a fertile interplay of acoustic and electronic sources rendering hazy, fata morgana-like glimpses of musical possibility, practically triangulating the visions of likeminds such as Jamal Moss/Hieroglyphic Being and Dolo Percussion with the explorative precedents of Portugul’s Telectu to realise a fine expression of anachronistic modernism.
Most of the tracks loosely work around 3 minute timeframes, lending a zig-zagging mosaic quality to the tracklist in between its longer parts. Richly colourful spiritual jazz arps and raw machine grooves spring from opener ‘França’, triggering a cascade of ideas that bends between acidic kosmiche in ‘6:30’ to the heatsick boogie gliss of ’40’ and the stark emptiness of ‘Senhora Do Cabo’, to give up the gorgeous, extended flute and acid meditation ’Siena’, and mess with Vangelis-style synth majesty on ‘Via Garibaldi’, before spending their coolest energies in the drowsy Afro-latin swagger of ‘Cabo Verde.’
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Alberto, António and Sara a.k.a. Niagara have distilled their sound to imperfection on ‘Apologia’, resulting one of 2018’s most crucial and vital electronic albums.
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.
Following on from that incredible ‘Coyotes' tape by Felicia Atkinson earlier this year, the Geographic North label return with a worthy follow up collection of pieces for electronics, piano, percussion and double bass (courtesy of Maxwell Sterling, no less) via L.A.’s Nick Malkin, highly recommended if you’re into The Necks, Talk Talk, Jon Hassel, To Rococo Rot.
Malkin is perhaps best known for his "noirish, backlit ambient dance music" as Afterhours for Not Not Fun, as well as a sometime collaborator with LA Vampires and Sun Araw, alongside his Post-Geography show for NTS. For this sophomore solo release (following a 10” for Non Projects a couple of years back) Malkin enlisted Maxwell Sterling and Jon-Kyle Mohr for a collaborative session, taking elements of loops created by the trio, embellishing and reworking them into 5 new pieces perfected over a number of years. For a collection of pieces borne out of improvisation, Slow Day on Brilliant Drive is a remarkably cohesive and engrossing affair; reminding us in turn of To Rococo Rot’s 1997 blinder Veiculo, Stewart Copeland’s under-appreciated but highly influential soundtrack for Rumble Fish, as well as Talk Talk’s hushed dynamics.
In stark contrast to the new gen Jazz championed by the likes of Kamaal Williams and Kamasi Washington, Geographic North are here mining a much more intimate variant; if you’ve found yourself immersed and bewildered by the music of The Necks in recent years. we urge you to give this brilliant album a listen.
Jam City and kwes. on the buttons for ‘LMK (What’s Really Good Remix)’
Marking the anniversary of her debut album release along with an all-female MC line-up counting Princess Nokia, Junglepussy, Cupcakke, and Ms. Boogie.
"There are no Peel sessions anymore - that tradition was buried in the pyramids with John Peel himself upon the great man's passing. Of the thousands left in the wake, six are ascribed to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - and of those six, three have been combined to form the deeply congruous experience of Pond Scum.
A span of eight years is covered, in reverse, and many chestnuts are rolled out, freed of former contexts with sparse arrangements. "(I Was Drunk at the) Pulpit" feels, ten years from inception, more vividly worn; "Death to Everyone" is loosed from its frame, the bones decoupled and spread out, giving the song a reﬂective air (as opposed the biting declamation of the original); "Arise, Therefore" adapts its metronomic base, the evangelic twist of its roots made palpable. With the centre of the performance in stark relief, the gnomic qualities of two "Get On Jolly" pieces are intensiﬁed. Further accenting the devoted spirit of this collection is the inclusion of Bonnie's take on Prince's "The Cross", as well as the previously-unreleased original "Beezle."
Bonnie's lone shadow casts over this lot, accompanied on the ﬁrst four tracks by David Heumann, but otherwise playing solo through a set of original songs (and two covers) representing a decade of progress in the almost unbearably intimate-yet-unknowable manner that was so often the vibe of those strange and wondrous days.
Layers peel to reveal the subtle artistry and refinement contained within these sessions, so begin to dig deep into the vault on January 22nd, 2016! But wait, there's more! You can download a new arrangement of "Rich Wife Full of Happiness", (which is similar in tone, but not found on Pond Scum!)!"
Bitchin Bajas and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy collaborate, flowing ideas through the air between them.
"The air’s meant to be shared and that’s how ‘Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties’ came to pass - a morning, afternoon and evening of frisson in blissed acceptance of the eternal recurrence. These guys understand each other. They share a passion for arresting the moment in the process of now. Bitchin Bajas have a fan in Bonnie; their ability to stretch time and get in between the grains scratches his itch to live in those instances, making him a worthy co-jammer, a fourth plane to the Bitchin Bajas triangle that quantifies and dimensionalizes the sound.
Their first blend was for a Shirley Collins tribute compilation, a rendition of ‘Pretty Saro’ that built from the starkness and tonal monophony of the auld ballads and opened the hatch to timeless stasis.
‘Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties’ contains moments of tranquillity and trance, with the players integrating their separate ways, vibing off each other, making songs together. Bonnie is at his spiritmelting celestial best, wandering through a lifetime of fortunes that amount, when incanted, to a prayer to the god of many names. The Bajas’ access to the universal aural paintbox is unparalleled; their reach is deep. ‘Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties’ is simple and stark and empyrean and inspirational… and pretty modal, too, as Bonnie and the Bajas pursue the life of the spirit down everfading vapour trails, in a bottomless space.”
From clunky to streamlined remixes of Blue Hour’s big room shunts
Ben Sims dopes his tribal thing with ‘Flow State’; Operator rolls ‘Introspective III’ off the bone with subtle dubbed syncopation; Ctrls loop up and swing out ‘Unearthed’; and Truncate turns in an effortlessly rolling rework of ‘Meridian’.