Dollkraut does a nippy rejig of Eefje de Visser’s melancholic synth-pop ditty Scheef, the lead track from her self-released 3rd album, Nachtlicht .
Eefje’s pulsing, folkways dream-pop original is a relatively rare - for us at least - example of Dutch language pop, with floaty results that sit rather nicely on the ear. Dollkraut’s remix takes Eefje in another direction entirely though, with dancefloors full of shuffling waifs and foppish wave flounders squarely in mind.
Zola Jesus, Naked, M. Lamar and Gazelle Twin leave their mark on Blanck Mass’ World Eater album tracks
Resulting highlights in Naked’s masochistic pulverisation of Rhesus Negative and the darkroom excesses and drama of Gazelle Twin’s The Rat revision.
Having recently contributed to Goner's "Yogascum" LP, reissued in late 2017, Mark Godwin now returns to the Swiss label together with his musical partner Gareth Ormerod as zK.
"Formed in 1999 as a live project, zK first released on the legendary Mancunian Skam label in 2003, toured throughout Europe and were invited by Autechre to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. In the following years, Godwin and Ormerod produced a slew of records that at once paid tribute to their roots in the emerging British rave scene while pushing the envelope of experimental electronica. Combining their interest for visual art and psychology with their spiritual connection to bands like Coil, some of whose records Godwin has worked on as a mastering engineer, zK have carved out a niche for themselves with a multi-disciplinary approach to music. "Last Night", their first proper studio album in five years, was recorded in Godwin's new home Bangkok.
Drawing heavily on musique concrète techniques, synthesizers, and sampling to create an immersive experience bordering on the synaesthetic, the six tracks capture the nervous energy of Thailand's capital after dark. Moving from the opener "Ouside Broadcast" with its collage-like juxtaposition of every-day sounds and squelching noise to the aptly titled "Cognitive Dissonance" and the aleatoric modular excursions of "Feral Confection" towards the more sombre, lysergic undertones of the B-side, ending in the both elegiac and haunting final track "Fleshpotting", Godwin and Ormerod explore the sharp contrasts which characterise the city. zK navigate through the weird, the eerie and sometimes even the grotesque and occult, they provide a thorough exploration of a metropolis marked by tradition and progress alike."
Natty jack attacks, wonky ghetto bass and mutant hi-tek jazz from Secret State on CPU.
Like music from some parallel, skewed 313 dimension, Zero Zero One locates a familiar yet subtly altered reflection of Detroit styles between the tweaky jacker CIA UFO Google Search, some percolated Jit business in De-Pattern and the spheric harmonics of The Sleep Room, both recalling an Urban Tribe from different mothers, while Weep For Joy leans on a sort of off-Red Planet vibe.
Firecracker’s elusive Gavin Sutherland (Fudge Fingas) relays a mystic house doozy with Pattern Transform under his Other Lands alias, as last heard on the Mac-Talla Nan Creag  compilation.
Framed as “occupying the space between alien-revisited exotica, classic jacking house workouts and a BoC 'Chromakey Dreamcoat' kinda vibe” by the Edinburgh label, its a trustworthily deep end trip finding its maker taking his beloved house music to new limits of the style.
A-side; he comes off like Carl Craig taking a trip around Orkney island stone circles with Julian Cope on Descent Into Nasqueron, which is worth it for the outta-nowhere drop alone, whilst Chapel Perilous Closed practically usurps Actress at his own game with a mid-fi swirl of synth-brass and strings in smoky electro-acoustic air driven by a well-cladded kick drum. B-side is just as strong, catching a breezier spring in his step with the gaelic plies and Detroit jazz pivots of Late Feeling Yourself, then giving it those come-tae-beed bucky eyes on A Paddle Around The World, which riffs in the same warm, alien waters as Sun-Ra, Jamal Moss, or Les Gracies.
Yo La Tengo return with their first proper full-length since 2013’s ‘Fade’.
"There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” Even if your mind is not unclouded - shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time - you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries and above the sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of ‘Shades of Blue’, will involuntarily hear ‘She May, She Might’ on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and ‘Let’s Do It Wrong’ late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly And The Family Stone released ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair."
Space Dimension Controller, a.k.a. Jack Hamill, may be landing his debut release on Dekmantel, but he’s definitely no stranger to their shores.
"With the three-track EP ‘Gaining Time’ clocking in at over 35-minutes, phasing between cosmic kaleidoscopic house, and serene, epic ambient, — a sonic atmosphere reminiscent of the background resonance the galaxy permeates on a daily basis — Hamill’s Dekmantel debut is closer to that of an album, than your average set of club tracks."
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
Kohl is the dub-based project of New York City artist and musician Nathaniel Young.
"With Kohl, Nathaniel focuses on enveloping melodies and sounds that are often contrasted with subtle and evolving minimal textures and the rhythmic patterns generated from them. The resulting music is contemplative and warm, invoking reflection while maintaining a sense of motion/evolution. The Kohl project is an outlet for personal transformation; it is Young rewiring his understanding of morality and ethics.
Interpretations of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Musically, Learned Ethics / Imposed Ethics is a fine collection of ultra-textural ambient pieces with minimal changes like "The Possibility Of The Infinite", slow tempo tracks like "Moral Supposition", the dance-floor focused "Resolution (Empathy)", and "The Inquisition", which displays Kohl’s signature dub-techno style."
No Fool Like An Old Fool is the new album from Austin via Alabama musician, Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says.
"Moving beyond the surf-folk foundations of her debut, on No Fool... Sallee loosens her earthly tether, allowing her songs to float to ever higher altitudes on clouds of loops, immaculate melodies, and hypnotic harmonies, as she sings about aging, the daily grind, and hometown stymie. Moving to Austin in 2013 gave her a new perspective on her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, which informed the overall vibe of the album. "I think leaving my fairly small hometown and then going back to visit it inspired the feeling I went for on this album. I observed that so many people I knew were content doing basically nothing. Or that they were scared to try to do anything or leave town, like they felt stuck there."
The first few notes of the Daniel Rossen-esque opener "First Song" dutifully establish the surreal and slightly tragic tone of longing maintained throughout the album. The curiously upturning melodies ride out on a rich ambient texture before "Sweet Home Alabama" cuts the fog with a crackling 60's soul loop that's charming and catchy enough to induce a cathartic laugh from the listener. The brightness fades with the frosty and propulsive "A Good Thief Steals Clean," which features lyrics inspired by the 1971 lm Panic in Needle Park, and the idea of being in love with a heroin addict. "I tend to write from the perspectives of characters in dark situations, even though my songs may sound bright," Sallee notes of her alluring juxtaposition of sunny production and grim lyrics.
She employs this dynamic again on "Rip O ," a frenetically percussive song with lyrics inspired by an NPR story about a young Iraqi man who was killed in an ISIS bombing just before moving to NYC to become a professional dancer. Inspired by Terrence Malick's Badlands and Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska," the song "Black Hole" features multi-voice harmonies sung from the perspective of 50's spree killer Charles Starkweather. The hurdles she navigated to record naturally led to ad hoc recording techniques, and endless sonic experimentation, often leading to her use of the computer as an instrument. A tireless worker, and a wellspring of creativity, whatever Caroline Says, we will be listening."
Brainfeeder present a special ‘chopped not slopped’ mix of Thundercat’s ‘Drunk’ album (2017) by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C of Houston DJ collective The Chopstars. Slowed down and chopped up , the mix has been appropriately re-titled ‘Drank’. “If you got ‘Drunk’ it’s only right that you get ‘Drank’. I feel like they go together,” declares Thundercat.
For fans of Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Screw.
Halcyon Veil present Renick Bell’s debut long-player, the follow up to his 2016 release for Lee Gamble's UIQ imprint.
"The 10 tracks on Wary come from Bell's practice of live coding in the algorave tradition; a distinct technique that involves manipulating a vast library of samples with text-based editing software. The album is an improvisatory gesture that sets him well apart from the DAW preset crowd, and one that draws equal influence from free jazz, King Tubby, Mark Fell, and Pan Sonic.
Still, as the musician points out in a paper he authored in 2014, live coding isn't a genre; it's simply a performing method. To focus on the technique is to lose sight of the huge amount of flex and funk that's contained in these tracks, from the vivid, elastic bass of opener "Root of the Light," to the blissed-out dub pads and FX of "Recognizing Conditioning," or the racecar-fuel lead synth in "Cyclical Forces."
These tracks, while constantly intricate, are just as often tuneful and memorable. "Resolute in Shedding" is a perfect example of Bell's disparate musical ingredients cohering into something with enough swagger to tear up a sound system or turn a dancefloor on its head. "Cliff-face Growth" similarly underpins its frantic high-register synth work with a staggering sub-bass kick that immediately pulls the listener into the club.
The artwork, a bubbled hive of play buttons, comes courtesy of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier. The overlapping and swarming aspect of the art reflects the disorienting barrage of sounds that Renick Bell's tracks can throw at you, such as the pummelling percussion drive in "Fluid, Open." The uncanny, synthetic replication of the stippled buttons brings to mind Bell's own musical and technical replication. Although the patterns might be obscured they are never truly absent; everything is held together at all times by Bell's precise sense for what is genuinely striking.
Renick Bell has made legitimately new-sounding music here. Filled with breathtaking percussive bombs, icy needlepoint synthesis, and a defiant refusal to conform or relent, Wary speaks a complex and consistent language that's deeply rewarding to those who take the time to learn it."
Boy Harsher find a fine line thru EBM and darkwave synth-pop with ineffable élan on their debut for Ascetic House, neatly benefitting from mix and master by Maurizio Baggio (The Soft Moon, Merchandise).
Their Country Girl EP sounds like it was dialled in direct from 1986, with sleek, rolling bass arps, glass-eyed gynoid vocals and lusting synth pads seemingly construed for the dry-iced runway of the mind. It could just as easily soundtrack a hi-end fashion show as lure you into a redlit basement, feeling out immaculately realised vibes between the effortless flow and ache crooning of Motion thru the wickedly skizzy light/dark/light twist of Country Girl, to the early ‘90s synth-pop sensuality of Underwater, and with super infectious freestyle inflections that funk up and counter Jae Matthews’ perfectly aloof vocals in Westerners.
Jamal Moss turns to his brightest moniker for the astral trajectories of The Anticipatory Organization on Pedro Vian’s Modern Obscure Music
These are some of the more intense, freaky Jamal Moss workouts in recent memory, gettign into orbit with the acidic glissandi and head-warping phasing of The Things We Don’t Know, then staying out there with the oddly bass-less and heady pressure of The Disbelief Habit, until you’re suitably prepped for the blinding white light jackers intensity of The Achievement Factory, one of those real golden moments in the Jamal Moss canon.
Four cracking Sun Ra pieces, roving from the possessed tongues and earthy hustle of Island In The Sun, thru more astral, free vectors in New Dawn, to the wonky big band vibes and growled vox on Unmask The Batman, and amazing Afro-Astro hustle in I’ll Wait For You.
"Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.
This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.
Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.
Personnel: Sun Ra: Piano John Gilmore: Tenor Saxophone Marshall Allen: Flute, Alto Saxophone Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Percussion Atakatune: Oboe, Congas Eddie Thomas: Drums Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet, Hand Claps Akh Tal Ebah: Trumpet, Vocal James Jacson: Congas, Vocal"
Geir Jenssen a.k.a. Biosphere yields the results of a field recording project on a Dutch farm, commissioned by Incubate festival.
Imperceptibly melded with Biosphere’s signature synthetic palette, the field recordings are effectively reanimated as dreamlike sequences, variously incorporating the sounds of a distant helicopter with shepherd’s calls and windswept choral synth voices in t’Schop, focussing in on insectoid minutiae with Pipistrellus, or indivisibly meshing the real and the unreal in lush pieces such as Audax and the pastoral bliss of Icoon.
Adroit, UK-compatible bass and breaks pressure from Brooklynite Kellen303, working in a smart double refraction of influence, vibes and intent between transatlantic ‘floors for London’s Keysound.
These are dark, broodingly gothic works, stained with an innercity anxiety and trimmed for hard-working club economy, yielding highlights in the ballroom bruk of Planet X and its weightless, devilish remix Planet X (Interstellar), and in the harshly textured and rugged budge of Big Shot! with its machine gun snares and clawed surfaces.
Leslie García and Paloma López (Mexico City) have been working for several years around the intersection of music, art-installation and science, with sound being the primary objective of their analysis, acting their roles as composers/creators and observers of the physical phenomenon.
"Their work ranges from experiments with bioelectrical sounds created by living organisms like bacteria and plants, to the use of custom-made sets of hardware they call ontological machines. They usually operate within their own platform Interspecifics, and FRGL is their second release under the moniker: LogarDecay. The sounds contained in FRGL might be their more musical work to date. It is not far from sound art, yet the bright accidents coming out of their improvisations seem to exist in the limits between harmony, rhythm and pure noise as a construction. Its tension sometimes soothes, sometimes mutates into a state between drone, ambient and abstract techno. FRGL is an exercise in transparency that does not seek to hide their errors but to maximize them and turn them into an aesthetic statement."
Mellow but insistent London broken beat and soul vibes on Rhythm Section International
“Long time friend of the label, Neue Grafik, steps forth with his most fully realised offering to date. This record has been a long time coming, born out of a encounter in Paris back in 2016. This meeting of minds led to a blossoming friendship between Fred (Neue Grafik) and Bradley (RS INTL) which has taken them across 3 continents, countless dance-floors and finally crystallised onto this 12”.
The record itself takes cues from the broken-beat sound of London while paying homage to the Parisian house dance scene. Largely sample based, but also employing much more live instrumentation than ever before, Neue Grafik’s music is informed by movement and in turn offers so much for Dancers to respond to.
The EP begins with the lysergic ebbs and flows of ‘Innervision’, ( in which Wayne Snow graces the record with a sublime vocal performance) and moves effortlessly to the uplifting bruk of ‘Dance to Yemanja’ via the staccato of ‘ to Peckham Rye’( a homage to the labels origins) , before finishing on the hauntingly melancholic tones of ‘Aulnay’s Tears’ - an homage to the victims of police brutality in the Parisian Suburb in 2017.”
Byron Westbrook is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. His work focuses on dynamics of perception using sound, lighting and video to interact with architecture and landscape, often pursuing routes that involve social engagement.
"Confluence Patterns is an eclectic collection of recordings, containing both the sharpest and most pastoral material Westbrook has released. The pieces range from the textured drones of "Vanishing Action" to the Tony-Conrad-plays-Black-Sabbath riffing of "Perception Depth" to the Maggie Payne-influenced "Fractal Shift II”. Westbrook is interested in how sharp contrast can shape the perception of a sound. Working with texture and frequency in relation to listening duration, he considers sonic analogies as to how an afterimage affects the experience of sight.
For example, the pillowy "Drifting Well" has a particular softness after experiencing the fatiguing frequencies and activity of "A Continuous Slip"; and the density and detail of "Glorious Mess" plays in a particular way after the static textures of "Vanishing Action". Westbrook considers these sequential contrasts as integral elements of the work and has performed this sequence as a live set numerous times in recent years. Confluence Patterns is his third music release –after previous works in Root Strata and Hands In The Dark– and his first one in Umor Rex."
The NY-based producer returns to Umor Rex with a new album, in which the musical discourse and the physical form of the release have an equal, crucial importance.
"Sirimiri is made of four long and mid-length pieces, each composed of different perspectives, processes and identities. However, Rafael seeks to blend subjective time with the listening experience. A sort of loop and repetition, sub-sequence-based sound. Following Eno, nothing happens in the same way twice, perception is constantly shifting, nothing stays in one place for long. The sum of the four pieces is 36 minutes; the cassette edition lasts 72 minutes in total, since both sides have the same four songs joined together.
Physically, the format allows us at least two automatic repetitions. In the digital version the songs are independent, but we also include a bonus track made of the 36-minute loop. The desolation and despair (in a sort of positive way) that we got to hear in The Shameless Years (Umor Rex 2017) is present in Sirimiri, but the impression is concrete, with cruder, less rhetorical landscapes. If The Shameless Years was located between beauty and active tragedy, Sirimiri travels inside the beauty and melancholy of an observing eye, a quiet rebel insurrection. Another substantial difference is the distance from general and globalized concepts; in these unfortunate times, Sirimiri looks for personal sorrows, and places its focus on the particular.
Even the names of the songs evoke this in small ways, like in "Sonder", the feeling of realizing that everyone, even a complete stranger, has a life as complex as one's own. Rafael has two guests in this album; Taylor Jordan in "Mountain Strem", and Rafael's hero Carl Hultgren (from Windy & Carl) in "Sonder". Sirimiri means 'drizzle' in Basque, and we cannot find a better word to describe its content."
Villa Åbo in the alternative solo project of Swedish musician and producer Jan Svensson, who has been making electronic music for the better part of 30 years as the artist behind such aliases as Frak, Studio SS and Alvars Orkestra.
"Svensson also runs legendary Swedish dance and experimental music label Börft, the product of a mutual appreciation for Severed Heads and Terse Tapes. As Villa Åbo he released two records in 1997 on Börft and remained inactive for 17 years until the Dutch label Bio Rhythm coaxed him into revisiting the project and released a double 12″ in 2014. Jan has since followed with a steady stream of 12" singles for Kontra-Musik, Noise In My Head and Radio Lundberg.
"Magnetic Moves" is Villa Åbo's debut album, originally released in an limited edition of 65 hand-numbered cassettes by Funeral Fog in 2016. Clocking in at over 46 minutes, this first-ever vinyl edition spreads the 8 ragged techno tracks across four sides for maximum loudness. Some songs are aggressively potent, with cyclical synth riffs and razor-sharp acid lines riding a heavy, funk-fuelled techno groove. Others tracks are more fluid, vintage Underground Resistance or Derrick May with killer drum machine workouts that come in handy as DJ tools. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley."
Grandiose synth compositions from the Posh Isolation barracks...
“Cut from the same cloth as last year's double-cassette, 'Like All Mornings,' Vanessa Amara's new album trails shorthand piano pieces and wilted strings through magnificent, electro-acoustic surrounds, often settling into buzzing, syncopated reveries.
'Manos' takes its name from an abbreviated term of endearment. Spoken in this form, it's an affectionate and inclusive gesture from friend to friend, or indeed from gang member to gang member. Vanessa Amara seemingly take their cues from either usage. Their new album feels hesitant to reveal its parts, and is perhaps a document of the limits of what can be revealed, a memorial to its own process as it winds itself in and around its delicately hued landscape.
Though beginning with a morose gait, the album quickly turns over. And revealing its softer self, the clarity of the moving string arrangements hang in the air like fine mist. Everything settles against surfaces as the day breaks, opening up the space, though eventually condensing into the unnerving crescendo of the album's final piece. A recurrent, gentle whirring, much like a gramophone’s needle, tracks through much of 'Manos.' It carefully steadies the listener into a mode of measuring duration, a meditative self-awareness that delivers Vanessa Amara's world.
Always intricate, and effortlessly tender, 'Manos' is an album as textural as it is melodic, and it is certainly the most exquisite suite of works to have been presented by Vanessa Amara thus far.”