Istanbul/Bath’s Aleksandir makes his debut on Blind Jacks Journey with a batch of cottony deep house, wistful downbeats and pastoral ambient kisses.
The Turtle Nipper is as lovely as it comes for this sound, unfurling six tracks held together with a sublime attention to atmospheric feels, fanning out from the roving dub chords, night-light licks and jazzy swing of Turtle Dance thru the mumble core cinematic interlude of Turtle Nipper and the breezy drums of Turtle Bay, to duskier shades of deep house in Istanbul, perky electro-dub tropical in By The Beach, and woozy music box melody in Omar.
The London-based jazz experimenters pay lovely tribute to Arthur Russell’s timeless, far reaching styles
“The second Hello Skinny album, Watermelon Sun conjures images of the languorous, dreamy escapism its title suggests. Channelling influences including UK jazz, New Jersey house and Chicago footwork, it’s the melodies – played on trombone, tenor sax and the keys – which are the bright-shining, consistent thread throughout. The solo project of esteemed drummer Tom Skinner (whose other recent projects include Sons of Kemet and Owiny Sigoma Band), the album features influential trombone player and composer Peter Zummo (a friend and collaborator of Arthur Russell, who’s recently released new material on Glasgow’s Optimo label).
Over the past thirty years, dance music has splintered off into a myriad web of different styles and tribes. But in the beginning, things were different: starting with New York’s late ‘70s disco boom, the city’s fertile club scene co-mingled hip-hop, R&B, punk and the avant-garde. For Hello Skinny, that open-minded attitude serves as inspiration for Watermelon Sun. Recorded in free-form, improvised live sessions, it sees that broad-minded club lineage channelled through London’s genre-blurring, jazz-influenced vanguard.”
For fans of moody ‘80s pop pomp, Death of Lovers’ 2nd album, The Acrobat packs all the aching emo swoon and synthy licks you could hope for. Think New Order, Duran Duran, John Hughes movies, montages of Reagan/Thatcher economics in effect, and buckets of salty, sugary nostalgia.
“Since the 2014 release of Philly outfit Death of Lover’s acclaimed debut EP “Buried Under a World of Roses”, many wondered if a full length follow-up for the band was even possible – largely due to the extensive touring schedule of Domenic, Nick, and Kyle’s other band: Nothing. But between 2016 and 2017, the four piece band (that includes keyboard player CC Loo) was able to find the time to focus, demo, write, and carve out a stunning new direction and polished sound for the band. “The Acrobat” represents that labor of love, and Death of Lovers have created one of the most eye-opening alternative records we’ve heard in years.
Thoughtful compositions weave driving synths, drums and guitars through lock-step rhythm and nostalgia before shattering into intricate and spacious instrumental breaks. There is a welcome complexity and depth to the tracks, which dance between moody and sweeping to sparkling and bright – creating a beautiful contrast to the honest and dark lyrics.
On the album single “The Absolute”, Domenic’s vocals (accompanied in harmony by drummer Kyle Kimball) take on the topics of selfishness and greed - “All in all is trembling fear – bound to fall on bludgeoned bell rung ears. A senseless world of worth, deceived by needing, and the crow who perches on your tongue – reminding you it won’t be too long.”
“Lowly People” is the band’s answer to PULP’s “Common People”, cast through the lens of their own upbringing: the streets of Kensington, Philly – where “Broken glass shimmers like the stars, summer air breeds a certain violence.”
Somehow, The Acrobat achieves warm familiarity while sounding completely new. While the tracks could easily have been included on the soundtrack to every one of your favorite 80s films, there is a fresh perspective and process evident in the songwriting that rewrites the “post-punk” rulebook.”
More cutthroat D&B by Seattle’s baddest, sustaining the pressure of his Negative Space album and Traitors EP in four breathlessly taut and fierce new tunes.
There’s two that you really need to know. Heiress is a mean af demonstration of rolling breakbeat pressure and divebombing lixx punctuated with brutal stop/start chops; Nabilone recalls the dankest ends of Soundmurderer’s work for Rewind/Rephlex.
Neil Landstrumm strips away his silly, wonky bits to reveal focus on early bleep techno styles with success in A Death, a Mexican and a Mormon
Faithfully cadging from classic, turn-o’-the-’90s UK styles in all four parts with strong combos of biog subs, electro pads and trippin’ blips.
Helplessly infectious, slo-mo house from early ‘90s Durban, SA, dug up and reheated by ICE for your dancing needs. There’s been a lot of killer kwaito reissues in recent years, and this is the cream of a rediscovered crop.
Originally issued on tape and a white label 12”, Amajovi Jovi was a rallying ccall to the dance, which, in light of the post-apartheid era, could be considered a subversively rebellious gesture of zulu solidarity.
At the intersection of Chi/NYC house, West coast hip hop and zulu traditions, the six tracks work a bedevilling effect at circa 100bpm, pairing louche zulu raps with nagging garage-house hook in Amajovi Jovi, then like some squashed screw of Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer in the killlller Student Night, whilst the swing of dedication comms off like a strange dancehall tune.
The most curious charms, however, belong to Sandy B’s nods to Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, in the unique hip-house mutation Lafaki (Doggy Style) with its smooth G-funk chords, or most definitively with the crunchy breaks of Party Time.
Loom slips on some hyper coloured Matrix-style specs to riff and reminisce on acid house, dark garage and Bugs-soundtrack synth motifs in London Ambient for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper.
Serving a taste of the ‘Acid Fantasy’ club nights Loom runs with Akito, TSVI and Wallwork, London Ambient rolls thru a night’s worth of fluoro feels in five tracks.
The phosphorescing blue pads of opener Heavy Glow hint at the record’s roots in the late ‘90s conflux of dance music, sci-fi and millennial tension which still informs much music now, twenty years forward, while closer Forever tentatively tends to the optimistic flipside of that coinin its vaporous lushness.
In between, he rolls out with a bleeping swagger like something from Zomby’s Let’s Jam 12” the in piquant triplets of Aacccid, then on a fiercer, in-the-pocket acid rave flex called Dog In The Fight, and, best of all, like Artwork’s Red after a spicy Gary in Saturday Job at Lazer Quest, which is right up there with the bets track titles of 2017.
New Atlantis co-founder Deadboy inhabits his J.V. Lightbody alias for the label’s lush 2nd release with 12 beams of golden, shimmering vibes exploring “the inner realms of consciousness, space and time” under track titles referencing the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, the ancient chinese book of changes whose wisdom still resonates with the modern day.
Tapping into a new age zeitgeist which has bubbled up strongly in recent years, possibly thanks as much to a swell of reissued classics as a societal need to assuage anxieties imposed by the modern world, Inner Work arguably serves its purpose in a beautifully absorbing manner. Working to a similar brief as Yamaneko’s recent Spa Commissions for Local Action, Lightbody offers the listener tender space to unravel thoughts and dreams thru sheets of diaphanous, pastel-hued harmonies and wistful melodic flocking which, at best, offer transcendence from earthly matters, and at the least a very sweet distraction from what ails ya.
Effectively an antibiotic for SAD, or a magnetic dose of vitamin D for overworked souls, Inner Work gets right under the skin with assured efficacy, and should be warmly recommended to anyone who has encountered and fallen for the likes of Laraaji, Pauline Anna Strom or K. Leimer in recent years, or likewise been smitten by Yamaneko’s gorgeous new turn.
Super chewy confections for the harder-to-please electronic music connoisseur, Nicolas Bernier gives your lugs and brain something to really grapple with in Transfert/Futur, pulling out 18 minutes of brittle and mercurial post techno tones in polymetric structure recalling everyone from CoH to Gabor Lazar and rkss in Transfert (299 792 458 m/s), and with more emphasis on soured discord and spaced out, pointillist glitches in Synthèse (299 792 458m/s) comparable with Ryoji Ikeda or Cameron Shafli.
"Sound artist/composer/performer Nicolas Bernier derives from his previous frequencies project with an astounding new series — 299 792 458 m/s — and a first album on Acte!
Transfert/Futur is marking a shift from Nicolas Bernier’s rather reductionist approach of the previous series to a more expressive and colourful aesthetic. Drawing from science fiction, sound textures are artificialized within abundance of synthesizers, superimposed to create exceptionally organic compositions. In a very contemporary attitude, compositionnal processes are made obvious to the listener, while the sounds themselves are veritable ear candy.
LIYL complex rythmic patterns, lush synthetic environnements and a sci-fi inspired design. "
Proper dancing gear from the trustworthy DJ Qu, following up the Afro-Cuban black magick of his Conjure album with lip-bitingly kinky rhythms in No Poetry
Including the squashed harmonic brilliance and sloshing dreams of the title cut, then the the crazed sub-bass pressure of Brut, some mesmerising voodoo on In Trance, and, best of all, really letting fly with the drums in a style reminding of DJ Python or DJ Osom, but tuffer, deadlier on Seespotrun.
Seriously, all fassy house blokes making turgid, pedestrian, shabby chic 4/4 house and techno need to take note and learn how to loosen up like this guy. Your dancers will thank you for it.
Russian-Israeli singer/songwriter Mary Ocher saddles up a brooding and driving new collection including a stunning cover of Robbie Basho’s Blue Crystal Fire featuring Julia Kent (Antony and The Johnsons), and a live cut with instrument builder Hans Unsworn and band. RIYL Circuits Des Yeux, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey
“Mary Ocher closes 2017 with the release of a further trove of songs. The "Faust Studio Sessions and Other Recordings" is a collection of pieces whose vast majority was recorded during the sessions that gave birth to "The West Against The People", Ocher's full-length release that came out on Klangbad earlier this year to much praise, released alongside a sociopolitical essay and further collaborations (Felix Kubin, Die Toedliche Doris).
These two weeks of recordings were made with Hans Joachim Irmler at the Faust Studio, which is located in a small village by the Swiss border, in a big industrial space overlooking the Danube. Mary's two drummers, Your Government joined the sessions for a short while, the rest was recorded solo. The 10" also features a collaboration with cello player Julia Kent (Antony and The Johnsons) - in a rendition of Robbie Basho's phenomeal "Blue Crystal Fire", the second collaboration is a live recording with German experimental artist Hans Unstern and his band, known for their use of self built instruments.”
So this would appear to be nexx level Gqom, or Sgubhu as it’s also known, from Durban’s DJ Scriby, who often touches mic for Gqom king, DJ Lag. London’s Trax Couture have the honour of introducing DJ Scriby to many beyond South Africa and those circles watching the scene closely
While the likes of Scriby’s shark-eyed Space Amnesia, and the minor key drones of Impempe are clearly very similar to the Gqom styles we know, there’s also more layered and crafty edits in there that distinguish the styles of World Series Vol. 13: The Clermont EP from Gqom we’ve heard previously.
That really shows in the warped harmonic contours of Trax Couture Riddim with its nagging, almost EVOL-esque motif and explosive drops, and the its refusal of usual drum palette, whilst Siyahashakaa serves searing trance riffs, and the brooding pads of Gqom Couture even recall Detroit or early Warp-in-Yorkshire vibes.
The refractive hyaline ambient dimensions of Ceramic TL’s Perfect Lung form the 3rd and final LP to be released in 2017 by David Psutka (Egyptrixx) in various configurations via his Halocline Trance label.
Working remotely from his Toronto base with Istanbul-based composer Ipek Gorgun, Psutka follows his Egyptrixx LP Pure, Beyond Reproach, and his ANAMAI collaboration with Anna Mayberry, What Mountain to pursue a more esoteric and elusive electronic muse throughout the crystal clear yet somehow disorienting spaces of Perfect Lung.
With its clash of bi-continental sonorities and signifiers rent in tessellating, refractive designs, the effect of the music emulates or at least recalls to us time spent on the bus at night travelling thru the realest ends of a large city, with streetlights, headlamps and neon signage playing out surreal refractions in myriad sheets of glass.
Check out ‘Sand and Sea’!
Paving the way for DeepChord’s Auratones LP, Rod Modell rolls out with the quick and deep dub techno of Cirriforms, the warm synth washes of Sky Maps, and more sublime, hazy gear in Crystal Horizons and then, whoa, wait a minute, is he trying to do Lee Gamble-style ambient jungle on Sand and Sea? We daresay he might. Definitely worth checking that one…
Whities offer a flighty suite of ambient, classical and techno fusions from Jules Venturini (aka Catch ov South London Analogue Material) for the label’s last release of 2017.
While Venturini’s own label specialises in brute industrial techno forms, his own output, as evidenced here, is more open-minded and fanciful, establishing airier coordinates with pendulous, phased string loops and bleeping electrical disturbance eventually precipitating a direct techno groove in Flying Kites, kinda like Maxwell Sterling meets a kick drum, whereas the swooning, weightless string cadence of Keep Me Close comes off like some mutated Arthur Russell instrumental, and spends his techno pound proper on the James Holden-esque Trace Of Smoke.
Japan’s Jun Kamoda gives Black Acre their best session in memory with the nutty techno styles of The Distorted Haunted Ballroom, which is quite possibly an oblique reference to The Caretaker?
At the heels of his Misty Funk EP with Steel City Dance Discs, Kamoda goes in like Eric Copeland on a techno mission with the clunking, squawking Body & Soul, or like a psychotomimetic Soundhack track with the jabbing disco madness of (((BYE))), saving something like a stray Peaking Lights tune for the dubbed-out, bandy-legged strut of Dopey Forests.
Pretty, pretty mad.
Taken from Magazine’s boxset marking the 40th Anniversary of the Voyager Golden Record
A gold plated LP designed to give aliens a laugh - Jens-Uwe Beyer presents Black Ocean - Blue Sea; an 18 minute, collaged homage of scrambled classical samples, chaotic electrical disturbance and vocal samples relaying the history of earth and mankind.
Björk blooms her most impressive album in a good while with Utopia, featuring co-production by Arca and even a guest spot by Rabit, who both aid in buoying her astonishingly lush and romantic new song cycle. As sincerely optimistic as the title may suggest, Utopia is, by Björk’s own description, her “tinder album”, projecting a positive answer to the tortuous soul-searching of Vulnicura.
We can take or leave a lot of Björk on most days. But this one got us right thurrr. Whether that’s due to the seamless integration of Arca’s virtuosic flourishes, it’s difficult to say. However, the embrace of space and nature, both real and emulated, within Utopia lends an intoxicatingly out-of-body sensation to its songs which beautifully leavens her sometimes overwrought delivery, serving to free up her spirit in the most literal and fascinatingly intangible terms.
Where Arca was brought in at the late stages of Vulnicura to warp its edges, their working relationship immediately spilled over into the recording of Utopia, forging a symbiotic and hugely fruitful relationship with the artist he formerly called his idol. Now creative partners, their powers are multiplied, manifesting the longest single piece of work in either’s catalogue, and arguably their most seductive.
You can literally hear her beaming while she sings over swooping subs, gamer FX and pirouetting harps in Awakening My Senses, whilst the folk phrasing and prettiness of Blissing Me perfectly counters her operatic tendencies. Conversely, the adroit looseness of Arca’s rhythms acutely mirror the expressive meter of Björk’s classical inflections in Body Memory, one of the album’s longest, most immersive highlights, and equally in sweetly fractious form to giddy effect on Losss, which benefits from Rabit’s push ’n pull production.
And even when talking frankly about the darker side of that tinder life in the couplet of Courtship and Sue Me, she pulls off delirious, rugged - but not overbearing - rhythms and skyward-zipping flutes keeping her spirit decidedly up and forward-looking in a way that also informs the album’s heart-cupping conclusion, Future Forever.
L.I.E.S. look closer to their Paris home with Krikor Kouchian’s ersatz OST, Pacific Alley, making a fine change of pace and mood from the producer known for a string of filter house and electro releases for Kill The DJ Records, Tigersushi and Crowdspacer under myriad monikers since over the past 20 years.
Following the sought-after Linn funk of Promo 45, this is Krikor’s 2nd release for L.I.E.S., and features both tracks from the 7” as part of an 11-track suite full of vintage drum machines and gauzy synth gazes suggesting the soundtrack to long drives at dusk along coast roads or cruising California’s less salubrious neighbourhoods.
That’s partly down to the fact that the artist spent time a s a youth in SoCal, soaking up the radio, the beach and American culture in a way which has informed his music ever since (check for his France Copland takes NWA and Bladerunner!), resulting now in something like a lo-fi parallel to Dam-Funk or a more playful Palmbomen II.
Captains of the Bristol bass industry, Andy Mac & Ossia (FuckPunk, Young Echo) go toe-to-toe on a heavy-lidded slow house tip for the latter’s No Corner bastion.
It sounds like the pair challenged each other to drink as much red wine and neck as many valdos as possible before writing each cut, resulting the wickedly sozzled hustle of Soup Riddim’s dreamy chants and drunken master lurch, then buoying your freefall with the NWAQ-alike gauze of Cado, and, just before it’s lights out, threading your head thru the decaying dub wormhole of Linguine Loop.
HRH Prins Thomas caps a busy year in the disco with the 5 album, following on from his Square One collaboration with Bjorn Torske, the Principe Del Norte album before that, and a healthy handful of 12”s and remix work int he meantime.
It’s chugalug central right here, serving 12 tracks of sidestepping dad disco basslines, real ‘live’ drums (some electronic, too) shackled to wobbly Moog and Arp lines, a dash of guitar here, and a spot of acid there, all readied for the discerning scando disco fiend in you.
‘The Greatest Gift’ is a mixtape of outtakes, remixes and demos from Sufjan’s 2015 album ‘Carrie & Lowell’. This collection serves as a companion piece to the ‘Carrie & Lowell Live’ album (and as an expansion to the original album).
"In the same way the live show featured re-interpretations of the songs from ‘Carrie & Lowell’, the mixtape unveils new remixes by several longstanding collaborators including Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and James McAlister (aka 900X). The album also features Sufjan’s own remix of ‘Drawn To The Blood’.
‘The Greatest Gift’ features four previously unreleased new songs, ‘official’ outtakes from ‘Carrie & Lowell’ (they were recorded at the same time as the album). These include ‘Wallowa Lake Monster’, ‘The Hidden River Of My Life’, ‘City Of Roses’ and ‘The Greatest Gift’. This new material, in its investigation of love, life, death, God and the beautiful state of Oregon, serves as a contemplative companion to the original album."
Tessela and Truss’ convulse a 3rd Overmono session, scaling from elegiac synths to ragged jungle-tekno and back again over the course of four tracks.
Inulin skates in on icy bed of synths to flex out like a long lost Jega ace, then Phase Magenta launches into rumbling, tranced-out ‘ardcore tekno pressure, and Pom follows a more squashed and slaty line of enquiry somewhere between Andy Stott and Arca, with the beatless synth orchestration Harp Open bringing matters to a majestic, ecclesiastic/ecstatic close.
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
Transfixing Venezuelan field recordings from the private archive of amateur ethnomusicologist Oswaldo Lares, ranging from completely unique percussive patterns to acapella songs and remarkably electronic-sounding marimba pieces. Must be heard to be believed, ‘cos we bet a billion bucks you’ve never heard any of these before!
"After a concert of Kenyan singer Ogoya Nengo in Berlin in 2015 in a pleasant conversation Guillermo Lares told me about his father, Oswaldo Lares, a studied architect who, parallel with his professional activity, began to make field recordings of the traditional and indigenous Venezuelan music from the early 1960s onwards up until today.
His search and fascination for finding the musical roots of his country led Oswaldo Lares to visit the rural villages outside Caracas, investigating the many and varied musical cultures of the region and the complex relationship between Venezuelan folk music and its various origins, including the African (música afrodescendiente).
The vast amount of music documents in the form of sound recordings, photographs and videos accompanied by notes and studies reflect the scope of this entirely self- taught sound engineer's work and represent a passionate documentary, making his work today one of the most comprehensive and systematic that has ever been assembled by a single person in Venezuela. Oswaldo Lares as an ethnomusicologist remained an amateur in the most direct meaning of the word: amare. Whereas most studied ethnomusicologists travel around the world to explore far away continents and foreign cultures, Oswaldo began to devote much of his spare time to the generally overlooked folk traditions that existed right in his very neighbourhood.
Currently Guillermo Lares has started to promote his father's work through the Achivolares Foundation, turning it into a living archive that preserves an essential part of Venezuelan musical memory. It is a pleasure and honor of our label TAL to support the invaluable work of Oswaldo and Guillermo Lares with this album."
Extended Version - Hauntingly tender solo debut LP from London’s Kelly Lee Owens, delivering on the promise of her excellent Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery collaborations/remixes in a full album of sylvan tech house and synth-pop beauties.
Prefaced by the head-turning single, Oleic - which featured a smart rework of Jenny Hval’s Kingsize - Kelly Lee Owens’ eponymous album introduces a well rounded yet subtly detailed sound to the world at large, one brimming with the rare promise of an artist who wants to extract something more precious, personalised from the dance music and pop prisms which clearly enthral her music.
There’s probably always going to be something about ethereal, floating vocals and the sensual contours of European tech house, when at its best, which will eternally grab our attention. And this album delivers strongly on both counts - striking an impeccable balance of classic, timeless pop songwriting and purring, contemporary electronic grooves that places it in an exulted space on the shelves.
Collaborators Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery appear on the record’s highlights; Jenny lending her poised delivery and lyrics, framed by KLO’s breathy gilding, on the baroque pop-house dream sequence of Anxi., with Avery assisting on the Fever Ray-meets-Liz Fraser stylings of Keep On Walking; whilst the rest is subtly aided by the mixing and engineering treatments of James Greenwood, who’s best known as Ghost Culture on Erol Elkan’s Phantasy Sound.
That combination of KLO’s chamber-like arrangements and Greenwood’s rendering results a string of other pearls in the strung out balearia of S.O. at the front, thru the gorgeous Arthur - which is surely a play on that library record Aphex Twin sampled on Xtal?! - whereas Evolution flexes some properly toned dancefloor muscle, and Throwing Lines could very nearly be mistaken for a cut from Grimes’ Halfaxa period.
Second ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s first record
A collection of early demos and live recordings from 1979 gig also starring Joy Division and The Distractions. Produced by Martin Hannett, mixed by Tony Wilson.
Zomby’s near-mythical Eski grime concept album was created over an intense two week period around 2008-2009 and features 16 uniquely formulated interpretations of Wiley’s seminal Eskibeat productions. It's been in hybernation ever since and, almost a decade later (and after many aborted attempts), is finally available for public consumption - still sounding like an ancient future.
After nearly a decade in the making, Zomby finally dispatches his astonishing take on Wiley’s series of Eskibeat releases, a.k.a. the cornerstone of grime. Originally recorded over a mad couple of weeks while suffering from circadian dysrhythmia, Mercury’s Rainbow documents Zomby riffing on intricately hand-programmed arpeggios, using theories of colour and its relation to the sonic chromatic spectrum - the circle of fifths - to place an expressively avant spin on the Wiley Kat’s slyding Triton squares and frozen, post-garage drum patterns.
Rather than simply imitating Wiley’s foundational unit of grime currency, Zomby innovates with a structure of bewildering, modal styles, refracting 16 diamond-cut permutations according to a colour-sound spectrum of tonalities. In the process he effectively loosens up and liquifies the Eski riddim, rendering its bones and sinew in varying states of reactive, physical deliquescence or GIF-like micro-organisms.
For dancers and DJs, the fluid contours and viscous, displaced rhythmic anticipation of Mercury’s Rainbow suggests myriad geometries for movement in-the-mix, and serves to single-handedly put to sleep a whole genre of also-ran, prosaic “future grime” thru its methodical, inventively ground-up construction.
While it’s difficult to say with certainty, if Mercury’s Rainbow was issued at the same time it was created, it may have arguably altered the course of UK grime instrumentals in much the same way Wiley’s original template coined a whole new genre, essentially making it the last word in grime futurism, proper.
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere.
Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly.
Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai first premiered their collaborative Cyclo project a deacde ago on Raster Noton. Relaunching in 2011 they're just as intent on creating a synaesthetic visualization of sound that "...seeks to create a new hybrid of visual art and music".
Essentially the sounds on 'Id' are inextricable from their visual corollary. They're the unmastered sonic illustrations of detailed graphical data, and vice versa, developed from a database of sounds composed to produce visual responses when analysed in real time with the help of stereo image monitoring equipment. Most importantly, the sounds are subservient to the image, hence the record remains purposefully unmastered in order to retain the waveform's original integrity when visualized through an XY phase scope, transcending the usual sound>image dynamic. But that's not to say that the music doesn't possess its own heightened, strangely affecting quality - within 30 seconds of listening through headphones this reviewer's eyes were watering, a physically visceral effect if we've ever felt one.
Unlike its relatively austere predecessor, the sounds within cover a wider spectrum of rhythms, from spasmodic digital pulses to lightyears-advanced electro syncopation, and similarly a dazzling frequency range capable of causing acutely synaesthetic reactions. All this leads us to think that 'Id' is a work of uncompromising genius, at once cementing and advancing Ikeda and Nicolai's relentlessly ongoing audio/visual quest.
Light-headed house music by new and regular avatars from the Blind Jacks Journey family; Rnr, Mr. Fiel, Gnork X Luv Jam, and Jimini.
No messing with the format here as each contributor plays well into the label’s deep drifting house aesthetics between the sublime suspension systems of Moments by Rnr and the plush Sven Weisemann wibes of Mr. Fiel’s Sunset On The Moon up top, whereas Gnork X Luv Jam reroute the feeling to filtered disco house ecstasy with Troppppixxxx and Jimini plays from the classic UK/Detroit handbook in Back To Reality.
Torn Hawk’s spirit quest reveals proper aerobic mystic goodness under the wonderfully suggestive title Men With No Memory, following up the dramas of his Union & Return album with four genre-agnostic turns folding EBM, psyche and dub into striking new prisms that hold up to dancefloor pressure and closer scrutiny at home.
The title track kicks off the first plate with a fugged-up whorl of country guitars and lurching dub nodding at Sun Araw before spiking out with taut EBM drums that really come into play on the B-side’s Poser, one of the rudest, sickest electro cuts we’ve heard this side of Gesloten Cirkel’s album in recent times.
With Butterfly Knives opens the 2nd disc into a flanging metallic wormhole sounding something like a disco on the other side of the TV in Cronenberg Videodrome, then spitting us out at the psychey new wave enigma Stealing Geodes From The Nature Company, and the natty closer, Not Quite Music.
RIYL Beau Wanzer, Gesloten Cirkel, Willie Burns for daaaaays
Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda’s seminal minimalist project is now finally available to download. Originally issued on CD and LP in 2001, cyclo.’s . was, and more or less still is, the last word in purest, stoically funked-up digital sound pressure.
“cyclo. is a collaborative research project by Ikeda and Nicolai which focuses on the visualisation of sound. The artists are developing a database of sounds that they are composing for the visual responses these produce when analysed in real time using equipment developed originally for phase correlation in mastering vinyl records. With such stereo image monitoring equipment, the phase and amplitude of stereo signals can be illustrated graphically.
The audio elements have been constructed and chosen through agendas concerned with the minute editing of frequencies (often beyond the physical range of human hearing) and the perceptual amassing of audio elements to an undefined point. For Nicolai and Ikeda an 'infinity index’ of sound fragments is a conscious motivation forming the basis of their research and feeding cyclo. with the audio material required for visuality.
In amassing this archive, Nicolai and Ikeda transcend the usual dynamic whereby image acts merely as a functional accompaniment to sound. They arrive at a standpoint from which the audio element in the process is subservient to the desire and appetite of the image. Although this imaging is purely 2-D in display, the process proposes 3-D possibilities. Their proposition is that the structural complexities of these visual metered shapes, born and examined from the perspective of audio metering, may have in them a rich potential for architects, designers and engineers to find starting points for structural readings.”
Len Faki puts his weight behind two remixes of Aleksi Perälä colundi sequenced techno bangers.
In Faki's hands, GBBVT133715 is reinforced with horse-powered bass for the all-night steeds in a Hardspace Mix, whereas he focusses on the colundi sequence’s strange tunings in the elegantly balanced canter and hyaline harmonics with trips effect in UK74R1409047 (Deepspace Mix).
Subliminal transportation systems from Stelzer Murray, a pair of individually prolific avant-garde artists from Boston, making their overdue debut collaboration with Connector; an immersive flow of lower case texturhythms and microtonal drone recommended to anyone who’s been snagged by Jim HJaynes’ atmospheric works or the quietest enigmas by Kevin Drumm or Zoviet*France.
“Stelzer brings to the table an array of mangled and partially demagnetized tape; and Murray brings his knack for compacted harmonics, obfuscated field recordings, and long-view compositional strategies. An irradiated, almost Kirlian glow permeates Connector through the duo's slow accretions and erosions amidst the soaring crescendos of compacted tone and vacant shadows of mechanical thrum. On occasion, rasping saw tooth frequencies and oblique synth-noise phrases stridently pop in a clinical opposition against the field of hiss. Screaming cascades from ice storms. Tape symphonies from urban blight. Life-support machines at the point of obsolescence.
In describing the process of building this album, Stelzer reflected, "When you've known someone for this long, the act of collaboration is like conversation over dinner; you don't fuss over it or worry about it; it's stress free, even instinctual like exhaling."
Good things come to those who wait.”
Barcelona’s man of the moment DJ Seinfeld trots out on Manchester’s Natural Sciences with a quartet of fuzzy house jaxx.
He relaxes into it with a trippy mix of what sounds like indian classical vocal (might be dead wrong there?) and bassline-driven swagger, whereas Ruff Hysteria gets right on it with wriggling acid and zinging hi-hats
Wombat Bounce keep the energy up there with punchy, wooden drums timed for the swingers, and What Kind Of Sandwich Is This unfurls on a rolling hardcore jungle tip that sounds like HATE heard thru a wet towel.
Currently in a crucial phase of her oeuvre, Istanbul’s Ekin Fil presents the results of her first soundtrack commission with Inflame, a 30 minute collection of evocative, murky electronic cues reflecting the paranoia of Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s psychological thriller.
Rather than her signature, reverrb-laden guitar and glossolalic vox, Ekin uses a palette of synths, electronics and drum machines to convey a tense and claustrophobic sound, where severed voices float thru minor key melodies and slow, epileptic hallucinations, sometimes prodded with skeletal electro rhythms, at other left to linger uncomfortably in crepuscular mid-air with curt resolutions.
Mellow but spicy jazz-funk-soul from south London, 2017
“The album starts with 'Moonlight Woman,' a song that harks back to the Headhunters era, but with a contemporary twist - close your eyes and your transported to 70s Harlem, walking shoulder to shoulder with Richard Roundtree! 'Elephant & Castle' follows, a clear reference to south Londons Latin quarter, the tune has a distinct hustle and bustle quality. With a strong flute solo and upbeat rhythm section this tune is sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. The first side draws to a close with a tasteful Dilla inspired skit, 'Trudi's Mood,' which demonstrates the bands wealth of influences and leaves the listener eager to continue their sonic voyage, with Ruby Rushton at the helm.
Haunting ballad, 'Prayer For Yusef,' is a song written in memory of the late Yusef Lateef. It starts softly with a bowed double bass and bamboo flute, accompanied by ghostly percussive noises and slowly rises to a large crescendo, with drums and piano in tow. It's a strong tune and a fitting dedication to the late, great Yusef Lateef. No sooner has Lateef's ballad gently faded away then 'Where Are You Now?' kicks in. Starting with a cool, neck-popping 3/4 beat, and utilising a four-piece horn section, the rhythm section struts its stuff whilst flute and trumpet carve out a playful melodic line. Just as you settle into its hypnotic bounce the tune falls through a Monk inspired chromatic bridge and without warning reappears as a solid Latin groove, leading to strong solos from both sax and keys. The rhythm section charges through to the end, never lagging, and are rejoined by the four-piece horn section, which stabs its way to a tight finish. The album comes to a close as 'The Camel's Back' fades in with an eerie sax solo and free form drums, before settling into a catchy bass motif and quickly fading away, leaving listeners on the edge of their seats and wanting more. It’s a great ending to an intoxicating joy ride through a multitude of genre defying styles!
Simply put, this album is a must have for any listener yearning for exciting and fresh contemporary music. Essential listening for fans of Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and GoGo Penguin. Words by Rodriguez Guido”.
Melancholic, electronica and jazz-inflected beats by a yung new talent from Glasgow. Check for sweetest bits on the piquant instrumental R&B mutation ‘Out of Body’ and the lush, thizzy suspense of ’Still’
“23 year-old Lachlan McFeely Bolt, fka Dressin Red, returns to Astral Black for the release of 'Still', his first official musical output since January 2016. With the name change, Bolt aims to bring the two worlds of his visual and audio creative works closer together.
With the focus of this record being more on feeling or aesthetic, rather than techincal prowess, the results are a far more fragile and intimate insight into the mind of this individual young artist. Whilst previous works allowed for Bolt's complex and arpeggiated synth lines to shine through, 'Still' is more holistic in it's approach; letting elements of both analogue and digital coincide.
'ByMy' is a perfect example of this, taking both the melodic elements of 'Kibble Place' and introducing elements of manipulated voice and guitars. At times Bolt moves toward an almost song-writing based approach, with his voice at the forefront of 'My Woes' and Guitar taking centre stage on album opener, 'Rise'. Whilst elsewhere, the anthemic, slow-motion jungle of '2 Scared 2 Say' (which soundtracked Boiler Room's recent documentary on Glasgow's new-wave) sounds like Burial just met Underworld at Glastonbury.
The 9-track project sees Lachlan move through a series of moods, with the album closer and title track 'Still' (Bolt's ode of sorts to Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 Musicians') leaving him, and ultimately the listener, in a particularly content mood.”
Andy Lyster’s Youth label wrest four stripes of punky blooze from Shamos, who steers away from the rugged house knocks of his Apron 12”s to nervier, faded headpieces in YO2TH.
Acquainted thru London’s NTS studio, Lyster and Shamos have conspired to reveal alternate aspects of the latter’s aesthetic, sidewinding from what sounds like one of Delroy Edwards’ Teenage Tapes cuts in the grungy wave stepper Found Grace to Lukid-esque alien tribalism in 13213132, then with a gristly, blank-eyed slug of EBM in TMF, and desiccated Detroit boogie in Nuws.
Brilliant, razor-sharp sound designs, gwan like a funky Haswell with the mosquito-sampling ‘MOSQU-ito’, and dissolving your head like humus in ‘MYCOrrhizosphere’, to name two highlights. Love this...
“SOLIDICITY is an invented word. It contains solid and city. It is AGF’s 10th solo and 31st album in executive production. The sound sculptress uses field recordings to craft rhythmic and arrhythmic structures, noise pattern, club references and bass frequencies. The poetess does not use words. AGF is a computer musician and uses Logic, Radial, MPClive, MAX from cycling74 to compose stark anti groove out of organic matter. Attention SPOILER: Finnish mosquitoes were looped and quantized. The track titles reference the artist's sonic discourse: Social justice, feminism, networking power, environmental concerns, Europe and the migration crisis, technological solutions for improving activism (Pursuance Project) and more.”
Fresh off a 12 hour, four day rota at the BOS Plant-cum-studio, Ansome cuts loose with British Steel
Taking in the hard-edged industrial funk of the title track along with the girder-strength slug of Marching Powder, a torrent of piledriver bass drums in Poison Your Body, and what sounds like Haswell and Best going for the gaffer as Consumer Electronics in Granite & Mortar.
Deadboy locks in a trio of jacking and swanging house grooves for AUS Music.
Effectively picking up where his Columns 12” for Ten Thousand Yen left us, here he goes a dab tuffer with the brittle drums and and brooding minor key arrangement of Auogeides 77, then opens up your swing with the feathered chords and ruder bass of Driftmore, and snaps off some nervy Detroit-via-Tokyo funk with Defrase.
Hemlock follow a strong 2017 run, getting the best out of Ploy in Unruly with three cuts of agitated digital funk and more abstract structures than his preceding 12”s for Hessle Audio and Timedance.
Unruly sparks off with something like Ueno Masaaki’s Raster-Noton missile redressed with a UK swing, while Garys comes up with escalating synthlines on a swaggering, offset techno mission with belly-twisting impact, and Lost Hours finds him at the other side of that wave with sweeter, duvet-diving ambient dynamics that emulate the effect of going MIA in your own bedroom.
Eminent photographer turned sound artist and collaborator with Powell, Wolfgang Tillmans offers the soundtrack - a suite of scatty vocal duets with Bille Ray Martin and the Hamburg soundfield - relating to his current exhibition at the Kunstverein in Hamburg
“Hamburg Süd / Nee IYaow eow eow is released as part of the Wolfgang Tillmans's "There were 30 years between 1943 and 1973. 30 years from 1973 was the year 2003" exhibition, which is being held at the Kunstverein in Hamburg in fall 2017.
Wolfgang Tillmans has devised a 35-minute sound installation as part of the exhibition. The installation takes the exhibition's inner-city context as its starting point, and operates in conjunction with numerous photographs (from a variety of Tillmans' s work phases) and video works to transform the space into a single cinematic whole.
Electronic manipulations of Tillmans's own voice, made to sound alternately choral, guttural, and absurd, are mixed with a kind of sung evocation of the four directions of the compass -- to which the exhibition hall is almost exactly aligned. To provide this counterpart voice, Tillmans invited the Hamburg-born and internationally renowned singer Billie Ray Martin. The alternating singing styles are embedded within long silent pauses, when visitors can hear noise from the two routes of traffic between which the Kunstverein is located: the cluster of platforms at Hamburg's central railway station, and Klosterwall, one of the city's main thoroughfares.
Through the interplay of screeching railway lines, traffic noise, the reverberation of the immediate environment, word play, and voice explorations, Tillmans uses the sound work to react to aspects specific to the exhibition room at the Kunstverein in Hamburg: you can hear the city, but do not see it.
In Further Listening, the second part of the set, Tillmans presents further experimental solo pieces, collaborations, and two works that were previously released in 2016 (now available for the first time on digital format): 2016 / 1986 EP (FRAGILE 001EP), Tillmans's first release, and Device Control EP (FRAGILE 003EP), which first came to public attention in 2016 when a full-length version of the song appeared as a guest contribution on Endless, a visual album by the US R&B musician Frank Ocean.”
White Material co-conspirator DJ Richard yields his 1st new EP in three years with the brooding electro swerver, Path of Ruin sure to garner moody screwfaces on the ‘floor.
It’s really all about the 10 minute title tune, reprising the darkside, Reese-like strokes of his Leech2 classic from way back in 2012, but with a slinky malinky electro swing that’s very much of the ’97/’07/’17 zeitgeist. The first five minutes of floating pads and stark dub chords could almost be mistaken for an early Claro Intellect or Andy Stott piece, before the lustrous bass sets it on its own trajectory into the night.
Gargoyle is a solid six minutes of slow industrial/EBM at 105bpm, coated with noxious harmonics in a way recalling Para or Dirk Desaever, and Stygian Freeze lives up to its mantle with a stately but doomed descent into beat-less synth zones redolent of Dopplereffekt.
After collaborating with Aidan Baker and Lawrence English already in 2017, Thor Harris (Swans, The Angels of Light) meets Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah Gautier for a fluffy, polyrhythmic, minimalist distraction from the end times.
“"You can make your life a whole lot simpler and less draining if you choose to be good to others. Kindness sets the tone for civil interaction when you lead by example. Kindness is your most efficient tool for changing the world."
Governor Thor Harris played Marimba , flute, vibraphone , voice, organ , duduk, tubular bells, gongs ,etc Peggy Ghorbani played marimba, xylophone, & inspired us all to go on living.
Sarah "Goat" Gautier played marimba, vibraphone, organ, voice, etc. She is currently the hardest working man in show biz.
Jeremy Barnes made this whole goddam thing happen i.e. produced it. He also played vibraphone, auto harp, engineered, mellotron, organ and arranged strings on 90meters. Heather Trost played violin, viola, voice & string arrangements.
Jordan Geiger played marimba, synth, vibraphone and engineered. John Dieterich played prepared guitar, bass & percussion. Michael Gira sang on 90meters, Standing Rock and Grassfire. Jen Gira sang on Standing Rock. Stine Janvin Motland sang on Swimming with Stine, Dead Man's Hand, and Falling. Soriah sang on Standing Rock, 90meters, & Grassfire.
Crystal Fullbright sang on Tucson (to be released later) Daryl didn't do shit on this. Not one goddam thing. Blair Bovberg played theremin Craig Ross recorded Stine and makes anxiety inducing drones in our live shows. Elizabeth Warren played viola and violin. Aisha Burns played violin. Adam Torres played guitar. Daily Toliver played bass and Wurlitzer. Jacob Green played oboe. Jhno Eichenseer played duduk on Standing Rock and Resist. Jeff Luna played bass and engineered. Conor Walker engineered and so much more. Dave Boyl engineered sessions at Church house Studio in Austin. Design by Louis Schalk and Jeremy Barnes at Plinth Design. Photos by Conor Walker, Thom Washburn, Tamir Kalifa, Gretchen Phillips & Sippertu. Recorded and mixed by John Dieterich and Jeremy Barnes at Sonido Del Norte in Albuquerque.”
Ut is a radical rock group founded by Nina Canal, Jacqui Ham and Sally Young in NYC in Dec 1978. Originating in the downtown No Wave scene and inheritors of the collision between rock, free jazz and the avant-garde, Ut exploded the rigidity of conventional rock, constructing songs through collective improvisation, swapping instruments and rotating the role of singer/director.
"Migrating to London in 1981, Ut played with bands like The Fall and The Birthday Party and released music on their own label, Out Records. Ut became a favorite of BBC's John Peel and recorded sessions for his show. Joining forces in 1987 with the label Blast First, they released the critically acclaimed In Gut's House in 1988 and made the NME ‘Top 50 Albums’ that year. As The Washington Post exclaimed, “With In Gut’s House, Ut has scraped and droned one of the finest underground rock albums of the year... The tightly interwoven, firmly focused sound... is rich, spooky, urgent and quite unexpectedly beautiful.”
The album Griller followed in 1989, engineered by label mate Steve Albini, who shared Ut's raw aesthetic and captured the band’s intensity. Ut disbanded in 1990 and began performing again in 2010."