Sublime charms from Hood co-founder Richard Adams...
“The Declining Winter return after a three year lay off with what is perhaps their strongest statement to date. Pushing on from the pastoral blueprint of the long sold out ‘Home For Lost Souls’ (2015),‘Belmont Slope’ is a bold and varied album, extending the boundaries of their earlier sound, introducing pop sensibilities and daring electronic flourishes.
Truly a Northern English album, Belmont Slope is a haphazard car ride across the M62, a love letter to the hills of Yorkshire and Lancashire, a paean to desolate beauty, unattainable love and lost friends. The Declining Winter is the brainchild of Hood co-founder Richard Adams, an ever changing collective who emerge blinking into the daylight from their Yorkshire enclave with a unique blend of pastoral and lo-fi pop, shimmering electronics and rural post-rock."
Perú’s Dengue Dengue Dengue! grind out a potently dark and psychedelic twist on native rhythms and global bass styles for London’s award-winning On The Corner label
“Dengue Dengue Dengue are the Peruvian duo known for raising a tropical storm. Their electronic psychedelia and bass flows from their roots in Lima, Perú upstream to global dancefloors. The duo are constant in their evolution, exploring rhythms and sounds native to Peru and from the world over. Their focus is in recreating them in electronic form, mixing the old with the new, analog and with digital.
In owning their unique sound and visual identity they share a common quest in their pairing with London-Global label On the Corner. Already deemed ‘Label of The Year’ at the Worldwide Awards On the Corner are crossing more borders and breaking down the silo of left-field sounds having now been nominated for the ‘Best Small Label’ gong at the prestigious AIM Awards.
Gilles Peterson's 'Worldwide Premieres' called it back in summer 2016 saying that the label is “On a never-ending quest to support and expose far-off musical cultures around the world”. On the Corner continues to leave no stone unturned.
In this 6-tracker Dengue Dengue Dengue team-up with label mates Penya. The band feature on the first track ‘Pua’ that sets a rich scene for the sonic journey ahead. The flip is stormed with title track ‘Semillero' whilst hearts, minds and imaginations are set to be inspired with their versioning of ‘Habu Raminibu’ which is a healing chant of the Huni Kuin people whose ancient home is located deep in the Amazon where the borders of Peru and Brazil meet. The collaboration between artist and label seeks to honour and represent this heritage. The Huni Kuin have bestowed guardianship of this rare cultural treasure to Dengue Dengue Dengue and On the Corner.”
Downbeat ambient music and grooves for “chilling out”, Amsterdam style. But it’s definitely more camomile tea than good Indica
“The self-titled double LP from Inner River is a journey of beautiful ambient, downtempo rhythms and otherworldly atmospheres. This mysterious dreamworld sounds emotive, mystic and divine – a personal story that remains fascinating until the very last minute. Whilst not directly aimed at the dance floor, this exceptional body of work highlights Atomnation’s innovative sound and is perfect for those lights down sets and playlists.”
‘Music Of Southern Laos’ presents an outstanding set of recordings made by Laurent Jeanneau (Kink Gong) in the landlocked, mountainous, South East Asian country
Highlighting a region and musics usually obscured from the the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry, ‘Music Of Southern Laos’ offers a rare overview of folk styles from the Champasak, Attapeu, Sekong & Saravan provinces bordered by Vietnam and Thailand, and home to a panoply of marginalised ethnic communities which Jeanneau places particular focus upon.
Given their proximity to Thailand, the music of Southern Laos perhaps understandably bears resemblance to the Thai folk-pop style of Molam in their singing, as documented in some of the LP’s most charming pieces, such as the slow, elegant sway of ‘Lao Lam Saravan’, but our personal highlights are the beguiling instrumentals, including the mesmerising metallic scrapes and glances of ‘Brao Lave Gongs’ from the Brao minority, as well as the beautifully drowsy ‘Alak Gongs’ of the Alak minority, played by three elderly performers surrounded by crowing cockerels and tropical fauna.
Colour us utterly enchanted.
More classic Herbert from the vaults, returning his ‘Part Four’  12” into dancefloor circulation
Possibly one of the grittiest, deepest Herbert sessions in his 20 odd years of releases, ‘Part Four’ gets down with a slow, thumping heft in the desiccated, dub-wise 105bpm recoil of ‘Pen’, while the clipped breakbeat syllables of ‘Pump’ bridges kinky US garage with UK-style rudeness and Euro minimalism.
Meanwhile ’Take Me Back’ pushes the tempo and the funk for a ruffer, skudgy swang that paves the way for so much mutant fidget house to come, and ‘Resident’ brings the jack with a deep, prancing, and playfully campy soul.
Canny split between veteran mechanical soundsmiths Pierre Bastien & Cabo San Roque on one side, and the none-more-enigmatic Breadwoman improvising with soprano saxophonist Adrian Northover and Dave Tucker on guitar.
“First Terrace deliver another instalment of their split series, following on from the meditative trip supplied by Chihei Hatakeyama and Vida Vojic on FTS002 & the blissful first edition from K. Leimer & Like A Villain.
On the ‘line’ side of FTS003 we hear the meeting of three veteran improvisors - Anna Homler (Breadwoman/Pharmacia Poetica), Adrian Northover (Remote Viewers) and Dave Tucker (The Fall). Born from the fertile creative friction of the London Improvisers Orchestra, they incantate together to deliver a clutch of winding, curious, mesmeric compositions.
On the ‘circle’ side we present a recording from Pierre Bastien - an artist of startling singularity and endless, joyful creativity. Recorded at Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona with Catalonian group Cabo San Roque, Pierre takes the helm of their monumental mechanical sound sculpture - the Orquestra Mecànica de la França Xica - and guides the vast array of cogs and pistons through three movements. The orchestra was made up of thirty or forty machines, all linked to Pierre’s casio keyboard.”
Prepare to be floored again by the great Lonnie Holley, back with his 3rd album - his 1st in five years - serving a unique perspective on contemporary America as the result of some 68 years living at its fringes; from a whisky house, to numerous foster homes, and later as an eminent outsider artist.
It’s hard to forget a first encounter with Holley’s singular style - ‘Just Before Music’ back in 2012 stuck out like one of his massive “thumbs up for Mother Earth” from everything around it, and to be fair it still does. While we weren’t so immediately enamoured with its follow-up, ‘Keeping A Record of It’, there’s no denying that his 3rd LP ‘MITH’ is a stunning and welcome return, delivering a necessary dose of emotional punishment that’s bound to resonate just as strongly, if not more than his debut.
More layered and diaphanous than either of Holley’s first two records, ‘MITH’ is an astonishing development of Holley’s soul-hocking sound, effectively blossoming from his bluesy seeds into staggering psychedelic blooms almost comparable to the difference between original blues and the freedoms of spiritual jazz, with Holley’s utterly inimitable voice bridging the difference, along with extra musical contributions from fellow travellers such as new age maestro Laraaji, jazz duo Nelson Patton, and production by Pakistani/American artist Shahzad Ismaily.
We’ll keep it simple: this record hurts in the most powerful, extraordinary way. Unmissable.
The master of slow-motion ambient/trance owns his style on ‘Infinite Moment’, his 6th album for Kompakt since the seminal ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ side won everyone’s hearts in 2007
Axel Wilner a.k.a. The Field has made his name with a smudged, looser take on Wolfgang Voigt’s grand billows as Gas, or the rolling Teutonic trance of Reinhardt Voigt.
On ‘Infinite Moment’ he once again hits the pleasure centres dead on with his blend of gauzily rugged grooves and hypnotic loops, but allows for some unexpected moments such as the junglist rush that crops up mid-way thru the slow, towering beauty of ‘Made of Steel. Made of Stone’, while the hazy drums of ‘Divide Now’ feel rawer, more affective than usual, and the slow, bobbing linearity of ‘Something Left, Something Right, Something Wrong’ feels as though it’s unravelling in myriad directions at once, while the title track simply plays deep into his classic formula of mesmerising, phasing slow trance.
Recorded at the same Rainbow Studio sessions, and with the same top musicians and legendary engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug, this can only be seen as a rightful twin companion to "The Nature Of Connections" from 2014.
"One can easily understand how Arve must have found it difficult to select tracks for "The Nature Of Connections", leaving these on the shelf. "Composograph" is standing rock solid as a top notch Arve Henriksen album. Interestingly enough, the track "Gathering In Vågå" features Arve on rather brilliant, freeflowing saxophone (for the first time on record?).
There are the typical folk music ties, courtesy of fiddlers Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, contemporary chamber jazz, nods to avant free music and atmospheric tone poems. All in all, twelve exquisite originals from one of the world´s leading trumpet players."
Troops, the wait is over for Ancient Methods’ debut album with ‘The Jerihco Records’, a 14-track set bristling with vocals by Prurient, Cindytalk, King Dude and Wahiba Khadri, and guest production from Regis and Orphx
For pretty much the first time we really hear Michael Wollenhaupt a.k.a the sole serving member of Ancient Methods really stretch his legs in all directions, with results ultimately ranking as perhaps the definitive industrial techno album of its generation.
Biblical in concept and scale, ‘The Jericho Records’ takes the world’s oldest, longest inhabited city as muse for a incredible showcase of futurist/primitive rhythm and sound, melding Michael’s trademark so-stiff-it’s-fuucking-funky-as-fuck drum patterns with a much broader range of instrumentation and voices than any previous AM release.
To get down to business, DJs and dancers need to clock the highlights in the cataclysmic shock of ‘Twelve Stones to Divide Jordan’s Sand’, as well as the bare-faced rage of ‘The House of Rahab’, the searing ‘Crack and Collapse In The Storm of Lights’, and the incendiary payload of ‘Omen’s Duty’ or the appearance of Prurient on the trampling thunder of ‘Walking on Cursed Soil’.
But we’d be remiss to overlook the moments of contrast in the Arabic EBM mutation of ‘Array The Troops’ featuring synths from Regis; the Muslimgauze-like meld of whirling percussion and horns in ‘The City Awakes’; or the clashing scimitars of ‘Swordplay’; while ‘The Seven Shofars’ and ‘In Silence’ impressively attest to AM’s unrepentant obsession with darkest, ritual ambient electronics.
Just hoof it all down and ask questions later.
Teutonic electro-tech-house from The Working Elite, making their debut with Tim Sweeney’s BIS
‘Rockman’ kicks off with a stealthily building piece of tech-house for international espionage, while ‘Born Again’ takes said spy to a disco scene in Bonn circa ’86 for a tense, exciting, strobelite chase scene.
Lauer & Saap remix ‘Rockman’ as a snappier electro swanger with nagging riffs and killed trills, then go all romantic with the kinky swagger of their ‘Lover’s Code’ remix.
Hard-edged sound designs on the cusp of EBM, ghetto-tech and vodka-flavoured electro. RIYL Gesloten Cirkel
“After an appearance on the U S S R compilation on Opal back in 2016, Monotronique leans out from the shadow again with a ten track tape of brutal, minimal body music, operating both as dance tools and as actual pitch forks.
The paired down palette fuses grimey stabbing synths against stoic, saturated drums. Rave lines pour into reverberated backgrounds of stark colour. The A side of the album is all tight, negi-funk and flex where the following side goes out into faster tempos and more ascetic compositions.
'Heat Absorber' collects only a few tracks of the massive arsenal at Monotroniques hand. Tracks which have laid waste to many dancefloors in his native Ukraine and will continue to render the fat of any floors subject to this glorious battery.”
Surprise drop from Shackleton, his first of 2018, following up ’Behind The Glass’ on this Woe To The Septic Heart! label
There’s a discernible Far Eastern bent to both tracks, nodding in the direction of Indonesian percussive styles from Uwalmassa or Senyawa, but still with that outernational nous that also lends it to comparison with Ekuka’s Ugandan thumb piano recordings or Psychic Warriors of Gaia style tribal techno.
‘Furnace of Guts’ is a mercurial, polychromatic flow of stuttering voices, glinting high register percussion and wriggling bottom end feathered into increasingly noisy, knotted formations, while ‘Wakefulness and Obsession’ is more potently hypnotic, droning and viscous.
‘Music Of Northern Laos’ is the 2nd of two fascinating new LP’s recorded by the intrepid Laurent Jeanneau (Kink Gong) in the landlocked, mountainous, South East Asian country
Specifically illuminating music from the Luang Namtha & Phongsaly provinces, ‘Music Of Northern Laos’ provides a rare collection from a region which has been generally overlooked by the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry.
Replete with Jeanneau’s lucubrate liner notes and detailed track descriptions, it’s a totally transportive survey for both beginners and studious ears; covering a remarkable range of styles from the almost sea shanty-esque cadence of the qeej - bamboo pipes fitted with a reed - to quietly intimate acapella folk song; a beguiling demonstration of extended breathing/singing techniques on the tot, a fresh green bamboo played with reed; and thru to ululating songs about solitude; a rolling percussive piece played by a shaman; and a mad, buzzing piece somehow played with the palm of the hand on a bamboo tube.
Another warm funk gust from early ‘80s Holland, courtesy of the butter smooth Richenel. Check for the swanging ‘Rap Apocalypse’, the stark soul burn of ‘It Takes Time’, and the arcade game funk of the title cut!
“Music From Memory return with a further six tracks from Dutch musician Richenel. Continuing with recordings taken from his debut album 'La Diferencia’, originally released in 1982 on the cult Amsterdam cassette only label Fetisj, the tracks on Music From Memory’s second EP ‘Perfect Stranger’ includes alternate takes drawn from Richenel’s personal copy of the album alongside a further composition which didn’t make it onto the original Fetisj cassette.”
Curious combinations of dry East Midlands vocals with mutant computer electronics by Dane Law...
“Gary Myles (Of Habit, Spoils & Relics) and Adam Parkinson (Dane Law, Quantum Natives) combine microphone, objects and computer in their first collaboration, Empty Gesture. Unsettling ambience is struck through with Of Habit’s monotone, almost demented spoken voice. Dane Law’s jittering software recycles and accumulates, offering patterned beats and digitally crusted soundtrack. It’s both welcome and unwell. Data everywhere and yet nowhere, just passing through us, warming.
Merge sort takes advantage of the ease of merging already sorted lists into a new sorted list. It starts by comparing every two elements (i.e., 1 with 2, then 3 with 4...) and swapping them if the first should come after the second. It then merges each of the resulting lists of two into lists of four, then merges those lists of four, and so on; until at last two lists are merged into the final sorted list.
Of the algorithms described here, this is the first that scales well to very large lists, because its worst-case running time is O(n log n). It is also easily applied to lists, not only arrays, as it only requires sequential access, not random access. However, it has additional O(n) space complexity, and involves a large number of copies in simple implementations.”
Twysted post-techno/noise torque from Chafik Chennouf, owner of Amsterdam’s Leyla Records, and Japanese techno explorer Katsunori Sawa
“Rapid conglomerations of noise-techno, death industrial and musique concrete rear their ugly selves over the six tracks of "For The Mimics'.
After a long period of collaboration Chennouf and Sawa-san release a seamless collection spun through their vast knowledge of the previously mentioned genres and their studiously detailed work as individual musicians on Leyla, Weevill Neighbourhood and Voidance.
They are joined by David Foster (HUREN, Teste, Ontario Hospital) on the closing track Inner Scars, barely a touch of ointment following the earlier onslaught.”
Founding member and co-creator of ‘Aiwo rec.‘ DJ Normal 4 delivers Second Circle’s eleventh release to date with the EP ‘Exoticz’ .
"Raised close to Düsseldorf in the Ruhr Area, Normal 4 grew up amongst a landscape of dusty factory skeletons and abandoned machine complexes in a formerly thriving industrial conglomerate. Bringing his signature sound of broken industrial dreams mixed with escapist rave fantasies, Normal 4 delves into the archives with two tracks ‘Kalaidoka’ and ‘Aeo’ recorded around 2011/2012, alongside a new track ‘La Arabia’.
Produced at Altstadt Studio Mülheim an der Ruhr, with Normal 4’s good friend Anke Preuß on guitar and vocals, ‘Aeo’ is given the remix treatment by Phillip Otterbach on the ‘Aeo (Ottertasia Mix)’. On the B side the synth freak out ‘Kalaidoka’ is followed by ‘La Arabia’ which rides the breaks into a dusty moonlit desert rave."
Luke Slater on rugged manoeuvres as L.B. Dub Corp for Stroboscopic Artefacts
Built for the long run and big rooms, ‘Roar’ gives a strident, bass-swollen start to the session which also takes in the sidewinding electro-acid-dub torque of ‘Hard Wax’ and the serpentine swerve of ‘Sure Step Dub’ with its killer, pinging woodblock percussion.
Breathless dance music for robots, produced on SuperCollider by Forces for Berlin’s ace Conditional label
Taking cues from Boston Dynamics prototype ‘dog’ bot, and the strange empathy humans feel towards a military creation that will probably kill you one day, Forces flips that idea on its bonce to posit and answer the question: “why can’t we make robots to rave and dance instead of fight our wars?”
Across nine tracks Forces supposes a music that would drive robots to the most dazzling feats of acrobatic expression, and likewise the more daring humans on the dancefloor. The results range from what sounds like double speed flashcore to next level takes on the hyper funk of VHS Head and the disruptive patterns of Rian Treanor.
We’ve genuinely wondered why the fuuck nobody has ever designed a dancing avatar that reacts in realtime to rhythm. We’d love to see what such a thing would do to this music.
Penultimate, 5th Stage of The Caretaker’s ‘Everywhere At The End of Time’ series charting severe levels of musical/mental deterioration and sensory detachment through four extended, smudged and hallucinatory side-long pieces.
As we near the end, ‘Stage 5’ sees our protagonist enter a near-permanent state of confusion and horror. Mirroring the endemic deterioration of dementia’s latter phases, were pulled through the most extreme entanglements in the series so far; repetition and ruptures, barely maintaining a connection to waking life and a sense of self.
In the most classic sense, we become witness to an abandonment and dissolution of ego, as the mulch of bygone ‘78s totally loses itself in a way that connotes misfiring synapses failing to properly relay information at advanced levels of the disease.
It feels as though our skull is being scraped out, uncovering hellish layers of accreted sensation and mulched imagery, occasionally recognising calmer patterns, only for them to fray into the ether before it’s possible to parse and dwell on them.
At this point it’s also perhaps worth pointing out the uncannily profound synchronicity between the timelines of ‘Everywhere At The End of Time’ and Brexit, which both started in 2016 and are due to wrap up in spring 2019. It should be no stretch of the imagination to read into their parallel progression from nostalgia and historic/collective amnesia, to progressive dementia and complete obliteration of (the) sense(s).
Cass. lands on Greece’s Into The Light Records with the lush ‘Postclub Prism’, a set of phosphorescing ambient nocturnes and synth vignettes blessed with a melancholy sense of futurism.
For his first release of 2018, following a string of deliveries for Throne of Blood, International Feel and Emotional Response in recent years, ‘Postclub Prism’ follows a clear line of melodic, instrumental narrative that will firmly endear it to more romantically-inclined ears.
From the tremulous new age vox and pads of ‘1000 Superdolphins’ at its introduction, thru the sloshing, widescreen electro-dub roil of ‘Leaving’, to richly poignant pieces such as the quivering, coruscating synth miniature, ‘Albertine’, and the gorgeous, early 0PN vibes of ‘Painful Love in 96 kHz’, and the sublime nesting film dialogue samples and feather touch synth strokes in ‘Redwood’, Cass. cups your spirits with trustworthy hands for the fragile hours of the night-turned-morning.
With ‘Best Troubador’, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy pays homage to a longtime and forever hero, the late Merle Haggard.
"A singer who, some 25 years previously, first performed in public by playing a Merle Haggard song, Bonny has often cited Merle’s work in performance, on records and in conversation with anyone who was around, even talking to Merle himself for Filter magazine in 2009.
‘Best Troubador’ flips through his song book, landing on pages unmoored from their time and located anew. Moving from 1978 to 1969 to 2003 to 1981 allows the album to circle Haggard’s music in a simulation of thought and memory, slipping around from spot to spot as if they were discrete impressions, unknown but knowable yet."
Bonny sings Susanna, to simply try and save the world.
"Sonata Dwarf Mix Cosmos is an old companion of his and with the Chijimi house band +1 they bring it all back home again, this time to the space in Bonny’s place.
“As other practitioners are leaving the room in favor of novel forms of recording and distro and consumption, PALACE, fantastical and real
structures and practices. Like we are allowed into the museum at night. We can make a great essentially live record with great songs and great players because nobody else is? ‘Wolf Of The Cosmos’... is about, as much as anything, direct engagement with recorded music. So step right up to the replicant.” -
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is joined by musicians Emmet Kelly (bass guitar, voice, acoustic guitar), Cheyenne Mize (violin, slide ukulele, voice), Chris Rodahaffer (banjo, voice, acoustic guitar) and Elsa Madeline Oldham (juice harp)."
Another gem of late ‘80s bubblegum boogie plucked out by Jo’burg, S.A.’s Afrosynth Records store-turned-label
Brimming with good times vibes as antithesis to the b/s of apartheid, Tomorrow gets on with it in super infectious style, glyding from the marimba-gilded swang of the title cut to the grubbing hustle of I’Ve Got A Friend on a haughty Grace Jones tip, then stoking the deeper fires with the simmering synthetic romance of Is This Love, and In My Mind, and rounding up with the radiant Mina Ngilijaji.
Following hard on the heels of BBE delving into the archives of Detroit’s Strata Records and delivering their widely acclaimed and hugely in-demand exploration of J-Jazz, comes another crate digger’s delight- Ralph Thomas’ ‘Eastern Standard Time’, which dropped the USA back in in 1980, on the obscure Zebra Jazz imprint.
"This is the is the kind of “spiritual’ jazz gem that appears on You Tube and upon checking it out on Discogs reveals a price well in excess of £150.00. To have it widely available in its original vinyl format, as well as digitally and on CD, is a real treat. So, who is Ralph Thomas?
The self-produced ‘Eastern Standard Time’ features Thomas on baritone, alto and tenor saxophones as well as flute and percussion. He describes himself as a practicing ethnomusicologist whose musical vision evolved during the Sixties and it’s Thomas’ multifaceted, global approach that gives the music on Eastern Standard Time’ an engaging and distinct flavour.
"My music has always been open to different cultures and sounds Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Mexican, Peruvian, American, Hebrew, Turkish, African, Indian and Japanese,” declares the Chicago born musician. While attending the Chicago conservatory of music in 1969 he became a member of the Chicago A.A.C.M, studying with master musicians Phil Cohran and Richard Muhal Abrams. He also recorded with well-known blues legends, Howlin' Wolf and Mighty Joe Young for the Cadet imprint of Chess records.
In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles and was employed as a session player with both 20th Century Fox and Motown – where he recorded with Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Rick James. In the early Eighties he was working for Quincy Jones Productions appearing on the soundtrack of Roots and The Color Purple but a passion for reggae music led him to Jamaica where he recorded with producer Jack Ruby and artists like Augustus Pablo and Gregory Isaacs.
In ’86 he moved to NYC where he collaborated with Boogaloo legend Johnny Colon and played with like-minded musical explorers Sun Ra, Don Cherry and Olatunji. However, by 1993 his restless spirit carried him to Paris where studied Ethnomusicology and performed with trumpeter Mra Oma and film-maker Ranaivo-Rajaona Hery. There were also gigs with percussionist Trilok Gurtu as well as drummer Sunny Murray and saxophone legend Archie Shepp. Upon moving to the South of France Thomas ran an art gallery and initiated his MusArt project – which has since toured in the US, Canada and Japan
After a productive stint in Chiang Mai, Thailand – where he immersed himself in Issan culture – Ralph Thomas recently relocated back to the US to live and work. Though creating a huge amount of music over the years ‘Eastern Standard Time’ remains Ralph Thomas' only album."
Marcel Dettmann experiments with a spectrum of styles from broken, abstract to crunching techno functions for Ostgut-Ton
Three of them are really worth closer attention, namely the roiling, Autechrian fizz of ‘Test-File’ showing the kids how to do it weird but driving, also the T++ or Dynamo-esque lurch of ’Torch’, and a Drexciya-infected slice of EBM-techno hydrolixx called ‘Metalloid’.
In Sudan, the political and cultural are inseparable. In 1989, a coup brought a hardline religious government to power. Music was violently condemned. Many musicians and artists were persecuted, tortured, forced to flee into exile — and even murdered, ending one of the most beloved music eras in all of Africa and largely denying Sudan's gifted instrumentalists, singers, and poets, from strutting their creative heritage on the global stage.
"What came before in a special era that protected and promoted the arts was one of the richest music scenes anywhere in the world. Although Sudanese styles are endlessly diverse, this compilation celebrates the golden sound of the capital, Khartoum. Each chapter of the cosmopolitan city's tumultuous musical story is covered through 16 tracks: from the hypnotic violin and accordion-driven orchestral music of the 1970s that captured the ears and hearts of Africa and the Arabic-speaking world, to the synthesizer and drum machine music of the 1980s, and the music produced in exile in the 1990s. The deep kicks of tum tum and Nubian rhythms keep the sound infectious.
Sudan of old had music everywhere: roving sound systems and ubiquitous bands and orchestras kept Khartoum's sharply dressed youth on their feet. Live music was integral to cultural life, producing a catalog of concert recordings. In small arenas and large outdoor venues, musical royalty of the day built Khartoum's reputation as ground zero for innovation and technique that inspired a continent.
Musicians in Ethiopia and Somalia frequently point to Sudan's biggest golden era stars as idols. Mention Mohammed Wardi — a legendary Sudanese singer and activist akin to Fela Kuti in stature and impact in his music and politics — and they often look to the heavens. A popular story is of one man from Mali who walked for three months across the Sahel to Sudan because the father of the woman he wanted to marry would only allow it if he got him a signed cassette from Wardi himself. Saied Khalifa is said to be the one of the few singers to make Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie smile.
Such is the stature of Sudanese singers and the reputation of Sudanese music, particularly in the "Sudanic Belt," a cultural zone that stretches from Djibouti all the way west to Mauritania, covering much of the Sahara and the Sahel, lands where Sudanese artists are household names and Sudanese poems are regularly used as lyrics until today to produce the latest hits. Sudanese cassettes often sold more in Cameroon and Nigeria than at home.
But years of anti-music sentiment have made recordings in Sudan difficult to source. Ostinato's team traveled to Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Egypt in search of the timeless cultural artifacts that hold the story of one of Africa's most mesmerizing cultures. That these cassette tape and vinyl recordings were mainly found in Sudan's neighbors is a testament to Sudanese music's widespread appeal."
This triple LP reissue of the band’s first two albums - the first installment in a three-part series dedicated to Dur-Dur Band - represents the first fruit of Analog Africa’s long labours to bring this extraordinary music to the wider world...
"Some thirty years after they first made such a splash in the Mogadishu scene, they have been freed from the wobble and tape-hiss of second and third generation cassette dubs, to reveal a glorious mix of polychromatic organs, nightclub-ready rhythms and hauntingly soulful vocals. In addition to two previously unreleased tracks, the music is accompanied by extensive liner notes, featuring interviews with original band members, documenting a forgotten chapter of Somalia’s cultural history.
Before the upheaval in the 1990s that turned Somalia into a war-zone, Mogadishu, the white pearl of the Indian Ocean, had been one of the jewels of eastern Africa, a modern paradise of culture and commerce. In the music of the Dur-Dur band - now widely navailable outside of Somalia - we can still catch a fleeting glimpse of that golden age. When Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Mogadishu in November of 2016, he was informed by his host that he would have to be accompanied at all times by an armed escort while in the country.
The next morning, a neighbour and former security guard put on a military uniform, borrowed an AK-47 from somewhere and escorted him to Via Roma, an historical street in the heart of Hamar-Weyne, the city’s oldest district. Although previous Analog Africa releases have demonstrated a willingness to go more than the extra air-mile to track down the stories behind the music, the trip to Mogadishu was a musical journey of a different kind. It was the culmination of an odyssey that had started many years earlier. In 2007 John Beadle, a Milwaukee-based musicologist and owner of the much loved Likembe blog, uploaded a cassette he had been handed twenty years earlier by a Somalian student.
The post was titled ‘Mystery Somali Funk’ and it was, in Samy’s own words, “some of the deepest funk ever recorded.” The cassette seemed to credit these dense, sonorous tunes to the legendary Iftin Band. But initial contact with Iftin’s lead singer suggested that the ‘mystery funk’ may have actually been the work of their chief rival, Dur-Dur, a young band from the 80s. Back then, Mogadishu had been a very different place. On the bustling Via Roma, people from all corners of society would gather at the Bar Novecento and Cafe Cappucino, watch movies at the famous Supercinema, and eat at the numerous pasta hang-outs or the traditional restaurants that served Bariis Maraq, a somali Beef Stew mixed with delicious spiced rice. The same street was also home to Iftinphone and Shankarphone, two of the city’s best known music shop. Located opposite each other, they were the centre of Somalia’s burgeoning cassette distribution network. Both shops, run by members of the legendary Iftin Band, would become first-hand witnesses to the meteoric rise of Dur- Dur, a rise that climaxed in April of 1987 with the release of Volume 2, their second album."
A 2018 funk odyssey by keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer and astral traveller Brandon Coleman.
"A regular fixture in the Kamasi Washington band, Brandon Coleman is introduced onstage at gigs as ‘Professor Boogie’ by his longtime friend and collaborator. ‘Resistance’ represents a new chapter in the funk dynasty that spans Parliament, Funkadelic and Zapp through to Dr. Dre and Dâm-Funk as Coleman salutes his musical heroes - Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton, Roger Troutman - and honours their ethos of freedom and experimentation in his search for funk’s future. For fans of Kamasi Washington, Dâm-Funk, BadBadNotGood, Yussef Kamaal..."
Co La renders a morphing, 20 minute tapestry of fresh, abstract sound design on Ohio’s Orange Milk Records
The most significant release from Matt Papich a.k.a. Co La since his ‘No No’ LP for 0PN’s Software label and his work on the Lifted LP for PAN in 2015 (discounting a wicked track on 12” for 369 Us), ‘Sensory Dub Example’ captures Papich stretching out over a single, 20 minute canvas in four loose fitting parts.
The 1st Q is spent establishing ambient electro-acoustic dimensions somewhere between Visible Cloaks and Sugai Ken, with a canny voice intoning “this stuff smells so good but it doesn’t taste like anything”, like a more genteel, less in-your-face SOPHIE or PC Music piece, before the 2nd Q unfolds along more cartoonish lines of inquiry into precisely blunted and then floral baroque figures. In the 3rd Q it becomes more inward looking, gruffly textured and discordant, ultimately shifting into more melting, soured sounds and synthetically windswept dynamics by the piece’s close.
For its fourth full-length, A-Sun Amissa plunges deeper than before. Guitars come to the fore. Heavy, distorted chords are present from the off, complemented by desolate ambient passages of sound.
"The claustrophobic atmospheres remain but combine with a new density and sonic experimentation to present a huge leap forward in structure and composition. Ceremony in the Stillness hints at themes from the previous three outings while very much pushing the project into new territories. The intricate nuances and lulling melodies from Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep (2012) reappear while the billowing guitars of You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood up For Less (2013) are referenced throughout. In comparison to 2017’s The Gatherer it’s clear there is a firmer direction in the song-writing as the album weaves through elements of doom, dark ambient and post-rock, placing its very own unique mark firmly into the ears of the listener.
A-Sun Amissa is the project of Richard Knox (founder of Gizeh Records and member of The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns and Glissando) and while Knox takes the central role on Ceremony in the Stillness , again we see several collaborators contributing to the record. As album opener The Black Path unfurls, the cello of Jo Quail creeps through the thick wall of guitar to offer a moment of calm before the song comes to life with the introduction of drums (from Archelon’s TJ Fairfax) for the first time on a A-Sun Amissa record. Alongside a dense and hypnotically repetitive riff, it’s A-Sun Amissa’s heaviest moment to date as the song collapses under its own weight to leave a crumbling and uneasy passage of cello and guitar drone. Intertwining guitars take centre stage on the melancholic With Wearied Eyes as the atmosphere harks back to the debut album, before the hefty guitar riffs return on To the Ashes. The Skulk eminisces on The Gatherer as David McLean’s saxophone unravels around the ondes Martenot of Christine Ott amongst a shifting tide of oscillators and drones. The record then takes a turn as No Perception of Light ’s soporific opening gives way to a mesmerising beat and bassline, developing into a wall of crunching guitars and electronics. The closer, Remembrancer , features chiming guitars, conversing over bowed strings, the melancholy returning again as an enveloping, haunting orchestral outro brings the record to a conclusion.
Whether Ceremony in the Stillness represents a permanent shift in direction for A-Sun Amissa remains to be seen. What’s clear is that Knox is comfortable being on the outside looking in, and on expanding A-Sun Amissa’s palette of sounds even further it only adds to the intrigue of what comes next."
Highly touted producer Hiro Kone follows her Drew McDowell link-up with a crackshot 2nd solo LP of jagged, physical rhythms and kinetic synth structures rent in acres of noumenal space on ‘Pure Expenditure’
Working intently at the point where EBM and avant-garde electronics collide, Nicky Mao a.k.a. Hiro Kone has opened up a vivid new space for phantasmic expressions of aerobic mysticism and techgnosis. Whether bending into Wetware with Roxy Farman, or taking cues from Equiknoxxx’s mutant dancehall instrumentals on ‘The Ghost of George Bataille’, Kone has consistently warped the fringes of modern, obscurantist electronica with a singular, gauntleted tactility.
On ‘Pure Expenditure’ she pursues that mix of EBM, fwd dancehall-dub and biting point electronics down ever darker lines of enquiry, uniquely probing a formerly, mutually exclusive juncture of emotively gothic themes, rudely rooted rhythms, and sheer, original sound design.
There’s almost too many highlights to mention, but if you need a jump off point, the percolated blend of Little Annie and angular modular shards in ‘Outside The Axiom’ is right up there along with the Byetone-meets-Coil pressure of her title track, and the exceptional play of sliding, bulbous shapes within sheer, hyaline dimensions in ‘Scotch Yoke, Pt. I & II’ and the pranging, sloshing designs of ‘Poortgebouw’.
London’s J. Tijn cuts loose on a banging 20 track debut solo LP following 5 years of 12” drops for Untold’s Pennyroyal, Bedouin Records, and many more...
Trust he hasn’t “gone ambient” for the longer format, sticking to what he does best with thistly mutations of electro/techno/breaks n bass music, resulting some proper, lamping gear in the distorted overdrive of ‘Beedub’, on the 2-step techno of ‘Every Likkle Mek a Mukkle’, the recoiling electro of ‘Yoshi’, and the mesmerising swang of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.
Feeding strings through an array of modular synthesisers, Ben Chatwin remoulds his recent ‘Staccato Signals’ album into new microscopic electronic textures. ‘Drone Signals’, a companion piece to the original album.
"With all of the ‘Staccato’ material on hand, the task became dismantling the tracks - stripping them apart to see what was left, letting certain sounds or instruments become the focus and then rebuilding the arrangements around them. This allowed elements to breathe yet also to become more static. The less chaotic and more ambient nature of these pieces suggested a related album of versions, a conceptual sibling.
‘Drone Signals’ might best be understood as the aftermath of ‘Staccato Signals’, retaining much that made the latter such a rewarding album - its mournful beauty, the tense,ambiguous relationship between electronic and acoustic elements and a delicate if not volatile balance between elegance and intensity. ‘Drone Signals’ will no doubt appeal to fans of the experimental world-building of recording artists and soundtrack composers such as Ben Frost, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Max Richter, Johann Johannsson and Ryuichi Sakamoto."
Downwards return with an EP of Hardcore techno ballistics and mutant metal alloys from Kerridge, featuring vocals by Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Mammifer). RIYL Nkisi, The Sprawl, Fret, ’80s EBM, late ‘90s tech-step...
The I Is Nothing marks five years of Samuel Kerridge releases on Regis’ Downwards with a dread-fuelled, nerve-stepping procession from the steaming rollige of The Silence Between Us .
Balancing blank-eyed industrial torpor and dancefloor lust in four forceful designs, Kerridge firmly pushes forward with a style that owes as much to ‘90s tech-step and current minimal D&B as the Brummie deviations of Mick Harris and Karl O’Connor, or the original underground ‘80s movements of Nocturnal Emissions, Bourbonese Qualk and Muslimgauze.
The A-side wrestles with a serpentine stinger called Silent Notes, a roiling combo of EBM drums and divebombing Reese bass perhaps imagining the bastard offspring of DJ Trace and Drew McDowell’s modular synth, while Fascination Sustain strips down to a scudding sort of electro-techno IDM pressure recalling Oberman Knocks or Bitstream’s Adapta gear.
On the B-side, Isis frontman Aaron Turner infects Propagates of Desire with masochistic lyrics buried deep in Kerridge’s matrix of recoiling EBM kicks and Stuka synth drones, then Actuality Repeats stretches out in a hollowed sphere of 150bpm electro and spectralist gloom.
Recorded as a piece of art for Italian National Radio RAI in Rome March 1981. On the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, RAI originally commissioned Cosey Fanni Tutti to create a sound work based on the theme of ‘A Journey Through The Body’. It became a Throbbing Gristle project which was later broadcast by RAI.
‘Journey Through A Body’  was the final Throbbing Gristle recording made at RAI Studios, Rome during their pivotal first phase of action, prior to reforming (and eventually disbanding again) in 2004. It’s long been a bugger or simply expensive to get hold of, and now reissued in the wake of a 40th anniversary edition of ‘The Second Annual Report’ and new editions of ’20 Jazz Funk Greats’ and ‘The Taste of TG: A Beginner’s Guide to Throbbing Gristle’.
Originally a Cosey Fanni Tutti commission from RAI Rome at the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, ‘Journey Through A Body’ became a full-blown TG project with all four members recording for five days at the legendary Roman studio in March 1981. Improvised recording sessions focussed around sections of the body were mixed down to tape immediately afterwards, with no re-recording allowed. In effect, the results land somewhere between “live” and ”studio” sessions, coughing up an uncannily acoustic-sounding portrait of the group at the end of their hugely influential early run.
The group’s response to the theme ‘A Journey Through The Body’ is typically variegated, forming a fascinating push and pull between industrial noise, Denny-esque exotica and a marvel of prepared piano abstraction in a way that doesn’t easily fit with any other period of their recordings. Making fine use of the esteemed facilities at RAI, Italy’s National Broadcaster, TG come off like a gnarled echo of Gruppo Di Improvvisazzione Di Nuova Consonanza or a prototype of Wolf Eyes’ trip metal in the 15 minute dosage of ‘Medicine’, before Cosey pulls out her wonky cornet on the gristlized electro slop of ‘Catholic Sex’, starring a blunted poem recited by Genesis P-Orridge.
Their core inspiration from Martin Denny meanwhile comes through patently in the unsettling exotica simulacra of ‘Exotic Functions’, before the prepared piano prangs into play along with rancid guitars and concrète cut-ups in ‘Violencia (The Bullet)’, and a wickedly refined sting in the tail with the warped, chamber-like piano abstraction of ‘Oltre Morte, Birth and Death’.
Swingeing, pounding dark techno treks from Swiss producer Isolated Lines and Colombia’s Gotshell
In duo they dish up the intricately woven but brutal Afro-latinate charge of ‘Particules’ and the darkside clonq of ‘Dual’, before Isolated Lines takes the reins for the whirligig trance techno of ‘Trivium’ and the wicked tribalist aerobics of ‘Tetrad’.
A new collection from Soul Jazz / Studio One focussing on the intense period in the second half of the 1960s when Studio One’s vast and unbeatable output of ska, soul, rock steady and reggae made it literally one of the hottest musical empires in the world.
"During this highly successful period, Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd released hundreds and hundreds of superlative singles seemingly on an almost daily basis, in the process making huge stars out of Jamaican singers such as Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, The Wailers, Slim Smith, Jackie Opel and many more. Powered by the finest in-house musicians working in Jamaica, whether it was The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo’s Soul Brothers, The Sounds Dimension or The Soul Vendors, Studio One functioned as hit factory on the scale of Motown in the USA, shaping and defining reggae music for decades to come. Singlehandedly Studio One’s founder Clement Dodd was able to create the most successful vertically-integrated record company that Jamaica had ever known with pressing plant, printers, studio, shops and sound systems all running at once, with over 50 employees and hundreds of artists working with Studio One during this time. "
The follow-up to DJ Innes’ ‘The T&J Project’ with Traxman also features the Chicago don on a number of cuts
The nutters need to check it for the raucous ‘Cyberthreat’ - Footwork noise, anyone? - while all other ‘workers need to check it for the jungle juke tension of ‘With U’ starring Boylan, the debonaire bounce of ‘It’s Magic’ feat. Traxman, and the ratchet hi-tech funk of ‘Spirit’ starring DJ Phil.
Sublime, string-laden soundscaping, the full-length debut for Kranky by Julie Carpenter’s Less Bells, a must for fans of Stars of The Lid, A Winged Victory for the Sullen...
"She cites certain compositions as being “specifically inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry nights.” Utilizing an array of electronic and acoustic instruments, including cello, Optigan, violin, voice, and modular synth, Solifuge conflates not only the solitude and refuge of its title but also intimacy and grandeur, fragility and force, “building from austerity to wild overgrowth.”
She speaks of a creative process involving cut-ups and rearranging, mapping a melody for strings only to transpose it to synth, or refashioning a rigid classical piece as stream of consciousness soundscape. Carpenter’s versatility and embrace of flux fills these songs with a living, breathing quality, restrained but responsive, adapting to shifting conditions and emotions beneath the surface."
DJ Innes on a juke hustle for his eponymous label
Styles are wild and hard on the highly strung ‘Self Titled’, whereas ‘Let Go’ is more true to soul-flowing footwork, and DJ Elmoe aids in making ‘Lightspeed’ a seriously nutty, even psychedelic footwork banger.
Porridgy breaks and skudgy techno from The Maghreban, backed with an ace, meter-messing remix by Batu running at c. 160bpm
‘Monster VIP’ is a slompy shot of breakbeat hardcore from the echoplex, whereas ‘Carpet Bombing’ traces undulating techno with zig-zagging psych-funk synth squirms.
Batu’s remix is the best thing on offer, making a rare foray into higher tempi with an initially tentative, but ultimately roguish joyride consolidating ghetto-tech, footwork and rolling UK bass styles with inimitable style.
Shalt binds emosh post-rock/‘tronica and zeitgeist-surfing club music on ‘Seraphim’.
Check for the sweeping, crushing melodramatic sound design of ‘Preserved In Amber’, the bestial torsion of ‘Fleeting’, and the schizzy switch between cooled-out, in-the-pocket dembow bumps and post-rock angst in ‘Charred, Cleansed’.
Following that eye-opening box set on Vinyl On Demand and the crucial I Don't Remember Now / I Don't Want To Talk About It and Plaster Falling reissues, Superior Viaduct give life to John Bender’s third and final album Pop Surgery, recorded in 1982 and once again demonstrating Bender as one of the most inspiring discoveries of 1980’s sprawling wave scene.
"While all of Bender’s work draws from intimate home recordings—featuring the artist alone with various keyboards, analogue sequencers and tape delays—Pop Surgery remains the one that perhaps best distills his arrant deconstruction of the “pop” concept. These twelve frenetic tracks, meticulously stitched together with dubbed-out vocals and disjointed drum machines, stretch the boundaries of bedroom electronics.
Bender would forgo the handmade LP sleeves typical of his Record Sluts imprint. The cover depicts an imposing scrapyard crane, ready to pick up discarded objects with its bright red electromagnet, while the center labels détourn Columbia’s classic ’70s style.
“I pressed a single run of 500 copies,” Bender recounts. “The only review I remember railed at the poor production quality. The DIY era had clearly come to an end.”
Canada’s modern day answer to Arthur Russell and Paul Simon; Sandro Perri unfurls a wonderful new album of syncretic disco, country, and ambient-pop in his ever-charming style following recent avant escapades with his Off World group
The teasing edit of lead single ‘In Another Life’ is rolled out to a full and immersive 25 minutes of giddily uplifting electronics and softest blue eyed soul vocals inside, firmly set to soundtrack balmy evenings everywhere, while ‘Everybody’s France’ is a gently psychedelic three-part tapestry lilting from folk-soul sung by Sandro in the first part, to bring the huskier tone of Andre Ethier on board for the Leonard Cohen-like kitchen sink observations and shimmering meld of lap steel guitar and lapping congas in Part II, with Dan Bejar of Destroyer joining in for the 3rd part of woozy psychedelic country.
“Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” (Boomkat) and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.”
Bossman Aphex Twin coughs up a full gob of brainsmarts after teasing with some ace promo over the past few weeks
Fronted by the preceding ’T69 collapse’ sidewinder, the rest of the EP is actually stronger than that cut hinted at. ‘1st 44’ is the kind of darkside, slow/fast electro-dub workout we’ve craved to hear him make for time, while ‘MT1 t29r2’ also explores a sort of mutant electro-dub momentum, but spliced with a breakbeat hardcore fluidity riddled with proper gremlin synth voices.
Like we said, it only gets better, though, especially in the way he juggles complexity with a sort of rarified dance-pop elegance in the frenetic poise of ‘abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]’, and the fine tuned tangggggggg and mouth-watering pads of his jelly-limbed drill ’n bass exercise, ‘pthex’.
BVDUB does Vladimir Ivkovic-style slow trance in four epic cuts for Apollo...
“Apollo welcomes ambient legend bvdub AKA San Franciscan Brock Van Wey for a new album 'Drowning in Daylight'.
Van Wey debuts on Apollo with his stunning new album‘ Drowning in Daylight , exploring cavernous soundscapes on a grand canvas that throb with a delicate intimacy. A stalwart DJ and promoter of the halcyon 90s San Francisco rave scene, Van Wey fled to China in the early 2000s to escape the curdling of his musical dreams as the scene became more commercial.
Since his return he’s been incredibly prolific in his creation, etching out peerless ambient works that have captivated listeners with their delicate melody and fascinating textures through releases for the likes of Echospace, Kompakt and Styrax - 2018's A Different Definition of Love marks his 30th bvdub album to date.
Classically trained in piano and violin as a child, Van Wey’s symphonic approach to ambience is truly remarkable,
Epic in its scale with each of it’s 4 tracks clocking in around the 20 minute mark, Drowning In Daylight envelops the listener in swathes of nostalgic pads and nested layers of distortion, strings and haunted voices.
‘Drowning In Daylight’ could well be Van Wey’s crowning achievement to date and a testament to the power of instrumental abstract music to emotionally engulf the listener.”