Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving rides the wave of a lifetime on his magnum opus, Good Luck.
His second album for Diagonal is an emotional but fiercely optimistic LP of skewed cathartic dance-pop written in the midst of these dark and uncertain times, fine-tuning 20 years of recording and rave experience into a vibrant, pop-ready statement that’s never felt so necessary.
It abandons the sensitive streak hinted at on Animals, his debut LP for Diagonal, to pursue a creative hunch for concision and social unity. This new perspective drives the album’s flux of emotions and guides what some may find to be a utopian outlook, wrapping his trademark experimental urges, clever song arrangements and winking edits in a larger narrative: a new system, if you like, that offers a way out of the contemporary condition towards something pure, sweaty and wild. After all, rave ‘floors were conceived for many as a way to forget/abandon the dark undercurrents of late 80s political turmoil.
The record is constructed as an album proper and follows a novel narrative: from the ego-pinching computer punk of Me Me Me, which jabs it into action, to the new wave thrust of Tool [I Don’t Give A Sh*t] and the ambient flush of Roll Along With The Pain Of It All [I’ll Text U], Natalizia clearly delights in taking us on a frenzied ride, but he never forgets his fondness for contemporary club culture [see the fulminating iridescent EBM-pop of Where Are We — with Marie Davidson guesting on vocals — or the acidic punk jabs of Watch Yourself].
Good Luck is a thrillingly positive record — like a big slice of pink and blue sponge cake, it’s delicious, sweet, creamy and wonderful. And that’s the thing: even the title feels like a much-needed injection of optimism, a return to the utopian ideals of rave. Contemporary politics/culture/life/love/music/media seem to be infected by a feeling of impending dread — of fear, alienation, division. Perhaps it’s the job of artists to present an alternative vision for the world [and music] rather than simply to reflect one’s reality back into the echo chamber of their own lives.
Sound artist Tomoko Sauvage adds the gorgeous, elemental waterbowl recordings of Musique Hydromantique to a wonderful run of 2017 releases on Félicia Atkinson & Bartolomé Sanson's Shelter Press. Quite possibly the most soothing hour of music you'll experience all year
It will become hard to believe once you’ve heard it, but all sounds on the LP were improvised with acoustic technique and recording - meaning no electronics, edits or overdubs - whilst they effectively sound like the microtonal output of some unique, natural synthesiser affected by subtle variables such as temperature, architecture, humidity and human presence. If Philip Corner and Eliane Radigue ever made a record together, it may well sound like Musique Hydromantique.
Using a set-up of hydrophones (underwater mics) and porcelain bowls filled with varying amounts of water, developed by the artist over the better part of this decade, Musique Hydromantique forms a meditative, experimental study in rhythm and pitch which resonates with gamelan and ancient divination techniques as much as it does with minimalist modern electronics. The results are utterly captivating in their fluid timbres and plaintively plangent structure, rendering the elusive, ever-changing and hypnotic phenomena of moving water in three diverse states or sonic sculptures that patently demonstrate a deep, underlying and innate connection between the performer, her medium, and the listener.
Clepsydra - meaning ‘water clock’ - most closely resembles a form of gamelan practice, or, even some form of minimal electronic music. For ten minutes she renders a series of exquisitely variegated sonic glyphs gestured from her struck bowls and hands changing the quantities of water, and by extension, the pitch of each bowl. Tomoko makes a real virtue of everyday sounds, resulting in a time-dilating passage of smooth glissandi, elegantly unshackling our internal clocks from the anticipation of quantised convention.
Fortune Biscuit follows in a very different style. Here, the brownian flow yields a remarkable micro-ecology of sounds that almost mimic animals, cyborganic mechanisms and insect choruses, yet they were entirely generated by a piece of porous terra cotta (biscuit) dipped into water. The scuttling patterns are perhaps understandable in that context, but we’re utterly baffled how they also make those pealing, arcing harmonic partials. In the final, 20 minute piece, Calligraphy those techniques serve to gel and diffuse her water-based sounds in even more bewildering fashion, as she employs the 10 second reverbs of an old textile factory to render her delicate, subaquatic sounds in a play of fractious drips, haptic rubs and their resonant feedback, feeling to melt time entirely and open a tranquil space for divination of your own senses in between those perceptions of time and tone.
This is a record that seems to have been designed to promote ultimate well being, it will completely engulf and subsume your senses and keep your attention rapt from start to finish. And we'd echo Tomoko's request that you listen to it at the start or end of the day for optimal results - far healthier than a spliff or night cap and will set your mood like some kind of ancient tuning fork.
The fella behind the DJ Seinfeld avatar reverts to Rimbaudian for a warm and rugged batch of house nudgers and swingers on Ten Thousand Yen.
One for doe-eyed dancers at the creamiest points of the night, Letters stokes a user-friendly vibe with the flyaway jazz notes and finger-popping bob of She Taught Me How To Love, and with a ruffer push eased off by sweet keys and R&B vox in Drop It On Em.
He catches that sweeter breeze again with absorbing coos and genteel chords on I Would Do Everything I Did Again And Again, and trims back to something like a Mood Hut and Erased Tapes hook-up with I Said Goodbye To Dreams Of You At The Shore, but not nearly so smarmy.
It’s Okay To Cry is a lil slice of queered art-pop genius from SOPHIE, mounting their most concerted, stunning effort to penetrate perceptions of gender and body image in the contemporary dance/pop hypersphere with an impeccable collision of ‘80s synth nostalgia and up-to-the-second decadence.
As avowed advocates of crying to music when the it’s good enough, we entirely cosign the sentiment of It’s Okay To Cry, which, on a wider scale, is also arguably an anthem of strength and solidarity for non binary-identifying folk, all framing SOPHIE as a perfectly unreal hero for these times of ambiguous flux.
CCFX is a new supergroup out of Olympia, Washington resulting from a merger between two seminal Olympia pop music outfits; CC Dust and Trans FX. On their debut self-titled EP, artists Chris McDonnell, Mary Jane Dunphe and David Jaques offer a record that is at once a showcase and aberration of what is currently coming out of the Pacific Northwest.
"Recorded and mixed with local OG Captain Tripps, the EP's sound partially recalls late 90’s/early 00’s indie pop as chiming, melodic guitar parts counter and complement Mary Jane’s brilliant voice. In the same vein of the past few decades' most beloved and coveted hitmakers (both in the clubs as well as on the radio), the music feeds on a sense of nostalgia not necessarily specific to any one time or place – sun-kissed riffs seem to go on forever, supported by a steady breakbeat.
The timbre of the music is warm and just slightly fuzzed out, and the expressive quality of Mary Jane's voice is pushed to the front. CCFX have struck that rare yet essential balance between heartfelt sincerity and calculated disillusionment, bearing the mark of a project which is as fearless as it is humble, out there living as big as it wants to be. These four tracks grant listeners access to suppressed and superseded feelings from youth, paired with a backwards glint of whatever strange luxury this epoch's future might still hold. FFO: St Etienne, Q Lazarus, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, dancing, celebrations, success stories, TFX, CCの, etc.”
Important Congolese field recordings made in 1952 & 1957 by legendary ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey are fed through the IRCAM prism by Mike Kitcher, with results that speak to a heady place out of time and space in the creation of what might be termed ‘new exotica’ - a music created from a very specific location that becomes placeless through abstraction. It's an incredible addition to this excellent, bijou imprint.
We’ve previously heard Peder Mannerfelt do something similar with The Swedish Congo Record, as well as Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux with Studies I-XVII For Samplers and Percussion, and likewise heard Rashad Becker take that concept to the next level by imagining a whole new sonic language, syntax and culture of notional species. But Kitcher’s efforts stand somewhere in between those approaches, taking those pioneering field recordings and techniques as the basis for a set of subtle yet radical inversions of that material, and in the process focussing in and releasing their uniquely inflected spirits and expressions through sleight of hand and ear.
In an attempt to reflect Hugh Tracey’s technique of live mixing multi-instrumental tracks with a hand-held microphone, Kitcher limits himself to brief samples, effectively plucking sounds from the ‘air’ of Tracey’s view, and, with almost sci-fi levels of forensic detective work (think Deckard as Denny with an Esper machine), zooms in onto their hidden moments of breath, pensive silences and the tactile haptics of performers and their instruments.
Those peculiarities are “scrubbed” of air and return sounding remarkably different, with flutes appearing like voices or vice-versa, and luma pipes sounding more like middle-eastern microtonal traditions than sounds we’d usually associate with the Congo. Each piece offers captivating new perspectives on what you thought you knew, or think you’re listening to, with incredibly rich results for keener ears to marvel at and pore over.
Carpenter has established a reputation as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of modern cinema, as well as one of its most influential musicians.
"The minimal, synthesizer-driven themes to films like Halloween, Escape From New York, and Assault on Precinct 13 are as indelible as their images, and their timelessness was evident as Carpenter performed them live in a string of internationally sold-out concert dates in 2016. Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 collects 13 classic themes from Carpenter’s illustrious career together on one volume for the first time. Each theme has been newly recorded with the same collaborators that Carpenter worked with on his hit Lost Themes studio albums: his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies.
Anthology is a near-comprehensive survey of John Carpenter’s greatest themes, from his very first movie, the no-budget sci-fi film Dark Star, to 1998’s supernatu¬ral Western, Vampires. Those sit alongside the driving, Led Zeppelin-influenced Assault on Precinct 13 theme, Halloween’s iconic 5/4 piano riff, and the eerie synth work of The Fog. Carpenter and his band also cover Ennio Morricone’s bleak, minimalist theme for The Thing.
We also get vital new recordings of the themes to ’80s classics and fan favorites Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, Christine, and They Live, along with the romantic Starman, which earned Jeff Bridges his first Oscar nomination as a lead actor. The collection is rounded out by the menacing, heavy themes to Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness, the latter a Metallica-inspired riff originally played for the film by Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, and now played by his son Daniel.In the weeks following Anthology’s October 20 release, Carpenter will return to the road, playing both classic movie themes and material from his two Lost Themes albums. The performances will once again affirm the power of the Hor¬ror Master’s brilliant work as a composer and musician, and undoubtedly send audiences rushing home to their DVD libraries to dive yet again into the most rewarding filmography in genre cinema."
New Zeland’s Truth meet Chicago’s Teklife ambassador Taso on the growling half step lumber of Lion, then go it alone churning turf between dubstep and jungle with Messages, and murdering the dancehall with Ruffneck.
Loefah showcases his squad (Swamp) 81 squad in fine style with ten previously released killers by Mickey Pearce, Paleman, Vhunky, Zed Bias, Cousin and Lamont.
Cutting straight to the highlights, look out for nipped, feminine 2-step pressure of Dining and Bar from Paleman; the super crafty, Gqom-esque hunch of Chunky on Tolk To Meh; proper subbass by Cousin on Ruff Draft; and the playful acidic oddness of Mickey Pearce’s Wam Barzz.
Two exclusive tracks from Ancient Methods and Vatican Shadow...
On Bunkerterror, Vatican Shadow and Ancient Methods finally yield two exclusive industrial techno tracks, both offering unrelenting examples of their notorious b2b live/DJ shows from the past 12 months.
Vatican Shadow bosses the ‘New York’ side with Monotheism & Zarqa, offering the VS sound at its most willing and able with stomping kicks piling thru sheets of shuddering white noise. It’s quite possibly the most deadly and dancefloor-dedicated cut in his cabinet of horrors - proper industrial cynicism!
The ‘Berlin’ side belongs to Ancient Methods’ Immured In Supreme Beliefs, a perfectly rictus example of his pitch black war funk, finding intense pleasure in the near-refusal of syncopation, save for pendulous ice pick snares that nail the groove perfectly off centre.
For legion industrial fiends this record is a dream come true. Arriving in Hospital Productions’ 20th anniversary year, it demonstrates the label diversifying and specifying their bonds...
Brian Shimkovitz returns to SA with pure house heat from Professor Rhythm. Check for infectiously slower parallels to the NYC garage/house and New Beat phenomenon of the late ‘80s in the strident, acidic ‘Leave Me Alone’, the piano house lixx of ‘Kancane Kancane’ and the tuffer push of ‘Zama Zama’
“Professor Rhythm is the production moniker of South African music man Thami Mdluli. Throughout the 1980’s, Mdluli was member of chart-topping groups Taboo and CJB, playing bubblegum pop to stadiums. Mdluli became an in-demand producer for influential artists (like Sox and Sensations, among many others) and in-house producer for important record companies like Eric Frisch and Tusk. During the early '80s, Mdluli projects usually featured an instrumental dance track. These hot instrumentals became rather popular. Fans demanded to hear more of these backing tracks without vocals, he says, so Mdluli began to make solo instrumental albums in 1985 as Professor Rhythm. He got the name before the recordings began, from fans, and positive momentum from audiences and other musicians drove him to invest himself in a full-on solo project. It was the era just before the end of apartheid and house music hadn’t taken over yet. There wasn’t instrumental electronic music yet in South Africa. As the '80s came to a close, that was about to change.
Professor Rhythm productions mirror the evolution of dance music in South Africa. They grew out of the bubblegum mold—which itself stems from band’s channeling influences like Kool & the Gang and the Commodores—into something based on music for the club. His early instrumental recordings First Time Around and Professor 3 mostly distilled R&B, mbaqanga and bubblegum grooves into vocal-less pieces for the dance floor. Musically, these were a success and commercially the albums all went gold. There were countless bubblegum albums flooding the marketplace, with nearly disposable vocalists backed by mostly similar-sounding rhythm tracks. Most of the lyrical content was light and apolitical. But the keyboards used formed the musical basis for what would come next.”
N.A.A.F.I.’s Chilean attaché, Paul Marmota jumps to Lit City Trax for Adaptacion, a hard-assed but spaced-out sophomore album of steel tipped dembow drums and suspenseful synth pressure that falls neatly in line with the label’s world-spanning roster .
With dembow patterns increasingly, if not ubiquitously, the lingua franca of western dance-pop, producers such as Paul Marmota or the likes of Nigga Fox, Florentino, Elysia Crampton, Arca and DJ Python are the current avant-garde, pushing those patterns into fresh, exciting hybrids with techno, dancehall, cinematic electronics for the good of your dancing body.
Adaptacion is among the strongest examples of this push that we’ve heard in 2017, ten songs wide and just as deep, fathoming dark, technoid burners such as Signal and the properly forward body music of Xon along with the brute elegance of Tierra Incognita and slower, romantic downstrokes in the taut, pised groove control of Gio, or simply revelling in pure, lip-biting synthetic sensation with the biting distance and sharpened drums of sS.
Achingly strong album. Kinda unmissable if you ask us.
Bittersweet, downbeat electronica ushered in careful, minimalist style with a pop appeal betraying the artist’s indie-pop background
““By restricting myself, I feel like I'm connecting with a larger arc of producers throughout time,” explains Leo Maymind. “People who were crammed into a corner of their bedroom with headphones on while the rest of the world was out gallivanting.”
Following nearly a decade entrenched into the Brooklyn DIY scene, a move to Los Angeles signalled a change in approach for Maymind, limiting his gear to a small tabletop hardware setup, sometimes as little as a single drum machine and a rackmount effects unit. Illumina is Maymind’s first full length release since this change of location and approach, focusing in on the liminal and transitional moments within the musical spectrum. The limited timbres across Illumina shift and evolve before your ears, each track unfolding at its own pace. Sometimes they reach a resolution; other times simply fading off into the ether.
“I think the commodification of music and having streaming available at all times has made listeners very impatient,” says Maymind, “even when it comes to ambient or drone music.” Illumina battles against this, the deep buried rhythms consistently getting disrupted by stray new percussive notes, or the gently sketched melodies getting spliced overhead, mutating into new textures. Inspired in part by his own stuttering problem, this element of aleatory interruption informs Maymind’s adroitly crafted minimalism on Illumina. “I wanted to make music that mirrored life more closely,” says Maymind. “Things cutting off sharply—life is full of twists and turns.””
Crazylegs’ dJJ applies a fine mid ‘90s Chi-meets-french filter touch on his debut with FatCat Records’ FCR series.
The results sound something like the bastard offspring of Arthur “Artwork” Smith’s Grain project - also issued by FatCat - and Thomas Bangaltar, skewing the filter house template with adroit style in the soca-flavoured dervish Djj Yn Y Ty, or like Shake’s most fidgety funk in Glas.
The peak steamer I Keep Trying to Convince Myself then sounds like an especially punkish Roulé, and Lil Funk spreads it on a swingeing salsa-electro hustle, with Upsqwar bringing the feeling from your toes to your nose, have you dancing like Limmy’s rave dad remembering the good old years. Yaasss.
Fresh from his Firecracker tour, Vakula returns to more experimental, tracky and instinctively out-there House on the Shevchenko label.
A-side 'You Cannot Resist' wanders the cosmos with sweetly ethereal keys along astral harmonic integers and cyclical, cryptic rhythm patterns, very much in the vein of Hieroglyphic Being but with with a more polished touch. On the other side (of the galaxy), 'Rural Dances' finds a bittersweet alien jack groove with lushest synth pads and grittily vintaged machine rhythms, made for dancing in the vast storage silos of martian dust bowls, off your box on space dust and the incorrect levels of oxygen in your air supply.
Visionist returns with his combustible 2nd album, Values; an intense meditation on themes of “machismo and effeminacy, self-deprecation and self-love”. The results are blisteringly compelling and affective quite unlike muxh else in circulation, bar maybe Arca’s music.
After leaving an uncanny impression with his debut album Safe for PAN, which was his bold attempt at modelling and resolving the onset and dissipation of anxiety or panic attacks - and perhaps circumvent the safe-ness of so much other music from the UK grime and electronic scene - this time he moves forward, emboldened by that experience to ‘fess up searing emotions in a way not normally associated with grime, or even cisgendered blokes for that matter.
At this point, we’re not even sure if it is grime anymore, as he’s seemingly transcended to somewhere else entirely, dissolving its stylistic rigidity and entangling elements of classical composition, computer music and trance into bold new forms in order to better convey his feelings and art. In doing so, and by grasping thornier issues head on - albeit in abstract style - he leaves himself vulnerable to critical value systems not usually associated with the club and road paradigms of grime, and does so with admirably unflinching, steadfast conviction.
Of course, without accompanying context listeners may not be aware of all that, but context in this kind of art is important, and when held up against it, the outpouring of emotive chamber keys and megadome trance gestures in instrumental songs such as Homme and Made In Hope sorely live up the conceptual thrust, while the album’s sole (human) vocal track Your Approval channels it ambiguously thru Rolynne’s gender fluid R&B voice. Likewise, his roiling, blasted rhythms undermine grime’s rigidity - which have pretty much become pop currency, not underground and experimental like they once were - on the convulsive New Obsession and No Idols in an almost sado-masochistic manner.
Just like Safe, there’s a a density of detail and information in Value that’s going to take a while to settle in, but it ain’t hard to tell this is a viscerally thrilling, refreshing piece of work which stands out far from the field, for what it’s worth.
Lord Of The Isles returns with Parabolas Of Neon for his mates at Firecracker.
Arriving in the wake of his debut album In Waves, Parabolas Of Neon spins six iridescent gems refracting elements of new age, Detroit and ‘90s Warp-styled electronics in tightly organised, classical structures.
Sunrise 89 sets the EP off at an angle between swanging NYC garage and thee lushest techno rave dimensions - breathlessly beautiful stuff - leading up to the panoramic peak of Beatha and the ancient-futurist vignette An Stuc.
Flipside he inverts that formula to cushion your head with the seductive ambience of Brtye, and a lightshow of ecstatic harmonics in Tocpe 28, saving the elegiac, slow-motion elegance of his title track for the perfect come-down.
Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg’s Emptyset incorporate vocals into the broader structures of Skin, methodically teasing out the conceptual threads of Borders, their debut for Thrill Jockey issued earlier in 2017.
Where the taut, agitated bursts of Borders were clipped tight in structure and duration, these four new pieces adapt the same electro-acoustic techniques and custom built instrumentations to more immersive ends, allowing us to clearer hear the clash and buzz of far-flung reference points - ritual music and non-Western composition - resolving into new forms before your ears.
The two Skin parts are pent and urgent, flowing in angular geometries of spiky prangs and buzzing resonance that sound something like a West African balafon attached to a 12-string guitar played by John Fahey, and then remixed for Korean court functions, whereas Eye I catches them playing to a massed, Tony Conrad-esque monochord joined by alien overtone singers, which turns into a call for their shuttle to return them back to the mothership in the 2nd part.
Optimo Music is delighted to release a first album by Fantastic Twins (formerly known as The Twins). We’ll let them tell you the story behind this inspired and beguiling record...
"Obakodomo (Au Balcon Du Monde) is a soundtrack I created for a piece of contemporary dance, performed by two dancers for a young audience from the age of 4. It is the story of an imaginary journey in Antartica where two explorers go on an adventure. They encounter a colony of penguins and will progressively learn to understand their habits and respect their environment. Essentially, Au Balcon Du Monde is a metaphor of how to exist next to each other, how to share a territory, how to learn to live together and share resources.
The scenography and stage accessories were designed in a minimalistic and non-obvious form to leave all the space for imagination. The penguins were made of translucent material to provide light effects and were programmed to move in a swaying motion, allowing interaction with the dancers and the music. LED system could be wireless piloted.
With the soundtrack, I wanted to create an atmosphere that would immediately transport the children into this terra nova - a poetical space, like a cold sphere, where the strange meets the frightening and the playful. Translating the immense vs the small, the far-off vs the near, the collective vs the individual, the strange vs the familiar or the cold vs the heat. My intention was to follow the thread of the story in a narrative, yet non-caricatural way. Music for children doesn’t have to be “childish”. Children love to be scared or even just challenged. They love to love and react instantly to what they hear through their emotions. Ultimately, the soundtrack aims to provide different levels of “reading” so that it becomes something more universal. So we, adults, just have to accept the invitation.”
Blawan mounts what is arguably his master opus with Nutrition; a nuanced but proper banging six track session holding one of his strongest cuts to date in 993.
The 4th release on his Ternesc label finds him deep in the modular matrix getting firmly to grips with thistly noise textures and the rolling drag coefficient physics of techno at an atomic level.
For us, and we’ll wager many others, 933 is the big juicy steak at the middle of the pack. A massive kick drum piles thru the centre, mad sawtooth synth voices seem to drip off like the biggest slug of acetone-stinking ching, and then the moment of lush enlightenment, which hovers around long enough to appreciate the buzz, before it slips off as quickly as the gear and you’re looking for the next high.
The other tracks are dead solid, too; with some proper doom depth to Calcium Red and skull-scraping tones in the empty belly boot of Mayhem. However you really need it for that 933 ace!
Sterling work from Linkwood for the Shevchenko imprint - home to a recent run of aces by Vakula.
Classic vibes in abundance here, from the Shake-debted filtered House depths of 'the title track and 'Between Me & You' on the A-side thru the luscious square bass and strings of 'Ignorance Is Bliss' on the flip, both dubbed up with that spacious, timeless analog feel you'd expect from Linkwood. Keep an eye out for his new album due early 2012 because this one won't be sticking around for long!
The man from Konotop, Ukraine unleashes his darkest, trippiest, and most driven batch of trax to date on Shevchenko.
The A-side 'No Music' is an absolute weapon, piling forth on body-quaking bass lashed with abstracted analogue noise and virulent, flared chords. You'll be left reeling after this one, trust us! Flipside, for contrast, 'Vermona' dissipates the pressure into etheric atmosphere and tenderised chords before locking into the slompy rhythm and sprung reverbs of 'Hand Made Beat'. RIYL Ra.H/Morphosis, NWAQ, DJ Qu, Fred P...
Stephen O’Malley picks up the enchanted duo of Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Lujik for their immersive 12th release of shimmering chamber music as the cultishly adored Elodie. Since 2010 Elodie have stealthily charmed pretty much all who’ve crossed their path, whether on record through the Faraway Press and La Scie Dorée label, or in their achingly quiet and mesmerising live performances.
With Vieux Silence, Ideologic Organ takes the honour of issuing Elodie’s first material outside of their own labels, building on a relationship formed after they performed, alongside Jessica Kenney and Eyvind Kang, at an event in London curated by O’Malley. Naturally that night stuck in his memory, as O’Malley recounts; “Elodie's performance was among the most delicately engaging and savant I have witnessed… so very quiet, with snow falling in London outside Cafe Oto's windows, the audience palpably entered a high intensity listening focus. The impression of this vivid memory is striking, considering how spare each of the individual elements present that night were.”
Coincidentally, our first encounter with Elodie was a live performance, too (cheers, Sam!). And snow aside, it was almost exactly as O’Malley recalls, keeping us perched, rapt for the duration like nothing we’d ever heard before. Even better, their records somehow capture that quiet intensity perfectly, as you’ll hear on the beautiful example of Vieux Silence.
Accompanied by in/frequent collaborators Tom James Scott (piano), Jean-Noël Rebilly (clarinette) and Daniel Morris (steel pedal guitar), Elodie’s 12th release renders 41 minutes of their sublime music that will leave connoisseurs of quiet music agape at the telepathic levels of control and ineffable coherence in their improvisations, unfurling as a sort of oneiric, watercoloured tableaux of genteel jazz strokes, electro-acoustic spectres and chamber-like gestures.
Lovers of anything from Badalamenti soundtracks and Bohren And Der Club of Gore, to Cotton Goods or Ryuichi Sakamoto owe themselves time with Elodie, and this is great place to start.
Max D meets Morgan Buckley on a debut jaunt as Lemme Kno, channelled thru the ever on-point Unthank offshoot of Firecracker Recordings.
Taking us right back to 1990, on the cusp of hip hop, ambient house and breakbeat styles, the duo turn out three jams nudged with all the quirks and swerve you’d well expect from them.
A-side cooks up the tumbling hip hop chops and cheekily expressive synth riffs of The Tie With The Most Stripes and a rugged B-Boy throw down entitled Way (188 Krew Mix) recalling The Underdog’s take on US styles, but the B-side is best, hearkening back to vintage early breakbeat rave by FSOL or EON with beautifully authentic style.
Funny to hear this sound coming back around again, but charming enough on the B-side.
Bumping, psychedelic Afro-house space-boogie including DJ Sotofett remix.
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Dam-Funk’s sought-after European Nites CD finally sees an official download release nearly 10 years since it first dropped.
Trust it’s wavy as you like in all four parts, doing his tucked, minimalist funk thing with Electric Breeze, extending his swang with Nyghtryder, and cooling out on a romantic tip with She Lights Me Up, while Special Dimensions sounds like Bernie Worrell getting satin with Prince.
Canada’s Project Pablo debuts on Technicolour with a subtly shifty augmentation of his deep house style in Hope You’re Well, bringing forward the drums and opening out his dubby space with jazzy flair.
The pulsating italo-techno of Is It Dry? is the first indication of this slight but smart modification, while No Sweat rides out with a percolated, heavily swung sort of broken beat fluidity, and You Know sees him plunge that sound into deep dub dimensions, with Oh Fer Sure coming to rest at his signature, heart-warming chord patterns with a slinkier set of drums.
Abstract grime and electronic outlier Sharp Veins dispatches his most distinguished material yet with Bleeds Colours And Puddles on NYC’s estimable UNO label (Arca, Fatima Al Qadiri, Chino Amobi) after spicy shots fired on Glacial Sound and Different Circles.
Balancing a strong tolerance for salty, textured digital noise with a predilection for bittersweet melodic arrangements, Bleeds Colours Into Pools catches the Alabama-based artist projecting bold new structures at the periphery of club music, banking fractal digital decay and warped choral synth voices in Burnished Purple and squashing scintillating chromatic convolutions with crankiest souther hip hop rhythms in Grayer Shadows, then really letting it all fly with the rare intensity of Learn Boxing Miami’s sparring grime and noise clash.
Perhaps mercifully the 2nd half affords some respite with the melancholy swoon and knock of Bye, but he’s out to light you up, not seduce, with the sodium grime-trance tang of Wave_Cut and the lemon-biting sensation of Empty, piling J-pop like hooks on a lurching industrial rhythm.
Shockingly satisfying styles. Chow down!
Fruity Turkish psyche chuggers and bubblers weaving drum machines and synths with surf guitars . Check ‘Madimak’ for a real dancefloor nugget a la Aksak Maboul!...
“The missing component in the history of Turkish pop and one of the earliest exponents of Turkish electronic music alongside İlhan Mimaroǧlu and Bülent Arel, Gökçen Kaynatan electrified the rock and roll scene of the late 50s/early 60s – sending teenagers wild with his custom built guitars and back lines – helping charge the climate for the birth of Anatolian rock. Then, from the sanctuary of his private studio, he revolutionised the industry with his pioneering use of electronics whilst hanging the sonic wallpaper in the living rooms of an entire generation of telly addicts as in house composer of choice for Turkey’s first national television channel TRT 1. Despite having a modest discography of only four 7” singles to his name his influence is a major current that flows through over 50 years of Turkish pop culture.
Compiled with unparalleled access to his private studio vault, Finders Keepers proudly presents the first-ever collection of Gökçen Kaynatan’s pioneering early electronic works. Featuring a selection of his experimental pop and rock recordings dating from as early as the 1968 it features both of the highly sought after 1 Numara singles – including a never before heard extended version of Evren – as well as previously unheard archive material and songs recorded for and broadcast exclusively on TRT 1 – most of them never to be repeated. In helping Gökçen end his self-imposed 44-year exile from the record industry we can now share with you the first of these important recordings from a genuine maverick who helped shape the face of modern Turkish music, as well as shedding some light on the rise of one of Anatolian rock and pops must fruitful and experimental periods that began with the arrival (and subsequent explosion) of domestic synthesisers on the Turkish scene.”
SAICOBAB are the Japanese quartet comprised of acclaimed vocalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO), Yoshida Daikiti (sitar), Akita Goldman (bass) and acclaimed in Japan Motoyuki ‘Hama’ Hamamoto (percussion, gamelan).
"SAICOBAB masterfully blend traditional Indian music with melodies and unexpected rhythms using unorthodox instrumentation to create utterly distinct modern ragas.
On their debut album ‘SAB SE PURANI BAB’, YoshimiO’s leaping, animated, effected vocal melodies dance fluidly through Daikiti’s intricate sitar patterns. The entrancing synergy of Goldman and Hama’s rhythmic pulse drives and shapes the aptly named SAICOBAB’s sound to one that is at once rooted in ancient tradition and wholly new. YoshimiO has been a trendsetter as a member of OOIOO and Boredoms for over three decades. She has collaborated with Kim Gordon and Sean Lennon, has been featured on the covers of The Wire and The Fader and The Flaming Lips named an album after her.
“In the seemingly impenetrable, fantastic murkiness of Japanese experimental psych pop, more often than not,Yoshimi has been a beacon.” - FADER (cover)"
Whoa, like: this is a kinda stunning debut album from 77 year old American photographer and legend William Eggleston, a contemporary of Andy Warhol in the ‘70s, who has been quietly recording himself for decades. ‘Music’ is nothing less than an American Dream recording..
“Native Memphian William Eggleston, 77, who is widely regarded to be the most important photographer of the late 20th Century, presents his debut record, Musik.
It was during Eggleston’s Sumner, Mississippi childhood, where he discovered the piano in the parlor that ignited in him a lifelong passion for music. It was a passion he carried forth his entire life, playing quite adeptly when a piano was handy: improvised turns on Bach, Handel, gospel, country, and popular selections from the Great American Songbook for friends and family. Though his travels found him rubbing elbows with Andy Warhol‘s Factory superstars in New York, where he lived for several years with Viva at the Chelsea Hotel, and observing a music scene in Memphis that included Big Star’s Alex Chilton, and his old friend and owner of Ardent Studios, engineer Jon Fry, his own music went largely unheard by the general public.
In the 1980’s, Eggleston, who disdained digital cameras and modernity in general, became surprisingly fascinated with a synthesizer, the Korg OW/1 FD Pro, which had 88 piano-like keys, and in addition to being able to emulate the sound of any instrument, also contained a four-track sequencer that allowed him to expand the palette of his music, letting him create improvised symphonic pieces, stored on 49 floppy discs, encompassing some 60 hours of music from which this 13 track recording was assembled.
Eggleston lives today in a small apartment off Memphis’ Overton Park that he shares with a 9-foot Bosendorfer grand piano and an arsenal of ultra-high fidelity audio equipment, some of which was designed by his son, William Eggleston III. The synthesizer, alas, is broken and stubbornly refuses to be repaired, so for the purpose of this project another was purchased in order to be able to play back the floppy discs, which, along with a handful of DATs and other digital media, though frail, were digitized and mastered for this and future releases.
Mr. Eggleston often says that he feels that music is his first calling, as much a part of him, at least, as his photography. We take special pride in allowing the world to hear this side of a great artist who may now be rightly called a great musician.”
Healing Force Project’s Gravitational Lensing is one of the rudest yet sophisticated examples of modern jazz-fusion we’ve heard in ages.
In this guise, Italy’s Antonio Marini is responsible for a string of celebrated releases spread across Berceuse Heroique, Nous, and Bedouin Records, a.o., and now commits his finest yet to Edinburgh’s Firecracker Recordings.
Gravitational Lensing is a fluidly immersive suite of polymetric time signatures knitted with bubbling electro-acoustic abstraction and drones to sound like some parallel dimension mirror of electric-era Miles Davis, 23 Skidoo’s worldly jazz-funk and the kind of psychedelic atmospheres practised by Gruppo d’Improvvisazione.
It’s what Squarepusher could have sounded like if he hadn’t spiralled into fretless frappery; instead working a tuff but super loose funk from dry, cracking drum machines and sparring breakbeats knitted with eyes-shut chord progressions and a seemingly mystic sampler that spits pure magick vibes.
For the dancers, astro-jazz-nauts and DJs, this is a bit of a no brainer. Highly recommended!
PAN’s Afrikan Sciences and Gaël Segalen have hatched one of 2016’s most curious fusions of mystic beat geometry and electro-acoustic process with Low Doses. We’re not sure if that title’s a reference to them micro-dosing LSD - which is entirely plausible after hearing the record - or something else, but either way their debut LP is a deeply trippy dish.
Transcending styles with a deceptive effortlessness, Low Doses feels to be all about locating that elusive, near-mythical third track - a sort of metaphysical alchemy - amidst the duo’s perfectly unbalanced equations. Whilst approaching the same point from differing disciplines - Porter from a world of futuristic hard bop and hi-tech soul; Gaël from the sphere of sound design and concrète praxis - they’re clearly as much aware of their differences as they are sympathetic towards each’s overarching agenda.
At an attuned, yet defocussed and lushly amorphous mid-ground between those aesthetics, Low Doses really comes into its own as a sort of psychotropic, deep topographical journey between their mindsets, conflating sheets of street noise and organic pastoral location recordings with rhythms that seem to have spilled from the field to the club via decades of cryptic encoding.
It’s all totally jazz and definitely experimental electro-acoustic, but in a mixing oil ’n sand way that would have been almost unimaginable or deemed too mutually exclusive in the not so distant past. Ultimately, then, they’ve achieved an unprecedented, imaginative, innovative and stellar music which should only be ignored by followers of great, timeless electronic sounds at the risk of stupidity.
Proper Deep House music from Edinburgh's Firecracker Recordings, who've tasked Vakula and Juju & Jordash to remix 'Mass X' from their last 10".
Frontside Vakula's dub remix takes the tropical vibes of the original somewhere trippier, to a pumping warehouse scene with eye-fluttering synthlines and relentless yet strangely sensuous bass pressure. Flipside Amsterdam's Juju & Jordash take us on a slow, meaningful journey inwards, with burbling, shimmering synth colours and a sluggishly stoned bass bump for the coolest cats in their cosmic cafe.
Eccentric, polymetric polyphonics from inquisitive Australian sound artist Ross Manning, returning to Lawrence English’s Room40 with a scattershot batch of pots ’n pans rhythms and noise. Sometimes sounds like a rabble of thumb pianos, at others like a flock of pigeons in Harry Bertoia’s studio, or a Bruno Spoerri installation, but all played by motorised instruments striking strings and harmonically interesting objects.
"in august this year, ross manning opened his first major survey exhibition, dissonant rhythms, at brisbane's institute of modern art. as part of the exhibition a monograph and lp edition, titled reflex in waves, were prepared to celebrate this milestone. reflex in waves brings together a series of sonic approaches manning has been developing for over a decade. specifically, manning's work is concerned with waves and the impacts of their resulting vibration. quietly producing audio works out of his studio in yeronga, on the south side of brisbane city, manning's works are based on a series of deeply personal instrument designs, tape manipulation and other exploratory approaches. his instruments, which are often percussive, use harmonically related materials that are activated by motor-driven strings. the resulting sound is a chaotic but pulse-like cluster of harmony. developing sets of uniquely pitched materials, manning's instruments each maintain a distinct quality. no two instruments sound alike and although the way in which they are 'performed' may be similar, the resulting sound is anything but familiar."
Far flung and beautiful analog techno gestures hailing from bonnie Scotland.
With issues for Phonica Records and most recently Unthank, Lord Of The Isles has built a fine catalogue in the space of a few years. He's perfectly suited to the Shevchenko space academy with this EP, taking in the windswept and throbbing Martian/North Atlantic expanse of 'Elgol' on the A-side, backed with the hypnotising harmonic sequences of 'Galicia' and the warmly elegiac, folk-tinted 'tronica of 'Timber Lorries Emerging' on the flipside. RIYL Analord series, Vakula, Kassem Mosse.
Firecracker really push the coracle out with this gorgeous, sprawling collection of folk songs and pastoral ambience gloved in exquisite packaging by House of Traps.
Conceived by Wounded Knee, Lord of the Isles, Other Lands, and House of Traps in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, 'Mac Talla Nan Creag' is part heritage study, part whisky-sozzled travelogue; featuring the processed results of a road trip between Iron age forts, ruined brochs and sites of ancient rock art located around the mystic Scottish Highlands dear their mutual interests - and said to be one of the first places explored by our ancestors 10,000 years ago after the last ice age.
Running to 16 pieces ranging from somnolent drones thru reworked folk songs, chants and expansive ambient techno flush with myriad instrumentation - guitar, bouzouki, harmonium, harp, synths - it's a uniquely considered meeting of tradition and modern technology that's mercifully shy of the more cloying stereotypes connoted with folk and electronic music crossovers. It would have been nice to hear them incorporate some more elements from the field of archaeoacoustic research, but, as far as impressionistic, whisky-steeped sound trips of Scotland go, this is a real bewt.
Rod Modell returns to Soma with a slow-baked batch of rolling dub techno in Auratone some two years since Ultraviolet Music and reissues of myriad, related projects over the interim.
This is full fat DeepChord, swollen with bass and bristling with combustible, oxidising textures that their legion disciples will relish. Includes some sweeter highlights in the roving subs and dancing melodies of Wind In Trees and the insistent mesh of ghostly, pealing partials with pneumatic bass in Point Reyes.
“A foray into deep, organic, cinematic dance music. Subterranean bass, intercepted alien transmissions, and stripped down dance-beats meld with sheets of sounds that roll over the listener like waves lapping up on the shore. Shimmering, watery, brain hemisphere synchronization tones caress and melt stress away. Dance floor friendly tracks that work equally well in one s private listening space. Immersive music with a distinctive aquatic quality. Inspired by Detroit & Berlin s dance genres, but tempered by more ambience / atmosphere than one would expect from those genres. Music without harshness or rough edges. Fuzzy, out-of-focus, soft-sounds that slip in and out of the listener's consciousness.
Uniquely melds current dance rhythms with lushness and spirituality. Synesthetic sounds that trigger sensory experiences in cognitive pathways other than hearing smells of perfumes, thoughts of colours, and altered perception of time and space. Psychoacoustic, cerebral, electronic listening music for those wanting a different experience than the current harsher, darker dance trends are offering. Responsibly made gentle music designed from the ground-up to have a positive effect on the nervous system and leave the listener invigorated and recharged. Chi-building sonic balm. Timeless, exotic dance tracks for a new school of electronic music enthusiasts who are searching for beautiful sounds, crafted with a higher purpose in mind.”
Lessons marks 10 years of the on-going experiment that is the Front & Follow record label, and their 50th official release
Bringing together artists from across the years in old guises and new inc Pye Corner Audio, Leyland Kirby, Laura Cannell, Ekoplekz, Time Attendant, Howlround and more...
Sublime dream-pop beauty from Colleen, a gorgeous and crucial push and pull of experimental urges and pop immediacy. Make sure to check the brain-dancing percolations of ‘Another World’ and her exquisitely off-kilter title track. RIYL Arthur Russell, Teresa Winter, Delia Derbyshire...
Recorded in the wake of the 2015 Paris attack, which occurred just as she was visiting, A Flame My Love, A Frequency, finds Colleen setting aside her trusted viola de gamba to incorporate a Critter & Guitari pocket piano synthesiser and newly acquired Moog filter pedal into her feathered dub propulsion system, buoying her reflections on life and death, and bird-watching, with a creamy, bubbling backdrop that’s perhaps at odds, or even in defiance of personal strife in the preceding year.
Described in avian swoops, zig-zagging arpeggios and aerial shimmers, she flies the fine line between sorrow and beauty in a way that reflects that brutality and grace of the natural world as much as the scenes of Parisian cafes under blue skies which would turn into a bloodbath only hours later. This dichotomy lies at the heart of A Flame My Love, A Frequency, as Colleen navigates a flux of strong feelings between the exquisite instrumental melancholy of November thru to the title track’s plaintive cubist folk keen, emulating the sensation of flapping your wings hard against the headwind with Separating, and offering a sublime, necessary space for introspection with Summer Night (Bat Song), whilst the gently frothing, pizzicato piquancy of The Stars vs Creatures and One Warm Spark lend a more optimistic spin in their wistful shimmers, crucially not forgetting to dream in the face of so much shite.
Lindstrøm launches his most concerted pop effort with 4th solo album, It’s Alright Between Us As It Is, neatly incorporating vocals by Jenny Hval, Frida Sundemo, and Grace Hall in a seamless segue of seven sleek and disco-ready songs adapting 40 years of dancefloor history to a timeless but fresh style.
Spire lifts off with lagging ‘70s drums and Vangelis-style synth streaks, tailing off into the lattice of latinate ‘80s arpeggios in Tensions, and a purring beauty named But Isn’t It starring Sweden’s Frida Sundemo, and something resembling ‘90s trance breaks for disco mums and dads with Shinin feat. Grace Hall.
Drift gives room for some twanging instrumental expression, and Jenny Hval voices the album’s most impressive piece with a hushed, cryptic performance on the bittersweet acidic twyst of Bungl (Like a Ghost), fading out into a neo-classical keys and tempered symphonic lift of Under Trees.
Young Marco’s Safe Trip does the business again with CZ-5000 Sounds & Sequences, a heart warming flush of archive material by identical Japanese twins, Satoshi & Makoto, recorded at home on the titular Casio synth c. early ‘90s. Follows very much in suit with the nostalgic appeal of Darling’s JPS and the volumes of Italian Dream House before that, another perfect addition to the label.
As the story goes, Satoshi & Makoto were big fans of anime and cartoon soundtrack as kids, and used to mess around on their ma’s Yamaha Electone keyboard. Fast fwd a few years, and a promise to work hard at school if their parents bought them a synth came to fruition, with the two sharing the same model of Casio CZ-5000 ever since.
Their nascent recordings with the CZ-5000 lay untouched for decades until the twins uploaded them as synth demos to YouTube, where Young Marco saw them and was so enamoured with the sound that he released this LP.
We could sit here all day referencing obvious analogs for this record, but its better heard as a genuine document of private, fraternal connections and non-verbal dialogue, almost like listening to a family photo album or the fantasy soundtrack to a computer game or anime that was never made.
Gel Set = Chris & Cosey x Throbbing Gristle + Chromatics.
"Laura came across the phrase Body Copy while using some now forgotten freeware at a now forgotten job that didn’t want to pay for the name brand goods…body copy, as in…the text to be entered into the body of a document. “What is the content of your body’s copy?” she asks you to ask yourself. Gel Set is the art that Callier makes in her noisy bedroom, currently in Koreatown.
When asked her influences, she says “I like crunchy, hard electronic music that sounds like it was made by someone who is growing mushrooms on their person,” whatever that means, and she says she loves the raw emotion of Karen Dalton, the abstract story telling and dissonance of late Scott Walker, the synthesis of Mort Garson and Tangerine Dream, the heavy sounds of Hogg, and she’s ever flattered by comparisons to Chris and Cosey. She says she also loves music with a pop sensibility, from Erasure to Jesse Lanza. She’s a multimedia artist.
She plays in several bands besides Gel Set (her solo project). Simulation is dreamy psychedelic electronic duo with Whitney Johnson from Matchess, E+, and Verma. Athleisure is a duo with video artist Jason Ogawa from Tarnation. God Vol 1 is a duo with visual artist Nicole Ginelli. She grew up in Houston. She’s a Leo, Scorpio Rising. She says she has a codependent relationship with her 16 year old dog, Dixie, who she says wears a flame collar her roommate bought him that someone else said looks like it came from a Korn concert."
On Lee Gamble’s stunning first major work since Koch , the rave dreamer reawakens to decode and interpret his hallucinations for Hyperdub, coming to terms with the idea of Mnestic Pressure - a confluence of individual and collective pressures on contemporary memory - in an astonishly febrile, vivid collision and projection of jungle and ambient structures.
With his move to Hyperdub following a string of modern classics for PAN, Lee Gamble has effectively reset his sound to realise a more intricate, restless matrix of ideas that seems to emulate the sound of a mind that’s too wired to sleep, rushing from an overload of inputs which it struggles to make sense of. In this case the struggle is perfectly sur/real, making the listener unsure of whether he’s awake or dreaming, or perhaps experiencing some combination of the two ostensibly opposing states of mind.
As with his previous releases, Mnestic Pressure finds Lee acting as a conduit or plugged in psychopomp, absorbing the physical and mental pressures of life in London and online, and then transmuting, firming up those feelings in an elusively abstract style that conveys the daily bombardment of the senses, and by turns the memory, in a way which the written word will never fully capture.
But in a marked departure from earlier releases, Mnestic Pressure reveals a subtle but decisive shift away from straighter 4/4 patterns towards a constant, broken flux of meters and velocities which can perhaps be heard to reflect the shift in popular perception of time as a linear sequence, to a more complex, difficult-to-grasp weave of timelines which expand and contract, sometimes folding in on themselves or short circuiting in a sort of Déjà vu or jolting hypnic jerks.
It’s really best consumed from front-to-back in order to really allow that tempestuous momentum to take hold, as it plays out like a live or DJ set in some of the more slippery passages, especially the psychoacoustic smudge between East Sedducke, 23 bay Flips and Swerva, and the deft transitions from You Hedonic’s amniotic suspension to the glancing arrhythmic ballistics of UE8, but the DJs will also find very useful parts to extract in the Rian Treanor-meets-Demdike Stare flex of Ignition Lockoff, and his absolutely deadly jungle bullet, Ghost.
For our money, it’s Lee’s most essential release since Diversions 1994-1996.
Sugai Ken follows in the vein of RVNG Intl’s Visible Cloaks release with an exquisite meditation on traditional Japanese percussion and 4th world electronics ruptured by unpredictable runs into more abstract terrain. RIYL YMO/Haruomi Hosono, Visible Cloaks, Foodman...
UkabazUmorezU works like a stage set or a variegated series of sonic scenarios, at once smartly demonstrating his compositional versatility as well as a dilated vision of the connections between Japanese tradition and western-rooted electro-acoustic practice. In a way it resonates with Visible Cloaks’ perspective on Japanese electronics as much as Foodman’s dextrous mutations of Chicago footwork, but still it’s weirder and more enigmatic than either of them.
In his own words, UkabazUmorezU is intended to reflect a “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” Arguably, for someone who has never visited or experienced night in Japan (us), it does so as richly as a Murakami novel, sensitively using electronic instruments and process to emulate and evoke an intimate sense of the spiritual, supernatural recalling the effect of, say, Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST, but again, with a more elusive, amorphous and playful quality of his own.
Ultimately it’s a beautifully and subtly suggestive album, skillfully making use of pregnant lacnuæ and negative space, but also riddled with flighty melodic figures, and prone to wonderfully disorienting jump-cuts that ping us from serene garden and temple scenes to stranger, bestial ginnels of the Japanese mindset with an effortless sleight-of-hand.