Mega digidub artillery form TNT Roots, backed with a spiralling version by John T. Gast, who’s also behind its release on 5 Gate Temple
Somehow manifesting as TNT Roots’ first 7” after more than a decade of CD releases via his Lion Musik label, and a recent 12” with London’s Bokeh Versions, the keen trample of ‘Chant Down Babylon Verse 2’ is a deadly steppers bullet eager for deployment on the biggest rig DJs can lay their hands on.
The British “neo-dub” producer finds a strong spiritual and physical ally in John T. Gast on the flip, who faithfully handles a ‘Gast Version’, running extra mentallic FX and extending the ting with an extra layer of gorgeous, dreamy ‘90s ambient pads, with no loss to the original’s heavy momentum.
Smalltown Supersound celebrates its 25th anniversary with an epic new mix album of the Smalltown Supersound catalogue by Prins Thomas. Featuring artists including Sonic Youth, DJ Harvey, Studio, Yoshimi (Boredoms), Kim Gordon, Oneohtrix Point Never, Todd Rundgren, Stereolab, High Llamas, Neneh Cherry, Ricardo Villalobos, Four Tet, Bjørn Torske, Dungen, The Orb, Kelly Lee Owens, Lindstrøm, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Biosphere, Peter Brötzmann, and many more.
"I started Smalltown Supersound in 1993 while in high school in Flekkefjord, a small town of 4,000 inhabitants in the south of Norway. There was obviously no supersound in our small town. It was just an ironic name I came up with to release some tapes with lo-fi/noise/bedroom recordings by my brother and his friends. The name was inspired by my hometown and the catalogue number STS was a homage to SST, a label I deeply admired at the time (and still do). Little did I know that I would have to live with that name for the rest of my life.
I started the label before I knew what a record label was. So I gradually learned it by doing. And it was part of me growing up. It might sound like a cliché, but in many ways the label is the soundtrack of my life. Thomas has now made it into a mixtape.
We all hate to see photos of ourselves when we were younger, the bad haircuts and the strange clothes. It is the same thing when you run a label. You constantly look back on things you regret. This mix makes me see the label from the outside in a way I don’t think I have before. And to my surprise the haircuts and the clothes weren't as bad and strange as I remembered.
I have to admit that when I listened to it the first time, I was moved. First of all, because of the deep and true love Thomas has put into this mix. Second, because some of these tracks I haven't heard in 20-25 years. It really felt like revisiting the past. And in a very good way.
Thomas has followed the label since the early beginnings. Back in the days I was always thinking: “He’s a house/disco DJ – why does he want my noise records?”. I realize now I wasn't smart enough to understand his scope. I didn't understand it until his mix album Cosmic Galactic Prism, which is one of my favorite mix albums of all time. So for me it was very obvious that Thomas should make the Smalltown Supersound mix. I just couldn't imagine that he would go this beautifully far with it.
Since day one I have tried to have a red thread run through the releases and the label's DNA. Most of the time I am probably the only one who sees it. And many times I don't even see it myself. Now Thomas has found the spiritual unity.
While I have always struggled to describe what the label is, only now – with this mix – I can finally say: this is what it is. "
Joakim Haugland Oslo, August 2018
Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed inhabits a fascinating space between tradition and technology, history and futurism in her strikingly moody debut solo album ‘Khonnar’, following from production credits on Fever Ray’s ’Plunge’ and use of her tracks in mixes by M.E.S.H. and Paula Temple. Subbass fiends need to check the final track ‘Rabbouni’, while fans of Jasss and Muslimgauze will gets strong kicks throughout...
“Deena Abdelwahed’s first album is shifting the epicenter of contemporary electronic music south. Pronounced “Ronnar“ (an essential detail so as to avoid facile misinterpretation by French- speakers) it is a term that makes the most of Tunisia’s cultural and linguistic spectrum. It evokes the dark, shameful and disturbing side of things, the one we usually seek to hide, but which Deena instead sticks our noses in with her debut. It is a testament to Deena’s coming into her own as a world citizen, and as an artist. A self-construction made of frustrations and constraints, borne of retrograde mindsets, which are not the prerogative of either the East or the West, and which she tirelessly strives to expose and break.
Throughout the 45 minutes of “Khonnar“, Deena breaks down the codes of bass, techno and experimental music, and writes the manifesto for a generation that does not seek to please or to conform, taking back control of its identity – with all the attendant losses and chaos. A new creative world order is taking shape, a new tilting point between north and south, the response of a connected and liberated youth who takes the control of the new decolonization.”
Jim O’Rourke is ready to talk to you again with his first pop album since 2001.
"Simple Songs’ is an amazing record of musical song entertainment because Jim O’Rourke knows what he wants and how to get it. The range of sounds and songs that have turned Jim’s head are numerous enough to have crushed together into something that is unmistakably his. The music is played so immaculately by so many instruments and most of them by the creator’s hand.
‘Simple Songs’ was worked over, from source material to finished mix, for five years or more now. Jim’s writing is rooted in the approach of ‘Insignificance’ - frosted pop tarts that leave a darkly bitter aftertaste. Let ‘Simple Songs’ seep into your brain, as a musical expression and a statement of animal motherhood. It may help you get your bearings in a world gone hopeless."
Seb Gainsborough's debut album as Vessel arrives on Tri Angle, immediately expanding what the label stands for even as it reinforces some of its central tenets.
But what's important about this splendid record isn't what label it's on, it's the music itself - and we have to say that the Young Echo member has really excelled himself, crafting a nocturnal epic of a depth, breadth and maturity remarkable from one so young.
Sculpting a self-contained sound-world largely distinct from anything he's released before, he favours a mood of inscrutable darkness and claustrophobia, yet manages still to be generous with hooks, with meat, with substance. Forget R&B; a rugged dub sensibility and a very British kind of radiophonic whimsy account for the DNA of each track here: at times the album feels closer in spirit to a Mark Stewart or a Cabaret Voltaire than to a Balam Acab or a Holy Other. Highlights? The fractious reggae drift of 'Stillborn Dub' , the Shake-via-Peverelist swing of 'Images Of Bodies', the scuffed sepulchral house of 'Aries', the jerry-built, glass-bowl-accented techno of 'Plane Curves' , the juddering, isolationist funk of 'Temples' and 'Lache' (both of which can stand proud next to recent Actress) - we could go on.
Melodically, rhythmically and above all texturally, Vessel resists easy or obvious tropes and strategies, and reinvigorates tired forms, but without falling into obtuseness for its own sake; the result is surely one of this year's most accomplished debuts.
One of many peaches on Wackies, few are sweeter than Love Joys’ Lovers Rock Reggae Style .
Produced and originally issued by the JA/NYC bossman Bullwackie, and subsequently reissued via their Hardwax hook-up outta Germany, who’ve rightly kept it in print (this edition), Lovers Rock is all killer no filler, starring Claudette Brown and Sonia Abel riding high over killer disco-dub-edged lovers rock riddims such as the bubbling beauty One Draw and the synth-buoyed float of Let Me Rock You Now, all replete with dubs.
Minimalist hypnotists Ambarchi, Sprenger and Sollmann manipulate the dance with deeply trippy results for Ostgut's A-Ton sublabel
In two extended, kraut-y flights the trio place a wealth of multi-disciplinary, avant-garde experience at the service of dancefloor enlightenment, conjuring a lysergically timeless sound that richly exceeds the sum of its inputs.
With the 15 minute ‘Panama’ they hinge a lone clave around chipping guitar and synthlines in a sublimely tempered ascent thru microtonal increments and eye-fluttering arps, working out something like Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe channelling ancient spirits.
On ’Suez (Version)’ they loosen up the groove with a rolling swing that accumulates strange, pitch-bent synth twang and grubbing electronics until we’re lost in a lush chromatic maelstrom by the half way mark, from which point they really take off, leaving the dancefloor hundreds of miles below, showered in electronic perseids.
Really feeling this!
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.
Angular, jabbing, psychedelic post-industrial/post-punk from early ‘80s Holland, drawn from hard-to-find and obscure tapes releases by Emotional Rescue and Mannequin Records
"Taken from two 12” EPs, a split 7” and a flexi 7”, all released in 1982, the music within Word & Numbers captures striking compositions, part of, but some way removed from their contemporary post-punk bands coming out of the Dutch “Ultra” scene of the time.
Developing out of a series of concerts in Amsterdam, Ultra expanded to Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Haarlem, with artists and musicians creating their own work spaces and studios. Driven by the DIY mentality of the punk movement, this uniquely Dutch take on the post-punk ethos embraced avant-garde thinking and experimentation that disseminated in ideas and from that, sound.
Coming from Haarlem, Nexda – consisting of Ivo Schalkx, Karin Hueting, Martienden Nijs – played music on handmade drums, metal, organ, saxophone and voice. Releasing a series of cassettes on their and Wim Dekker (Smalts, Minny Pops) Studio 12 label, the latter’s link with Wally Van Middendorp’s Plurex label, resulted in the release of Nexda’s two EP – 246, 121 and 657 (PLUREX 0026) and Second (PLUREX 0031) - with artwork of Ivo Schalkx, are included here, both in their entirety.
Capturing the bands’ heavy percussive backdrop, raw, dub baselines contrast with questioning, mainly spoken word lyrical poetics, saxophone underplay and occasional Pablo-style melodica. The avant nature of the music is apparent and enticing, where experimentalism and artistic expression was sought over commercial success and technique and song form were less important than the process of exploring ideas.
The none-descriptive titles match song structures that jettison the traditional verse, chorus, verse; weaving across the 8 songs so that they can be heard as one, as much asshort bursts of individual statements."
London’s experimental hip hop duo Farai follow drop their debut LP of punkish rap, indie-pop asides, and pointed social commentary. Check for highlights in ‘This Is England’, the hot-stepping ‘Love Disease’, and their autotuned synth-pop downstroke, ’Radiant Child’
“Farai’s debut album (a collaborative project between London based vocalist Farai and artist, musician & producer TONE) documents a process of recovery. For the eponymous vocalist of the project, Farai, music has always been personal. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in London, her lyrics are coloured by the different cities she’s lived in, and how that series of different homes has shaped her perspective. ‘Rebirth’ weaves together South East London landmarks, the bare-bones ethos of post-punk, and the experience of being part of the African diaspora. The record is the biggest stepping stone yet in a journey which Farai started in 2012. She hit a period of feeling burnt out, and started attending weekly music therapy classes, where she started writing poetry and music for the first time. It charted a new direction, one that’s brought her to the exciting point where she now stands.
The album follows their debut EP, ‘Kisswell’, released through NON Worldwide in 2017, the label-cum-collective co-founded by Chino Amobi, Angel-Ho and Nkisi. It attracted support from Dazed, CRACK, The Fader and Pitchfork, the latter praising their “rethinking of post-punk and new wave.” Additional support has come from Annie Mac on Radio 1 and a variety of shows on NTS. They’ve performed on Boiler Room and at the Tate, the latter as part of a special one-off connected to their 2017 Soul of a Nation exhibition.
Farai’s partner in creating both ‘Kisswell’ and ‘Rebirth’ has been TONE, a producer she’s worked with from the early on. They’ve carved out an alternative vision of pop together, distinctive and many-sided at once, poised between punk directness and flourishes of soulful warmth. TONE’s heritage is Afro-Guyanese and Welsh, and their shared pan-African heritage was one of the things which drew them together. He spent part of his childhood in Germany before moving to the UK when he was nine. He visited the Caribbean growing up, where he was introduced to his grandmother’s roots as a performer, hearing soca, dancehall and dub.
The album’s opener sets the tone with a short news snippet, situating the album in London: the pair’s common ground and the city where the album was born. ‘Punk Champagne’ nods to a homemade cocktail TONE mentioned to Farai, made of buckfast and prosecco, and is characteristically stripped back, composed of simply drums, vocals and synths. On ‘This Is England’, they adopt a looser structure still, an ominous synth line framing Farai’s reflections on work and hardship in contemporary Britain.”
High grade weaponry from Neville Watson, retuning his style with exhilarating, inexorable effect on his 2nd album and debut outing for DBA
While highly regarded as an upholder of old skool production values and style, Watson makes a break for the future with the technoid harvest of ‘The Midnight Orchard’, which contains the most abstract and driving gear we’ve ever heard from him.
He spends the first couple of tracks massaging your grey meat and matter with proper sci-fi modular spangles and tension-raising arps before locking in for the ride with ‘Anarcho Midnight’, a seriously powerful, offset roiler that will see a lot of play around our way, along with the album’s other big highlights, such as the pendulous, minimalist rinse of ‘Twin Tub’, the furiously wired gnash of ‘Dee Sides’, and the blinding hydraulics of ‘4am In The Trees’.
Together with its numerous black hole abstractions and lush moments like ‘We Own The Night’, this album is arguably one of the strongest techno-related LPs of the year, bar none.
Whizzy techno-pop from hotly tipped Bristolian newcomer Finlay Shakespeare. ‘Perris’ sounds like a hook-up between Richard Youngs and Erasure.
“Snapshot release by a new Editions Mego signing, the Bristol based one man machine, Finlay Shakespeare.
Routine is a twitchy electro monster confronting the listener with a worked up a blend of AFX, Cabaret Voltaire and New Order. Routine is damming slight on the soulless electronic age in which Finlay spits a curse on the mundane repetition of existence over the top of a wild unfurling techno pop banger. The B-Side Perris propels itself as a crazed analogue drama that is as ambitious as it is unholy. Simultaneously a modern throwback to the brooding synth pop age and concurrently an absolute belter in the contemporary mainframe.
Finlay Shakespeare has made it quite clear, that he is here.”
Proper, experimental techno drills from Rrose on her vital Eaux label
The kind of gear that leaves you sweaty palmed and clamming for nightfall, especially on a friday afternoon, ‘Beware of Shells’ delivers the Rrose’s first solo outing of 2018, following from her smart collaboration with Lucy.
Tilting in with the vertiginous title track of billowing synth dissonance and pulsating bass - imagine Cam Deas meets early Pan Sonic - the EP keeps us rapt between the air-ripping synths and powerful drive of ‘Incisors’, a droning death techno dirge named ’Sister (Remix)’, and the delectably dissonant nosedrip tang of ‘Pecking Order’, which, while the most minimal and abstract of the lot, is likely to endure as our favourite from this set.
Direct Detroit/Berlin-style deep techno pressure from Laurel Halo and Hodge on Livity Sound...
Rolled out in the wake of Laurel’s ace ‘Raw Silk Uncut Wood’ EP with Eli Keszler, and leading on from Hodge’s classy ‘Beneath Two Moons’ EP, they make an ideal pairing on three tracks built for clued up ravers.
It’s maybe possible but pointless to identity who’s doing what and where, better to take them as exceeded the sum of their parts, from the beautifully balanced 313 drive and sleek float of ‘Tru’, thru the stereo-pinging dub chords, High-Tech Jazz pads and rugged rub ’n tug of ‘Opal’, and the unsettling fusion of blithe new age vocal mantra with squirming subbass and phosphorescing synth tones in ‘The Light Within You’.
Numbers introduce another new artist with Perko’s lush debut of floating dance music after recently dispensing North Sea Dialect’s gaelic folk-tronica
From Scotland but based in Copenhagen, the 23 y.o. Perko makes dance music that’s deeper than his age may suggest. It’s evidently steeped in an appreciation of natural, pastoral aspects as much as the pull of synthetic styles like Detroit techno and UK soundsystem music, adding up to a beautifully well-rounded record with strong highlights in the Vladislav Delay-like weightless dub of ‘Water Memory’, in the 2-step suspension system of ‘Rounded’, and, at its core, the sublime scene of percolated subs and dreamy, wide open space in ‘Grace’.
“The seven tracks on this EP hear Perko mining the grooves between his favourite genres for building blocks of inspiration. Drawing from UK soundsystem culture and modern experimental music, half of the record explores deeper atmospheric passages and meditative repetition, characterised by layers of subtly shifting chords, field recordings and delicate polyrhythms.
Three dancefloor cuts, spread throughout the rest of the record, retain this detail and interplay with added energy. Perko’s sense of rhythm & space is clear with 'Rounded’s glacial synths, blown out drum machines and sculpted sub sine waves. 'What Otters' forges playful UKG touches within a paperclip framework of space-echoes and sparks, whilst 'Songbirds' flips into 4/4 drive with percolated alarms and shimmering pads.
“Density, Noise, Dust, Distortion, Space…” says Perko, if you want it simple.”
Classy mid-tempo disco, house, electro and cosmic synth swerve from Berlin-based Italian artist Massimiliano Pagliara - his 3rd LP with Live At Robert Johnson. Nowt groundbreaking but brimming with deep, good times feels for the dance
“Stemming from Lecce province, an area at the south-eastern-most tip of Italy, Massimilano has been based in Berlin for several years where he's been one of the main forces behind recombining the city's hardboiled techno scene with an often overlooked sensibility for the soft and the tender. Call it underground disco passion. Massimilano's last and sophomore album, With One Another, released in 2014, was about celebrating the joy of human encounters and in parts seemed like a big get-together with like-minded artists and friends (among them nd_baumecker, Lee Douglas, and Credit 00). The record quickly hit the number one spot in Groove magazine's album chart – and its creator hit the road.
Besides his busy DJ schedule and far from the usual club circuit routines, Massimilano dedicated himself to intense travelling and exploring the world anew. “I felt like I have lived more than ever,” he states. “Getting to discover all these beautiful places around the world and meeting so many lovely interesting people, has inspired me in many different ways. I feel enriched.”
The result of these experiences is Feel Live, Massimiliano's third full-length endeavour. It was recorded in several intimate, sometimes improvised studio settings between Los Angeles, Portland, and Massimiliano's homebase in Berlin as well as at airports and on intercontinental flights high up in the sky. Featuring vocals by Private Agenda, Peaking Lights, Kim Anh and instrumental contributions by Fort Romeau, Tim K, and Jules Etienne, Feel Live is Massimilano's most playful and imaginative work to date. It's as emotional as sensual, as vibrant as the first ray of light after a thunderstorm has cleared the air.
Is it awkward or odd to call this record jazzy? Presumptuous to pinpoint its spacial, almost orchestral qualities? Unfair on the ruling Cosmic powers to highlight its aspirations of founding a new land of Balearic Harmonia and getting down at a huge fertility rite with electro enthusiasts and house lovers? Not one bit. Feel Live is pure grandeur and elegance. It feels like an eternal movement.
Martha Graham has dedicated her whole life to dancing. “It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way,” she said. “Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.” Massimilano couldn't agree more. His advice when facing the inevitable: “Live what you are feeling, feel what you are experiencing, good or bad, it is an experience.”
Astrophonica volley 14 breakbeat mutations from Fracture & Neptune, Luke Vibert, Falty DL, Sully, Proc Fiscal +++
Cutting to the chase, listen up for highlights in Falty DL’s dextrous deep jungle piece ‘A Day At The Races’ (is that a Firewire sample??); Luke Vibert’s Plug-style acid jungle bender ‘165 303’; Moresounds’ fierce jump-up madness ‘Shut Up’; and yet another hybrid beauty from Sully, smashing jungle, garage and grime atoms in ‘Qualia’.
Hanno Leichtmann’s ‘Nouvelle Aventure’ renders a remarkably layered and cut-up tour thru the prized, 70 year archive of the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, for Karl Records
Given carte blanche to rifle the IMD’s (Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt) tapes and memory banks, Leichtmann returns a blinding set of recombinant collages, using his patented system of micro-loopers, as well as era-appropriate techniques such as tape editing and manipulation of amplitude/pitch/playback direction/repetition, to whisk up and create sparking new synaptic connections between his thematically fixed selections.
Like Leichtmann’s preceding release of the ‘SY4’ recordings of a drum machine, and his ‘Skin, Wood, Traps’ study celebrating 100 years the drumset, these decimated deconstructions of the IMD archive were conceived as installation for physical spaces - in this case a 6 channel mix - and later reduced to stereo for release. The results form dizzying microcosms of atomised sound, exploding the archive like the big bang of electronic music that it arguably is.
In 16 parts, the shrapnel of Darmstadt’s conceptual thought bombs and concrète recordings become unanchored from their original moorings and reshaped with Leichtmann’s unique logic. Traces of Stockhausen, Xenakis, Nono, Ligeti et al are recontextualised, remixed to provide the listener with the perspective of a fly-on-the-wall time traveller, siting in on lectures, or overhearing experiments, but all scrambled by strange quantum mechanics with heavily psychedelic side-effects. By nature it’s a respectful yet daring approach to this end of the avant garde, which we’re sure the originators may well approve of, or at least find good reason to criticise.
Wolfgang Voigt (Gas) plucks out 12 airy beauties from Kompakt’s ranks for ‘Pop Ambient 2019’. Make sure to check for the gauzy country drift of ‘The Uncertainty Principle’ by Jörg Burger as The Black Frame, as well as Bluebird’s aeolian harp styles in ‘Last Train To Brooklyn’, Thomas Fehlmann doing a mean impersonation of The Caretaker in ‘Karenina’, and the stately keen of ‘Rot 2’ by Gregor Schwellenbach
"25 years of KOMPAKT. When a record label still thrives after a quarter of a century thanks to a focus of what was expected to be a short lived music phenomenon called TECHNO, then it stands to prove two things; that it techno has taken its place amongst serious, multilayered musical genres like rock’n’roll, pop and folk music. And that KOMPAKT has never been only for techno, but KOMPAKT stands as a broad-minded, genre-defying entity that has set out to cross-pollinate all kinds of musical inventions within the realm of electronic music. Through its course, KOMPAKT has sent “Around The World”, all kinds of sub-genres, concept series and crossover adventures based on the non- negotiable 4/4 beat. And back again.
Without a doubt, the 100% kickdrum-free POP AMBIENT series is the most endearing and enduring concept that I have had the pleasure to curate. From the start, I felt there was a strong need to add a certain pop- elegance - ensouled by discourse as much as hedonism - to a sound that was recognized as “Chill Out” music that could be heard in seedy techno club back rooms and forgotten festival areas. Over the years, I like to imagine that POP AMBIENT has crystallized into a highly recognizable trademark sound and a multi-facetted musical universe of its own.
So once again, I had the pleasure to put together this year’s edition by plowing through an ocean of sonic jewelry that had been submitted from all over the world by new and old friends. The task was clear: for this special edition, I must create a homogenous listening experience that would both appeal to our trusting followers, to continue our tradition while integrating new micro facets , variations and influences from neighboring musical universes as possible. Obligatory while being innovative. Conspirative while being cosmopolitan. Albeit the headline “Ambient” might sound a little too humble for a compilation that encompasses aspects of neo classic, atonal music and the most beautiful aural kitsch imaginable, it still helps as a necessary means of orientation in the best possible sense. Same goes for another dear tradition: Veronika Unland’s abstract-floral cover design that keeps on pleasing our sore eyes year after year.
Although each and every POP AMBIENT edition doesn’t shy away from diving into the relevant question of “What is contemporary discourse music” – in the end it all boils down to that elevated moment where all theory dissolves into ambient air, into a higher state of cosmic bliss. POP AMBIENT is sacral music for non-believers."
(Wolfgang Voigt Cologne, October 2018)
Houndstooth wrap up Throwing Snow’s three EPs of 2018 with bonus cut ‘V’, and a tranced-out Octo Octa remix
Throwing Snow’s finely honed melodic and harmonic sensibilities are firmly in place across ‘Loma’, lighting up ‘Myriad’ with see-sawing neon cadence; twisted into air-ripping, Clark-like figures on ‘Trébucher’; elusively riddled into the pitching design of ‘Minotaurs’; and with blistering form in ‘V’.
But our favourites are when it goes tough and rugged, as with the grubbing, gargling acid hardcore of ‘Tantrum’, and the unique percussive torque of ‘Vulpine’.
A real doozy from Finders Keepers' Cacophonic label - playfully psychedelic, abstract ‘70s concrète compositions by Dublin’s Roger Doyle, recorded at the inestimable Institute of Sonology, Utrecht. Keener types may recognise Doyle from his part in Operating Theatre on the superb ’Strange Passion’ compilation, and will surely be in for a welcome surprise with ‘Oizzo No’ - one of the most beguiling, unpredictable and varied sides ever heard from the Irish avant garde. Unmissable!
“This manifesto of outsider orchestrations, teenage symphonies and cultivated concrete is the debut album of experimental Irish avant garde and electro acoustic innovator Roger Doyle. A pianist, composer and improvisational jazz drummer with a penchant for experimentation that would marginalise him from traditional seats of learning in his native homeland but embrace him to the bosom of Europe’s leading forward-thinking research centres for electronic and computer music. Here he would piece together two highly sought after experimental albums before returning home to channel his multi-disciplinary work ethic into the agit pop theatrical company Operating Theatre and play a leading role in the burgeoning Irish new wave scene as an early signing to U2’s Mother Records.
A collection of some of Doyle’s earliest works as an indomitable scholarship student of composition at the Royal Irish Academy Of Music in Dublin and then as founding member and drummer of experimental jazz rock outfit Jazz Therapy (who would later become Supply Demand & Curve), this patchwork 1975 debut long-player draws from what was an already bulging portfolio that included academic assignments, living room compositions and soundtrack collaborations with Irish filmmakers.
Originally part-recorded and subsequently aborted when the would-be label vanished without trace overnight, Oizzo No was shelved indefinitely until a scholarship at the prestigious Institute Of Sonology at the University Of Utrecht in Holland afforded Doyle not only the opportunity to partially revise his humble opus in their state of the art studios (as well as those of the EMS Studios in Stockholm) but also the money to press a limited run of 500 copies and help further cement the foundations of his future status as one of Ireland’s leading and most versatile contemporary composers.”
Abstract knots of colourful, chromatic noise swept up in naturalistic chaos...
“Luminous, Stratous, Vigourous. Jan Nemeček folds time on his power ambient opus «Recurrences». Evoking memories of solitary journeys that turn into cosmic travel, these eight timeless songs combine fragile and organic textures with wide-screen, orchestrated waves of sound. Jan Nemeček lets his machines drift until they sing in character, creating luminous worlds filled with strangely familiar life-forms.
In his current solo work, musician and sound designer Jan Nemeček focusses on granular synthesis, deconstructed recordings and borderline sub bass movements.
He has been engaged in the Balkans’ vivid improvisatory and electronic music scenes since the early ‘00s. Until 2014, he co-curated the CC-based label Norbu. Jan Nemeček also collaborates in numerous projects focussing on the club context. He is a resident at Belgrade’s acclaimed underground institution Drugstore.”
A telluric drone quartet composed of Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempête, Le Réveil des Tropiques, The Rustle Of The Stars, FareWell Poetry), Romain Barbot (Saåad), Grégory Buffier (Saåad, Autrenoir) and Paul Régimbeau (Mondkopf, Autrenoir, Extreme Precautions) who meet punctually for sessions of ritual improvisation where they invoke noise and drone and the deities of chaos.
"Improvised and recorded live at Le Rex de Toulouse supporting the 10th anniversary of French doom metal band Monarch!, KAMI神 extends the cosmogony and the sound of the band by taking excursions into the invisible and ambiguous side of nature. In this orgiastic and surprising mix of sonic textures and rhythms, you may hear strange phenomena, summoning of animistic spirits, shamanic calls, siren yellings and growls. The original chemigram artwork was created by French artist Fanny Béguély by painting with chemicals on light-sensitive paper.
Following the sold-out EARTH soundtrack (GZH71, 2017), KAMI 神 delivers an immersive soundscape for abstract clubbers, where kosmiche electronic, power ambient and industrial punk music are freely invited to commune. This pagan ceremonial is an ode to the ever-changing vortex of life - a sonic dream machine for the occurring now.”
Prayers are answered with this damn fine pressing of two late ‘80s, Belgian-produced beauties, including a prime new cut of Teknokrat’s’ rare AF New Beat heater ‘What Did She Say’ - suffice to say we've been waiting for this one for years.
Pairing the original Congolese soukous version of ‘Nakombe Nga’ by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, with its remixed instrumental, Teknokrat’s’ ‘What Did She Say’, Rush Hour have just blown our minds by revealing a whole other side to a song that’s utterly dear to our hearts and feet.
As it turns out, both songs share the same producer, Tony Baron, who uncannily shares a name and look with a Reeves & Mortimer character from The Club sketches, and who was behind some of New Beat’s high water marks and its hardest to find records. For years we’ve been obsessed with his ‘Tekno’ LP as The Teknokrat’s (mind that apostrophe), and in particular its last track, an addictive spin on Inner City’s Detroit house sound, titled ‘What Did She Say’.
One can possibly imagine our astonishment, then, to find out that track is actually a remix of a Congolese Soukous song by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, swapping out the Anglophone vocals for harmonised Swahili lyrics and extra spicy guitar licks. Even better yet, as the original Teknokrat’s LP is pressed 5 tracks per side, this is the first time either song has seen a proper 12” cut, and we’re happy to report they both sound bright and punchy as one could hope for.
In our books this is a 100% essential plate, guaranteed to light up ‘floors anywhere. Here’s to hoping for a full reissue of the ’Tekno’ LP!
Brian Dougans & Gaz Cobain (FSOL) rework the former’s acid cornerstone for 2018, backed with two more cuts from the archive
Only this summer we were bezzing around Croatia banging out Humanoid’s ‘Sessions 84-88’ for Rephlex, so this 12” is a very nice turn up for the books, running a rabid new breakbeat acid version of the seminal title cut on the A-side, while the B-side brings a badass mix of the apache break and scissoring 303s in ‘Skatter’, plus the lacquer-bubbling acid house strutter, ‘Blunt’.
If you like these we implore you to check the Humanoid 84-88 session and have your mind blown.
Could this be the world's first experimental MOR album? Nah, but time has decided it is perhaps the most supreme. Wackos of the world, take over...
Named after the Nicolas Roeg film of the same name (in fact several of Jim’s albums are named after Roeg films, R.I.P), Eureka features a huge cast of ensemble players - many of them core members of the same Chicago underground scene that O’Rourke was part of until the turn of the century which this album predated by a few months - including Edith Frost, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Rob Mazurek, Bob Weston, Ken Vandermark, Darin Gray and others.
O’Rourke's obsessive mastery of any genre he turned his attention to is by now almost taken for granted, but when Eureka came out in 1999 people were shook by its mainstream appeal and beautifully produced, almost overly sweet arrangements. In hindsight, it’s easy to peg Eureka as O’Rourke’s pop masterpiece; a beautifully crafted collection of accessible but highly intricate songs that lodge themselves deep in your mind almost instantly, with nods to everyone from Bacharach to Fahey with several unpredictable trajectories in between.
An absolute avant-pop masterpiece.
SHXCXCHCXSH go hammer and tongs on an outstanding 3rd volley for their Rösten label
In a masterful example of saying it without saying it, the Swedish pair skillfully swarm around techno’s 4/4 framework without ever landing on a rote kick/hi-hat pattern in all eight tracks.
Moving uncannily close to the rufige of Demdike Stare or the restless disruptions of Rian Treanor, the plough a singular path thru angular, stop-start loops and harsh textures with a cool tolerance for the kind of psychotomimetic repetitions that may drive some minds to despair, and others to utter wildstyle ecstasy.
If you’re game, these tracks have the potential to turn dancers and clubs inside out. Chow down and find your own madness in there somewhere. Best we’ve heard from SHXCXCHCXSH in their 6 years of ruffneck productions.
Liquid Liquid legend Dennis Young unfurls his ambient capsule ‘Quest’ for the first time on vinyl via South Korea’s Daehan Electronics
Originally the percussionist behind one of NYC’s most sampled dance tracks - Liquid Liquid’s ‘Cavern’, as ripped by Grandmaster Flash and loads more - Dennis Andrew Young would later drop his surname and sail down chromatic wormholes of new age ambient electronics on a handful of releases for his home-brewed Daylight Productions label.
Recorded at home in New Jersey over summer/fall 1986, ’Quest’ was issued as the 3rd self-release on Dennis’ label in 1987. Perhaps surprisingly for a private pressing, ‘Quest’ reached the South Korean market via Hee Jee Records, which is where Daehan Electronics step in, picking up where it left off to start a new reissue series looking at Dennis Andrew Young’s mid-late ‘80s releases. s
Tilting in which he cosmic synth washes and angelic vox of ‘Pathways’, the album wends a sublime path from 4th world ambient in ‘Mirage’ to beautifully percolated choral drift and melodic fancy with ‘Enchantment’, before Andrew Gomery chimes in with extra keys on the elegant waltz of ‘China Passage’, and he really tips over into lush, curdling tonal abstraction with ‘Ancient Vision’.
While Staubgold’s release of the ace, varied ‘Reel To Real’ album had previously alerted us that Dennis had more tricks up his sleeve than Liquid Liquid, this album still arrives as the lushest surprise.
Weapons grade remixes of The Soft Moon from a likely bunch of EBM, noise and industrial techno figures
Lokier follows work with Krikor Kouchian in a peaktime EBM rework of ‘Young’; SHXCXCHCXSH turn ‘Criminal’ into a bouncing techno bomb; Sarin does his kinky, militant thing with ‘ILL’; Berlin’s Imperial Black Unit trample over ‘Like A Father;’ with well worn size 11 army boots.
Dead smart, grooving Riot Grrrl songs from Big Joanie, three punx from London and the British Midlands, debuting with their Thurston Moore-produced ‘Sistahs’ on The Daydream Library Series ov Ecstatic Peace
With only a 7”, a tape, and a few compilation appearances to their name since foreign in 2013, Big Joanie arrive fully formed on ’Sistahs’ after cutting their teeth on the live circuit, including tours with Shopping, Downtown Boys, and The Ex, and a performance at the first UK Afropunk festival.
Taking cues from The Ronettes, Nirvana, Breeders and Jesus and Mary Chain, they trio have distilled a highly charming style of songcraft in ’Sistahs’ that’s punk by association and intent, but doesn’t resort to the genre’s more hackneyed troops. Instead, Big Joanie songs are plaintively emotive, vigorously grooving and cool headed - not lairy or unknowingly riddled with cliche, as we find so much music that calls itself “punk”.
If you want to know what we’re on about, run straight to the Italo bass-charged velocity and effortless vocal harmonies of ‘Fall Asleep’, then make some room to dance along to the swerving ‘Eyes’, and before you know it, you’ll be singing along to the pop immediacy of ‘How Could You Love Me’, and ready to do it all again.
This one’s a doozy.
Finally, a vinyl version of Susumu Yokota’s ‘Acid Mt. Fuji’ , the 2nd album of ambient-acid-techno by the Japanese legend who sadly passed away in 2015
Delivered via Germany’s Midgar, Acid Mt. Fuji arrives on vinyl at a high point of interest surrounding Yokota's work, and especially these early recordings that were made some years before he went on to pen ambient classics such as The Boy And The Tree.
While patently acid techno in form and style, on Acid Mt. Fuji it’s easy to hear the more tender, esoteric elements which would later come into sharper focus, but the original tracks completely stand on their own merits, too, with some big highlights for anyone scoping ‘90s Japanese house and techno in parallel to its ‘80s synth-pop and ambient nexus, especially in the likes of his ruggedly pendulous yet delicate Tanuki, or the slow acid churn of Oponchi and Akafuji.
Transfixing field recordings of folk ballads and buzzing, polyrhythmic dances from central and southern Madagascar, a unique place in the Indian ocean (the 4th largest island in the world) where myriad cultures from Arabic to East African and Indian have historically combined into an inimitable musical language and spirit...
“This is Sublime Frequencies’ second volume of transcendent musical field recordings from central and southern Madagascar, produced by Charles Brooks. Like the grand beauty and wonder of its flora and fauna, Madagascar’s music is completely unique. Whether the tempos are fast with polyrhythmic precision or slow in the form of a Kabosy ballad, once one gets familiar with its sound, it can never be mistaken again. Charles Brooks has been traveling to Madagascar and living with these spectacular artists for many years and has managed to document countless examples of their work, and regardless of how formal or informal a recording is made, the results always turn out magical. The following is an excerpt from Brooks’ liner notes:
The musicians on this album are storytellers and much of their craft is improvised and has a strong foundation of expertise in their respective cultural traditions. These field recordings have been collaborative from beginning to end and here, I’ve attempted to represent the finest of these talented artists. Their music journeys across endless landscapes with some movements having the qualities of a start and finish and yet no apparent end… Seeking, recording, and sharing the intangible experience, the best of all of this, is to catch a ghost.
Charles G Brooks (2018)”
Moon Wiring Club returns for his perennial dosing of Urchronic phantasia with ‘Psychedelic Spirit Show’, delivered hot and plasmic from the Blank Workshop in Clinksell. Something like DJ Screw getting his mitts on Boards of Canada - spooked out with new fangled “temporal mixing” for an extra musty smudge that only enhances the feeling that we’re entering a Sapphire & Steel-like world of arcane conundrum, with lots of sonic lens flare and melting celluloid textures.
The spirits are high but squashed as MWC enters its prime 11th year of quantum hi-jinx on ‘Psychedelic Spirit Show’. In two smudged parts extruded from cosmic soup, MWC relays something like a surreptitious recording of a clandestine Victorian steam-punks who’ve just discovered a form of Moggadon from licking specially bred tabby cats.
Of course, the track titles are all perfectly suggestive and riddled with inference, leading us up the garden path and down the rabbithole from the withered loops and voices of ’Summon The Contestants’ to the slurred slant off in ‘Rabbit Foot Dimension’. Together with the music and the artwork, it’s all more than enough to suspend the listener/test subject’s disbelief for the duration, and to indulge our regression to the fullest - whether that’s to the 19th century, or the 1990’s, is up to thee.
Tuff, melodic, vibrant and psychy Afro-beat fire from modern day Burkina Faso on the ever brilliant Sublime Frequencies
“Baba Commandant And The Mandingo Band return with their second album, Siri Ba Kele. After the Afro-beat fury of their first album Juguya (2015), the band has now distilled a potent mix of traditional and modern Burkinabe funk with a reverent take on the iconic Mandingue guitar music of the 1970's. Mamadou Sanou (Baba Commandant) leads the band with a confidence earned from years of toiling in the DIY underground of the West African music scene. His riveting growl and main instrument, the doso n'goni, still strike with a profound delivery.
The band's guitarist, Issouf Diabate, is on board again and his breathtaking guitar work is one of the greatest examples of the instrument displayed in modern times. Massibo Taragna (bass) and Mohamed Sana (drums) are simply one of the finest rhythm sections working today, each a master on his instrument and the chops displayed here are truly something to behold. The band has become an interlocking five-headed hydra of complex funk and cosmic guitar explosions. Recorded in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in February 2018 by Camille Louvel and mixed with SF's Hisham Mayet, the Mandingo Band's sophomore LP is a modern statement of searing Sahelian compositions. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with such classics as Super Biton De Segou (1977), Kanaga De Mopti (1977), Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux (1981) and the mighty Rail Band.”
Skweee G Daniel Savio clocks up a breezy, strolling house session for his fellow Swedes at Born Free
To be fair, he dropped the Skweee thing a long time ago, and has explored more electroid mutation for the likes of Laton and his House of Wisdom label over the past 5 years, leading to this canny batch of laid-back grooves.
A-side gives up the breezy, sprung step of ‘Lovisa’ with echoes of early ‘90s NYC via Japanese House vibes, before putting his back into it with the ruggeder knocks of ‘Valle å Hjalle’. Meanwhile ‘Manfred’ holds down the B-side for a more romantic ride, rolling on rounded acid bass and plush, flanging, hair-kissing chords.
Whities 018 features four tracks that Alex wrote "around winter ‘16-‘17, as I decompressed from an episode of deep prang. While they bear out my mood at the time, they also chart a path of recovery through nature, slowness and humour."
A composer, a theorist, and an innovator, Harry Partch stands out among so many other American classical artists as one of the most eccentric. He notably rejected the tradition of composers like Beethoven and Bach for a lack of theatricality and drama, and took his greatest inspirations from Eastern Noh theater, frequently incorporating speech and dance into his pieces, as well as requiring participants to perform multiple parts.
"His theories reflected this dismissal, which sought to return musical tradition to those of the pre-Classical era, with a heavy focus on microtonality, and octave intervals beyond what was traditionally utilized. Many of the pieces he composed would prominently feature instruments of his own invention, including heavily modified string instruments, mallet instruments, and pipe organs. Over the course of his life, Partch released a number of records, soundtracked numerous films by Madeline Tourtelot, and wrote the highly influential text Genesis Of A Music, which would introduce his theories to a contemporary audience, and inspire fellow avant-garde composers as Lou Harrison, Ben Johnston, James Tenney, and even the famed experimental collective The Residents.
One of his most famed works was the stage play Delusion Of The Fury, a piece of performance art based upon the Japanese Noh drama Atsumori, while also taking cues from Ethiopian folk tales, Shakespearean tragedy, and ancient Greek traditions. Delusion Of The Fury is looked back upon by critics and historians as one of Partch's seminal works, making heavy use of his signature micro-tonal compositional style, as well as many of his own invented instruments. It is considered his confrontation with his own anger towards a world that frequently rejected him, and dealt him hardship. The play first premiered at the UCLA Playhouse in 1969, whereupon it was recorded by Columbia Records, and presented in a double LP format."
Bristol D&B hero DJ Die dishes up 8 of his classic cuts, remastered and repackaged on his Gutterfunk label
Worth a look in for the re-primed cuts of Die's classic rollers such as ‘Clear Skyz’ [Full Cycle, 1998], the militant steppers minimalism of ‘Play It For Me’ [V Recordings, 1995], and the smoked out ace ‘Reincarnated’ [Full Cycle, 1997].
Gilles Peterson spotlights a new draft of soulful cats from London’s burgeoning jazz and related scenes (and beyond) on the 13th volume of Brownswood Bubblers
All highlights in their own right, but for us a few really stand out: Al Dobson Jr.’s slick ‘90s R&B upholstery for Lynda Dawn’s ‘Move’ is right up there, as is the pointed hip hop of ‘No White God’ from Gaika collaborator, Oscar #Worldpeace, and the Spacek-like neo-soul vibrations of ‘Jury Judge Executioner’ by Alxndr London, another affiliate of Gaika’s The Spectacular Empire squad.
We Release Jazz presents its fourth release (following Ryo Fukui’s Scenery and Mellow Dream and Le Cercle Rouge’s soundtrack by Eric Demarsan), the official reissue of 1974’s Stuff Combe 5 + Percussion, a hard to find soul jazz jewel from a cast of illustrious jazzmen led by glorious Swiss drummer Stuff Combe.
"Recorded in Geneva, Stuff Combe 5 + Percussion finds Stuff Combe conducting an all-star ensemble consisting of Bob Jacquillard on bass, Francy Boland (The Chet Baker Quintet, arranger for Count Basie, Benny Goodman and the list goes on) on piano and electric piano, bebop and hard-bop legend Benny Bailey on trumpet, and Tony D'Adario on saxophone. The sessions ooze with funk, spaced out sounds, breathtaking solos, and moments of absolute collective wizardry. It’s soul jazz at its best with sci-fi and bossa excursions!
Born in Bern in 1924, Etienne Stephen Jean Gustave "Stuff" Combe had a wonderfully prolific career, playing all over Europe and the US and working with Buck Clayton, Bill Coleman, Stan Getz, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford , Art Taylor, Dizzy Reece, and Lucky Thompson just to name a few. He passed away in 1986, leaving behind a legacy that cemented him as one of the most important musicians in the history of Swiss jazz."
Dark blue bass functions from London’s Henry Greenleaf, pressing his debut 12” with Par Avion
Up top he works slack cowbells, offset bass and daubed chords into ‘Fold Together’ on a Parris-like tip, then recalling Beneath in the gullier stride of ‘Rolling Untitled’. Down below he runs the rugged suspension system of ‘The Way’, and a glancing, spiralling 2-step piece, ‘Half Under’.
‘So Right’ is a massive highlight of Marie Davidson’s blazing new album, ‘Working Class Woman’
On the original and its spanking new extended mix, Marie taps into a deep vein of Canadian synth-pop/garage-house/EBM, working ohrwurm vocals around a lean, muscular bassline, flickering rimshots and nimble dub chords in deadly simple but effective style.
John Talbot supplies a more sluggish ‘Pressure Dub’ remix working on a sort of druggy Go-Go bent. It’s not a patch on the OG, though.
UK techno heavyweights Karl O’Connor & James Ruskin whip out a deadly new OVR session on Downwards
Arriving 2 years since their ‘Easy Prey’ 12”, OVR’s 3rd studio release is defined by its spacious mixing and layered detail in three powerful dancers plus two handy locked grooves.
‘The World Remade’ is a proper juggernaut, rolling thru pelting percussion on 18 wheeler bassline with a pile of jazz mags on the passenger seat. It could easily go on twice as long, but there’s two locked grooves isolating the crunchy bass and gritted drums for DJs who want to properly roll out.
The B-side’s ‘Reversing Into Tomorrow’ tucks into more aerodynamic, stripped down formation, before they cuts loose with foul waves of tarry synth and noise scree in the grim roil of ‘New Departures’ - more of this, please!
Stripped-down, proggy acid and slinky electro from Nathan Micay (Bwana), making his 1st foray for L.A.’s ESP Institute
The A-side’s title tune is an effortless, stealthily building acid roller evolving with swanee whistle-like top line, eventually opening out with balmy pads.
On the B-side, he works the louche but punchy swagger of ‘Team Player’, with snaky post-punk baseline accentuated by electroid snares and urging vocoder voice.
Juan Atkins’ deep and moody ‘Skynet’  LP as Infiniti resurfaces for its 20th anniversary reissue on Tresor
Alongside his part in the 3MB album and on Model 500’s ‘Deep Space’, Juan’s work on ’Skynet’ ranks among his 3 crucial LPs of that decade. But where 3MB was very much a joint effort, and Model 500 rolled far out into jazzier, cosmic breaks, ’Skynet’ trades in pure techno and house in Juan’s patented style.
The results make for a slickly coherent album as well as a strong batch for the DJs, stretching out from the supple swang and floating voices of its title track, to the dub techno lave of ‘Walking On water’, a slinky percy named ‘Thought Process’, the deep techno-pop of ‘Postcard From The Future’, and the wicked, experimental arrangement of ‘Body Oil’.