Bare bones electro-breaks by London’s Hugo Massien, including hook-ups with DJ Haus and backed with a cracking Jenson Interceptor remix
In solo mode, Massien applies his stripped down principles to the wicked NYC/Miami/Detroit-style electro of ‘Twist & Turn’, the bendy acid funk of ‘Lust & Sound’, and the electroid deep tech shuffle of ‘Touch & Go.’
In collaboration with DJ Haus he hits a murky, spaced-out groove of sawn-off breaks in ‘Hypnotic Rhythm Sequence’ and the ruddy acid prod of ‘Random Access Memory’, with Jenson Interceptor supplying a big highlight in his hydraulic refit of ‘Twist & Turn.’
TTT cop a pair of sylvan downbeat beauties from Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel’s CS + Kreme
One of the most distinctive acts to emerge from the southern hemisphere in recent memory, CS + Kreme’s first self-tiled 12” marked them as ones to keep an ear on, and each subsequent rendering has only made us love their immaculate blend of ambient-pop and shoegaze even more.
Safe to say we’re feeling this one too. Where previous outings have been partly defined by Standish’s plaintive vocals, they contrarily don’t appear until the closing strokes on this one, as they roll out 9 minutes of horizontally-inclined vibes in ‘Eyes On Ceiling’ with its sonorous 808s and shallow plasmic dubbing recalling a long soak in the bath that’s starting to lose its heat, before ‘Husk’ emerges into balmier air streaked with filigree electronics, shimmering pads and a pleading sax that paves the way to a very Mark Hollis-esque denouement.
Killer - Raw, direct Electro-Funaná from West Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands, via Europe. Strongly percussive and melodic, synth-driven dance music sharing roots with the Principé label’s kuduro styles - tip!!!
“Synthesize the Soul, Ostinato Records’ second compilation, revealed chapter one of the Cabo Verde cultural story in Europe, zooming in on visionaries like Paulino Vieira who made Lisbon the headquarters spearheading the musical revolution taking place within Cape Verdean emigre communities across Europe in the 1980s. Musicians from across the diaspora would eagerly travel to the Portuguese capital to record.
Grupo Pilon represents the second chapter of the Krioulu diaspora story. In smaller pockets, second generation musicians were independently contributing to one of the most lush periods of cultural innovation by immigrants in Europe. In Luxembourg, in 1986, a group of teenagers formed the largely unknown (outside of Cape Verdean circles) but consistently brilliant band named after the blunt instrument used in the islands to pound corn for Cabo Verde's national dish, cachupa.
With only five members, Pilon combined searing estilo Krioulu drumming and the hybrid ColaZouk style with blissful synth work and rugged guitar licks, creating a stripped-down, addictive sound that masterfully straddled two worlds. The band drew from the inspiring political changes of the day: the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The right to democracy became a constant theme in Pilon’s songs.
With access to better opportunities than their parents’ generation, Pilon’s roster were part time musicians. Music was not part of their academic upbringing nor a full-time gig. Their rhythm and style were wonderfully imperfect, made out of rawer skills and inexperience. Pilon did not follow the templates established by revered Cabo Verde bands. Keyboard player Emilio Borges played off beat and the band preferred arranging their songs to start from the beat normally heard in the middle of a composition rather than the beginning. These two elements made Pilon’s music simple, unique, and inimitable.
This LP, drawing from the six most powerful songs from Pilon’s three-album catalog, is the serving of still fresh leite quente to spice the summer and maybe even fuel the next generation of musicians in the Krioulu corners of Europe. Pilon are back in the studio refining their sound to revive their journey that looked all but lost to the world's ears two decades ago.”
Our album of the year 2018 is Eli Keszler’s ‘Stadium'; an isolationist avant-jazz masterpiece that's both highly complex and entirely accessible. With his close collaborators Daniel ‘0PN’ Lopatin and Laurel Halo smoking in the back seat, on ‘Stadium’ Keszler somehow manages to emulate a feeling of being lost in a crowd, of time slowing down as the world accelerates around you. In a year full of global upheaval and noise - it was the album that offered us the greatest sanctuary.
Painted in diffuse strokes, Keszler offsets rhythmic complexity with spacious Rhodes chords, floating woodwind and field recordings - showing off an expressive grasp of meter and mood while creating a kind of slow-fast simulation that alters your perspective and sense of scale, zooming out from the atomic to a gauzy panoramic view.
Keszler navigates webs of sound as structurally fascinating as a spider’s web or a deep space image of a distant constellation, seemingly moving on eight legs along steep vertical and fast-flowing horizontal axes with a shocking grasp of precision and pointillism that will leave new listeners to his work scratching their heads, wondering how to programme such chicanery electronically. But as longer term followers of Keszler’s work know, the magick is all acoustic and haptic; physically converting impressions of images and emotions into overlapping geometries of geography and psychology - and in this case effectively projecting a singular, inverted form of sonic deep topography, if you will.
While challenging and highly complex in its construction, it’s an album that's also tremendously easy on the ear, effortlessly binding instrumental dexterity with cool blue harmolodic sentiment in a timeless style that could feasibly be dated to any point between the mid ‘70s heyday of jazz-fusion and right now - in the most thought provoking, evocative way. It reminds us of Milford Graves, Jan Jelinek and even Miles Davis at their most smoked out and moody: best enjoyed alone, late at night.
PAN’s butterfly net captures IRISIRI, the 3rd solo album by Alex Drewchin a.k.a. Eartheater, who provides the label’s first release of 2018, and one of its most sublime since Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or the Mono No Aware set. Alexa’s first two Eartheater albums were released at either end of 2015 to critical acclaim - Metalepsis was Fact Mag’s album of the year, and RIP Chrysalis in its top 10 - and this follow-up is a majestic effort balancing a romantic, gothic sense of introspection with wide angled cosmic scope and intuition.
Where the first two Eartheater albums formed a tempered concision of her psychedelic improvisations as frontwoman of the Guardian Alien ensemble, IRISIRI offers a more shattered looking glass perspective on Alexa Drewchin’s personal sound, each track resolving richly colourful mosaics of strings, synths and electronics riddled with trance motifs and her own three octave-range voice, itself an instrument of myriad potential, morphing from xanny mumble to angelic ambient pop tropes and keening wails.
IRISIRI stealthily casts its spell in 13 succinct sections, seamlessly flowing in a deceptively freehanded style from the harp strokes and bubbling bong of Peripheral thru something like blunted rap on Inclined, then making canny use of a Robert Miles sample in the K-holed maze of MTTM, and meshing Harthouse pulses with harps in Curtains, before going full blown Clannad in Trespasses, and tagging in Moor Mother for the fractious MMXXX, and pulling out with the teeny American angst of C.L.I.T., and a computerised meditation on OS In Vitro.
The overall effect of IRISIRI is seductive and layered with enough detail to keep us heading back for further investigation.
Sufjan Stevens with two new songs on the topic of love: 'Love Yourself' and 'With My Whole Heart'.
'Love Yourself' is based on a demo Stevens wrote 20 years ago. The original 4- track demo he recorded in 1996 is included as well as a short instrumental reprise. 'With My Whole Heart' is a completely new song that Stevens wrote as a personal challenge to “write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety or self-deprecation.”
After 23 years out of print, FSOL’s definitive early ‘90s ambient-epic Lifeforms now returns to its natural habitat. Serving near-dangerous levels of nostalgia for almost anyone who came thru in the ‘90s, Lifeforms is set to soundtrack myriad afterparties and claim its place on a whole new generation of record shelves.
Originally released in 1994, a few years after FSOL had become a household name thanks to their debut LP Accelerator and its standout rave anthem, Papua New Guinea (and not forgetting Humanoid’s Stakker before it), Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s project really blossomed into something else with Lifeforms, where they consolidated a wealth of esoteric ideas and philosophies into what was effectively a new manifesto for psychedelic electronic music.
Whether unconsciously and osmotically absorbed, or dutifully studied and cherished by those cognisant of its brilliance, Lifeforms was almost unavoidably ubiquitous at the time, and inarguably worked its way into the popular consciousness in a way that electronic records rarely do nowadays. It was definitely a product of its time, and now, 23 years later, we can safely say it’s kept its charms intact.
Riffing on then-emergent themes of cybernetics, amorphous androgyny and artificial intelligence, together with nods to classic ‘70s psychedelia and kosmische - it features guest spots from Ozric Tentacles and Robert Fripp, and sampled Klaus Schulze - the results tapped into the era’s undercurrent of aerobic mysticism and eldritch new age spirituality to locate an unprecedented confluence of those styles which has influenced swathes of electronic dreamers ever since.
It’s techno-romantic and tech-gnostic in the lushest sense, a utopian beauty flush with the thrill of unknown futures, yet fringed with an MDMA come-down melancholy that’s totally crucial to understanding that era’s play and juxtaposition of energies. Quite simply, though: Lifeforms is an incredibly enigmatic and life-affirming album awaiting your (re)discovery.
PAN’s arch electro-acoustic se’er reveals a new solo masterwork of filigree detail, mercurial movement and abyssal psychological insight with Clonic Earth, arriving two years since Miseri Lares gouged an irreparable hole in our listening lives.
Clonic Earth represents a surreal, allegorical study on the metaphysics and ontology of fire and its importance to life; reflecting a flux between states of vital, energy-giving convulsion and perpetual entropic decay thru the textural communications of a plethora of swarming, disembodied voices and abstracted, flammable sonics.
Under a title referring to a type of seizure, or involuntary rapid contraction and expansion of a muscle, Clonic Earth forms a sort of waking nightmare that oscillates between pensive tranquility, out-of-body atmospheric pressure drops and free falling chaos, all punctuated by the aural equivalent of hypnic jerks - those startling spasms that spark and moderate the liminal boundary between waking and dream life.
The presence of choral voices, which no doubt speak to Tricoli’s roots in Catholic south Italy, lends a liturgical gravity to proceedings yet never weighs it down; instead, like the myriad birdcalls and his own voice, they provide snagging points of contrast, or pivots around which the amorphous mass of estranged references coagulate and diffuse, uprooting and translating their meaning into an intangible grammar of elemental chaos and complexity.
PAN evocatively compare the album with a large Hieronymous Bosch painting, which is quite right in terms of its rolling scale and sense of perspective, telescoping between the crackling embers of hell in the near-otoacoustic intro of The Hallowed Receiver and the transition from church bells to sooty caverns and voice-inside-your-head moans of As For The Crack with an effortless that belies the meticulous micro/macro-organisms at work between the eyes, under the skin of this incredible beast.
This is the kind of record that makes others in its field pale in significance, and is probably only matched right now for levels of ingenuity and vision by elements of the recent Autechre album, but even then Tricoli is still well out on his own.
Paul Woodford’s Special Request diversifies his bonds into moody IDM/electronica after spending his rave energies on the ‘Vortex’ album
The ‘Bedroom Tapes’ is the sound of Yorkshireman blues; the type of ‘tronica they reach for when there’s no tea bags left and shop is too far uphill, or when chippy’s ran out of scraps. In eight parts he speak to the sundays after, the tuesday mornings when grey matter seeps out of lug’oles onto yer desk as you kling to a kernel of residual happiness from the weekend.
Between the spooling electro bleeps and satin pads of ‘Panaflex Sunrise’, his floating electro scapes in ‘Pineal Gland’, and the muddled harmonic reverie of ‘Entropy’ on the first disc, and thru the sidelong keen of ‘Xenopsin’ to the frazzled, Actress-esque tic of ‘Double Rainbow’ and the shine-eyed twinkle of ‘Phosphorescence’ on the 2nd plate, the ‘Bedroom Tapes’ crucially acknowledge a tender flipside to SR’s usual exuberance.
Necessary reissue of super rare recordings by Juju master Ojo Balingo and band, sung and recorded In the Yoruba language (and other indigenous tongues) for the domestic Nigerian market
Basically ‘Tabansi’ is music written by and for Nigerians, or specifically the Yoruba diaspora which nowadays makes up a fifth of the Nigerian population. Juju is distinguished from Highlife, which was written mostly for Western audiences and sung in pidgin English. While slight, the differences are crucial, and essentially Juju of the sort played by Ojo Balingo and his amazing band is the real deal Yoruban music, more often played on local instruments, sung in local tongues, and absolutely full of mesmerising West African percussive voodoo, with some era-appropriate ‘70s funk breaks and psyche Hawaiian guitars to boot.
“Popularised all over the globe by King Sunny Ade in the 1980s, juju music had actually been around for decades before. Resembling highlife music in many ways, juju could be described as a more traditionally African form, mainly played by Yoruba people for Yoruba audiences.
Although the original sleeve artwork implies that this is a ‘various artists’ album, it’s pretty clear that it’s the same unnamed juju band throughout, performing two long tracks, one on each side. Side 1 calls forth more traditional juju sounds, whilst the darker Side 2 adds funk breaks galore. Psych-rock
Hawaiian guitars, talking drums and political lyrics rub shoulders in this almost-unknown 70s juju rarity.
Ojo Balingo, in Yoruba, means ‘rain comes’, or ‘a breeze comes’. And so it does, with this never-before reissued obscure collectors’ vinyl from the vaults of Tabansi Records.”
As the hippie movement hurdled towards its emanate demise, bad vibes infiltrated the rock world. Tainted LSD, loud motorcycles, and a series of brutal deaths spawned inspiration for guitar-wielding teenagers across the globe.
"Implementing deafening fuzz and satanic screams to create their proto-metal monstrosities, short-lived stoner bands pressed their lysergic experiments in microscopic quantities before blacking out entirely. Lifted from the ashes of the acid rock hell fire are 18 distorted tales of dope fiends, pill poppers, and the baddest of trips."
Marcel Dettmann and Bonaventure exact techno-EBM and cut-up club mixes of ‘Come Closer’ from Boy Harsher’s ‘Careful’ album
The Dettmann mix is a straight-up killer, unpinning the original’s snare rivets and rubbing the arps in Berghain floor juice for a bristling, bruxist drive destined for clubs everywhere this summer. Bonaventure is an unexpected choice for the flipside, but also an successful one, as the Lisbon-based producer brings a hard African dance pressure to original with gnashing, bruk-up drums and corkscrewing FX that resolve into something compatible with slower Nkisi workouts.
Darkwave saviours Boy Harsher cut off ‘Tears’ from their ‘Careful’ album, backed with Minimal Violence and Silent Servant remixes and an instrumental
The icy, salty melody of BH’s original ‘Tears’ is smeared into gauzy shoegaze and thrumming gothic bass revs by Juan Mendez’s Silent Servant, before Canada’s virulent Minimal Violence duo run it thru with ‘90s EBM trance synths and strapping arp musculature on their turn. The supple instrumental mix is dead handy, too.
Poetic kosmiche synths with bittersweet Yorkshirian sentimentality, somehow tying the Orbit in 1992, to Vienna, and Lower Manhattan, 1966. Don’t ask how.
“Nunroyd Works is the third release by Craven Faults. We’ve picked up speed since we passed Netherfield and Springhead Works. It’s more built up here, as we enter the outskirts of the city. The former mills and cinemas are alive. A kick drum carries though the walls. Every so often the doors open and the sound spills onto the street. The destination was unintentional. An experiment.
Who plotted this course? As ever, it isn’t always what you expected, but the journey is key. Detroit via The Orbit in Morley, 1992. Istanbul, 1967. We travelled by rail with old friends. Vienna, late night café, straight connection. Lower Manhattan, 1966. New Year’s Day in Filey, making mental note of the patterns played out by the church bells. 1991. Revisited several times over. Mutated by the passage of time.
Those memories that stay with us and influence our decisions many years later. Taking time to make new ones. Do you always need to travel with a purpose? Could you follow your instincts from time to time?
A trilogy complete. The end of a journey?”
Jordan GCZ, upsammy, Suzanne Kraft, and Parrish Smith rework the soundtracks to short animated films dating back to 1921 as part of the RE:VIVE initiative for The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
“Unsurprisingly, each artist imparted their unique styles onto the films that they previously had no relation with. From Suzanne Kraft's sparse atmospherics that have become more apparent in his new SK U KNO project to Jordan GCZ’s free flowing hardware jams. Parrish Smith showed his contemplative side and sparse orchestrations that he demonstrated on his RE:VIVE release, Genesis Black, a sonic departure from his bombastic releases and DJ-sets while upsammy showed yet again her deft hand for melody and texture, a style that dominates all her releases to date.
These four scores can live apart from their films, fitting seamlessly into each artists' growing catalogs of work. But when combined, it’s as if the films and music were made simultaneously with the artist and filmmaker together in the same room. Dekmantel and RE:VIVE are proud to present these new works as the electronic music scene in The Netherlands continues to show its multifaceted talent that continues to expand far beyond the dance floor.”
DeepChord’s Rod Modell lists and tilts at 140bpm+ in his banging solo debut LP for Tresor
Landing 20 years since his 1st Rod Modell release, ‘The Autonomous Music Project’ for Lunar, the ‘Captagon’ album finds Modell breaking his usual 120bpm sound barrier to go headlong for a classic early Chain Reaction style, nodding to a mid-late ‘90s era when the likes of Monolake, Matrix and Erosion (T++) kept pace with the rest of techno, but also kept it deep and hypnotic as fuck. While it’s quite possible this uplift in energy may leave some of DeepChord’s older audience out of wind, for many others it’s a breath of fresh air to his exhaustively explored style.
Through a simple gesture of pushing the tempo, Modell’s sound instantly becomes more urgent, as though woken from its sluggish reverie and now properly up for some aerobic mysticism. Along with the Chain Reaction nods, there’s clear reference to classic Detroit and related gear, from Mike Grant’s Black Noise to full flight Mills trax and Convextion at his paciest. However, Modell’s grasp of layered, subaquatic dynamics really places ‘Captagon’ in a league of its own, with a rinsed out and rinseable dynamic and traction brilliantly transposed from his fathoms deep catalogue of cv313, Echospace, and DeepChord productions with inexorable velocity.
Best thing he’s done in years, basically.
10 Year Anniversary Edition of Mono's most inconic studio album. Beautifully remastered from the original analog master tapes.
The outcome of a period of hibernation, spent ferreted away writing. A well-deserved hiatus from the band's incessant touring, this album might well rate as their most ambitious offering to date - and that's saying something. If you're in anyway likely to object to post-rock in all its outlandish pomp and grandiosity, Mono might just win you over where their peers could not.
As lavish and crammed with symphonics as Hymn To The Immortal Wind may be (this album saw the band enlisting the biggest orchestra they've ever played with) there's a heartfelt rawness to it all that's above and beyond the creative range of so many other bands in the field. Some of that rawness is surely attributable to the presence of producer Steve Albini who keeps the core unit of the band firmly grounded, drawing viscerally effective performances from the assembled players and never being overly dependent on that chamber orchestra for Mono's scope and power. A huge sounding record, full of soaring melodies and maxed-out levels of bombast.
Surgeon gets back to basics with a volley of steamers built for his sets at ADE 2018
Using only a PIN Electronics Portabella synth and Roland TR-909, he fires direct and for the jugular between the needle-fanged, size 12 footer ‘Raew Trax 5’, the blistering Bunker styles of ‘Raw Trax 10’, and the exceedingly soggy sock of ‘Raw Trax 6’.
Full spectrum flex from Peggy Gou, offering a guided trip around her record collection for the long-running DJ-Kicks mix series
Running from 90 to 150bpm and down again across 19 tracks in 73 minutes, the mix fans out from an ambient classic by Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum to cranky drum trax by Kyle Hall and ends up at I:Cube’s ‘Cassette Jam 1993’, taking in ultra classics such as Aphex Twin’s masterful ‘Vordhosbn’ and Carl Craig’s Psyche/BFC zinger ‘Crackdown’ along with total fluff by Dorisburg, Hiver, and Deniro which hardly deserves to be in the same list as the rest.
Hypnotic, pulsating rhythms and arps from inventive composer and instrumentalist Max De Wardener
Tying together his work on records by Roisin Murphy, Matthew Herbert and Plaid, with his background in playing for Zimbabwean Mbira ensemble, and composing for film and TV, ‘Palindrome’ unfurls two symmetric but contrasting pieces - an extended mix of the titular, plugged-in Mbira workout pairing his self-made bass Mbira with drums by Moses Boyd, and a spiralling kosmiche synth vortex called ‘Sun Dogs’ - both heralding his first album for Village Green, ‘Kolmar’, on the horizon.
like the image of a gazing globe [aka a yard globe, garden globe, gazing ball, etc.] under a full moon at night, where you can see a reflection, but it’s not clear what it is,” says Cara Beth Satalino, songwriter and leader of Outer Spaces, when describing the symbolic theme of her new album.
"Gazing Globe, the Baltimore-based artist's sophomore LP, is comprised of songs written during a lonely period of Satalino’s life, spent in introspective solitude. Her search to understand who she was outside of relationships with others left her feeling like she was trying to connect with her distorted reflection in a gazing globe lit by the moon; an image that mirrored her basic movements, but was devoid of the emotional weight she bore at the time.
Born in Pittstown, NY, a rural upstate town with a population of about 500 people, Satalino learned to play guitar by ear after her dad (a bluegrass musician himself) showed her a few chords. A rock & roll misfit throughout her teens, she eventually left Pittstown for Purchase College, where she immersed herself in the DIY culture and new worlds of music as she studied studio composition.
While attending Purchase she met producer/engineer Chester Gwazda (producer of the first three Future Islands albums and Dan Deacon’s Bromst and America, among others), who became her bandmate and partner. Though Satalino has been in many bands, she's a self-described “poor collaborator,” and Outer Spaces was born out of her desire to write solo. “I demoed all the songs on Gazing Globe by myself, and had a very clear vision of what I wanted the album to sound like.” Most of the songs on Gazing Globe are written from the perspective of another version of Satalino herself. “It was a way of encouraging myself. I wrote from the perspective of who I wanted to be, rather than how I felt at the time.” While writing the album, Satalino found herself lost and listless after she and Gwazda decided to take a break from their long-term relationship.
In an effort to grapple with her sense of anxiety and self-doubt, and ultimately evolve emotionally and spiritually, she began trying to find meaning through daily meditation practice and writing songs. “I think I was trying to get back to myself and my identity, separate from my relationship,” says Satalino. “For this record I was trying to articulate a feeling of disassociation, or something sort of intangible, surreal, and ethereal. I wanted it to be less literal and more of an illustration of a feeling.” The result of her efforts is a collection of Murmur-era REM-esque power-pop songs, full of catchy guitar riffs, sonically juxtaposing her despondent perspective.
On album standout “Album for Ghosts,” Satalino reflects on a “period where I was obsessed with finding music from the past that has a cult following now, but never really 'caught on' at the time it was released, either because it was ahead of its time or simply because no one had really heard it. I was thinking of the music industry today and how it's basically flooded with musical content. And how with a changing world (climate change, etc.), we might not be in a position to be searching the archives of Bandcamp for musical relics in 50+ years. In the end it was like ‘You're going to do this anyway, despite the outcome.’” On “Truck Song,” Satalino cleverly sings about her own journey through the story of her beloved tour vehicle breaking down. As she explains, it's “a song about all the horrible cars we've had and toured in. I've loved every single one, and they've all been total pieces of shit.” The song’s last lines, “Get on your feet, you’re on your own” are followed by an infectious guitar hook that exudes the excitement and mystery of starting over, and bouncing back anew. Fittingly, for an album born out of a desire to find herself, Satalino concludes the album with “Teapot #2,” a song “about finding love for yourself, and committing to that love the way that you would with another person.” Throughout the album she injects mundane everyday objects and experiences with glints of thoughtful wit, shining through a keyhole in her subconscious.
Ultimately, these songs document Cara Beth Satalino finding herself through the creation of her own esoteric world of pop songs. Like looking into a gazing globe, there’s never a perfectly clear mirror image, but if you gaze into the murky reflection long enough, you might catch a glimpse of your indelible core."
Ace new collection featuring music influential to Keith Haring inc Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yoko Ono, Larry Levan, John Sex and George Condo (The Girls), as well as healthy dose of rare disco, early electro and New York art punk/dance tracks.
"The art of Keith Haring is today one of the most recognisable of any visual artists of his generation, defining 1980s New York during an intense period when downtown artists and musicians collaborated like never before. Haring’s musical inspiration took in the punk/dance downtown sounds of clubs like The Mudd
Club, underground disco at Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage, as well the early days of hip hop and electro.
The album is released to coincide with the opening of the first major exhibition in the UK of Keith Haring’s work at Tate Liverpool, which runs for the next six months. Haring’s many friends included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Fab Five Freddy, William Burroughs, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, Grace Jones, Larry Levan, Futura 2000."
Paris-based Toma Kami turns up on Livity Sound for a 2nd round of nervously rolling rhythms wrapped up in deftly precise club arrangements
Produced with Livity Sound-standard minimal efficiency, ‘Negative Ecstasy’ plays out a timelessly fresh style with the tentative introduction of ‘E-Ache’ and the sozzled swang of ‘Aces’, before grabbing the waist with the sloshing rhythmic resolution of ‘negative Ecstasy’ in a style recalling Beatrice Dillon sparring with Batu, then stretching out with iridescent chords on a treacly shuffle reminding of Don’t DJ’s enchanted rhythms.
Next in Coil’s archival excavations is their soundtrack to a pre-internet, VHS-only sex ed documentary released in 1992. Released from masters with the blessing of Danny Hyde (Jhon and Sleazy’s right hand man and go-to engineer), this first proper edition of the soundtrack features a newly reworked “sexy” edit of the main theme along with bonus reworks of ‘Nasa-Arab’ and ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’ which appeared in the soundtrack to ‘Gay Man’s…’ as well as on 1992’s CD-only ‘Stolen And Contaminated Songs.’
In a way that Coil would shed with later recordings, ‘Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex’ sounds very much of its time, melding downtempo rhythms with smoky atmospheres in a way comparable to fellow ambient travellers such as The Orb and FSOL as contemporaneous material by Lynch & Badalamenti or even The Wildbunch, essentially nailing a sort of Balearic backroom or afterhours style.
The big highlights are the EP’s balmiest and jazziest bits, namely the dusky blue strut of ‘Alternative Theme From Gay Men’s Guide To Safer Sex’ that opens the EP, along with the iridescent shimmies of ‘Exploding Frogs’ and its rework ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’, which could almost be a fantasy collaboration between Japanese Electronics-era Heinrich Mueller and Angelo Badalamenti at his most snake-hipped and winking.
While we’re not certain of the soundtrack’s efficacy in its purpose - it remains a unique piece of the impossible jigsaw puzzle that is Coil’s catalogue, and a fine throwback to early ‘90s ambient/downtempo styles.
Huerco S’ West Mineral Ltd label returns with this spellbinding debut of subtropical, Afro-Latinate jazz ambience from Mister Water Wet, a mentor of sorts to Brian Leeds aka Huerco S. It’s a richly evocative tapestry of sound that reminds us of listening to Gescom’s ‘Disengage’ radio show, infused with bits of interference and fizzing Exotika, or like Move D’s KM20 era recordings slowly disolving into the Conet Project’s noise station recordings via Ramzi’s asymmetric bliss.
Revealing Mister Water Wet’s music for the first time beyond his circle of friends, ‘Bought The Farm’ yields a highly atmospheric spirit guided by a first thought, best thought intuition through 55 minutes of crackly, hand-built music riddled with ephemeral soul. In terms of texture and structure, it’s a sound that can also be compared with Jan Jelinek at his most frayed and slompy, or even a pastoral inversion of Kelman Duran’s rugged chop ’n paste arrangements, essentially rendering a distinctive style that hovers between heavy-lidded, Afro-Latinate jazz, exotik instrumentation, and strains of gently bucolic, ambient introspection.
Although based in Kansas City, Mister Water Wet spends a lot of time with his pops in Puerto Rico, and the subtropical natural world and revolutionary politics of the Caribbean islands osmotically informs ‘Bought The Farm.’ In 10 parts ranging from zoned-out drifts to pockets of sweetly psychedelic delirium, Mister Water Wet uses a patented blend of found artefacts and dusty magick to literally and metaphysically connote his conception of a spiritual home, framing a portal from where he can “speak” to Pedro Albizu Campos, a leading figure of the Puerto Rican independence movement, while immersing listeners in his lushly verdant, oasis-like “bosques”, or naturally sprawling woodlands and iridescent rivulets of sound.
It’s a beautifully modest and intimate expression of ideas heard through the prism of the lands and spirits that shaped it. From the aeolian bleeps of ‘Walking West’ to the flutes snagged in the breeze of ‘Gadaduman Trades’, atavistic traces of the natural world and ancient traditions lead into moments of heart-rending dreaminess in the humble centrepiece of burnished drums and dream pop diva called ‘Dart’, before flowing out into oceanic new age with ‘Cuevas’, whereas highlights such as ‘Drought’ feel like a wood-fired interlude for BoC, and the heat curdled jazz-fusion of ‘Gills’ gives way to a memorably sublime parting statement in ’Sarah Sleeping.’
Sublime, psychedelic music.
The final part of an essential pack compiled by UK rave pioneers Fabio & Grooverider, spanning the spectrum of early ‘90s Dutch house, US garage & techno, UK hardcore and jungle zingers
Cherry picked by legendary rave figureheads Fabio & Grooverider, Part 4 spends their last barrels of badness in a patented mix of Hi-Tek Detroit soul, foundation-shaking bleep ’n bass and unmissable rushes of hardcore junglist brilliance that still works the pants off any ‘floor worth its bassbins. For anyone over the age of 30 in the UK, whether absorbed osmotically or ingested religiously, it’s a deeply familiar sound that has reverberated from cars, radios, clubs, fields and warehouses for a lifetime, and still supplies a bounty of inspiration to new generations of ravers searching for *that* sensation.
There’s some outright all-time classics in the 4th and final volume of 2019’s most vital retrospective. We’re talking mainly about side C with its knockout one-two of Brainkillers’ deeeep jungle bullet ‘Screwface’ and an early appearance from Basement Jaxx’s Simon Ratcliffe as Tic Tac Toe with ‘Ephemerol’, while the final side leaves us a mess with Ability II’s seminal ‘Pressure Dub’ into the pie-eyed innocence of ‘Don’t Go’ by Awesome 3. Factor in the Detroit galvanic of the Mayday mix for De-Lite’s ‘Wild Times’, and the bolshy brass of ‘Living In Darkness’ by Top Buzz and you have a definitive taste of an unprecedented time and place in UK culture. To use an old Manc term, it’s the fucking lick.
Salute Fabio & Grooverider each and every.
The 3rd chapter in Mills’ essential saga pairs two unreleased zingers with two overlooked gems, charting decades of exploratory productions on fully remastered and newly cut vinyl pressing
With an enviable archive to pick from, Jeffrey plucks out some absolutely crucial cuts again. Side A contains the slithering hustle of his unreleased gem ‘Comdex’, along with 2000’s mentasm-lit barnstormer ‘UFO’, and a neat excerpt of an interview with the alien himself; a commentary on ‘Flying Machines.’ That jazzy 2012 ace follows on the flip in classic, deep Mills mode, along with his uniquely sloshing, minimal techno burner ‘A Set’, exclusive to this 12”.
Emily Fairlight has a proper folk singer's background: a teenage runaway adventurer in Australia and India, a circus school student who once sang naked at a burlesque night on a whim, a female-friendly pornography-free sex toy shop assistant, a barista and a runner/jack-of-all-trades at a digital visual effects company.
"With its New Zealand rural Gothic/Texas borderlands feel, Mother of Gloom is an elusive creature. Ultimately, the prevalence of acoustic guitar and intimate sharing of lived experience through song suggest it is folk music or, as Fairlight self-deprecatingly calls it, "doom-folk".
Her vocal style - a powerful quivering vibrato and a stark, haunting tone, teak-hard yet soft as crushed velvet - elicits comparisons to PJ Harvey, Bridget St John, Emmylou Harris and Cat Power, musicians with distinctive voices and a lyrical ability to conjure a kind of experiential realism, although Mother can also hold its own alongside the storytelling of Will Oldham and soundscapes of Calexico.
Each song is a timelessly elegant, at times distressed, vignette, capturing the essence of a place, memory or feeling, framed by a diverse musical palette with space for the imagination left between the sounds. Fairlight lives in Dunedin and has been composing and performing for over a decade. She recorded Mother...with Doug Walseth at The Cat's Eye Studio in Austin, Texas on her third trip to the USA, aided by local musicians including Cully Symington (Bright Eyes, Okkervil River) and multiinstrumentalist Kullen Fuchs."
UK rave architects Fabio & Grooverider dish up another haul of late ‘80s and early ‘90s nuggets that formed the template for contemporary club culture. Part 3 in this essential series is a big hit of nostalgia for older heads and equally takes yung gurners to skool with an essential flux of US garage, Detroit techno, and early UK trance-electronica, all remastered and newly cut to vinyl for optimal pressure.
On disc 1, Landlord’s foundational anthem ’I Like It (Blow Out Dub)’ - responsible for the heavily-sampled “Landlord” riff - is locked and loaded next to the eccie-triggering Detroit classic ‘Straight Outta Hell (Hellhound Mix)’ by Tronikhouse, and the ruddy swagger of 33 1/3 Queen’s bugged-out killer ‘Searchin’’, which Fabio & Grooverider call “One of the best tunes of the ‘90s. Superb”
Disc 2 brings a deeper flex with the tucked hustle of Richie Rich’s spooked ‘Salsa House’ and the crispy, breaks-driven rave soul of Debbie Malone’s ‘Rescue Me (Club Mix)’, before rounding off with Neon’s Belgian rave staple ‘Don’t Mess With This Beat (Instrumental Mix)’, which would come to serve ‘core elements to 2 Bad Mice, while FSOL’s ‘Papua New Guinea’ surely brings a tear to the eye.
Worth bearing in mind that at the time, Fabio & Grooverider put their own spin on all these tracks by pitching them up and cutting them together in-the-mix, tying formerly mutually exclusive strands into a syncretic formula which was radical back then and has evidently withstood the test of time.
All killer, no filler!
From the label behind the original ‘Oramics’ CD comes possibly one of the strangest (and first) DIY records out of Israel, with Amnon Raviv’s 1983 debut ‘Mirror’ reissued from the original run of 50, finally making this gem available to the world beyond hardened record collectors
Frankly and respectfully, Amnon Raviv is a bit of a nutter. Nowadays he’s a professionally accredited Clown Doctor who makes mirth for patients in Tel Aviv cancer wards, and back in 1983 he knocked out one of the most charming and singular LPs of his day, yet you’d be forgiven for being oblivious to its existence as only 50 copies of the LP were made and self-distributed between Tel Aviv record stores. Luckily Paradigm Discs’ Clive Graham received a copy from an Israeli pal in the late ‘80s, and, after a very recent exchange on YouTube, Raviv’s seductively bonkers debut is now in proper circulation for anyone who didn’t live in Tel Aviv or have Israeli mates in the ‘80s.
Recorded between his neighbours’ chicken coop, the streets of Tel Aviv, and even in an actual studio, the results swing from fusions of flamenco guitar and violin swaddled in bubbling, underwater sounds, through to genuinely unhinged barnyard frolics and sweltering street scenes, with each part conveying highly personalised and uniquely observed scenarios. The two Flamenco pieces are equally great but markedly different, one free and full of bubbling bucolic promise, and the other ravishingly playful then head-spinningly hot and psychedelic, while the piercing tones of his 2nd piece make uncanny use of crystal glasses, guitar, and varispeed tape to connote sensations of “intense pain”, and one brilliant section features a whorl of multiple radio stations playing at once, to the most sweetly mind-bending, transportive effect, and of course, there’s that mad bit in the chicken coop, with splutters of laughter swept up with clucks and crowing cockerels and almost demonic, down pitched voices.
It’s surely fair to say after a few listens thru that ‘Mirror’ expresses the artist’s individuality in a charmingly effortless style which epitomises the fact that everyone thinks and feels in different ways, yet it takes a special something to genuinely reflect that uniqueness in any piece of art, music, literature, film etc. And that’s exactly what he does inside.
RIYL Smegma, RIP Hayman, the obscurest outsider musics, and the jouous musical explorations of Harry Partch.
Forceful power electronics, recorded hot in MONO from the wires of Sweden’s Tommy Carlsson aka Treriksröset and spat out by Harbinger Sound
No effing about here, just three dry and sharp blasts of uncompromisingly evil noise delivered with your insanity in mind. Between the pebble-dashed grain of ‘Filantropen (Irate, peeved)’, the high register squall and stress of ‘I tacksamhet’, and the sustained, side-long barrage of ‘Kristen Musik Från Rågsved’ on the flip, there’s at least a monthly dose of earfloss for the even the gunkiest noise ‘ead.
Magisterial, glacial, attention-demanding and powerful exposition of Buchla 200 synth tones mapped to acoustic woodwind and brass by a promising young composer; Stockholm’s Kali Malone. A strong tip to fans of work by Caterina Barbieri, Emptyset, Sarah Davachi.
Arriving in the resonating wake of her self-released solo début Velocity of Sleep , and flanked by the recently issued Organ Dirges 2016-2017 tape for Ascetic House, the Cast Of Mind LP gently but grandly expands the constellation of Kali Malone's solo releases, next to her Upper Glossa collaborations with Caterina Barbieri, a tape with Ellen Akrbro, and acclaimed live performances.
Joined by Yoann Durant (Alto Sax), Isak Hedtjärn (Bass Clarinet), Gabriella Varga Kalsson (Bassoon), and Mats Äleklint (Trombone), Kali’s Buchla 200 Synthesiser forms the basis for a quartet of diaphanous and slowly unfolding electro-acoustic landscapes that externalise a highly personalised form of emotive topography.
In the titular opener, wood and brass trace the swooning ellipses of Kali’s Buchla contours in stately procession suggesting a sort of resigned march to battle, before the Buchla appears to dominate in the warped streaks of Bondage To Formula, but listen closer and it’s harder to tell whether it’s electronic or organic sources so fully lending flesh to her rich sound field.
The answer to that question is much clearer in Arched To Hysteria, whose keening, hunched electronic forces hold powerful potential to conversely induce paranoia and heavily hypnagogic effects, whilst Empty The Belief yields a lustrous, Raga-like drone capturing a marriage of Buchla and bassoon at their most transcendent and steeply attractive.
This one should be filed for reference and safekeeping beside recent transmissions from Sarah Davachi, Anna Von Hausswolff, and Catarina Barbieri = properly good.
Scorching hot dance music from South Africa, 1987! You may never guess from the cover, but this is high-grade, laser-cut gear absolutely primed for the club
Yet another pearl from the hotbed of South Africa’s cornerside clubs and taxis in the golden era mid-‘80s to early ‘90s, ‘Wozani La’ shells down from disco heaven with big-boned FM bass torque, belting diva vocals, and choppy drums compatible with latin freestyle, Chi-house and EBM in the heavyweight ace ‘Hide and Seek’, which is chased up by the pendulous, smooth boogie funk of ‘By Hook or Crook.’
In our clammy mitts at last, one of two soundtrack sets compiled from the incredible 3rd season of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks.
This is the instrumental collection, featuring 18 tracks including recurring evergreens such as Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks Theme and Audrey’s Dance along with Badalamenti and Lynch’s Thought Gang, gems from Lynch & Dean Hurley, and the hair-raising Threnody To The Victims of Hiroshima which accompanied the climax of Part 8, arguably one of the most brilliant pieces of TV in recent memory.
Everyone who has seen "The Return" will no doubt have their favourite moments - Wally Brando’s fleet homecoming is among our’s - but musically speaking, two of them appear here, firstly with David Lynch’s cracking DJ Screw-style re-drag of Muddy Magnolia’s American Woman, as deployed in the 1st episode, and particularly the mottled jazz loops of Lynch & Dean Hurley’s Slow 30’s Room, also from he amamazing Part 8, that was originally realised for a Lynch retrospective in Paris - also found on his The Air Is On Fire  release - and sounds uncannily like a special dram from The Caretaker’s dusty teak cabinet.
The version of Windswept included here is different to Johnny Jewel's original and is to die for, while the closing track will take you straight back to that fade to black final moment as the credits rolled up to bring the whole thing to a close...
Overfunked disco trixx and house slammers from Daphni featuring Paradise on a sample-happy tip
Snipped from Daphni’s massive catalogue of personal DJ edits, you’ll find the pure wedding DJ and dancefloor exhibitionist gear of ‘Sizzling’ featuring Paradise next to bumpty house crack of ‘If’ up top. Down below he comes with the bathhouse spirit in the campy romp of ‘Romeo’, and a cantering lark called ‘Just.’
Hypnotic, deep techno-house trips by Tadd Mullinx (Dabrye, Charles Manier) in his trusted JTC guise
Folding in elements that you might also hear in his X-Altera project, the A-side’s ‘The FlightSTRENS2Rd’ rolls out in a wide, swinging formation with spongiform bass and rounded harmonics nodding to Derrick May as much as 4Hero and Boo Williams, whereas the B-side’s ‘The Assembly’ kicks it hard and direct with tub-thumping bass drum, simmering organ riff and singing hi-hats in a style not dissimilar to classic Rob Hood.
Killer, anonymous + wavey R&B, UKG and junglist edits hustled by Sean Kelly from four unknown artists for his Ghostphone label, fresh outta Bristol. If you were into Actress' Thriller label, this one's for you...
Four cuts for modern raves, tucking away what sounds like SKRS Intl in breezy white cotton, to a Night Slugs B-More edit on the front, then coming with a vintage E+E piece and Witch House-style treatment on the backside.
"‘New label out of Bristol, Ghost Phone represents RnB's deep and club friendly potential with four anonymous versions from various artists. Hand picked from across the globe for their deep love and appreciation of the original sound, each producer brings thier individual style to the fore. Bending things out of shape for the freaks but still retaining the genres slick, sensual aesthetic.
Chopped and screwed soul gets the full dub treatment on opener ‘Quiet Storm’, alongside 'Hit it Tool' where bumping 2 step drums meet Bmore breaks for the most dance floor primed cut on the 12". B1: ‘Single And Searching’ floats pitched vocal snippets in to the clouds, layering them over misty eyed rave chords. Finally, there is the pale faced club shuffle of '2ON’.’"
Kevin Martin has tapped into a kind of unfathomable strain of desolation this year, first on King Midas Sound’s ‘Solitude’ - one of the most painfully lonely albums of recent times, and now on the first album under his own name, ’Sirens’, released by Lawrence English’s Room 40 label. It’s a startling record lost in its own thoughts, the soundtrack to personal tragedy and rebirth somehow mirroring Hildur Gudnadottir’s recent score work for Chernobyl, but in much more personal space.
Despite being a more or less constant presence on our radars since the late 90’s when we first opened our doors (actually, from way before that - 1995’s 'Macro Dub Infection' comp and 97’s 'Köner Experiment' are both foundational records here) - and despite a constant barrage of bangers under myriad guises (but mostly as The Bug), various strains of Martin's work seem to have only just recently converged into something entirely distinctive. Both ’Solitude’ and ’Sirens’ are neither showy nor self indulgent - this is music that’s ice cold yet intimate, barely-there - but utterly compelling. While its easy to make sudden impact with scudding basslines, here Martin takes a more lonely route into numerous strands of contemporary music; from dub to noise and across the abyss between, into a dimly lit corner that somehow brings out the best we’ve heard from him in over 20 years. It's nothing short of an isolationist classic.
“When I was 22 I managed to acquire Techno Animal’s Demonoid 12” at a local record store, Rocking Horse Records. I can still recall the intensities of sound that marked the first moments of listening to it. The sense of bass as a tactile surface, that rolling groove and the howling sine waves and dub sirens that scorched with a type of sonic burning sensation that to this day makes my hairs stand on end. A year later I heard Ice’s Bad Blood, from there I discovered The Bug through a release on Wordsound, a band called God, a sound movement called isolationism and much more; all of these projects had one nexus point - Kevin Richard Martin.
In 2015, Kevin and I book-ended a series of concerts at Berghain for CTM festival. For his performance, Kevin debuted a new work I’d heard very little about called ’Sirens’. I remember two things distinctly about the performance. The first thing is he opened the set with a blazing passage of bass and dub sirens that instantly transported me back to those initial moments of encountering his work. The second was the feeling of absolute, crushing bass. Not before, or since, have I felt a sense of sound pressure like this. Unlike his other work with The Bug for example, the consistent bass carrying in the space was literally breathtaking and there were moments when it seemed difficult to see clearly as my eye sockets were vibrating in a way I’d never experienced.
Sirens, which documents the intensities surrounding the delivery and early days of his first child, carries in it a sense of deep affect. The album, unlike the live work, traces out a dynamic sound world that is both tender and caustic. It charts the emotional rollercoaster that is the arrival of parenthood, heightened through the complex circumstances of his wife's emergency procedures during the birth and two further life threatening operations for his son, in the first month of the child's life. Within each piece, microcosms of sensation unfold, Kevin clearly and deftly manoeuvres us through the tumultuous journey. Seconds become hours, and hours become seconds; Sirens somehow creates a sense of time that is without anchor and is foggy in a way that is profoundly unique (and frankly pleasurable).
Kevin Richard Martin has remained a point of constant inspiration for me over several decades now. To have the opportunity to share his first ever solo recording, one that arguably opens an entirely new side of his practice, brings me the utmost pride. His work has impacted so very much on me at various points and I know I am not alone in this situation. His new work, Sirens is a life journey transposed into sound that is truly personal, but effortlessly universal. It is the start of a new chapter for Kevin and one that I know will only strengthen his place as one of the critical voices in contemporary electronic music.
Lawrence English, March 2019”
After leaving us hanging since his acclaimed ‘Dulce Compañia’ LP, Brian Piñyero’s DJ Python makes a welcome return with six tracks of heat-hazy, dembow-driven ambient house for Dekmantel.
Leading on from that cracking album for Anthony Naples Proibito label, the ‘Derretirse’ EP locates an even lusher-minded Python snaking thru slower and more spacious productions, sounding like he’s taking OG Balearic vibes back to the source.
On the A-side that results the the BoC-like shimmers and infectious rub ’n tug of ‘Lampara’ sequenced next to the hip-swaying breeze of ’Tímbrame’, and the subbass-loaded grip of ‘Cuando’ in a style firmly recalling The Orb and SAW 85-92. The B-side follows on that vibe with the EP’s sublime highlight of weightless drums and ‘floor-cradling ambient strokes ‘Espero’, and ‘Be Si To’ crisply defines his dembow house stride at a balmy 110bpm beside the bleary-eyed and screwed rave suss of ‘PQ CQ.’
Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance host a trio of Hypnobeat’s infectious ‘80s drum machine trips in the ‘Forbidden Plant’ EP
Originally engineered and newly mastered by band member Tobias Freund (Tobias./NSI), the EP is presented as “a musical touch of far away places.” This exotic mindset leads the EP between a previously unreleased 1986 workout ‘Polychrome Desert’ played on 3 x TR-808 machines, backed with the slouchy, furtive, psychedelic minimal wave of ‘Spies in Malaysia’, played on MC-202, sampler and syncussion, and the tracky chug of ‘Sumatra Railway’, a grubby and spindly 1985 recording that sounds like surf rock that got trapped in a rip current and shored up in Salford docks during the Factory Recs era.
Berlin’s Wilted Woman puts a keen, gritty spin on her electro-techno styles for Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound, backed with a pumping Detroit-techno remix from Laurel Halo
Practically gnashing at the heels of her collaborative tape with Nick Klein, ‘Lon Lon Night Vision’ catches WW jamming jagged computer music textures and sub-heavy jack in the acrid pound of her title track, and switch out to a scuzzy sort of electro-trance in ‘No Stinger’. LH follows suit with a kicking remix of ‘Lon Lon Night Vision’.
KLO chases up her acclaimed, eponymous debut LP with two gently insistent dancefloor workouts
Emphasising the groove over songs this time, the London-based singer/songwriter/producer uses her vocals to classically instructive and textured effect in ‘Let It Go’, accentuating the rub and tug of her house groove with whispered insistence and heady reverbs, whereas she steps back form he mic to go more introspective with the writhing, dubbed-out electro-house hustle of ‘Omen’.
Precision-tooled rolige from el mysterioso, Forest Drive West
Following his D&B outbreak for Hidden Hawaii with two slinky wrigglers for Livity Sound; a swinging deep techno piece recalling vintage Convextion circa Ebullience, and the crankier, UK style lag of Escape with its hip-slipping swang and cold, dank clammy atmosphere.
Strong one for followers of Kowton, Peverelist, Simo Cell
Part IV of Levon Vincent’s current series appears to double as a follow-up to 2011’s ‘Man Or Mistress’ 12”
Opener ‘Man Or Mattress’ is a funny title but we’re not sure of its relation to ‘Man Or Mistress’. It’s a chunky scene setter for a super bright and wide roller, painting pointillist vocal stabs on the ceiling over powerful subbass traction in his patented style, before the B-side sees him get moody with thrumming Italo/pop bassline and blue piano chords for haughty 4am moves, and before wrappign up with a fine spot of instrumental electro/synth-dance-pop.
Genuinely head-frying avant doodles from a perennial oddity of the late ‘70s underground, originally issued by The Residents on Ralph Records, now remastered and repackaged with a bonus LP-worth of unreleased madness.
“A biomedical scientist and an architect form a band in the early 70’s with nothing by the way of traditional musical talent or skill but with endless enthusiasm and their own unique musical sensibility. The ensuing career and creative output of this ongoing home studio / bedroom band remains one of the most significant song based ‘outre’ catalogues ever produced in the United Kingdom. This comprehensive 2 LP (+7” for first 300 copies) set contains their first official LP (originally released on The Residents legendary Ralph records label) along with an extra album of different versions and extra tracks which reside here for the first time on vinyl.
The duo Renaldo & The Loaf, originally Portsmouth based, now in Portsmouth and Mid-Wales, remain an enigma whilst amassing an enormous cult following worldwide. Their singular take on music encompasses wit, strange melodic construction and an off kilter
sensibility which successfully rendered them engaging for each emerging generation. The ability of Renaldo & The Loaf to unnerve and entertain in equal measure is what binds these songs to a musical universe outside of all other forms that existed around the time of release. The Residents are obvious spiritual heirs.
Songs For Swinging Larvae is a classic collection of confounding songs which lead the listener into a surreal world of twisted tunes and perverted pop. Songs from the Surgery is made up of improvisations, early/alternative versions of various Larvae tracks and unreleased
pieces from the same period. The results leave one laughing through a thick veil of unease. As the original Ralph records press release said of Songs For Swinging Larvae: “This is an album of primitive modernism, energetic obnoxious noises, manic high pitched vocals and sweet brilliance.”
Brilliantly relentless LinnDrum productions made as a sort of homage to Prince’s ‘Parade’ album; 40 minutes of virulent, Afro-Latin polyrhythms that sound something like Prince producing free jazz jungle with Jamal Moss and the Príncipe gang.
Lisbon-based Bruno Silva enacts pure voodoo with extended, restless LinnDrum workouts that take Prince’s distinctive LM-1 signatures as a starting point for loose-limbed tribal jams that flow with the colour of the Brazilian carnival and the rhythmic psychedelia of hardcore jungle. The title ‘Parada’ cannily nods both to Prince’s ‘Parade’ album and the percussion of carnival parades, speaking to a plurality of polyrhythms in a tradition of fusion music that seeks to meld myriad forms of communal, ritualistic and ecstatic music - not a million miles from the bare carnival funk of ‘Parade’s’ ’New Position’.
In six parts ranging from extended runs of drumkit-falling-down-stairs to nimble junglist mutations and rapid, darting concisions, Serpente spells out a heavily intoxicating and intuitive sort of rhythmic psychedelia that lives up to a broad palette of influences ranging from Haitian voodoo ceremonies and central African drum circles, through to the Sun Ra Arkestra and Alan Silva’s Celestial Communion Orchestra, via Keith Hudson’s dub transcendence, and the rude modernism of UK rave and virulent styles currently coming from Lisbon ghettos on the Príncipe label.
In attempting to untie and unite these worldly references, an asymmetric percussive friction and hypnotically unresolved tension naturally emerges from Serpente’s flux of machine made patterns. It’s there in the restlessly gnashing, swingeing brilliance of ‘Nivel de Chama’ and the exceptional mix of detuned Linn drums and reticulated jungle breaks in ‘Trama’, while the B-side probes this idea in three subtly agitated, but more space-out ’Símbolo’ parts, and finally with a sublime tension between his twitchy percussive saccades and celestial synth pads in ‘Nivel de Cinza. ‘Parada’ is pure body music that acknowledges both physical and spiritual needs, requiring a dancing body in order to properly unlock its purple magick.
Mellow mix of field recordings, new age electronica whims and windswept rhythms describing the natural world, from Leif for Whities
“Made up of six tracks but presented as two ~17-minute pieces, the record meanders through warm chordscapes, glistening synths and loose live percussion, weaved together with field recordings and ambience.
Loom Dream invites us to peacefully reconnect with the living world by placing us amongst lush sonic verdure.”
Kai Alcé’s reinterprets works by modern jazz dons in a breezy, bustling deep house style, backed with an ace Thundercat dub
On disc 1, Alcé resets the modal jazz vibes of Kamasi Washington’s ‘Aksim’ to a twinkle-toed deep house hustle, while the flip sees him underline vibes from Gregory Porter’s ‘On My Way To Harlem’ with juicy bass and stepping drums in a live-sounding style. Disc 2 follows with Thundercat’s subtly rugged dub of Alcé’s take on ‘Aksim’, next to its instrumental, and backed with extended and radio mixes of ‘On My Way To Harlem.’
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."