‘Workaround’ is the singular debut album proper by Beatrice Dillon; an eminent rhythm fiend whose productions and DJ sets are prized for her patient, fluid grasp of space, texture and devilish, syncopated UK club styles. Trust that for our money it’s one of the most vital album we’ve heard in recent times, effortlessly playing to both forward/club and pop-styles without ever feeling like it’s trying too hard to do either.
Counting her most finely sculpted work among its 14 tracks, ‘Workaround’ is the definitive yet most open-ended statement of an aesthetic Beatrice has worked toward for the past decade. Entirely running at 150bpm, but rarely repeating any one pattern, the album works in a fractal not fractional style of rhythmelodic suss that acknowledges a world of influence from African, sub-continental and Caribbean musics, as well as contemporary electronics, and how they’ve all feed into the unique prism of UK club music.
Recorded over 2017-2019 at studios in London, Berlin and New York, and featuring a wealth of tactile guest input by everyone from Kuljit Bhamra (tabla) to Pharaoh Sanders Band’s Jonny Lam (pedal steel guitar); Laurel Halo (synth/vocal); Lucy Railton (cello); Batu (percussion); Hemlock’s Untold, Morgan Buckley and Senegalese Griot, Kadialy Kouyaté - Beatrice deftly absorbs their instrumental colours and melody into an interlinked body of work that suggests immersive, nuanced options for dancers, DJs and domestic players.
Also taking core inspiration from literary and non-musical ideas such as James P. Carse’s book ‘Finite and Infinite Games’ and its central tenet that “an infinite game is for the purpose of continuing the play”, along with English painter Bridget Riley’s essays on grids, colour, and light perception, plus margaret Glyn’s 1907 text on ‘The Rhythmic Conception of Music’, the album operates within a finely crafted, self-sufficient system that favours functionality over anything “esoteric” or mystic.
Of course with such a wide ranging set of influences it requires a steady hand and mind to tesselate the myriad angles of her influences without making a mess of it, and Beatrice’s soberly controlled approach and fixed, minimalist, temporal framework sets the ground for a completely revelatory, crisp, syncretic consolidation of instrumental and synthetic vibes that will speak to the broadest dancefloor church and future-proof the album for a long time to come.
Viewed from any angle, Workaround is tight and brimming with vitality. Using dub’s mutability, but leaving aside its dread aspect, it yields a supple yet solid, elegantly rugged club choreography that dances between Bhamra’s floral tabla rolls to lissom sort of synth-pop with Laurel Halo, and best of all, a killer run of fizzing steppers that somehow wrap up the physics of Artwork’s ‘Basic G’ with the disruptive flux of Rian Treanor, matching the in-the-pocket funk of Ricky Villalobos and Mark Fell’s ‘Multistability’ ideas, while nodding to the swingeing syncopation of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force and the deeply gratifying percussive anticipation of Photek or DJ Plead.
A.R. Kane’s 1992 dream-pop retrospective scoops up armfuls of divine songs from their first two albums and early singles, collected as their US showcase for David Byrne’s Luaka Bop.
Notably the first band to coin the term “dream pop” in the wake of template setting classics by Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, the duo of Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala’s A.R. Kane gave the sound an urbane psychedelia that smudged and swooned in the gaps between indie shoegaze jangle, free jazz and acid house with their sampledelic cut-up tekkerz, as found on 4AD and Rough Trade. Their 16-track ‘Americana’ collection arrived in 1992 to charm the US market on Luaka Bop, the legendary exploratory label venture of David Byrne, who clearly heard something of Talking Heads’ grooving pop suss and his passions for avant Afro-American styles swirled up in A.R. Kane’s music, which had also seeped into the wider cultural subconscious via their ‘80s uber-classic as M|A|R|R|S; ‘Pump Up The Volume’ with members of Colourbox.
Wrapping up songs from their seminal debut ’69’ (1988), plus its follow-up ‘i’ (1989), and cherry-picked B-sides, the ‘Americana’ set is a joyful celebration of the Black Atlantic conversation between US, UK and African musics, with classic cuts such as ‘A Love From Outer Space’ and ’Snow Joke’ emphasising the acid house swagger as much as the swirling textures of shoegaze in a way that became their enduring calling card. Alongside their more dubwise, studio-as-instrument application and deftly played politics on gems such as ‘Baby Milk Snatcher’, and the shimmering chamber music sashay of ‘The Madonna Is With Child’, the very Cocteau-like ’Sperm Whale Trip Is Over’, their petal-picking ‘60s psych plucks on ‘Green Hazed Days’, and the proto-emo paean ‘Up’; the set surely highlights some of their best moments, and should encourage any new ears to investigate further, especially fans along the axis from Prince to Mark Hollis, New Order and Cocteau Twins to FKA Twigs and Mica Levi.
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, by Explosions In The Sky.
"Picking up where Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever left off, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place begins as a flickering twinkle that soon grows to a blinding light.
This new sense of hope is the defining characteristic of this record, and ultimately the journey that their music takes us on. Immeasurably more dramatic and dynamic than their last album, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place takes its shape not in the unexpected cacophony that had become the band's trademark, but in the infinitely deeper caverns of the human soul.
With a soft heartbeat-like thump that grows stronger by the minute, the band is now closer than ever to replicating the simple movements that, when strung together, form the unpredictably complex machine that is the human body.
Words simply cannot do this the justice that it deserves. It goes so far beyond elementary comparisons to other bands. The answer is somewhere between your head and your heart, and indeed, that is not a cold dead place."
To Move is a new project by the trio of Anna Rose Carter (Moon Ate the Dark), Ed Hamilton (Dead Light) and Alex Kozobolis.
"Four-handed piano meets analogue manipulations to absolute wondrous effect from the London based friends.
We're carried into a time and place not afraid to embrace a sense of optimism - even if it comes wrapped in a certain distorted shape. Transporting, blissful tones emanate free of concerns from the unifying keys; at least until the melodies are pulled and dragged from purity to become something wholly else – their own lived life; fitted with obstructions and unpredictability. The intertwining pianos linger like lovers in unison, full of drift, rhythm and life; all while analogue electronics and tape manipulations degrade and move them from their original form and closer towards earth itself.
The album came to light while Anna and Ed were temporarily residing in the English countryside between 2016 and 2019. Musical weekend visits from Alex turned into the fruitful collaboration presented here. 'To Move' is a compelling musical storyboard with a name that captures the essence of their music better than any written essay could do. This is music to resonate to, music to dance to, music to engulf your being. As for fans of the Sonic Pieces sound – if there is one – this record hits as close to home as it could do."
NTS commit Ama Serwah Genfi aka Amaarae’s incred debut LP of sugar-coated Afrobeats to vinyl, sating popular demand for one of the finest binds of US and Ghanaian styles in recent years - RIYL Burna Boy, Kelis, Kojey Radical, Drake, Ice Spice.
Based between New Jersey, ATL and Accra, Amaarae dropped her instant classic ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’ in the run-up to xmas 2020. Two years later, and following her curation of a day of music for NTS in 2021, her definitive calling card is cut to wax with signature elisions of southern rap, Ghanaian afrobeats, dancehall and bubblegum pop voiced by her dreamy, balmy but piquant falsetto, with reference points as wide as Paul Wall and Meat Puppets.
Following international critical acclaim and her major label works and features with Tiwa Savage and Kali Uchis, the 14 track album is every bit a definitive early decade classic, richly symptomatic of a prevailing Black Atlantic dialogue between R&B/dancehall-dembow and its Afrobeats sibling that has dominated the best dances and earbuds since the ’10s. It’s a supremely easy going and effortless listen that sounds perfect puckered to wax.
Between the breezy ATL flair of ‘Fancy’ and melancholic Afrobeats of ‘Party Sad Face’, Amaarae is variously joined by Kojey Radical & Cruel Santino on the trim Afro-R&B of ‘Jumping Ship’, and fellow Ghanaian stars Princess Adjua & Moliy on the tantalising bump of ‘Feel a Way’, with harmonious contribution by Kyu Steed & 6 in the wavy, The Draem-esque lick of ‘Celine’. Left to her own devices, Amaarae is equally seductive on the Afro-R&B of ‘Leave Me Alone’ and the charmingly naif hook of ‘Hellz Angel’ feels like a less sugar-buzzed Ice Spice. Bit of a no brainer, this one.
Modern Love debut from Delia Beatriz aka Debit; a study of Mayan wind instruments from the late post classical period, rebuilt as synth instruments and deployed with ultimate heft and wooooze.
Delia Beatriz’s musical output straddles two distinct artistic poles; her debut solo album, 2017’s acclaimed “Animus”, oozed from sensual, beatless soundscapes to high-octane club music, while her 2019-released 'System' harnessed tribal guarachero elements while simultaneously scraping ideas from industrial techno. On 'The Long Count', the Mexican-American producer has inked her most rigorous statement to date, sublimating opaque ancestral knowledge into vaporous AI-stirred fog banks, activating an ancient rite that reaches into tomorrow. It’s audacious electro-acoustic archaeology that sounds disorientating, anachronistic and arcane.
'The Long Count' is rooted in research Beatriz made into Mayan wind instruments - whistles, ocarinas, flutes and trumpets - using the archive of the Mayan Studies Institute at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the oldest and largest collection of its kind. Developing a set of digital instruments that could be played using different types of temperaments and scales, Delia processed these sounds using machine learning techniques to shuttle the distant past into our extant artistic universe, peering into Mexico’s pre-colonial history and weaving those ideas into complex tonalities gleaned from musique concrète and contemporary electro-acoustic music.
Beatriz describes the Mayan instrumentation as ancestral technology, part of a world that’s not so much been forgotten, but purposefully erased. And although it’s impossible to know exactly how Mayan music may have sounded, it’s feasible to converse with history using modern technology to conduct a ceremony of remembrance.
Featuring soundscapes that are haunted by indistinct, shared memories and centuries of pent-up emotion, the material here is as intentional, direct and meticulously crafted as the work of Deathprod or Thomas Köner; Debit's microtonal compositions are psychedelic to their core, shapeshifting through dimensions and painting complex mental images while retaining a stylistic focus and lucidity that’s all too rare. Although 'The Long Count' was nurtured by machines, human experience is coded into its DNA - an ancient-future heirloom that whispers through countless generations.
File under: magick concrète.
Mills gets right up the cosmic hilt in a trio of deep techno workouts conceptually connected to classic work across the decades
Mills presents the ‘Extension’ EP as a continuation of explorative deep space techno probes found on the ‘Growth’ (1994) EP and 2004’s haunting ‘Expanded’ 12”, with the intention to “to bring forth the notion that the Future could provide more than what we are doing now”.
The results are exemplary of his ability to locate unfathomable depth in subtle variation, arcing from the kick-less cosmic rain and sublime tension of his meditative opener ‘Rise’, to the sci-fi soundtrack bleeps and sultry techno-house shimmy of ‘The Storyteller’, and far out into the alien bleep communique ‘Entanglement’, where he again eschews the bass drum in favour of tongue-tip thizz and Afro-latinate percussive patterns with ether dream quality.
Whew!!! Haitian hardcore dance music in the crosshair on the latest from reliable overseas scouts, Les Disques Bongo Joe, hailing a full length from the Caribbean/Kongo/Belgian troupe on the horizon
Rendering fierce Haitian drumming and vox by Chouk Bwa’s Jean Rigaud Aimable, Sadrack Merzier, and Gomez (Djopipi) Henris thru the echo chamber dub prisms of The Angströmers’ Frédéric Alstadt and Nicolas Esterie, ‘Ayiti Kongo Dub’ is a tuff and propulsive slab of voodoo for the club.
Maybe best considered an adjunct to Mark Ernestus & Ndagga Rhythm Force’s efforts as much as Konono No.1 or Nihiloxica, the cross-continental unit adhere to their own distinct percussive traditions in three rowdier follow-ups to the intricacies of 2020’s ‘Vodou Alé’ album; charging up with the pulsating thrill and holler of ‘Agwetaroyo’, calling for proper knees up in the heavyweight trample of ‘Vini wè m’, and ruthlessly pushing the tempo to Singeli-esque pace with drilling drum tonalities in the furnace blast intensity and trance-inducing hammer of ‘Similóm’.
Four OG unreleased UKG dubs and new cuts for Underground Consumption by discerning bubblers
The ‘90s UK club pioneer-turned-minister Karl Brown oversees a classic sounding session in four parts. Up top Peekay lends a speed garage spin to remix of his Tuff Jam dancer ‘Happiness’, beside the twinkle-toed, soul jazzy 2-step of ‘Everything’ by Dynamic Essence. Down below Karl remixes the laid-back swing of ‘Jump Dub’ from D.I.Y., and links with Swiss producer Alex De Joncaire on the next rendition of their Gingo Peas ace ‘Realizin’ for a classy, crafty bout of Todd Edwards-Style vocal chopping and sexy technoid speed garage.
The Predator Nominate EP by Brainiac via Touch and Go.
"Brainiac began in 1992 as the basement experiments of Dayton, OH natives Tim Taylor (vocals, synth), and Juan Monasterio (bass), who first met playing cello in fifth grade. Upon completing the lineup with Michelle Bodine (guitar) and Tyler Trent (drums), they released two full-lengths and toured vigorously, establishing themselves as the latest peg in Ohio’s diverse musical timeline. In 1994, Michelle left the band and was replaced by John Schmersal.
In 1996, the band made their full-length debut on Touch and Go Records with the album Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. On May 23, 1997, only weeks after the release of Electroshock for President EP and the band’s return from a European tour supporting Beck, Tim lost his life in a car accident. He was 28.
Harkening back to the band’s latter era - and their most prolific and confident period, The Predator Nominate EP is a celebration of what was to come before the tragic exit of ringleader/singer Timmy Taylor. Listen to these realized demos and imagine what only could have been the confident seed of what the group might be capable of in this future century versus the last one. The world will never truly know."
Autechre's classic second album from 1994.
At last, Warp reissue one of their most loved gems, which Autechre themselves have referred to as conceiving as their “Warp record” - written to complement the label’s early ‘90s ambient/AI catalogue.
Depending on yr perspective, Amber is quite possibly the most beautiful Autechre album. It’s much softer, more atmospheric than the needling electro tones of Incunabula, and also much more approachable, more innocent than the cold, rugged Tri Repetae; like a snapshot of the duo in post-club gouch-out mode, hugging the sofa and chewing their ears in the days before somebody might snap you doing so on their iPhone.
Basically it’s completely essential if you love electronic music.
Our reissue of the year - 2022.
Numero come with one of the most needed archival editions we’ve heard in a minute, compiling precious gear from London’s V4 Visions, a short-lived label that harnessed a uniquely pivotal melting pot of early 90’s UK music, existing at the confluence of American and Jamaican sounds that formed uniquely British hybrids; from Sound System Soul to Bleep-And-Bass, Ragga-Techno, Jungle, Trip Hop, and 2step Garage and which in turn birthed collectives such as Camden’s Soul II Soul, Bristol’s Wild Bunch / Massive Attack and then onto London’s Shut Up and Dance crew. Influenced equally by Jamaican Lovers Rock and American Street Beats, the 1990-1994 era documented here was about the hedonistic life; suave clothes, romance and good times, producing some of the most unique - and largely forgotten - music of the early 90's.
Numero's V4 set explores the label’s key artists; Ashaye, Endangered Species, Julie Stapleton and Rohan Delano, for an important showcase of how their soulful styles fed into one another. The influence of then contemporary Chicago sounds is strongly felt, and woven with foundational Afro-Caribbean sound system inspirations in a way that's unique to the UK during those pivotal years and which continue to resonate in influence and style decades later.
Paralleling scenes in the UK’s other Black music hotspots such as Manchester, Birmingham, West Yorkshire and Bristol, V4’s sound was readied for all night “blues” parties and sweltering club basements, toggling the levels between hip-winding new jack swing beats, updated echoes of lovers rock and early jungle, with standout producers like Trevor Ashaye acting as mutual sinew and soul between each style. While it’s all certain to grab the hearts of certain weekender types from that era, the vibes properly endure for our time thanks to overproof levels of soul that leave no dance wanting for more.
To play percies, we direct you to Ashaye’s beauties, ranging rom the balmy lovers Jungle of ‘Dreaming (Jungle Mix)’ and its original downstroke, to the Wild Bunch-esque new jack swang of ‘What’s This World Coming To’ and the rolling garage house of ‘Nowhere To Run (Instrumental South Side Mix)’, then to a killer slice of proto-jungle by Jungle Biznizz, and a quietly unmissable, beat-less R&B nugg in ‘All The Way (Guitar Mix)’ by Julie Stapleton & Ashaye, or the purring deep house of Julie’s ‘Where’s Your Love Gone’ (later covered by Kylie no less) which is like a street soul inversion of 'Can u Feel It' - all heartbreak and glamour.
Ooof, kills us a bit this one.
Most artists would struggle to put one album of the quality Liz Harris exhibited on 'Alien Observer' (the first part of her A I A double-header, also out now) but somehow she's managed to churn out a full two forty minute albums each as breathtaking as the last.
'Dream Loss' is the murkier, more grimy counterpart to 'Alien Observer's distant pop and travels still further into Liz's astral tape haze and noisy, vocal ambience. While the record might begin unassumingly enough with the downplayed 'Dragging the Streets', 'I Saw A Ray' greets us with a volcanic slither of noise and calloused harmony. This deeply buried melancholy transports us through the album, and while the noise subsides to make way for Liz's familiar layered vocal loops and subtle, withdrawn songs, the character and texture is still one of distortion and fragmentation as opposed to the occasional overt prettiness exhibited on 'Alien Observer'.
As Liz mentioned in the run-up to this ambitious double release, the albums are two very separate works, yet somehow feed off eachother when heard together. To hear one without the other is to only hear a single element of the whole piece - 'Dream Loss' adds the darkness, and in sinking deep into it we get a whole new understanding for 'Alien Observer'. It's a harrowing trip, but one laced with beauty, restraint and that unquantifiable magic that seems to grace mostly anything Liz Harris touches. Just buy it; you won't be disappointed.
Fuck what you know of Huerco S, 'Plonk' is his first album in 6 years and switches tack from house and groggy ambient touchstones to a more glassy, iridescent palette of juked electrosoul and chamber-like paradigms.
Touching minds 10 years since his cult early works graced the likes of Opal Tapes and Ukraine’s Wicked Bass, ‘Plonk’ finds him drawing on a formative love of rally cars and experiences over the interim for a more ragged jag that still prizes a sense of heady lushness, but more fractal and bittersweet with it. Of course he’s not been slacking since his now classic album ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)’, delivering ample goodies as Pendant and introducing key new artists via his curation of West Mineral Ltd. since 2017, but Huerco S. has taken a backseat until now, returning with a sparing, concentrated energy refracted into light-splitting ambient post-classical figures and splintered steppers that defy gravity with a cannily personalised sort of electro-dub physics.
We’ve long compared Brian Leeds’ work as Huerco S. with the likes of NWAQ and Actress, and those references still somehow apply, as he smartly moves parallel and perpendicular to those likemind auteurs’ evolutions across ‘Plonk'. They all share a patented sense of emotional intelligence and deep funk imagination that percolates their beyond-the-dance tekkerz.
The 10 tracks of ‘Plonk’ sensitively smash the template of ambient techno and IDM for a new decade, allowing new subtly mutated forms to emerge in the cracks. Between the first example of reeling extended melody in ‘Plonk I’ to the dematerialised tonal hues of the 11min bliss out ‘Plonk X’, he offers a thorough but faithful reappraisal of his style, tiling fleeting pieces of beat-less introspection rendered with electro-acoustic strategies, alongside nerve end-dancing, syncopated jitters and gyring hyperspace explorations such as the spine-licking bewt ‘’Plonk VI’ and smudged Autechrian functions on ‘Plonk VIII’, with a surprise turn of drawling cloudrap abstaction on ‘Plonk IX’.
The first Grouper album in 4 years finds Liz Harris stripped of FX, pairing her vocals with skeletal piano gestures in beautifully pregnant space. For anyone familiar with the miasmic fuzz of Grouper’s previous releases, the relative clarity is quietly shocking in effect, revealing her songs and sound at their most vulnerable, and, in the process, locating a newfound strength in fragility.
Grid Of Points was recorded in Wyoming shortly after Liz finished recording Grouper’s Ruins out in Aljezur, Portugal, and on the most immediate level it seems to describe the difference in recording locations between windswept Atlantic coastline and sparse, landlocked insularity. The seven songs were written over a week and a half, with the process curtailed by a bout of what she describes as “high fever”. What remains forms some of Grouper’s most legible lyrics and intimate instrumentation, with each piece framed by stark, unprocessed space working in the same role usually occupied by her billowing sheets of harmonic distortion.
Untreated and unfiltered, Grouper's voice rings plaintively clear, sometimes layered in ephemeral harmonies or curling off with jazz-soul wise inflections shadowed by modest piano phrasing in a crepuscular style that links back to all her previous work. Yet, in places the clarity is such that it almost feels like we the listeners have just been hearing her songs with clogged ears for the past decade and longer.
Ultimately, these results perhaps most acutely resonate with the etymology of Liz’s moniker - ‘Grouper’ as in member of a Fourth Way commune, The Group, which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, whose mystic meditations surely linger in the magick of Grid Of Points.
Moody post-punk distortion and electric bagpipe drone weirdness from LA deathrock outsider Jimmy Smack.
'Death is Certain' is assembled from two 7"s (1982's "Death or Glory and 1983's "Death Rocks") and a single 12" (1982's "Anguish"), over which Los Angeles weirdo Jimmy Smack carved out his legend. Smack was notorious for performing in a kilt and boots - with his electrified bagpipes of course - in full corpse paint, a few years before that style would become co-opted by Euro black metal bands. He was a regular on LA's hardcore punk circuit, but his music sits alone from pretty much all else on the scene.
The set showcases Smack's bizarre sound, which he built around machine-gun drum machine rattles, bizarre bagpipe drones, and of course his horror movie-ready voice. It's hard to describe exactly what it sounds like - maybe Suicide crossed with The Damned, remixed by Container. Smack's drum machine parts are the most unexpected element; it sounds as if he's using a regular cheap rhythm box, but he abuses it wildly to vary the rhythm, turning it into an industrial power drill or a malfunctioning A/M radio.
Bizarre, invigorating aces.
A sought-after pinnacle of Venetian Snares’s early catalogue reissued, including his flip of Billie Holiday’s take on a banned Hungarian “suicide song”
Arriving in 2005 after Snares’ had established himself among the most thrilling artists of his time, ‘Rossz Csillag Alatt Született’ saw him sampling from stacks of classical records, as well as Billie Holiday, for a concept album that imagined him as a pigeon on Budapest’s Királyi Palota (Royal Palace). In one fell swoop the album tilted his sound from pure ryhthmic extremity to a more “grown up” elision of breakcore and classical music, including a number of compositions where he ditched the ballistics alltogether. It was kind of a watershed moment for us, an undeniably impressive feat of pointillist tracker programming and lush sample rearrangement, and also the point where we thought OK, he can’t really take this aesthetic any further.
Taking sampled cues from the metric freedom and complex structures of classical works by Bartók, Stravinsky, Mahler, Paganini, Prokofiev, Elgar and Telemann, the Funk draws extraordinary links between their diametrically opposed paradigms; lending classical music a raving fire in the belly, while pushing the dynamics of jungle/D&B/breakcore to the nth degree. Paralleled in its intricacy by scant few others such as Aphex’s ‘Druqks’ album a few years prior, Snares’ efforts are arguably the last word in the original jungle formula of fast, choppy beats and sampling, and now interestingly sits equidistant to the OG sound and now for anyone making historic comparisons.
Raime’s post hardcore offshoot Moin mesh wiry guitars and rough hewn sampler chops to Valentina Magaletti’s flinty drums on a spring-heeled 2nd album for AD93 - RIYL Big Black, Slint, Fugazi, Discord-era bands.
‘Paste’ is the successor to 2020’s ‘Moot!’, which arrived some 8 years after Moin formed with a pair of releases for Blackest Ever Black. The project has since become the main vehicle for Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead’s fecund imagination, propelled by Valentina Magaletti’s drums, which had previously lent a seething bite to their Raime albums. Like that much adored project, Moin deal in a development of teenage nostalgia, whittling down enduring influences and reference points from the ‘80s & ‘90s to a taut, sculptural form of kinetic energy that moves perpendicular to contemporary trends.
There’s a shared sense of brooding introspection that ties their work as tight as bandaged straight-edge mitts; both projects defined by a certain swagger and discipline, but with Moin distinguished by a sweatier impulse that conjures the smell of sticky pub backroom carpets and well-worn band t-shirts from bygone days. Frankly, this reviewer hated that era in the late ‘90s, between post-hardcore and proto-emo, when the other main teenage option for an evening in small towns (they’re from Reading, I'm from a bastion of this stuff with links to Leeds’ epicentre) was £1 pint bars and shirts ’n shooz clubbing, but the way Andrews, Halstead and Magaletti reframe its context with a patina of half-heard, oblique samples, and a lean swingeing motion, makes it more intriguing and worthy of your time.
The nine songs on ‘Paste’ coolly distill their inspirations in sinewy chops between the skulking stepper ‘Foot Wrong’ and prowling discord of ‘Sink’, balancing teenage melancholy with more grown up Leslie Winer-esque samples in ‘Melon’ and ‘Knuckle’, and a certain tristesse in the melody of ‘Yep Yep’, while ‘Forgetting is like Syrup’ recalls Sonic Youth’s Chuck D propelled ‘Kool Thing’ in its pitch bent gnarl, and ‘In a Tizzy’ comes closest to more recent Raime works. ‘Life Choices’ is the clear highlight, gluing their wiry-then-saturated guitar top lines to a pendulous, needlepoint step and samples with a sexiness that recalls Kreidler’s recent evocation of ‘80s post-punk.
Atari ST sorcerer Novo Line firms up some of his most direct but beguiling industrial-pop productions in a clutch of bugged-out bangers for Elena Colombi’s label - RIYL Suicide, early AFX, Dux Dux, Belgian new beat, ‘late ‘80s industrial
Following a series of cultishly prized sessions for Ecstatic and cosmic disco label Protofuture, ‘Zeit’ marks a decade of ingenious work by Berlin’s Nat Fowler under the Novo Line alias, which has become feted by hardware and computer music fetishists for his experiments with original late ‘80s dance music tone, tunings and temporality.
Heavily inspired by a pivotal era c’86/’87 when midi technology and early computer software changed the face of contemporary electronic club music, Novo Line’s retro-futurist fascinations have generated some of the spiciest, gnarled grooves of the past decade for fans of everything from early AFX and Belgian new beat to Front 242, and his debut for Osare! squares up some of his plumpest pumpers for the ‘floor.
Notorious for live shows featuring not one but two full Atari ST hardware set-ups, synced with synths/keyboards in wickedly offbeat grind, Novo Line’s records follow suit with a hugely distinctive sound that blurs grid boundaries with a brilliantly fucked-up quality right on the edge of industrial noise, but yoked back to a more freakish club quality that’s plays to his innovative strengths on ‘Zeit’.
It’s by some distance his most industrial/wave/pop-oriented work due to the inclusion of vocals, ranging from Monica Kremidi’s possessed sort of Diamanda Galas presence on the zig-zag jag ‘Ain’t That a Mess’, to his own worked into the combustible thrum of ‘Cortina’ and the indie-pop contrasts of Cass MCComb surprisingly worked into the new beat-y chew of ‘Morning Star’, while Nat’s nagging, cubist future-baroque melody chatters away in the EP’s major highlight ‘Stein’, coupled with speaker-buckling bass in a mind-bending drug chug.
Head-melting archival discovery! Previously unreleased, this "lost" album of Derek Bailey sessions was recorded in 1982 in New York City with Charlie Morrow and a rotating cast of players including Glen Velez, Steve McCaffery, Carol E. Tunyman, Michael Snow and Patricia Burgess.
New York 1982 has been sitting in US sound artist and regular Derek Bailey collaborator Charlie Morrow's archive until it was rescued and refined by Recital to sculpt this tight six-track release. It documents the period of time when Bailey and Morrow put together a slew of live shows and studio sessions in and around New York City, with the first side concentrating on live performances and the second captured at The Record Plant, highlighting the crew's studio smarts. If you've come across Bailey before, you should know broadly what to expect, and his idiosyncratic free improv guitar style is laid out immediately on 'Sextet', met in its chaotic splatter by Morrow and McCaffery’s wordless vocal acrobatics. Michael Snow, Carol E. Tunyman and Patricia Burgess interact with the vibrating atmosphere by layering horn tones against the trio's skeletal quasi-structures.
'Duo' is shorter and more sparse, this time focusing more roundly on Bailey's crystalline, freeform patterning, accompanying it just with Glen Valez's spine-chilling frame drum percussion, that forms an odd symmetry; Valez's squeaks and pats appear to mimic Bailey's musical language impulsively, and the resulting fireworks are a joy to behold. The album is just as impressive when Bailey steps back for a moment: on 'Everyone', it's horns that play the central role, wavering consistently and in unison against the guitarist's barest metallic clangs. 'Trio' is the most open recording - one of the studio sessions that allows the room tone to form almost another instrument. It's here where Morrow's spittle-addled sound poetry is able to rise to the surface, bouncing acrobatically off Bailey's buzzing and chattering prangs.
The most generous recording is closing track 'Breath-Light Texture', a gentle plod of dissonant plucks and wobbly horns that, over almost 12-minutes, curves through reverberating dub atmospheres into an explosion of splattery free noise that will no doubt delight Bailey devotees.
Jeff Greinke's 'Big Weather', reissued on Abstracke.
"A plethora of exotic rhythms and sonic meteorological phenomena. Loops, leftfield beats, and all kinds of textures from the 4th world and beyond. Originally released in 1994 on CD, it is a true beauty of electronic hypnotism and sonic exoticism. Through a highly developed process of layering, Jeff composes and performs music rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail. His blend of electronic and acoustic instruments and textures produces haunting yet inviting soundscapes with a strong sense of place that hover somewhere between the exotic and the familiar. Moreover, you will find here collabs from other great artists: Dennis Rea (Savant) on guitar and Rob Angus with drum programming."
Alice Coltrane's third album was originally released in 1970, recorded at home with Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson on horns, Ron Carter on bass, and Ben Riley on drums. Charged, spiritual and struck through with grief, it's a post-bop essential that set the stage for "Journey in Satchidananda".
The first album Alice Coltrane recorded with horns, "Ptah, The El Daoud" was written and recorded during a prolonged period of grief following John Coltrane's death in 1967. Alice had been left with four children to take care of and a vast emptiness in her life, which she filled with the kind of creativity and spirituality that drips from every moment of "Ptah, The El Daoud". The album was dubbed in the basement of Coltrane's house on Long Island, and retains a personal quality that makes it feel lived in; Pharoah Sanders was recorded to the right channel, while Joe Henderson was panned to the left, and the separation is both peculiar and invigorating. Coltrane plays mostly piano throughout, switching to harp on the effervescent 'Blue Nile', a stand-out that foreshadows her levitational work on later albums. Here Sanders and Henderson also switch instruments, playing flute and alto flute respectively.
But for the most part, the music is grounded in the blues-flecked nearly-freeform jazz exploration Coltrane had pioneered with her husband, playing piano as if she was plucking harp strings, and dancing between Ben Riley's thick rhythms. 'Turiya & Ramakrishna' is particularly stunning; liltingly romantic and effortlessly sad, it's a lead piano masterclass from Coltrane, with Riley's drums forming barely a patter, enhanced by unforgettable sleigh bells. If you've managed to miss this one - admittedly it's one of Coltrane's lesser-known records - now's the time to remedy that..
Quieter than a whispering ghost, crys cole's 'A Piece of Work' is a concrète fantasia, celebrating liminality via environmental recordings, bells, heaving oscillators and deep listening drones. It's deeply immersive material, conjured by an artist with a complex understanding of the interconnectedness of sound.
Assembled from fragments collected in Oslo, Berlin, Vienna, Winnipeg, Melbourne and Lisbon, 'A Piece of Work' is far more than a travelog or audio diary. cole's compositions develop more like poetry, resolutely refusing to intone clearly about the exactness of place, but instead representing space, feeling and the joy of investigation. There's a collage-like quality to the almost 30-minute composition that flows from blustering sounds into tonal drones, crackles and synthesized apparations. But cole seems less interested in hard cuts than imperceptible evolution; her elements shift like sunlight, dipping behind the clouds for a moment, diving from view with perfect, natural timing.
This level of gentle restraint is surprisingly difficult to refine, and cole never loses our focus for a minute; 'A Piece of Work' isn't background music, it's transformative sound that demands not just attention but close, focused listening. The more microscopically you concentrate, the more you begin to make out the colors and textures within cole's evocative field of view: billowing lowercase drones, Seiji Morimoto's heaving, popping electronic gurgles, or Oren Ambarchi's percussive cacophony.
Cole allows us to perceive and absorb elements as if they were changes in temperature, and read into them continuously, like words with several layers of meaning.
Altered Ground is a 28 minute documented performance by William Kincaid, on Nation.
"The next level sound of Jakbeat in passionate craftsmanship. Kindcaid is recorded in one take using a sequencer, with improvised keyboards, electronics & metallic percussion, and guitar playing LIVE!"
Metal Preyers' latest is a fairytale-inspired cauldron of psychedelic tinderbox fire and library music clatter - properly evocative ritual magick shit that's in the same zone as late-period Broadcast, Czech New Wave composer Luboš Fišer, Demdike Stare, Leila and early Colleen. Purple-tinted, mysterious and properly spannered, in the best possible way.
With London's Jesse Hackett handling production and Chicago's Mariano Chavez on the visuals, Metal Preyers rebuild a world inspired by dusty library music and cult stop-motion animated shorts into up-to-the-minute genre-f*cked electronic mutations. The album is a narrative soundtrack to a self-penned fairytale about a father and daughter's voyage through a swamp inhabited by gremlins and crater creatures. The idea and most of the album's vocals came from Hackett's six-year-old daughter Nyasha, who used a phone's voice notes app to record sketches of her singing, then spun into full tracks by Hackett who contorts them into robotic howls and disembodied forest folk wails.
On 'Scream Dreamer', Nyasha's vocals are smeared into industrial drones, pressed into a tape-DIY collage of machinery sounds and looped, loping quasi-rhythmic chaos, but on 'The Preyers Forest' she sings nursery rhymes against Hackett's saturated toybox cycles. 'Red Swines' finds Hackett flexing his rhythmic muscle again, burying lightning-zapped screwed-n-chopped trap drums in ferric noise - it's the meeting point between Rabit's negative-space trap't-grime and the Finders Keepers axis. 'Carpenters Cabin' somehow references both horror synth maestro John Carpenter and Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass' - it's horror synth music that avoids the obvious cliches, sounding spooky but never hackneyed, filtered thru a gristly FX chain and formed into dubwise dirt and dust.
The album's most memorable tracks - 'Slime Things Accent' and 'On Her Way' - are bleak stop-motion flickers that perfectly evoke Hackett and Chavez's visual universe. Hackett creates an entire stage with "Shadow Swamps" and succeeds by wrapping our early anxieties in a woolen blanket of well-crafted processes and smudged soundscapes.
Dreamlike group portrait of Sean McCann’s label, revolving around rotating assembly of extensive friends and family to mark 10 years of avant and neo-classical wanderlust that has brought the likes of Sarah Davachi and Daniel Schmidt and reissues of RIP Hayman and Anne Tardos to the fore.
Worth attention for the roll call alone (listed below), ‘Autumn Fair’ speaks to the label’s unfathomable breadth with strains of blissed jazz, chamber music discord, rustling parlour keys and properly gorges ambient classical, before resolving in a fractal collage comprised of 2 second snippets from each of their releases thus far. If you haven’t broached their amazing catalogue yet, it’s worth considering in the same vein as Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle for levels of unpredictable genius, but also should be regarded as very much their own microcosm, bringing together avant minds across generations.
Featuring: Oren Ambarchi - guitar, Ed Atkins - paper shredder, Jason Bannon - family, Derek Baron - keyboard, Karla Borecky - upright piano, Andrew Chalk - guitar, crys cole - birds, Loren Connors - guitar, Philip Corner - grand piano, Maxwell August Croy - whistle, Sarah Davachi - electronics, Aaron Dilloway - SFX, Delphine Dora - voice, Giovanni Fontana - voice, Scott Foust - trumpet, Peter Friel - impression, Malcolm Green - camera, Judith Hamann - cello / voice, Mark Harwood - speech, Forest Juziuk - voice, Johnny Kay - tapping, Kajsa Lindgren - hydrophone, Rob Magill - guitar, Lia Mazzari - whip, Molly McCann - flute, Sean McCann - editing / voice, Nour Mobarak - voice sampler, Azikiwe Mohammed - interview, Charlie Morrow - MIDI piano, Kiera Mulhern - SFX, Zachary Paul - violin, claire rousay - SFX, Michel Samson - violin, Troy Schafer - strings, Eric Schmid - tone generator, Ben Schumacher - SFX, Tom James Scott - keyboard / SFX, Asha Sheshadri - reading, Patrick Shiroishi - winds, Sydney Spann - voice, Matthew Sullivan - instruments, Flora Sullivan-Kelly - percussion, Connor Tomaka - SFX / synth, Alex Twomey - upright piano.
Pat Thomas redefines jungle nuttiness in this killer 1997 battery, newly reissued on a first time vinyl pressing in the wake of resurfaced jungle experiments by Derek Bailey and Jigen, respectively, from that fecund era of cross-pollinated genres.
Charting one of the maddest mutations of the jungle virus during its creative peak, ‘New Jazz Jungle: Remembering’ arrives on Feedback Moves from a blind spot in the genre that is now coming into sharper focus with likes of Derek Bailey’s improvs over pirate radio, the stone-cut samurai tekkerz of Jigen or Mutamassik’s NYC hip hop-informed collages. Replete with expert liner notes by Edward George (Black Audio Film Collective, Hallucinator), who was immersed in London bassbin and experimental dance culture at the time, the reissue is a shocking reminder of the stylistic freedoms born by jungle’s rupturing of dancefloor time-space, when it emerged from loopy hardcore as the post-bop jazz of the pivotal late ‘90s.
Written and produced by Pat Thomas - a key collaborator of Lol Coxhill and Derek Bailey - on computer plus piano, synth and sampler, it saw Thomas take advantage of multi-track sequencing to orchestrate viscous, rolling, but unpredictable fusions of avant-classical and jazz freedoms on stacked polyrhythms that swivel between unhinged and highly disciplined. Sawn-off snare rolls and springheeled bass detonations smash atoms with samples re-pitched and scaled with serialist strategy owing to Schoenberg or Webern’s tonal systems, achieving a sense of rhythmic psychedelia comparable to 4Hero or Source Direct, yet more feral, ravenous with it.
Between the clattering stepper ‘One Nation’, littered with wild-eyed vocal snippets and angular prangs, and the double nutty recoil of ‘No Surprises’, it sends us reeling at every chop. Whether shredding Remarc samples into hellish strings that would presage Source Direct’s noirest tech-step on ‘Remembering’, or paralleling Mutamassik’s NYC illbient-jazz-jungle swagger on ‘Who Are The Strangers’ and ‘The Reply’, or ruffing up what had, by then, already become too-smooth collages of classic jazz and depth charge steppers on ‘As Well You Know’, Pat Thomas’s endeavours prove to be a totally enduring mutation whose time is really only coming now. Sometimes it just takes everyone else a lifetime to catch up.
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
Club Ozone from SMBD and Capracara.
"Following up on releases via Apron Records with K15 and with Fred P on his own Modern Dialect label, the Hyperdub, Brownswood and Sofrito affiliate SMBD (aka Simbad) strikes up this surprise collaboration with Capracara (DFA, Cómeme, Unknown To The Unknown).
‘Club Ozone’ leads with ‘Roubaix Cube’ and ‘Prowler Report’ — these two, percolating rhythm tracks mix elements of dub, industrial, primitive machine music into two turbulent, house-not-house music rollers. Heading downtown, the mood switches into the woozy, extended NYC-style, dream-house trip of ‘The Ozone’."
1080p and RVNG alum RAMZi's latest is a psychedelic salve that updates fourth world atmospherics with fuzzed 'n blunted downtempo rhythmic construxions. RIYL DJ Python, Boards of Canada, Gigi Masin.
"hyphea" was born when Montreal's Phoebé Guillemot was asked to write a score for Frederic Lavoie's "Fun Fungi", an experimental documentary about mushrooms. The sketches for that soundtrack eventually grew into this album, that Guillemot worked on during the pandemic to curb the boredom of isolation. This is maybe why the record's sound word is so well developed and widescreen; Guillemot's music has been shifting and changing over the last decade, but she sounds moored on "hyphea", working in a fertile space between fourth world experimentalism, psychedelic trance eccentricity, and rhythmic, club-aware electronics.
Somehow, it sounds like Boards of Canada's early material if they'd been inspired by Shpongle rather than RZA. There's no dusty boom bap here, but Guillemot has the same dedication to quirky, documentary score electronics, hallucinatory vocals, and strong, memorable themes. 'foggi' is an unfussy example of this, lifted by airy synth chords and a stark, slow-motion beat that's not a million miles away from DJ Python's similarly horizontal "Mas Amable".
When Guillemot lets her ideas develop further, the album really begins to shine: 'smooshi' sounds exactly as the name suggests, propelled by a pliable rhythm and the kind of unstable rainforest atmospherics that Jon Hassell patented back in the 1970s; 'megafauna' meanwhile does a good job of twisting tabla whirrs into ethnographic liquid D&B. When she gets it right, Guillemot manages to write music that sounds like 21st century loungecore - queasy listening for young millennials and older Gen Zs who were dragged up listening to EDM rather than AOR or popular jazz.
A balmy set of hypnagogic electronics meshed to meditative rhythms is the order of the day on the third release from Huerco S’ West Mineral Ltd, huge recommendation if you’re into Ulla, Spencer Clark or that classic Hallucinator gear on Chain Reaction. Everything on this label is gold...
Pontiac Streator previously appeared as a guest on the first West Mineral Ltd release, Pendant’s by-now classic Make Me Know You Sweet, while Ulla has become one of the most closely followed artists in electronic music, having first appeared on the cultishly adored bblisss compilation tape which also introduced Huerco S.’s Pendant alias to the world at large. Their first album together is a bedroom-crafted confection where drowsy meditations smudge with lounging exotica themes in a blunted style to properly heavy-lidded effect.
Chat was recorded on July 5th in Pilsen, Chicago on Ulla’s bed after a long week spent dancing with friends, staying up all night typing in chatrooms, and hate-watching Fox news. The results channel that experience into four lop-sided creations that feel satisfyingly burned out and immersive, like the murmur of zonked chat between close friends.
In four parts; Chat One thru Chat Four, the record unfurls with a muggy mid-fi tension between its illusive fidelities, kindling a smoky atmosphere that colours listening spaces with seductive smells and a muggy, keening tension that recalls the minutes before sundown. This balmy feel of the surreal comes out in a sylvan patina of sweetened cicadas and curling pads urged along by a stream of wooden drums, variously recalling Spencer Clark on some kind of Aguirre soundtrack mission in the tropics, a heatsick Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement piece, or, in the dream-pop drift of the last part, like Leven Signs smudged by Muslimgauze.
Coolly serving to expand West Mineral Ltd's remit after that spellbinding Pendant album and a 12” of ectoplasmic dubs from uon, the flux of arid/fluid textures and para-dimensional fidelities in Chat feels somehow calming yet fraught with a somnambulant appeal that’s dangerously easy to fall for.
The first compilation to be released on the PAN label, Mono No Aware collates unreleased ambient tracks from both new and existing PAN artists including Yves Tumor, M.E.S.H., Pan Daijing, Sky H1, AYYA, Jeff Witscher, Helm, TCF, HVAD, Kareem Lotfy, ADR, Mya Gomez, James K, Oli XL, Flora Yin-Wong, Malibu, and label head Bill Kouligas, moving through more traditional notions of what's considered ’Ambient’, to wider variations that fall under the term.
It’s an incredibly coherent suite of tracks that quite honestly sounds like the work of a singular, multi-facted artist rather than a disparate collection of pieces, something that’s perhaps testament to Bill Kouligas’ exceptional curation skills. While the album revolves around central themes of “an empathy towards things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, in practice it serves to beautifully illustrate the label’s depths in unity and common purpose with tracks by key roster - M E S H, Bill Kouligas, Sky H1, Helm, Yves Tumor, Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell) - as well as a smart influx of extended family and new producers - TCF, AYYA, Flora Yin-Wong, HVAD & Pan Daijing, Kareem Lofty, Malibu, Oli XL - who refresh and perfectly expand the label’s already unfathomable breadth of styles, personnel and their perspectives.
It’s also by some distance the label’s most sublime release, shifting thru 16 subtly personalised and compatible pieces, with results that speak to a world of increasingly chaotic flux and instability by simultaneously mirroring its confusion while also providing an inclusive safe space away from it; offering mutual gridwork for a spectrum of expressive nuance that takes in the billowing lushness of Egyptian artist Kareem Lofty’s Fr3sh at one end, and the colder digital soul of Danish/Chinese duo HVAD & Pan Daijing at the other.
In the space between, Mono No Aware transcends vast, ostensibly detached time and space between AYYA’s exquisite Second Mistake and Yves Tumor’s elusive/illusive Limerence to highlight their differences and similarities, vacillating the windswept dynamics of Helm’s Eliminator with ADR’s ambient-pop hymn Open Invitation and jumping from the needling peak of Mya Gomez’s justforu to Bill’s own ambiguous blend of agitated noise and aching melancholy in the rare outing, VXOMEG and in a tormented but optimistic way mutual to the M E S H and Sky H1 cuts and especially TCF’s C6 81 56.
On one level Mono No Aware helps to rescue ambient music from the clutches of neo-classical bores, and on another helps to firmly place it within context of the modern world. It’s a brilliantly curated, hugely satisfying collection of tracks from a label that never seems to rest on its laurels.
Smooth-as-you-like compilation of rustic electronics from Dutch label Knekelhuis with stand-out tracks from Lara Sarkissian, Salamanda, and SSIEGE.
Last year Knekelhuis released "and felt like...", an introspective 10-track compilation that compiled sounds in the spirit of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell. This time the label's unifying theme is "rustic gloom", and they've picked another wide-ranging group of artists to represent that. Chicago-based dub ambient operative Purelink is first up with the gossamer 'Personal Velocity', a 3XL/West Mineral axis segment of blunted bliss that perfectly sets the mood. Tammo Hesselink's 'Half Learned' is another early highlight, sounding like '90s AFX with downtempo bumps and xenharmonic synths that graze against wormy, forest rave warbles - there's a lot of half-baked Artificial Intelligence-era fetishism going on right now but this track actually takes us right back.
Armenian-American DJ/producer Lara Sarkissian gives us a glimpse of her new direction with 'Eternal Repose', a swirling sonic fairytale that layers microscopic field recordings with blossoming flutes, digi-fucked string plucks and delirious synths - we need a whole album on this tip immediately. Elsewhere Cypriot shoegazer Spivak evokes Slowdive on 'The Fucking Bed on the Floor' (she's talking about Berlin, right?), Civilistjävel! update AFX's "SAW II" lucidity on 'Fyrkant', and Italian producer SSIEGE ends the set on a high note with the "Ico" soundtrack-like 'Virgo Oscura'. Very lovely stuff all round.
Hermione Frank joins the Smalltown Supersound family for her most confounding and satisfying set to date: unfurling four hypnotic long-form experimental workouts that drift thru heat-haze dub, freeform jazz, ambient electronix, tight club bumps and beachy neo-nu age wetness. RIYL Donato Dozzy, Huerco S., Batu, CCL or Laurel Halo.
rRoxymore's debut album "Face to Phase" was a welcome oddity when it materialized in 2019, a literate compound of ceramic dancefloor momentum and low-end horizontals that almost doggedly refused to attach itself to any obvious trends. It made sense given her sinuous musical history: an active part of Paris's hybrid music scene, playing jazz, house and hip-hop, Frank later moved to Berlin to investigate electronic music further, and widened her knowledge without narrowing her horizons. "Perpetual Now" is an extension of the efforts she's made over the last decade to formulate a unique musical signature, and at this point in her career she truly sounds distinct. Preferring glassy FM synths and obsessively hand-crafted percussive clangs to sample pack fodder and DAW presets, Frank has come up with a sound that straddles genres by necessity rather than by design. Her palette is as complex and fictile as anything you might excavate from the experimental world, but flows with the sensuality of the best deep house slow-burners, or the smokiest downtempo groovers.
Here Frank dispenses with pop pleasantries, directing her concepts into four lengthy movements that teem with life and tell a story that's layered and cursive. A skilled DJ as well as a thoughtful producer, she infuses each element with meaning, giving the music a level of mystery that rewards deep and repeat listens. Opening track 'At the Crest' is almost 10 minutes long and weaves mindfully thru razor-sharp abstraction, clubby low-end rumbles and ear-tickling psychedelic high frequency sizzles. It's musically not a million miles from Bristol's Livity Sound, but Frank brings a jazzy sensibility to her electronic productions, adding unexpected warmth and harmonic gesticulation to each composition. 'Sun in C' is even more open with its inspirations, cracking from a beatless 'French Kiss' interpolation into ambient free jazz, with dissociated blasts of sax expressionism draped across seismic sub bass rattles.
'Fragmented Dreams' rattles with the psychotomimetic intensity of Donato Dozzy or more recently, CCL. Frank's beats don't so much pound as float: her high end ticks like an ephemeral clock lost in its own bubble, while kicks roll like waves. All of this builds up towards the album's impressive final segment 'Water Stains', a rhythmic epic that stabilizes paper-thin insectoid kicks with machine-strength tom sounds and levitational new age pads. Still anchored to the momentum of contemporary club music, the track sounds as if it's out of time, assembled from unexpected sounds and driven towards an unknown location. Frank's power is her ability to spin coherent stories from a myriad of influences and experiences, and it's a privilege to be let into her world for a while. Huge recommendation.
Pristine, from Jacek Sienkiewicz, via Recognition Records.
"The sun, kissing the forehead through half-closed blinds; the night, coming uninvited through a windowpane like a damp, sticky shroud. Light and darkness, solid foundations and elusive glimpses of parallel realities. Armies of digital insects - taken aback by warmth of one brave heart, 90s chillout rooms updated for todays vast and desolated space full of fragile souls desperate in their look for any kind of communion; “artificial intelligence” after three decades of wandering, trying to finally find a helping hand, solace and peace. Shimmer and shine. Welcome to “Pristine”, a new recording from the mind of Jacek Sienkiewicz.
For the past years Jacek has been escaping his image of relentless producer and performer of driving, multi-layered club music. His most recent works include deep ambient records, abstract electro-acoustic experiments, and super smart, stripped-down yet incredibly complex contemporary electronica. The last few records, mostly on his own label Recognition include albums with Max Loderbauer and Atom™, reinterpretations of works by Bogdan Mazurek of the legendary Polish Radio Experimental Studio, scores for radio plays and last year’s massively overlooked “Krasz”, music for theatrical performance of Ballard’s/Cronenberg’s “Crash”.
“Pristine”, a labour of love, is at times abstract and atonal, at times breathtakingly beautiful and tender. Written and performed in Jacek’s unmistakable, singular style, and covering many grounds - abstract, electronic forms,neo-classical wonders, super tight compositions and freeform, jazz-like improvisations and stripped-down rhythms."
Roméo Poirier's third album is a perfect fit for Jan Jelinek's Faitiche label - using underwater speakers, a sample collection from his dad, and endlessly resampled loops, the sferic alum spins close-knit sounds into inverted dreamworlds that sound like Jelinek's own "Loop Finding Jazz Records" slowed to a crawl.
'Living Room' is the French producer's most autobiographical album yet, and as its title suggests, is pieced together from sounds close at hand. His starting points are often his own material, re-worked and re-sampled as a way of questioning and reworking his past, but here's where it gets really interesting. Poirier used a waterproof speaker and a hydrophone to attempt to create an aquatic world not unlike GRM legend Michel Redolfi's. This technique is particularly potent on tracks like 'Porte contre', where snatched instrumentation is diluted into fluid, tonal hydration.
Poirier used to be a drummer, so it's curious that the biggest difference between his material and that of his influences - Jan Jelinek particularly - is his interest in avoiding obvious rhythms. That's not to say "Living Room" is ambient music, but its pulse is as aqueous as many of its samples, rippling and teeming like a forest stream. The album is also the first time Poirier has used vocals, taken from his musician father's own sample collection. These elements perfectly feed into the Poirier's personal autobiographical narrative: just as he has dedicated himself to resampling and re-evaluating his own history, he's able to draw on his father's history too and add it to his palette. Quite lovely.
A real one for prog synth heads, Venezuela’s leading lady synthesist Oksana Linde unleashes her archive on record for the first time - RIYL Delia Derbyshire, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Otherworld
With only scant appearances on the cult ’SNX’ comp in 1985 and Mana’s ‘Dream Tech’ set of 2020 to her name, ‘Aquatic and Others Worlds (1983-1989)’ marks the debut release proper by Oksana Linde. The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants to Venezuela, Oksana was born in Caracas, 1948 and began making electronic music in the early ‘80s, when she quit her job to pursue music and art. Using a Polymoog synth, and later a TEAC open reel tape recorder and a Moog Source, she painted vivid widescreen synth scenes at her home studio which would remain unpublished and practically unheard during that era.
With benefit of hindsight, it’s quite possible to identify Oksana as Latin America’s answer to Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani or Laurie Spiegel, such is the classic charm of her music. From the swirling fantasia of ‘Intromersión’ thru the heroic fanfare pomp of ‘Descubrimiento’ thru the romantic promise of ‘Ensueño’ her music is sci-fi in scope and richly pulpy with it, swerving anything academic in favour of immersive, instrumentally narrative-driven works that sketch grand landscapes on the back of eyelids and lend a cinematic quality to headphone mooches.
Balmy ambient relaxants from Andrew Wilson (Andras Fox) and John Tanner (Eleventeen Eston)
"Wilson Tanner come to shore with a new album of floating melodies, lightly salted. Throwing electroacoustic conventions overboard, Andrew Wilson (Andras) and John Tanner (Eleventeen Eston) recorded this new work aboard a 1950s riverboat with a resourceful array of weatherproof electronic instruments and a long extension lead. These eight compositions pull in a by-catch of maritime folklore; of Siren and Selkie, Seagull and engine oil slick. A change of course from their debut album 69 (Growing Bin Records, 2016), the ambient temperature drops as II casts out to sea in uncertain weather and returns to the safe harbours of Port Phillip Bay.
The seafarers head out to My Gull’s poised optimism. The birds watch but do they listen? By the arrival of Loch and Key, the shoreline has dissolved completely, the boat floating in serene infinity as the rest of the world spins. Conditions soon take a treacherous turn on Killcord Pts I-III - a 12 minute odyssey that battens down the hatches as these sailors eye merciless waves and blinding ocean spray, jointly channelling Berlin-school electronics and sea legs. In the aftermath, the waterlogged bleeps of Idle survey the damage as our parched crew sound the distress signal and ultimately descend into delirium.
Known for navigating individual courses as solo musicians, Wilson and Tanner’s collective storytelling is saturated in detail, buoying between tension and harmony. II modestly stands as some of both artists’ most accomplished material.”
Seriously overproof levels of sexy ‘80s machine funk from Soundway, harvested by Argentine diggers Ric Piccolo and Ariel Harari and certain to ignite the best ‘floors.
After 20 years digging the depths of Afro-diasporic styles, Soundway turn their attention to the ends of South America with typically astute selection skills. Comparable with the classic levels of their ‘Onda De Amor (Synthesised Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94)’ session, the 19 nuggets on ’Síntesis Moderna’ are defined by a tougher machine momentum that echoes EU & US styles of the time, but with a certain sass and Tango rhythms that lend much of the material a vital below-the-belt thrust.
First conceived five years ago by diggers Ric Piccolo & Ariel harare, the set touches on a spectrum of styles spanning Italo Disco to post punk, jazz-fusion, Afro folk, ambient and techno pop, much of which has never been issued beyond Argentina’s borders. It all hails from the post-Falklands War era and the end of military dictatorship, reflecting a new found youth identity and links forged with the rest of the world, paralleling aspects of Spain’s late bloom grasp of machine/body music, too.
This guided tour kicks off with steely Sheffield-skooled electro echoes of Clock DVA and BEF in ‘Operative’ by Carlos Cutaia, and runs the voodoo down Latin America’s spine to El Signo’s slinky shuffle, twinkle-toed jazz-fusion from Adalberto Cevasco, cuboid sampler funk from Los Músicos Del Centro, Delight’s puckered disco swag and a class cut of slo-mo acidic electro-funk by Bad Girls. There’s an ESG-esque post-punk zinger in Carla Rab’s ‘Sexy Films’, and a Schulzian synth flare ‘Fuego’ to exemplify the range.
Carla Dal Forno presents a pitch-perfect 3rd album, and 2nd on her own Kallista label, informed by the swift pop structures of her DIY/post-punk forebearers Young Marble Giants, Virginia Astley, Broadcast - one of those records that sounds like a classic from the go.
Half a decade on from her much loved works for Blackest Ever Black, both solo and with F Ingers, ‘Come Around’ is a super hooky collection she describes as having “a lightness and openness to it, which I feel quite liberated by. It reminds me of a life I once had with very few responsibilities.” Its nine songs were written once she settled in the dense eucalyptus bushlands of Castlemaine, Central Victoria, after stints in Berlin and London that coloured her previous works. While those albums found succour in slow, balmy songcraft, this album feels even more precisely puckered, the songwriting more confident, enlightened, living up to comparisons with the mannered pose of Virginia Astley and breezy elegance of AC Marias in her own, modest way.
Equally adept at conjuring idyllic, pastoral whimsy as much as penetrative insights on love, friendship and anxiety, ‘Come Around’ is the sort of album that rewards repeat listens with a dependable bond. Its pacing beckons us in with the strolling bassline of ‘Side by Side’, and blue-skied feel of ‘Come Around’, where ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ evokes a languorous Aussieness in its spurred, baked tone. She strikes a balance of ennui and melancholy in ’Stay Awake’, an ode to insomnia, while her melodic lyricism is showcased beautifully in the instrumentals ‘Autumn’ and ‘Deep Sleep’ that approach a comfortable silence between friends, dips in the conversation between the more urgent ‘Slumber’ with Thomas Bush, and the strength in fragility found on ‘Caution’.
Peerlessly evocative and painfully sad material from Armenian duduk maestro Djivan Gasparyan, originally released on Brian Eno's All Saints imprint in 1993 and now finally remastered. Huge recommendation.
This is the one! Djivan Gasparyan's second album was produced by Brian Eno collaborator Michael Brook, who struck up a lengthy creative partnership with the duduk legend that resulted in a run of incredible material. Brook's recording is the icing on the cake here; Gasparyan's material was already heartbreaking and his playing is unmatched, and what makes "Moon Shines at Night" so crucial is that the physicality of Gasparyan's performance is finally completely chewable. Early evidence comes with 'Sayat Nova', a track named after one of Armenia's best loved poets - the subject of Sergei Parajanov's cult movie "The Color of Pomegranates". The character of the duduk is completely evident here; a double-reeded instrument, it's capable of sustaining a continuous drone (providing the player can master the circular breathing technique) while simultaneously being used to play evocative "vocal" lead sounds. And Brook's recording - almost without reverb and certainly with no additional mixing trickery - lets us bask in the instrument's mournful romance.
On '7th December 1988', a track memorializing the day Armenia was rocked by a disastrous earthquake, Gasparyan alternates between duduk and his own vocals, highlighting the interchangeability of each sound. The duduk's character is already so remarkably human, and playing with illusion in this way, Gasparyan only makes the connection even more obvious, and the sadness even more tangible. It's a technique he revisits on the album's slow closing track 'Mother of Mine', a piece that will leave you in no doubt of Gasparyan's rare talent. So, so good.
Robert & Ronald Lippok and Stefan Schneider’s trio of Peel Sessions as To Rococo Rot, recorded in Liverpool and broadcast on the BBC ’97-’99, become a testament to their early years - now preserved on wax with Bureau B, including a memorable dutch intro with peel on the opening.
An exceptional German band with feet in Düsseldorf and Berlin, To Rococo Rot represented a new strain of minimalist, instrumental, electronic pop and post-rock musik from their eponymous 1995 debut until they disbanded with ‘Instrument’ in 2014. Beloved in our quarters and stil holding influence over so much of what we hear today, the trio’s grasp of low-key intimacy, ruggedly slinky grooves and introspective, even romantic atmosphere has long coloured our listening lives and that of many others, so it’s a real pleasure to finally hear their recordings for John Peel’s legendary sessions sequenced and compiled.
Shuffling and crackling in the fissures of krautrock, ambient electronics, and post-rock, but also porous to airy downtempo jazz; To Rococo Rot cultivated a sound that feels eternally familiar, despite being practically unprecedented in their field at the time. While it’s not hard to hear shimmers of influence from early Kraftwerkian miniamlism to Neu!’s supple motorik pulse or the languid contours of Manual Göttsching in there, the two Lippok brothers and rhythm fiend Schneider distilled those elements to a gentle yet rudely purring sound that simply transcended their roots and made a virtue of finding natural nuance within established styles.
Their John Peel Sessions feature three exclusive works in the shuffling wheeze of ‘Glück’, the lo-slung pulse and elegance of ‘Esther’, and the ghostly sashay of ‘Glass’, alongside iteration of ‘This Sandy Place’ from their ‘TRRD’ (1998) collab with Daryl Moore that pre-echoes their influence on I-Sound’s Wasteland, and a number of joints found on the Mute-issued ‘The Amateur Hour’, notably the downtempo hustle of ‘A Little Asphalt here and There’, and the unfurling bleep fizz of ’Telelma’ and a blissed out ‘Prado’.
Star of Shannen SP’s ‘Amapiano Now’ comp, SA’s Teno Afrika tags in a classy pair of sultry vocals and collabs on his 2nd album of warm breeze pads and clockwork-hipped log drum pulses, via Awesome Tapes From Africa
Repping the sound of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, 22 y.o. Teno Afrika has become one of the most prominent producers of the region’s prevailing and resoundingly influential Amapiano style. A quintessential, mid-tempo distillation of grimy kwaito and electroid Gqom with US deep house, the sound is currently on heavy rotation between UK (where it’s sparked a time-honoured debate over what tempo it should be played) and certain clubs in NYC, locking crowds into the sort of bounce not heard since the heyday of UKF.
Lutendo Raduvha aka Teno Afrika’s 2nd album after 2021’s ‘Amapiano Selection’ witnesses him deftly tweaking the suspension systems with exacting bounce-per-ounce on eight proper pearls. The vocal cuts are obvious highlights, particularly the lip-bitingly sweet glyde of ‘Fall In Love’ with KayCee, warmly recalling Cooly G vibes, while the title tune bears the warm neo-soul of Leyla on velvet deep house slant. The others are deffo none too shabby too, bringing Don Diego in for the pensile hustle of ‘SK Love’, and the dark but frothy ‘AK Love’, while Stylo MusiQ helps spark off the low-glyding trance lines of ‘Duma ICU’. On a solo flex, the tense hunch of ‘Bells’ and the furtive melody of ‘Gomora Groove’ are unmissable.
Fleet-heeled house, broken beat, electro and dub-house finesse from the D.C. alum of Mister Saturday Night and World Building, doing it for Anthony Naples and co’s Incienso
Jacking classic club trades with a hands-on dexterity, Bangura leaves a subtly effective touch on each style in the ‘Wichita’ EP. The organ-riding house pumper ‘Barred Entry’ benefits form inch-tight tweaks to keep the ‘floor locked in, and ‘Mixed Signals’ gets looser with the drums in a jiggly D.C. style that splits difference between deep end Beautiful Swimmers and Karizma’s Baltimore templates with a chef’s kiss sample intoning “I know we ain’t kids”. ‘Monterrey’ switches style again to a hydrodynamic electro flex flickering with lithe Drexciyan funk, and the title tune is super deep dub house pearl sure to catch favour with connoisseurs.
A vinyl-only regression session of modal chopped & screwed trance and ambient dance music from Alexis Le Tan and Joakim’s super collectable Full Circle project, newly minted by Good Morning Tapes.
A febrile, downtempo melange of screwed classics and original productions, ‘From Back There Again’ is Full Circle’s 5th full-length session in this fertile zone of dance music’s imagination. Serving the spiritual need for slower, more sensual movements in light of the contemporary BPM arms race, Full Circle look back to go forward - or, more pertinently - perpendicular to the dance music continuum; corkscrewing classic early ‘90s trance and cosmic Italian disco models along lines of inspiration from Middle Eastern and Subcontinental musics to open dancers’ third eyes and weave their chakras into sexier shapes.
In the foggiest recesses of our memory, this kind of lark used to be so much more commonplace in the backrooms of clubs during the ‘90s and even into the early ‘00s, but has become lost-in-translation with successive waves of ravers expecting full throttle from start to finish, or at least a sort of escalating narrative arc. Full Circle stand for a sort of romantic counter-cultural aspect of dance music that feels more necessary now than ever.
‘From Back There Again’ is just the medicine; a bounty of sun-dazed goodness, balancing spangled bodies and minds between the plush synth dub sway of ‘Closed Eyes Open’ to super slinky Goa beatdown on ‘Percussive Silence’, the trance on 33-not-45 bliss of ‘Infernal Heaven’, beside the pill-belly lift of ’Shapeless Square’, piquant drug chug tang of ‘Human Alien’ and the unmistakeable edit of ‘Future Memories’, transporting us straight back to Autechre’s 4am-6am Disengage sessions on Kiss FM.
Breezy debut of no wave/free jazzed percussion and zonkkkked hypnagogic atmosphere by Inês Tartaruga Água & Xavier Paes’ duo on Porto-based Favela Discos
Xavier Paes arrives from duties on a succession of Favela Discos (In Trux We Pux Vol. 1 & 2, Milteto) to hash out the Dies Lexic with fellow multi-instrumentalist Inês Tartaruga Água, who makes their first recorded appearance on ‘Lexicon Hall’. Free of conceit, the album appears to be guided by a slow-burning intuition between passages of primordial percussion and wind recalling Zoviet France (‘Running Into The Dusk Having No Place To Go’), crankier no wave/post industrial trample echoing Bourbonese Qualk (‘Praying Machine’), and zoomorphic emulation (‘Birds Are Wind Vessels and We Blow’), before arriving at a standout 13 minute piece of 4th world drone meditation (‘Casa Arder’) redolent of Niagara at their furthest limits, and veering left into lysergic drone techno ambient noise (‘Light Addiction’) with a logic that becomes apparent through immersion.
Pure Raï fire from Algeria on the ever-searching Nashazphone label - an absolute must for anyone snagged on contemporary, Arabic North African music by EEK/Islam Chipsy or DJ Plead’s sunstroke ‘Relentless Trills’ classic.
Sending a plume of prevailing heat from the Oran region on Algeria’s Mediterranean coast, Cheba Wahida’s dead distinctive vocals, cloaked in autotune and set to whirling keys in pendulous syncopation, are some of the hottest we’ve heard in 2022. Her ‘Jrouli’ collection hails a newer, “feminized” wave of Raï artists from the region, and reaches our ears thanks to the democratisation of digital recording, and its dissemination via social media and 3G and 4G networks that sustain the scene’s underground rhizome beyond any official corporatised sponsorship or festivals.
Our northern British ears were first introduced to the sound of Raï via DJ/Rupture’s studious blogging in the ‘00s, and occasional reissues and YouTube dives, as well as cars blasting it out in Rusholme and Longsight have kept us snagged over the years, but this lot is the most significant to reach us in recent memory. It ideally showcases the influence of US R&B and dancehall’s Arabic-flavoured Diwali rhythm as much as its local folk roots to our outsider lugs, and parallels the international bloom of mahraganat, or electro-shaabi from Egypt, for loose reference.
Ultimately it’s proper road and party music that hits no matter your tongue or background, one flush with ear-worming, colourful hooks between the flute blasts of ‘Jrouli Jrouli’ and Cheba’s plangent cry on ‘Nta Elwa3er’, with the nattiest trample and trills in ‘3andah 3akliyet Daesh’, jiggy late ‘90s R&B flair of ‘Droussi Ga3 Tharsou’, and 8 minutes of lushly celebratory, communal sway and crowd noise in ‘Fel Nehar Akla Fe Lil Kbiba’, with its unmissable froth of choral sampler chops.
Just peak, dripping, high-heat madness.
Lynch protégé Dean Hurley meets the none-more-enigmatic Romance for a spellbinding, scanline-obscured examination of VHS-frazzled post-vapor euphoric melodrama on a feature-length episode resourced from YouTube’s shared memory banks.
Since joining forces with David Lynch on 2007’s 'Inland Empire’ as a sound supervisor, Dean Hurley has worked on the majority of his projects, most famously as a sound designer on 2017's ‘Twin Peaks: The Return'. On his own, Hurley has carved out a niche for a unique brand of burned melancholia that joins the dots between crumbled NYC illbient and stonewashed ambience - as heard on 2020's ace "Concrete Feather". Meanwhile, Romance, whoever they, he or she might be, has spent the last few years proving to us that high and low art can exist in perfect harmony, most recently sweeping Celine Dion samples into gut-wrenching Tarkovsky-esque mistral forms on the incredible 'Once Upon A Time'.
Together, the duo divine a masterstroke of concept and execution, ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ celebrates the pulpy, melodramatic appeal of daytime soap opera, and its now nostalgic allure, thru a finely smudged lens of rearranged samples from YouTube. Embracing the genre’s curdled glamour and heart-rending tension from temporally displaced, hauntological perspectives, the duo draw on rich online archives as well as personal repositories for a contemporary classic that echoes the groggy air of The Caretaker and Pinkcourtesyphone’s valerian vapours via mistily soft-focussed nods to Angelo Badalamenti and Mark Snow.
Bathed in absorbing soft focus and the faint promise of menace in the air, the 13-part suite drifts scene to scene with a heart-in-mouth quality and flicker of intrigue that evokes the genre’s hyper-melodramatic examinations of hidden terror, secret relationships and familial turmoil amidst the mundane landscape of the domestic interior. Like the work of Hurley’s peer, David Lynch, on the original Twin Peaks series, he and Romance wrest a poetry from banal conventions conceived to keep viewers hooked, dangling us by a silvery thread with their gripping yet ephemeral limning of life and death narratives and navigation of nostalgic chicanery.
On that very uncanny sweetspot somewhere between Laura Palmer home videos, The Caretaker’s blurred memories and BoC interludes, this album really is the very last word.
sferic mark 5 years of operations with a special deep dive into ancient/modern Mediteranean culture by Giovanni Napolano, usually known for crankier industro-dancehall output as NPLGNN (Reel Torque, Youth) as well as programming the wonderful MBE label (Beatrice Dillon, Conor Thomas, EVOL) - a proper RIYL Jay Glass Dubs, Christos Chondropoulos, Alan Lomax, DJ Screw, Coda Lunga.
Unfolding along two sprawling 15 min sides, Napolano stitches threads of chopped & screwed folksong with a discrete dub strategy, seamlessly leading the mind down labyrinthine ginnels of his imagination in a sort of uchronic regression session where the ghosts of the past inform the present. In the process it humbly speaks to Naples’ position at the frontier of the current migrant crisis, and necessarily takes a standpoint against Italy’s resurgent, nationalist fascism, revealing the beauty and energy of its indigenous mixture of peoples, rather than erecting borders between them.
Taking his native Naples as a locus of Mediteranean culture, Napolano plunges the port city’s palimpsest of energies embedded by successive waves of Greek, Northern African & Eastern migration to discover an underlying, rhizomic connection and commonality linked by dub and hip hop as a contemporary iteration of folk music.
Under its titular, mythical metaphor for the fall of Babylon, and usage in Rastafari culture, ‘Le Macerie Di Babilonia’ imaginatively examines a sense of self via a historic lens, drawing on Napolano’s upbringing in the chaotic port city and his autodidactic research into the rich mosaic of Napolitan heritage, to model how a folk class solidarity and shared character, with its own rules and rituals, has emerged from its syncretic milieu.
Variously a treatise on provenance; an impressionistic tale of the European north meets a global south; a dub-abstracted, allegoric, ethnomusicological collage; ‘Le Macerie Di Babilonia’ is a fascinating and immersive listen that presents its maker’s dilated world view at its most mesmerising.
Veteran French duo Principles of Geometry look back to Warp's "Artifical Intelligence" era for this new 'one. Think AFX, D'Arcangelo, Speedy J, BoC, Two Lone Swordsmen.
We never thought we'd see the day IDM and bleep techno's early days were more of a reference point than they were in the late 1990s and early '00s. At the time, we'd convinced ourselves that the entire genre was devouring itself ouroboros style, and when it petered out we figured it might stay buried. Not so, it feels like in the AI era, vintage IDM is fully back in vogue - check the newie from Daniel Avery for exhibit A.
"ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ" is a more wholehearted approximation though. The baseline influence is early AFX material (those ever-so-slightly microtonal leads) but there's plenty of wonky 16-bit electro (D'arcangelo), melancholy pads (Board of Canada), and rampant breaks (Squarepusher). Lead single 'Cmd Ctrl' sounds as if it could have been an unreleased demo from "Hi Scores", and 'RAM' sounds like an Incunabula outtake. Would love to say there's something more at play here - but it's all very accurate, very knowing pastiche - so if you like that sorta thing, jump in.