Techno hypnotist, Rrose, returns to Eaux with the pocket watch attractions of 'For Aquantice'. Made up like the unholy offspring of Papa Lazarou and Norman Bates in mummy's boy mode, Rrose peddles three patented and mindbending wormholes, subtly sucking us in with Eleh-esque purist sine tones to the rasping rhythmic skeleton of 'Levitate' and the recursive abyss of 'Vellum' on the A-side, whereas the sleek, pulsating throbs and spiralling oscillations of B-side's 'Signs' take hold with intra-venus strength and potency. They're proper deep brain and tissue stimulators.
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
Sandwell's anonymous entity serves two more tracks of needling, tunnelling Techno following the excellent 'Motormouth Variations' LP.
A-side is the kinetic corrugations of 'Shepherd's Brine', an acrid stretch of strobing pulses, circuit noise and chugging, insistent bass. Flipside 'Waterfall' is noisier, biting down on teeth-knocking handclaps and tinfoil synth tones until the whole experience becomes viscerally intense and slightly masochistic. The heads will love it.
Richard D James' classic album from 1992, re-pressed countless times but still sounding as vital and impoirtant as it did way back when. Still probably the most uplifting and nostalgic thing in the AFX catalogue...
Axiom has significant historical importance by being what is quite possibly the first European free jazz record, even if it was not released at the time.
"Recorded in Copenhagen in October 1963, it should have been Tom Prehn Quartet´s debut album for the Sonet label. But by the time the test pressings arrived, a couple of months later, the music already sounded old to them and Sonet subsequently pulled the plug. A few sleeves and labels had been printed but only two complete copies survived, making it one of the rarest jazz albums ever.
Axiom is expressive, full frontal free jazz of the highest order, and to think it was created by Danish musicians, most of them barely into their twenties, in 1963, is frankly mind-boggling. On the other hand, Scandinavian audiences, especially in Denmark and Sweden, had already welcomed controversial musicians like Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor with open arms.."
Following on from that hugely sought-after Green Graves issue by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Hospital Productions re-examine the longstanding intersection of Industrial and Ambient music on this exceptional collaboration between two of the label’s most interesting producers.
Originally released in a private press run of handmade tapes, the collaboration was made in person with Alberich and Lussuria making use of digital synths in homage to that distinctly European scene of the mid 90’s that combined hardcore Industrial textures with Ambient pulses. It’s a sound you’ll be familiar with if you’ve immersed yourself in the most unnervingly quiet sections of the last few Prurient albums, building a kind of futuristic soundscape situated somewhere between David Lynch, Kevin Drumm and a more dystopian variant of Brad Fiedel’s distinctive soundtrack to The Terminator.
Alberich’s instinct for harsh propulsive rhythms is here tempered by Lussuria’s weird topography, the digital rendering adding a kind of artificial foundation quite removed from the throbbing earthiness you’d find on a hardware session. Instead, the more linear trajectory of so many dark Ambient excursions is replaced with a constantly shifting landscape, veering from an oddly displaced vocal narrative into pounded, crumbling rhythms at some points, while those sinking subbass sands keep things resolutely atmospheric for the duration.
There are no concessions to that blackened aesthetic here, if you were into Green Graves or want to immerse yourself in one of the most brutally atmospheric albums you’ll hear this year, we urge you to check it out.
Bartolomé Sanson and Félicia Atkinson’s amazing Shelter Press label keeps its boundaries fluid, porous with Camo; a bewildering and beguiling blend of field recordings and post-techno abstraction woven into uniquely polymetric, insectoid techno designs by Felicity Mangan and Stine Janvin Motland’s Native Instrument.
Centred on Mangan and Gotland’s archive of fauna recordings made on location in Australia and North Europe, Camo works to a subtly ambiguous agenda, bending our perceptions between rural, human and electronic sound sources without ever letting on to the real source, in effect bridging natural and synthetic representations as part of an honourable tradition reaching right back to Messiaen mimicking bird song on the piano.
Camo unfolds as four sound images presenting the true artificial nature of Native Instrument. With Deep Frog we could be listening to a plainchant chorus of green fellas or a drone race, both egged on by a flock of birds, whilst Vögel Unserer Heimat opens to a racket of running water whooping macaques and busied insectoid pulses building to a purposeful techno march.
Waldfest follows in pursuit of a more crepuscular scene threading Donato Dozzy-esque pulses thru an intensely detailed pastoral scene of chattering dolphins and panicked cicadas - we’ve no idea what they’re doing together on the Wald, either - before Emutional Flutes rotates a crackly narration from a nature documentary amid a call centre of nattering feathered creatures, striking a very odd and disorienting balance of stasis and psychotomimetic repetition maybe best termed as amphibian trance...
Fiction / Non Fiction is a wonderful debut album of quietly inquisitive and poetic compositions from Olivier Alary - the Montreal-based Frenchman with form for Rephlex (as Ensemble) and Björk (production on Medulla and Voltaïc) - offering an absorbing suite of instrumental soundtrack works produced alongside Johannes Malfatti and various members of the Montreal firmament for some ten arthouse films from the last decade.
FatCat’s modern classical outpost 130701 play willing host to this compilation of Alary’s film work, sequencing an hour of music from the Frenchman’s past five years of soundtrack compositions. There is a clear and soothing sense of flow to ‘Fiction / Non-Fiction’ despite the fact it’s been pulled from a variety of film sources, dates and locations, and this is obviously down to Alary’s talent as a composer and musician.
Commencing with a pair of tracks from Alary’s contribution to Yung’s Chang’s award-winning 2012 boxing documentary ‘China Heavyweight,’ the album retains an evocative poise as he eases through an assemblage of instruments. Nestled in amidst the soundtrack work are two compositions Alary recorded specifically for this album that further enlighten us to his unerring instrumental skill. Pulses (For Percussion) is a sumptuous exercise in polyrhythmic harmony using gong, marimba and vibraphone whilst Pulses (For Winds) works similar wonders with an array of woodwind.
It definitely recalls a whole host of experimental works from the world famous Montreal scene, but also dovetails with the recent brace of scores by Jóhann Jóhannsson as well as Stars Of The Lids’ solemn airs, whilst the composer also finely incorporates nods to Julia Wolfe, Julius Eastman, and the GRM within his uniquely coruscating and tenderly decayed post-tonal timbres.
One of our fave Finnish loons, Jan Anderzen a.k.a. Tomutonttu offers a most absorbing episode of melting electronic exotica, in the process doubling his tally for Luke Younger’s Alter label some seven years since his 7” split with 0PN.
Kevätjuhla was created as the soundtrack to a visual, sculptural installation of the same name, “a listening station that sought a bound between sound, the earth and organic matter”, and mirrors that installation’s make-up of wires poking from dirt, and scores made of organs peel and party debris, in a a typically warped, bittersweet and off-centre selection of sounds which flow into one another with a sort of supernatural, organic form.
For anyone familiar with Tomutonttu’s work pre-2012, it’s very easy to hear how well he’s consolidated the visual and aural aspects of his art within Kevätjuhla. Where previous pieces were prone to delirious fractal crystallisation that maybe required a modicum of concentration or a deeply altered state to comprehend, these pieces flow in uniquely resolved and strange quantum paradoxes, as though he’s merging tracks from multiple, discreet dimensions into para-dimensional delta of psilocybic folk, digi-dancehall and tropical lounge jazz.
Imagine Mike Cooper meeting SKRS Intl at Spencer Clark’s imaginary beach hut and you’ve got almost got the measure of Operaatio satamassa, whilst Tinhentyvästä harpusta - Tarjous sounds like magick lagoon of frolicking merfolk and the exquisite Kuinka voin auttaa feels out a hyaline dreamspace between K. Leimer and Visible Cloaks, and Kuteen salon I - Lukin jack pursues that vibe between the contrail coattails of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the endearing messes of Eric Copeland.
Rough Trade squeeze more emotive bombast out of Anohni on this companion piece to last year’s ‘Hopelessness’ album.
The ‘Paradise’ EP collates material from the same sessions as last year’s 0PN and Hud Mo-produced Anohni LP, so it’s no surprise to find it continues the musical and politically agitating themes of ‘Hopelessness’.
Leaning in quietly with the ambient sorrow of In My Dreams, Hud Mo’s rhythmic cush comes to the fore with the ripe trap rollage and purple grade synth searage of Paradise. Hud Mo’s behind the buttons influence continues with the fluttering Oriental beatdown of Jesus Will Kill You, complemented superbly by Anohni’s downbeat delivery. You Are My Enemy offers a moment of subdued contemplation before the warped side of Anohni comes the fore on the vibrant, angered pop of Ricochet.
Soul Jazz return from Haiti for the 3rd time with another unmissable collection of pure percussive vodou from The Dreamers of The Société Absolument Guinin, following from Spirits of Life: Haitian Vodou (2005), and Voodoo Drums (2005).
Back in 1804, Haiti was the first Caribbean island to gain independence from its slave owners and a fundamental part of that revolt was down to the way its displaced population found unity thru religion and percussive communication, adapting and mutating their mix of deeply rooted West African drum rituals - as practiced by the Fon and Ewe, and incorporating elements of Yoruba and Kongo cultures as well as indigenous Taíno beliefs - into a new, syncretic language of spirituality and rhythmelodic meaning which couldn’t be understood by oppressive ruling classes, and could be used to encrypt non-verbal messages between the island’s many respective groups.
Bearing that in mind, Haiti therefore developed one of the richest percussive traditions in the world, which has more or less become a byword for rhythms that possess the mind, body, and soul like few others. And that’s exactly what you’ll find inside Drums In Haiti 2: The Living Gods of Haiti; a gripping, totally hypnotic set of 16 rituals that demand the attention of any and all DJ, dancers, rhythm-obsessed anthropologists and bored congregations looking for a new religion. The religion of the rhythm.
Produced by Spoon and Dave Fridmann ‘Hot Thoughts’ reunites the band with the label that released their 1996 debut, ‘Telephono’ and follows Spoon’s streak of three consecutive US Top 10 albums.
"Within the space of 10 captivating songs – all written by Britt Daniel - ‘Hot Thoughts’ creates a musical universe all its own, with individual worlds ranging from the kaleidoscopic opening / title track, through the gargantuan stomp of ‘Do I Have To Talk You Into It’ and ubiquitous wiry hooks of ‘Can I Sit Next To You’ to the bittersweet ‘I ain’t the One’ and beyond."
Tech-house producer experiments with electronic and classical music.
“Marc Romboy presents his upcoming album “Voyage de la planète” his first solo full-length production in over eight years. Released on his newly launched Hyperharmonic label, Voyage de la Plantète signifies an exciting new chapter for Marc as he experiments with his sound - pushing the boundaries between classical and electronic music to create both an emotional and atmospheric experience.
The first impression of this new sound can be heard on album opener forerunner 10“ „Monde futuriste“ (February 17th 2017) which blends together beautiful strings and soft flittering synths. „Jules Verne“ named after the French science fiction writer, combines echoing arpeggios and a subtle woodwind harmony to create a cosmic soundscape. Whilst „Atome de danse“, „Symphonie oblique“ and „La machine du temps“ use elegant strings to further enhance an unearthly effect, title track „Voyage de la planète“ mixes the two mediums together with fluttering synths and somber strings before „La lune et l’étolie“ builds introduces the bustling sound of the piano to create an upbeat melody.
Whilst there is a strong classical influence, there are tracks on the album that reference Marc’s electronic background. This can be heard in „L’univers étrange“, which has an ambient sound, whilst pitched-down chords take „L’universe parallèle“ to a dark and moody space. „Phénix“ is a bass-driven track, layered with crashing synths, taking the journey to a high before the celestial experience draws to a close on an uplifting note with „Nocturne“ a laid-back soothing track that exudes optimism and wonderment.
Inspired by a concert with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra where he performed Claude Debussy works in a contemporary way, “Voyage de la planète” signifies the start of a new chapter for Marc Romboy. Combining the strange, fascinating sounds of electronic music with the sublime beauty of classical music to create an extraordinary sonic experience for the listener.”
Stealthily hypnotic, subtly proggy dub techno from Detroit’s Luke Hess, back in the Hood Mode mindset of his 2016 turn for 15 Years Of Echocord; working three supple and slinky grooves streaked with night-vision synth pads and underlined by signature, thick and lustrous basslines.
Myriads is the one, we tell ya.
Mystic downbeat vibes from Tel Aviv, percolating up on Iueke’s Paris-based Antinote.
Made for beachside bars and hot nights, the Sfarot EP blends klezmer horns with wistful 4th world gestures and cool, rolling dub grooves, hashing out a hypnotic sound between the wavy bump and chanting kids of Sfarot and its dub muggier intro dub underneath, then stepping out into what sounds like a long lost proto-Goa, Italian cosmic or Balearic gem in the spiralling blue scales, pealing sax and slo-mo hustle of Harabait.
Reeking of amyl and sweaty darkrooms, Digital Poodle’s Soul Crush bubbles back up from ’92 armed with its original Zoviet-France remix and now packed with a strapping industrial techno version from Adam X.
The kinky 100bpm trills and squally Ministry vox of the original are right on the cusp of a kinky late ’80s/early ‘90s EBM sound, which Zoviet France dose up and ride out for a full 13 minutes of phantasmagoric darkroom hallucinations.
For a bitter cherry on top, Adam X locks the original elements to stentorian kicks at 125bpm for leathered stompers.
One of the shining, pivotal lights of Germany’s early ‘80s NDW movement, Din A Testbild are subject to a reissue of Programm 3 , which originally arrived 2 years after their seminal debut couplet of electronic explorations for Klaus Schulz’s Innovative Communication.
Headed up by the band’s one constant member Mark Eins, Din A Testbild also includes Ziggy Schöning (keyboard, sequencer programming) and Gina Faust (vocals) amid their “fluctuating conglomerate” for this session.
It’s arguably more whacked out and druggy than it’s predecessor’s zippier avant-pop bits, tracing a wonky late night line from the K-Hole descent of The Person (part 1) thru the clipped machine funk and whorl of smudged porno samples in No Satisfaction, before a very GPO-sounding Mark Eins joins in on vocals and some of thee most messed up synth squiggle you could hope for, and it winds back to pure sleaze in The Call OF Lust.
On the other side, the keening dissonant lather of Naked Beach sounds like a template for so many messed up electro experiments to come, and the slithering loops of The Person (part 2) and the screwed slug of Going Tutu are effectively squalid bedroom/basement music, best known as trip hop, come 20 years early.
Dawn Richards and Machinedrum entwine one of 2016’s most adventurous R&B albums in Redemption, unpackaging the promise of their Not Above That anthem across a suite of idiosyncratic vocal twists and flighty, vibrant production.
Looking like the starchild of Sun Ra on the front cover, D∆WN really sets to work defining her sound in freestyling opposition to the rest of the scene, embracing a palette of giddy tweaks and unexpected pivots that make the former member of girl group, Danity Kane, stand out a mile on her own terms.
The Redemption LP is literally and conceptually cleft in two parts that correspond to the yin and yang of D∆WN’s chimeric aesthetic. On the one hand, you have the lushly spacious and vertiginous A-side, freewheeling from ascendent new age plumes to teetering dance-pop zingers in Love Under Lights and the brassy bedspring bounce of Renegades, via the ecstatic Black Crimes and weightless thizz of Voices with its spiralling ululations. Allow the guitars on LA, tho.
However, on the flipside, she appear to temper those experimental urges into a subtler run of rugged and bittersweet songs, tipping in with the bleep-gilded swang of Lazarus before tucking the vibe deeper with the RiRi-esque Tyrants and the chiming downstroke of Vines in duet with PJ Morton, prior to really dimming the lights for the pitch-bent rhodes of Sands and fading to close in symphonic style with the aching R&B folk essence of The Louvre.
Gorgeous ambient music. RIYL Satie, Elodie, AFX, Eno
First Meeting, as the title cannily suggests, forms a very welcome introduction to the wonderfully charming and expressive ambient music of Belgium’s Dominique Lawalree. Aye, we’ve never heard of him before, either. But he’s been recording since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label and counts Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music, so consider this first-ever retrospective of his recordings as an essential catch-up.
Entirely drawn from self-released titles c. 1978-1982 on Lawalree’s Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in nine parts - so quiet and intimate in fact that we feel like a privileged fly on the high ceiling of his apartment studio, twitching our antenna whilst the baby-faced maestro sups an Orval and strokes his keys and synths into thee sweetest tapestries.
In the enlightening liner notes by Britton Powell, Lawalree’s music is perfectly described as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” when compared with the music of Satie and Eno, with whom he clearly shares an affinity for subtle and meditative musicality, but the distinction lies in the inherent surreality of his music and its ability to entice and encourage closer listening, where the others tend to be background or static.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to his music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; always with a careful pop-ness that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom he’s currently working on a series of books analysing their music second-by-second, and has led him to meetings with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, where he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
Ah this record is just a dream. Warmest recommendations.
Mangled hiphop/noise/techno amalgams from new Young Turker Nolife.
The unpredictable Young Turks A&R comes good again with this collection of sonic warfare from NYC by way of Albany, NY producer NOLIFE.
Pillaged from Bandcamp off the back of a limited, self-released tape, Brooklyn sewer dweller NOLIFE delivers a veritable sonic assault on life in NYC that sorta sounds like Prurient producing for Death Grips.
Screaming into gear with the violent storm that is UNKNOWN, NOLIFE briskly displays a canny knack for squeezing all the latent brutality out of harsh riffs, occasionally dipping into horrorcore dubstep and ending on the Demdike violating boom bap sounds of UNCARING.
A nice transatlantic counterpart to the deconstructed hardcore tropes of his YT labelmates Amnesia Scanner.
Breezing in from the swelling Vancouver scene, four languorous analog house and electro drifters from E. Benaroch a.k.a. ESB a.k.a. Electric Sound Broadcast for the Echovolt cats outta A’dam.
The Lovesteady EP sounds like good, good weed, getting up in your head with the wafting dub chords and mellow bob of You Can Be and the creamy, eye-sparkling lungful of deep house in Finedrawn Overcast, whilst flipside burns with a free-floating garage house flux in Sole Eterna, and keeps the vibe glyding into Echoplex.
Cherry-picking selection of rare new wave demo tapes recorded c. 1981 and submitted to pivotal Amsterdam venue De Koer, now rounded up by Dutch house and techno legend Eddy De Clerq.
Fair to say that we know less about the Dutch post-punk and new wave scene than many other countries so this set holds some canny historical value at the very least but the tracks inside are thankfully worth your time, too.
Plucking favourites, Lee Randaldo and co’s hot-stepping Big Man as Plus Instruments is up there, as is Mekanik Kommando’s skronky twyster Money For Pleasure and the dark, hard but slightly daft charge of Minny Pops’ State Of Mind (Demo), and likewise the flashes of funked-up synth brilliance from Motel Bakossa and The Mutant Jasz’s very Ludus-like Gold Square Garden.
Konami's Largange Point is often seen as the high technical watermark in Famicom/NES chiptune music. This Japan-only release contained a special memory mapper chip (the VRC7) that enabled the cartridge to produce FM synthesis, giving it a quality that no other Famicom/NES game can compete with.
"Lagrange Point is a wholly unique specimen for the Famicom and Ship to Shore is proud to present the first ever official Western release of the score. Composed by the legendary Konami Kukeiha Club, with some input from Japanese recording artist Akio Dobashi (REBECCA), the score makes full use of theaforementioned VRC7 to create an incredibly atmospheric experience. You've certainly never heard your Famicom, or your turntable, emit sounds like this! Featuring artwork by Drew Wise and liner notes by USgamer.net's Jeremy Parish."
After his highly acclaimed "A Requiem For Edward Snowden“ LP, Matthew Collings returns with a collaboration with Swedish sound artist Dag Rosenqvist, aka Jasper TX.
"Hello Darkness“ is dark and it is bleak and it’s fragmented. It feels like those days when you want to just annihilate everything, and then stare at a river. It demands your attention. It sounds like it’s breaking from the inside. It’s serious. And not.
Rosenqvist & Collings started their work on „Hello Darkness“ already back in 2012, right after they had released the Wonderland EP (on Hibernate Recordings). There really were no guidelines or rules for what they were going to create, they just wanted to make music together, and surprisingly it came naturally, and felt pretty good ...
This turned out to be one of those collabs that are kind of off and on. At times both were too busy with other things, and so sometimes months would pass between working sessions. And when they picked it up again, most of the times they had basically forgot where they left off, having to retrace their steps, remember things, re-create ideas, trash ideas that didn’t work, misplace tracks and sounds only to add them to songs they weren’t meant to be a part of. Rosenqvist & Collings worked destructively from processed stereo tracks with botched fade-ins, scrapping entire sessions and adding new layers and sounds of all kinds, letting it go in any directing it needed to, adding different time signatures on top of each other, turning sounds and entire tracks inside out and upside down. They found a freedom to go in any direction they wanted to, free from what they’ve done before, free from any expectations on both each other and from anyone else.
Despite all of this, there is a humour to the album. There’s something tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. This was also one of the reasons they choose to go with the title of the album, which is – in all honesty – slightly over the top. This was also the commission when creating the cover design. No holds barred, no restrictions.”
Another absorbing side from Belgium’s Okraïna Records; a suite of floating songs inspired by Persian classical music and woven with harmonium and acoustic organs...
“Léonore Boulanger and Maam-Li Merati met each other in Paris in 2011 at a concert of Azerbaijani Master-Musician Alim Qasimov and his daughter Ferghana Qasimova. Maam-Li Merati is an Iranian musician that was born in Kermanshah, near the Iraqi border. In addition to having a Doctor in Musicology, he has worked with artists such as Iranian singer Shahram Nazeri and French novelist and Luis Bunuel’s screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (for a project devoted to 13 th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi). Shortly after their meeting, Maam-Li Merati started to teach the art of Persian classical music to Léonore Boulanger, a young French musician that released three albums on the multi-faceted label Le Saule.
During the spring of 2015 they recorded some first lyrical odes, some dastgāhs for two voices and traditional string instruments that would later become the sides A and C of the La Maison d’amour double ten inch on Okraïna. Later, Matthieu Ferrandez, church organist and researcher in electronic music, joined them for sides B and D weaving a cosmic lace, with the sighs of harmonium and acoustic organs.
"You, you traded me for nothing
Me, I still choose that I wouldn't trade a single hair yours
for the entire world"
Saadi Shirazi (13th century)
In the ancient modes of the Radif – a repertoire classified during the Qajar dynasty between 1840 and 1920 – the love poetry of the 13th and 14th century is replayed, brought back to life.”
First ever release - on any format! - of Din A Testbild’s rejected and long-lost, but totally amazing, 4th album from 1983, engineered by Manuel Göttsching and sounding like a Drexciyan prototype....!!!
Mannequin Records have gone above and beyond to pluck out Din A Testbild’s previously unreleased and never-before-heard Programm 4, written and composed by Mark Eins in West Berlin near the Wall in 1983, all engineered by Manuel Göttsching and with tapes newly “imported and processed” by the group’s one time member Frieder Butzman. If that sentence doesn’t whet your whistle we simply can’t help you!
Slotting a once mythical piece of the NDW puzzle into place, the frenetic and blinding Programm 4 was initially deemed too “synth/punk/techno” by Klaus Schulze’s Innovative Communication and bafflingly remained on ice until Alessandro Adriani convinced Mark Eins to relinquish what turns out to be the fastest, maddest number in the DAT catalogue, over 30 years later.
The four A-side tracks are just astonishing, working with the same set-up as previous records, but turning in what sounds like a set of Detroit electro prototypes between the hard-stepping funk of West Berlin/Tegel Airport and the chaotic chromatic propulsion system of Cold War, whilst Frontstadt veers off of a wild tangent of tangled arpeggios and and orgiastic noise animations that’s just left us gawping, saving what sounds like a long-lost Drexciya missile with West/Berlin Underground just to show off. Oh yeh, and not to mention an 18 minute B-side track that sounds like Krautrock drained of all colour and fed to a pit of rabid, snarling drum machines and phet-riddled punk gremlins in Ost/Berlin.
Fuuuuckkk, this is soooo goooood!
Pentagram Home Video return with a sophomore record for Death Waltz Originals.
"Continuing the (satanic) path carved out on their debut LP 'Who's Out There' Broody analog electronics weave in between a thumping kick drum and snares that can snap a back at 50 paces.
What Pentagram does with the 80's infused synth template is give it space to breathe. His music is as much about what's happening inbetween the bass stabs as the actual melodies themselves which gives his music an other worldly feel, the only person you could even mildly compare him too is Pye Corner Audio. In a world full of retro synth merchants PHV stand out because there is no hint of cheesy 80's revisionism here, the music is dark, forboding and very eerie indeed.”
Touching renditions of stories recounted by folk at an all-male elderly people’s care home
“When David Greenberger first embarked on what has become a life-long journey, drummer Chris Corsano was not yet five years old!
“In 1979, after graduating from art school in Boston, Greenberger took the job of activities director at the Duplex Nursing Home, an all-male elder care facility in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and began collecting the stories, poems and music reviews of its aged patients for what became his Duplex Planet project, and undertaking that would eventually encompass nearly 200 issues of a digest-sized magazine, a series of CDs, books, comics, and performance art. Eventually the nursing home closed, but David has remained engaged in what has become the central art form of his life: the “art of conversation.”
Three decades later Chris Corsano set in motion the project you have before you. With guitarist and banjo player Glenn Jones, a longtime friend of both Greenberger and Corsano, the three began recording in Greenberger’s living room in upstate New York. In just three days, with no advance preparation, they recorded the 28 tracks that make up An Idea in Everything. Corsano improvised, Jones invented new tunings for his banjo and guitar on the fly and Greenberger selected and read stories in direct response to the music. Everything was spontaneous and live.
Despite the dark and sad feeling of some of the texts (dealing with aging, memory loss, etc.), there is also humor, joy and grit. Jones recalls the recording session as fun, playful, excitingly engaging.
The resulting album is a rollercoaster of emotions, a glittering patchwork of sonic atmospheres and an oral encyclopedia on dozens of subjects (coffee, cigarettes, planets, art . . . life . . . and death) convincing us that, indeed, there is An Idea in Everything!”
Tresor’s 25th Anniversary compilation finds the label looking inwards to discover its strengths in depth and consistency thru 10 powerful, atmospheric cuts ranging from blissed, dark ambience to roiling acid, reaffirming a crucial, underlying sense of psychedelia that has long been at the core of techno proper, yet is all too often overlooked or misunderstood. Includes exclusive versions of tracks from Terrence DIxon, Juan & Moritz, Donato Dozzy, Jon Hassel, TV Victor and more.
Dreamy Harbor is not necessarily an ‘ambient’ album per se, nor a dancefloor selection for that matter. It aims somewhere between the eyes, inducing hypnotic states thru explorative, intuitive frequency manipulation and a host of other, esoteric techniques in pursuit of psychedelic creativity.
If you’re looking for highlights, check the new trippy, expanded new edit of Terrence Dixon’s The Switch - which was found on the CD version of From The Far Future Pt.2 - then the rounded new edit of Electric Dub, which was a highlight of Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald’s Borderland LP, and also for the rolling, haunted pressure system of Mønic’s What Lies Behind Us; that seriously murky 303 action on Donato Dozzy’s The Night Rider; and a pair of lusher wormholes in Jon Hassell’s exclusive Timeless, and a sci-fi epic, Direction Asymmetry from Daughter Produkt.
First ever reissue of an obscure-as-you-like electrosoul bomb from Sydney, Australia, 1989!
Shahara-Ja was apparently a staple on the wedding and nightclub circuit circa the time of his sole release, I’m An Arabian Knight but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to get the record noticed and most of the stock was destroyed.
Mercifully some copies were saved from vinyl hell and have made their way into mixes of late, which is where Left Ear stepped in and dusted it down for this necessary reissue, reanimating the slick slyde of I’m An Arabian Knight, whose vocals actually sounds closer to Jacko than the Egyptian Lover cues you might expect, whilst the instrumental reveals its tehcnicoloured middle eastern riffs on the B-side and also in an Extended Funky Mix with pinging rimshots dating it firmly to the late ‘80s.
Chain Of Flowers is a dense eight-track opus of heavy shoegaze sonics and urgent post-punk.
"The band’s razor sharp attention to classic songwriting nous means the record dips and dives between euphoric, hazy melody (‘Glimmers Of Joy’) and overwhelming gloom (‘Bury My Love’), all whilst retaining a breathless pace. Lead track ‘Crisis’ epitomises this frantic personality exquisitely, skirting between sludgy atmospherics and hardcore’s punchy immediacy with aplomb.
The six-piece sowed their seeds through the release of six songs over the past three years (via the band’s own Swine Language tape label), cutting their teeth on dates alongside Iceage, Cremation Lily, The Fall, The Smear, Shallow Sanction, Eagulls, Nothing and more before decamping to Monnow Valley for the four-day session that spawned their debut LP. “We dropped ourselves into the middle of nowhere and hammered it out with next to no sleep available to us. The urgency and delirium of the situation helped us,” explains the band’s vocalist Joshua Smith.
“Though we only had 96 hours in a studio to physically make it what we wanted, this record is the product of our last three years as a band and beyond that as individuals. We spent a lot of time in our space writing these songs and we’ve also spent a lot of time ironing them out through playing as and when and wherever we have been able to. ”Mixed over six months by New York-based Ben Greenberg (Uniform, The Men, Pygmy Shrews), the LP sees Chain Of Flowers break free of their locality. “It’s been a drawn out but very necessary sonic exorcism for us,” explains Josh. “We are happy that it will see the light of day.”"
Amazing, fascinating history lesson wrapped up as an exteded composition for vocal and self-built synth. Originally issued on tape in 1991, now on vinyl for first time.
““Yiddish-Speaking Socialists of the Lower East Side” by Ed Sanders (b. 1939, founder of the mythical Fugs in 1964; also writer, publisher, activist, etc.) is an epic piece of almost 18 minutes’ length, a vocal setting of a dense and reasoned text that runs to 8 typed pages, 1400 words, 8500 characters. First issued on cassette in 1991 by the label Hyperaction P.C.C., the piece recalls an almost fifty-year history of Jewish militancy in New York by poetic means – combining historical scholarship, emotion and clarity the echoes of the past found in the present: of the pogroms and escape from Eastern Europe in the 1880s up to the death of Meyer London, the Socialist member of Congress, in 1926 (not overlooking exile, the crossing of the Atlantic, arrival at Ellis Island, back-breaking work in the sweatshops, the creation of political parties and trade unions, the outbreak of the First World War – the rupture in the narrative caused by this is marked here by the passage from the A-side to the B-side of the record). This is a literary project that is simultaneously ambitious and highly personal and which cannot help but recall America, a History in Verse, which has occupied Ed Sanders for almost 15 years and which, over more than 3000 pages, recounts in verse the history – both poetic and political – of the United States.
For this recording (solo… and mono) of “Yiddish-Speaking Socialists of the Lower East Side”, Ed Sanders accompanies himself on a “pulse lyre”, a small, finger-operated synthesizer which he invented himself in order to accompany the declamation of his texts in the manner of the acoustic lyre used by the ancient poets (Sanders studied Greek at university).
“Yiddish-Speaking Socialists of the Lower East Side” is a text (and a recording) of dual resonance: animated by the fits and starts of history as well as the rhythm of the writing (and reading) of Ed Sanders.”
Timely, expanded and remastered reissue of Sandwich Records' definitive early Belgian Cold Wave round-up 1979-1983, now bulked up with 10 bonus tracks including highly sought-after exclusives by Front 242 and The Neon Judgement.
'B9' perfectly exemplifies what a nebulous term 'New Wave' was, covering a spectrum of odd pop, dance music and industrial experiments that broke tradition from what came before them. The original, ten-track LP includes some total diamonds, scoping out the loping pop of Kid Montana's 'Cabs Ambush' beside the cute instrumental machine ditty of Tristes Tropiques' 'Untitled #1', the noxious, discordant industrial chug of Prothese's 'Tumeurs' and Alain Neffe & co's bleakly atmospheric Pseudo Code beauty, 'Around Midnight', among others from Rel Rex, Digital Dance and Polyphonic Size.
A second LP yields further treasures, including the darkwave swagger of The Neon Judgement's 'Factory Walk' and The Names' deeply charming 'Spectators' and a first-ever vinyl appearance of the instrumental for Front 242's 'Principles' from their debut single.
Mesmerising synth and string drone works recommended to fans of Eliane Radigue or Anne Guthrie
“Barons Court” is the debut full length album by Canadian electroacoustic composer Sarah Davachi, following short run releases on Important Records’ Cassauna imprint and Full Spectrum. Trained at Mills College, Davachi’s work marries an academic approach to synthesis and live instrumentation with a preternatural attunement to timbre, pacing, and atmosphere. While the record employs a number of vintage and legendary synthesizers, including Buchla’s 200 and Music Easel, an EMS Synthi, and Sequential Circuit’s Prophet 5, Davachi’s approach to her craft here is much more in line with the longform textural minimalism of Eliane Radigue than it is with the hyper-dense modular pyrotechnics of the majority of her synthesist contemporaries.
Three of the album’s five compositions feature acoustic instrumentation (cello, flue, harmonium, oboe, and viola, played by Davachi and others) which is situated alongside a battery of keyboards and synths and emphasizes the composerly aspect of her work. “heliotrope” slowly billows into being with a low, keeling drone that is gradually married to an assortment of sympathetic, aurally complex sounds to yield a rich fantasia of beat frequencies and overtones. Later, “wood green” opens almost inaudibly, with lovely eddies of subtly modulating synth clouds evolving effortlessly into something much larger, as comforting and familiar as it is expansive.
In an era in which the synthesizer inarguably dominates the topography of experimental music, Davachi’s work stands alone - distinctive, patient, and beautiful."
A classic from Dead Can Dance, reissued on Vinyl.
"Dead Can Dance’s fourth album, ‘The Serpent’s Egg’ (1988), came during a prolific period for the band, being released just four years after their debut. It was also the first they made at their own studio which, according to Brendan Perry, allowed them to continue to grow in “their own self-proclaimed direction.”
A minimal yet rather grandiose record which includes fan favourites ‘The Host Of Seraphim’ and ‘Ullyses’, ‘The Serpent’s Egg’ is a triumph and perhaps the finest example of where Brendan and Lisa’s diametrically different influences are overcome to form a new, almost synaesthetic whole."
A classic from Dead Can Dance, reissued on Vinyl.
"With the industrial textures of their eponymous debut behind them, the fifth album from Dead Can Dance, ‘Aion’, released in 1990, is perhaps the most focused and concise of their albums.
Predominately recorded at their own studio in Southern Ireland and featuring guest vocals from soprano David Navarro Sust to add to Brendan and Lisa’s opposing yet complimentary styles, the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance are a core influence; an atmosphere amplified by the album’s cover, a section from the Earth phase of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, ‘The Garden Of Earthly Delights’."
In which members of Caribou, Floating Points, Hot Chip, Junior Boys and Simian Mobile Disco team-up as a synth super-group to render two performances of Frank L McCarty’s 1973 graphic score to Tactus Tempus. The percussive side could find some traction on odder ‘floors
“Tactus Tempus is a, lost, graphics based, experimental score by prolific composer Frank McCarty. The piece was originally conceived and performed in 1973 by McCarty's group BIOME on 5 EMS Synthi synthesizers.
By following a set of simple, yet subjective instructions the piece begins as a sparse moire pattern of bursts and tones before evolving in density and intensity as the players symbiotically interact guided only by the illustrated curve found on the score.
This EP features two new performances of the score featuring members of Caribou, Floating Points, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, Simian Mobile Disco and friends. Gathering in a rare moment of collective down time in London in July 2016 the spontaneously formed group performed the piece at Joe Goddard's basement studio. Each participant used a separate synthesizer or modular synthesizer system and while the original slides were projected on the wall, the ensemble recorded two versions of the piece, each one recorded live in one take, lasting 15 minutes. One version is tonal the other on percussive timbre."
Chloë Sevigny lends her husky elegance to the bohemian disco of Aaron Coyes and Indra Duris’ long-running psychedelic unit.
The Little Flowers collaboration between Peaking Lights and actress Chloë Sevigny has been knocking about for the past year, recorded at the behest of fashion designer Michel Gaubert for his 2016 Valentine’s Day NY fashion show.
Disco’s original cad, DJ Harvey, then got his mitts on an instrumental version which all who ‘worship at his altar’ have witnessed multiple times. The glassy disco candy of Little Flowers finally appears on vinyl as the debut transmission on Aaron and Indra’s own Two Flowers label and, yes, DJ Harvey fanatics, the instrumental is included.
Flip for the considered delights of Conga Blue which sees Aaron and Indra cut Chloë loose to drop a neat little slab of Tom Tom Club Inna Psyche Dub Style
Deluxe edition with eight bonus tracks.
Perhaps it was a year of touring, most recently with Wilco, or perhaps it is this combination of players, but this excellent album brims with confidence. These songs are remindful of those written in the 70's, when blues and country blues were more prevalent influences on groups, like Fleetwood Mac or the Stones. The creative percussive touches, guitar treatments, and technical glitchery give the album it's distinct sound. The highly imaginative lyrical imagery is multi-leveled, open to more than one interpretation, Califone finds absurdity and liberation in the dark side of life, Quicksand/Cradlesnakes is rugged and elegant, dark and optimistic, familiar end entirely new. Described by Chicago's Tribune as "How the flaming Lips might've interpreted Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music..", this is an album well worth investigating. Check.
The bulk of Borbetomagus releases over the last near forty years have been taken from live recordings. This particular workout, however, took place in the eponymous studio in London and was captured, mixed and mastered with exacting care and attention.
"That means all the amps lived to tell the tale. A rare enough situation when this scorched earth trio leave the room. More importantly it means that the listener can really focus on just what is going on in this music, the individual elements that form the unique "what the...?" that is the Borbetomagus experience."
Cali’s finest double-down on a set of effervescent and deep tissue massaging acid house trax one year on from their celebrated debut collaboration.
Divine styles in each quarter, taking us from the elliptical 303 bass contours and pinched shuffle of Railjet at the front thru the piquant pointillism of Bim, pinned in place by swanging claps and swept up with lush chords, before the head high poise of Danube Nights waltzes on air to the beautifully tactile bass pressure and chamber-like gloom of Prater Allee, which presumably destined for the most submerged points of the night.
Features members of OM, Holy Sons, Lilacs & Champagne, and Watter.
"At the start of 2005 Grails returned to the US from a month-long European tour. Stepping off the plane, most of the band walked in one direction and the violinist strayed off into another. It ended up being the last time most anyone would see or talk to him. A bandmate for three albums in five years had vanished only to exist in the form of vague rumors.
As the varied reports of brief encounters and sightings grew stranger and darker, the band began a series of recordings called Black Tar Prophecies. With newly liberated instrumental roles came new possibilities for the band’s sound. In this way the collected Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2, & 3 ends up being a more idiosyncratic mission statement for future Grails recordings, revealing their fondness for the ‘60s and ‘70s experimental artists that saw music as a process of discovery. A parallel was now forming between Grails and pioneering experimental bands like Faust who, rejecting their past, started over from the beginning to build new languages in music.
Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2, & 3 is a massive evolutionary step in the established Grails sound and is shrouded in change and pain. The somewhat clinical studio sound and recording style with which they had established a tremendous following has been replaced with a much more free and conceptual recording style. This method liberated the group in the studio and these recordings feel much more open, heavy, and psychedelic. This sound has always existed within Grails, but it was here that it became their identity."
A classic from Dead Can Dance, reissued on Vinyl.
‘Spiritchaser’, Dead Can Dance’s seventh album, came out in 1996 and is the final studio album the band released with 4AD (it was to be another 16 years until they reconvened to make their eighth, ‘Anastasis’).
Again recording at Brendan’s Quivvy Church in Ireland and as hinted at by the album’s title, the band had moved their focus away from the traditional medieval and Eastern sound of their middle albums to work with African and Caribbean tribal rhythms. With percussion at the fore, ‘Spiritchaser’ is mainly just Brendan and Lisa, whose strong singing - like most their career’s work - remains the album’s centrepiece."
Exceptional hi-tech steppers and rollers from Paradon’t - the Black Forest-based duo of Florian Meyer (Don’t DJ) and Volker Weismann (Paraklang) - debuting with a distinctive take on experimental tribal techno for Disk, a new arm of the Diskant label. A very strong look for fans of Photek, Shackleton Pessimist, N.M.O., Cut Hands!
In hot pursuit of a polyrhythmic swerve that transcends techno, D&B, African tribal practice - all that good stuff - the Thrd Mpct EP delivers some of the sickest syncopation we’ve heard since Soul Jazz’s Voodoo Drums sets on both sides of this record.
Up top on Chunwangk Kyuh Hay (thru mpct) they unwind a venomous, reticulated roller coming off like Photek meets Optical at Shackleton’s hut - all wooden drums and noxious atmospheres pregnant with a lethal sense of dread designed to keep dancers well on their toes.
Down below, N Bun Kan Kan (bad rm) pushes farther into a noisy grey area with slithering, salty electronics setting a scratchy course for polymetric patterns pivoting off crisp woodblocks and shards of electronics, kinda like N.M.O. upping the ante for a fierce game of Kabaddi, then Gonyungk Wadt (mtrx) comes off like Marcus Schmickler rinsed out by Rashad Becker.
This is one mean platter, we’re telling ya!
Tom and Ed Russell’s Overmono distil proper UK rave feels in Arla II for XL, packing the previous single cut Powder Dry along with five new mutations of techno, EBM and deconstructed club music with a deft and messed up ‘ardcore swagger.
After some decade of releases as Truss and Tessela, respectively, the siblings are now making their best music in collaboration, stumping up fractious, experimental variants which don’t sit easily on any one vibe, but leave lots of options for the DJs and dancers in return.
We’re most partial to the noisy, lurching Telephax 030 and the ascendent arpeggios of O-Coast, which both feel like early B12 or AFX jamming with 0PN, and likewise the frantic, Powell-meets-Muslimgauze rhythms of 16 Steps.
Scott Morgan (Loscil) reprises his collaboration with cellist Mark Bridges following the Adrift EP (2015) with a lofty, elevated perspective on the topography of Wyoming, USA, rent in sweeping strings and electronics.
“High Plains is the duo of Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges. Morgan, based in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is predominantly known for his drifting, textured soundscapes released under the pseudonym LOSCIL. Bridges is an accomplished, classically-trained cellist residing in Madison, Wisconsin.
The two met in Banff, Alberta while they were simultaneously there on residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014. They first collaborated when Bridges contributed cello parts to Morgan’s generative music app ADRIFT, recorded in Seattle in 2015.
In early 2016, the duo embarked on a collaborative set of compositions in the oxygen thin air of Wyoming, spending two weeks holed up in a refurbished school house in the town of Saratoga, where this album was recorded. Inspired by Schubert’s Die Winterreiseand the rolling landscapes of their surroundings, the collaboration culminated in a collection of recordings that evoke a shadowy, introspective and dizzying winter journey.
Cinderland takes cues from classical, electronic and cinematic musical traditions but is mostly a product of the rugged, mythic landscape; vast and sprawling with a wild, uncertain edge. The recording was made with a portable studio and all sounds were sourced on site, most notably from Bridges’ cello, the resident Steinway D piano, and field recordings collected from the local soundscape. The results are a site specific, wide scope view of the high valley terrain the duo worked in, a mix of analog and digital, neoclassical and modern electronic sounds, a complemental series of tracks to become absorbed in, a truly deep listening experience.”
Enchanting renditions of traditional arrangements and original pieces by Luciano Berio, written for his wife, Cathy Barbarian and two instrumentalists c. 1964; here performed and recorded by Éloïse Decales and Delphine Dora in Brussels, 2014. Pure melters
“The origin of FOLK SONGS (1964) is a song-cycle assembled by the composer Luciano Berio for his wife, singer Cathy Barbarian and two instrumentalists who share duty on flute, clarinet, harp, alto, cello and percussion. Presented are two songs from he folkloric bard John Jacob Niles (adapted from traditional American pieces), two original compositions from Berio himself (La donna ideal and Ballo), and a small but revealing selection of songs from around the world (Armenia, France, Sicily…).
Richly rendering relatively simple melodies, audacious arrangements, instrumental progressions, playing with the contrasts between the different pieces, a balance which is constantly called into question between the immediate, the complex, the familiar, the unforeseen… this hybrid ensemble forms a precious manifesto, poetic an theoretic, which refuses all consideration as music often termed “educated” or even “popular” and for which the challenge is to install fertile dialogues between genres.”
Haunting vocal, guitar and whistle recitals of homemade folk songs written between 1946 and 1976 in Michigan, USA…
“In the company of Gilles Poizat (guitar, trumpet, vocals), Catherine Hershey sings the poems of her grandfather, Galen E. Hershey, pastor / farmer in Pontiac, MI.”
Montreal’s Project Pablo continues a world tour of labels with his latest landing on San Francisco’s Spring Theory after shot for Church, Clone’s Royal Oak, and Lone’s Magicwire.
Leading out with the percussive tumble of Morning Shift, Pablo is clearly aiming for this year’s languid Canadian House anthem, opting for a combination of humid bottom end and parping horns comparable to Jack Jutson’s Future Times viberoni from several years back.
The zigzagging Forgetful Dance has a certain Teradi-style charm to it, which stands in stark contrast to the bucked bruk techno of Jup Jup and the delicate, smeared emotion of Smudge