UK jungle/D&B survivor Peshay back-pedals into the present on Reflections
A scattershot testament to more than 25 years in the game, running thru the motions of 2-step jump up, jazzy liquid, and even old skool breakbeat hardcore styles.
Groggy disco-house displacement from the Swedish producer behind Studio Barnhus, here doing it for the UTTU powerhouse
A-side he stirs up the sloshing filter-house trick of Metropolis with its ohr-wurming vocal sample, while B-side gives up the claggy lo-fi house swang of Babasonic and the slompy jacker, Panda.
The festivities continue with a varied 5th instalment of WPH’s 10th anniversary sessions
San Soda impresses with the lush kosmiche electro-trance of Retractor and a serene downstroke called Juno Love. Japan’s Humandrone gives up a ruddy acid house belter, Tonight, featuring massive original vocal, and FCL edits Reggie Dokes’ Dream Catcher to refocus it as a dreamy, drifting dub-hous play lit up with percolated organ riffs.
Gabriella Cohen moved to a farm in countryside Victoria, Australia, to record and self-produce her second album with engineer and partner-in-crime, Kate ‘Babyshakes’ Dillon.
"There, amidst flocks of screeching white cockatoos and herds of Black Angus cows, they etched the beginning of Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love. The record was almost complete when the band was invited to join Foxygen’s U.S tour, compelling the girls to finish the album on the road. Armed with a microphone and an interface, Dillon and Cohen captured the final touches on a boat in England, the coast of Portugal; in the mountains of Southern Italy, cafes of Mexico, and finally in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
Pink Is The Colour is an expansive and exciting body of work, showcasing Cohen’s unusually refreshing twists on pop arrangements. ‘Baby’ was born in the graveyard of unrequited love, while ‘Music Machine’ became a swagger of sultry defiance set in LA. Throughout the new album Cohen creates complex and sugary backing vocals. These signature vocal arrangements—contoured with classic harmonies and nostalgic melodies—form songs remarkable in their originality. Honest heartache is woven into glory throughout the record, and during eleven tracks a candid, almost ethereal self-portrait of its songwriter emerges. For Gabriella Cohen, it’s an epitaph of electric wonder, and a definitive fact: Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love."
Sam Barker (ov & Baumecker fame) makes his 2nd solo strike with the flash fwd designs of Debiasing for Ostgut Ton
Cascade Effect gives a hyper coloured start, with bouncing chords and clipped 2-step groove coming off like a softened Mark Fell or a sweeter Second Woman workout, followed by the pointillist percolations of When Prophecy Fails on a trance tip recalling Lorenzo Senni after his goldfish died.
The whisked fronds of Look How Hard I’ve Tried again tends to a very Berlin sort of melancholy borrowing from Senni’s ideas, and the tightly packed pressure of Filter Bubbles comes up nicely between Second Woman, Rian Treanor and Gabor Lazar styles.
Max Loderbauer “remaxes” the work of his Ambiq bandmate, drummer Samuel Rohrer, in two deft ways for Anjunamusic
Taking the source material by Rohrer with pianist João Paulo Esteves Da Silva, and Mário Franco on double bass, Loderbauer returns Trusting Heart/Cosmos as a groggy piece of sloshing rhythms and keening harmonics that feels like slipping into genteel K-hole on a warm day in Berlin, whereas Noontide is smudged and stretched out into an airborne echo of original Berlin skool kosmiche.
Jamal Moss joins the rebooted Arcola for his banging, trippy maiden voyage under a new alias; Our Souls Are In The Hands of the Translator..
On sɪŋkrɪtɪzəm, the keeper of the Chi-town flame dials in an astonishingly colourful and psychedelic two parts featuring some of the craftiest drum programming and psychoactive 3D rendering in his entire catalogue, landing somewhere between his Strange Strings classic and the guttural drum functions of his Gherkin Life jags.
Up top, he renders the glorious chromatic arps and wall-bouncing rhythms of Impoverished Spirits, delivering some of his punchiest, pendulous percussion framed by an unfathomably deep and dynamic lightshow of shooting star melodies meshed in celestial harmony. This is Jamal at his loosest, most playful, and effective.
Flipside is given to Bilal for a slower, more sensitive and involving streak of Jamal Moss genius. Here the groove is wildly swung, almost touching on Freestyle electro levels of rugged choppiness, but without the edits, while Jamal riffs to the heavens on his syn-flute and the synths grow lush and feverish wherever the sunlight touches.
The tunes, the mastering and vinyl cut add up to a proper vibe. This one will travel!
Sometimes the best remixes come direct from the artist themselves.
"Following the success of their debut EP, CCFX return to reimagine and reiterate all four tracks. At times turbulent, at others serene and throughout unabashedly raffish, these instrumental versions take the liberty of exploding the originals and thrusting the fragments into deeper and more ornate sonic territory. Minimal beats as well as pumped up breaks take the forefront here, rendering nascent atmospheric jungle and dubbed out Balearic new wave.
Though it was released last October, the original EP is still making waves, having been hyped by the likes of NPR, Pitchfork and NME. With this new record, the band demonstrate their versatility in addition to their songwriting talent. Always willing to take risks, ‘The Remixes’ is a masterful selector’s spin on their late 90s / early 00s indie pop-oriented sounds."
Detroit’s Rick Wilhite and Terence Parker, and Toronto’s Ron Allen respectively turn out heavy deep house jams to mark the 20th anniversary of Hamilton, Ontario’s Collective Rhythm Network radio show, broadcast every Monday night on local 93.3FM
The godson Rick Wilhite covers the A-side with Mind Control, a 2018 production synching dark, heavy groove with nagging, natty electronic gremlins, where the other two are vintage cuts, namely the sublime swang and breezing vocals of Whispers  by The Ron Allen Sound Experience, and the deeper, gospel-infused house burn of Lenni Gait’s Melody Band with Embrace, remixed for extra soul by Terence Parker.
D’Marc Cantu and Gavin Rayna Russom in her Black Meteoric Star guise deliver wigged-out jams for Melvin Oliphant III a.k.a. Traxx’s Kode sublabel of Nation
We’re instantly attracted to Rayna Russom’s efforts on Me & My Rhythm Box (Live Version); a killer riff on the recurring theme from legendary Berlin cyberpunk flick Liquid Sky, dubbily accentuated with gloopy acid and vocals to attention-demanding effect.
Flipside, D’Marc Cantu does his bit to keep the heavy grooving weirdness up with a roguish slow-mo groove unfolding Afro-Cubist syncopation thru a lysergically spiked sequencer.
Traxx calls up the mysterious Transformation and Beau Wanzer for the 2nd split 12” on his Kode sublabel of Nation
Following their sole transmission on L.I.E.S., Transformations go sick with a piping-hot jacker called Kozmik on the front, holding a steady line of up-stepping beats pushed in-and-out of focus by mad 3D mixing trickery, FX and asymmetric string lines.
B-side, Beau Wanzer churns up the murky dub of Oklahoma 3, which feels to emulate the effect of being submerged in a puddle on a hot day in the middle of a carnival.
Hilary Woods’ artistry is one of rare emotive reach. Her minimalist and compositional finesse combine with densely layered atmospheric instrumentation and dreamlike vocals to create music rich with both delicacy and intensity. Written and recorded at home in Dublin, Colt was mixed by and co-produced with James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues) in Berlin in the winter of 2017.
"After the release of two critically acclaimed EPs, Woods spent 2017 writing and recording songs on an eight-track in an abandoned flat she was living in at the time. Layering piano, synth, tape machine, field recordings, vocals, drone, unadorned beats, and old string instruments, these songs culminate in her debut solo LP Colt. Straddling the acoustic and electronic worlds, Colt is an intensely personal journey through grief, abandonment, and mutating love. Woods navigates this journey with a lyrical potency that cuts through stark piano, sensuous synth work, and textural acoustics. Somewhere between Marissa Nadler, Grouper and Julee Cruise, these songs evoke both the anguish of their content and the ecstasy of their craft.
Growing up in an artistic household on Dublin’s Northside, Woods studied film and literature, dropping in and out of fine art school. A singular vision and tenacious creativity has seen Woods cross multi-disciplinary thresholds, exploring visual and performance art alike. Her work has received critical acclaim all over Ireland with honors from the Dublin Fringe Festival and the Irish Film Institute."
Wonky, winking electro-breaks-acid from M_nus renegade Kevin McHugh for CPU
Up top he pumps out the silly, chattering IDM breaks of Slacken and the tuffer, distorted acid slugger, Punishment.
Down below he tucks away the recoiling Miami boom and cheesy AI trance pads of Creased, and a wriggly bugger named Vague Complaint.
Witness and wince at a noise/metal bromance in the making between two persistent rock diehards
“In Spring 2017, Uniform was asked to support fellow noisy, boundary-pushing duo The Body for a European tour. Having been longtime fans of the band, Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist Ben Greenberg jumped at the opportunity. During the planning phase of the tour, Berdan and Lee Buford from The Body started corresponding regularly. Ultimately, Berdan asked Buford if he and The Body cofounder Chip King would be interested in making a collaborative record with Uniform. Buford enthusiastically assented, and the seed of Mental Wounds Not Healing was sown.
A few months after the genesis of the idea, Berdan and Greenberg went to the legendary underground Providence studio Machines With Magnets, where The Body were finishing up work on their latest LP. King and Buford had a ton of cool beats and music ready that Berdan played synth bass lines over. Greenberg then played guitar over Berdan’s bass lines, and the songs began to take shape.
After the Machine With Magnets session, engineer Seth Manchester sent Greenberg stems of the tracks to work on back in Brooklyn. Berdan recorded vocals in the hallway of Greenberg's tiny apartment, and the raw intensity of that makeshift session served as the perfect counterpoint for King’s unmistakable voice. Effectively, every song on Mental Wounds Not Healing is a duet between Berdan and King. The collaboration pushes both bands far beyond their roots in industrial music and metal, creating an immersive listening experience that truly transcends genre.
The title of the record is a line stolen from the chorus of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” Most of the titles are culled from horror literature and cinema, with specific nods to Shirley Jackson, Jack Ketchum, and Elem Klimov. Thematically, the songs have to do with feeling trapped in one’s own mind, projecting images over and over again of a future in shambles before it even gets a chance to happen. It is about hopelessness, anxiety, and depression so familiar that they seem like permanent fixtures of one’s psyche and identity.”
Leatherette hit the floor at full wingspan
Slyding between boogie, ‘90s R&B and boom-bap styles with original highlights in the neon greaze of Love Lust featuring Oliver St. Louis, the smudged Thriller vibes of Frsh & Clean, a couple of Pete Rock-styled numbers, and the breezy instrumental to Love Lust.
Washington, DC trio Flasher release their debut album, ‘Constant Image’.
"Recorded in 2017 at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY, ‘Constant Image’ was produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, The War On Drugs) and crackles with invention. This isn’t the sound of a band finding their feet, it’s the rare sound of three people - Taylor Mulitz on guitar, bassist Daniel Saperstein and drummer Emma Baker - who know exactly what they want to achieve from the start."
Available to independent retailers on clear vinyl.
LP formats include digital download codes.
Hard on the heels of his 10th anniversary drop, Joker takes a joyride in his dinghy on the distorted/super smooth purple dubstep shanty Boat, then tramples on a moodier sort of dubstep rave style with Deploy.
Allow that lead line when it drops though, jeez.
Kiefer is a jazz pianist and beatmaker based in LA.
"‘Happysad’ is his debut album for Stones Throw, following ‘Kickinit Alone’. Kiefer has production credits for Kaytranada and Anderson Paak, has shared the stage with Terrace Martin and Moses Sumney and is a constant in labelmate Mndsgn’s live trio. ‘Kickinit Alone’ was nominated for the A2IM Libera Award for Best Jazz Album."
Acid-electro-EBM brain eaters from Benedikt Frey for Live At Robert Johnson, located in the Frankfurt heartland of the OG industrial dance music region
A-side dispenses the rolling, buzzing body music traction of Looking Back, bitten with some very nasty ‘90s acid lines and pumping 808s, while the Hi-NRG B-side cut Clown Time sweeps the ‘floor with proper caustic fluidity, and New Now yokes the tempo back to a New Beat/electro compatible 110bpm recoil.
Lydspor One & Two is one of the last known studio recordings made by Mika Vainio before he died in a tragic accident in 2017. It was recorded at and commissioned by Moog Sound-Lab in April 2015, and comprises two extended excursions into the wires and golden filters of the lab’s rare prototype Moog Modular System 55.
Mika was so enamoured with the machine that he declared “I Could work with this machine for the rest of my life… I would need nothing else” which is probably the highest endorsement possible, and the results documented in these recordings clearly show that he got a lot out of his time in the lab.
Lydspor, meaning soundtrack in Danish, unfolds across 40 minutes into two parts. Pt.1 finds him taking a tentative minute to find his bearings before precipitating a swarming cluster buzz that engulfs the track, shelling down blunt force bass hits and torrential drones for the first 14 minutes or so, then panning out into eerie darkness in a manner so timelessly associated with Vainio as to send chills.
Pt.2 gradually picks up another head of dense drone steam to choking effect, calving away into black cloud dynamics of corrosive intensity keeping time with a metronomic, doom-laden bass pulse that edges us nearer to some abyss; full of dread and nervous energy.
These are growling, engrossing, important recordings that provide another reminder of Vainio's ability to create intense pieces of music from seemingly not very much. In his hands, elemental sounds take on a visceral, hard-hitting quality that are so full of life and energy as to genuinely defy explanation. It's an alchemy that many have tried but few have mastered; in Vainio's absence it now fees like there's a vast chasm where there was once an unstoppable force...
Sonic Pieces give life to one of the most unusual releases in their catalogue thus far; a collection of percussive pieces from Tatu Rönkkö - a long-time friend and collaborator with Efterklang with whom he also formed the band Liima. Rönkkö is regarded by some as one of the most diverse and inventive percussionists working on the contemporary field and ‘Spheres' offers a comprehensive introduction to his expansive style, having been compared to everyone from Konono No.1 to Photek and Can’s Jaki Liebezeit.
Spheres is Tatu's debut album and it arrives after close to a decade of notorious improvised performances in kitchens around Berlin and abroad, "using the room and everything in it as his instrument”. It includes self-made instruments from everyday objects, taking his performance style to the next level. As the label explain "The kitchen and the improvisations around it have been concentrated down to 6 standalone pieces of music, produced in incredible detail. The sound hovers in the darklands between tribal experimentations, 90’s jungle ambient textures and electro-acoustic endeavours. Pieces like Then remind of a more focused Aphex Twin performing with Konono No1 in the Finnish woods. While the title track Spheres even links the sound all the way back to early Photek with it's reduced cinematic textures and explosive repetitive beats.”
The opening 5 pieces are all instrumentals before the closing piece Tekoäly features much overlooked vocal pioneer and Fonal mainstay Islaja on vocals, taking the material into much more interesting terrain. Largely accessible but also making the most of those still-alien vocals, Rönkkö weaves in and around her voice with a slowly collapsing, stop-start feel that elevates proceedings into the realm of avant-pop, bringing to a close a fine, intriguing debut.
The Sea and Cake return to their roots, crafting refreshingly intimate pop songs, elegantly arranged on their first new album in six years.
"The Sea and Cake deliver a refreshingly intimate collection of elegantly arranged, singular pop songs. For over two decades and 11 albums, The Sea and Cake have honed a sound all their own, comprised of delicate, intertwining guitar patterns, syncopated rhythms and airy melodies. Masters of subtlety, their compositions have continually evolved - through minute alterations in texture, unusual approaches to lyrics and creative production choices.
‘Any Day’ is testament to The Sea and Cake’s artistry, song craft, and utterly unique sound. The results are intimate songs that speak to the searcher in all of us. Through shifting instrumentation and sonic exploration, the band invites you into a world that is both familiar and unexpected."
Marie Davidson’s eponymous 1st release from back in 2012, a collection of her earliest works, finally comes to vinyl 6 years after she self-released the digital files and HoloDeck did a cassette edition. Newly remastered by Josh Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, Second Woman)
Arriving in the wake of her Essai Pas album New Path with artistic partner/husband Pierre Guerineau, a sci-fi ambient split with Invisible Church, and her acclaimed Adieux Au Dancefloor LP for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax, Marie Davidson collects and unfurls her earliest work.
Where her more recent records and live shows are defined by a lean muscularity and dance-pop drive, these six early iterations feel more feint, nervy and haunted, like the work of someone who has watched too many ‘80s horrors and needs to channel that energy someplace.
The A-side packs four relatively concise works taking in the swaying French-Canadian chanson and groggy, creeping electronics of ma vie sans to, beside the needling synth dissonance and skeletal drums of La Vallée d’Or, thelooming instrumental threat of L’unique, and the very Belgian-sounding coldwave melancholy of Esthétique privée, while the B-side reveals her sylvan silhouette from more oblique angles, distanced in the psychedelic moiré of Le lieu où vous voulez vous rendre, and barely-there, whispering among the windswept dimensions of À l’intérieur.
If they don’t know already; fans of John Maus, Laurie Anderson, Carol/Snowy Red, and Suicide need to jump on this one, pronto!
Bambounou alters his style with entrancing effect for Florian Meyer a.k.a. Don’t DJ’s Disk label
On all three tracks the Parisian producer moves perpendicular to the more standardised club styles of his previous releases; firstly in a drowsy exploration of lilting and grubbing grooves with the slow lope of Dernier Metro, then with a rugged intricacy that will baffle the posers but get right into the bones of the proper dancers on the mesmerising swang of Kosovo Hardcore, before trimming it all right back to pure percussive nous with the over-pronating, Basic Channel-esque hypnotism of Vvvvv
High quality reissue of the monumental work August 1974 by Japanese experimental music ensemble Taj Mahal Travellers.
"In April 1972 a group of Japanese musicians set off from Rotterdam in a Volkswagen van. As they crossed Europe and then made their way through Asia they made music in a wide range of locations. They also paid close attention to the changing scene and to differing ways of life. Midway through May they reached their destination, the iconic Taj Mahal on the bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, India.
The Taj Mahal Travellers had fulfilled physically the promise of the name they adopted when they formed in 1969. But their music had always been a journey, a sonic adventure designed to lead any listener’s imagination into unfamiliar territory. The double album August 1974 was their second official release. The first July 15, 1972 is a live concert recording, but on 19th August 1974 the Taj Mahal Travellers entered the Tokyo studios of Nippon Columbia and produced what is arguably their definitive statement.
The electronic dimension of their collective improvising was coordinated, as usual, by Kinji Hayashi. Guest percussionist Hirokazu Sato joined long-term group members Ryo Koike, Seiji Nagai, Yukio Tsuchiya, Michihiro Kimura, Tokio Hasegawa and Takehisa Kosugi. The enigmatic Takehisa Kosugi, whose soaring electric violin was such a vital element in their music, had been a pioneer of free improvisation and intermedia performance art with Group Ongaku at the start of the 60s. Later in that decade, before launching the Taj Mahal Travellers, he had become known internationally through his association with the Fluxus art movement. During the mid-70s the Travellers disbanded and while his colleagues more or less stopped performing as musicians Kosugi continued to reach new audiences across the course of several decades as a composer, regular performer and musical director for the acclaimed Merce Cunningham Dance Company. August 1974 captures vividly the characteristic sound of the Taj Mahal Travellers, haunting tones from an unusual combination of instruments, filtered through multiple layers of reverb and delay.
Their music has strong stylistic affinities with the trippy ambience of cosmic and psychedelic rock, but the Taj Mahal Travellers were tuning in to other vibrations, drawing inspiration from the energies and rhythms of the world around them rather than projecting some alternative reality. Films of rolling ocean waves often provided a highly appropriate backdrop for their lengthy improvised concerts. This is truly electric music for the mind and body."
The Space Lady revisits Earth with a stellar new set of covers and original material for Bongo Joe and Mississippi Records
Reentering our atmosphere five years on from The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits , and an interim split LP with Burnt Ones for Castle Face, San Francisco’s Susan Dietrich Schneider a.k.a. The Space Lady charms our cotton socks off here with delectable takes on the evergreen Be Thankful For What You’ve Got and a very apt version of Rainbow’s Streets of Dreams, plus her own acoustic folk piece, Oh, Brave New World.
“Transmitting messages of peace and harmony, The Space Lady began her odyssey on the streets of Boston in the late 70s, then San Francisco ten years later, playing versions of contemporary pop music with an accordion and dressed flamboyantly. Following the theft and destruction of her accordion , The Space Lady invested in a then-new Casio keyboard, complete with a phase shifter and headset mic, birthing an otherworldly new dimension to popular song that has captured the imaginations of the underground and its leading exponents ever since.
After having toured successfully all around the world with her greatest 90s hits record she felt it was time to record new songs... and so did she!”
PAN imparts its most ambitious and remarkable statement yet with this immersive 3-hour release of Kazuo Imai's avant-garde free improv collective Marginal Consort, recorded at Glasgow's Instal festival in 2008.
It's an impressive feat on so many levels, from the sheer volume of material, to the group's intuitive application of weighty rhetoric and philosophies - eloquently expounded in a 6-page feature in the current issue of The Wire. If we were to reduce it's appeal to any one factor, then its to the potential to collapse almost any listener's sense of time and space, depth and duration when given the attention it deserves.
It makes for a genuinely transcendent and transformative experience: over the course of three hours, divided in eight parts each between 21 - 25 minutes, the set explores forms of sound and ways of playing that never coalesce into 'traditional' music, instead creating a group dynamic of ebb and flow, of exploration and fluidity. Marginal Consort's members: Kazuo Imai (a student of Japanese Free Jazz linchpin Masayuki Takayanagi and also a member of both Taj Mahal Travellers and Takayanagi's New Direction Unit), Tomonao Koshikawa, Kei Shii, Yasushi Ozawa, Chie Mukai and sound-artist Masami Tada (also in GAP) adopt individual positions in the group that are hard to decipher, as opposed to so many other improv units whose preferred mode reflects a method of communication based on a mannered variant of of call-and-response.
Instead, Marginal Consort embrace an overlapping methodology, reflecting the chaos of life mutual to our shared experience, or as Imai himself puts it, "there always remain the fundamental premises that sounds are separately produced phenomena and that their accumulation forms the whole." It should be noted that this release was originally intended as one of PAN's earliest releases; to their huge credit it's taken the label years to put it together. In some respects, it seems right that now, with the benefit of hindsight five years down the line, it arrives to perfectly illustrate the label's broad, often daring parameters.
Absolute belter from the Technicolor camp!
Following turns with 1080p and Jungle Gym Records, Ashlee Lúk and Lida P a.k.a. Minimal Violence dance right on the sorespot between EBM techno, UK hardcore and U.S. freestyle electro with a fierce collision of rabid ’91 breaks, flashing string stabs and The Mover-style synth pressure in MVX, then bite down with the sickest mix of nervy drum machine tics and pinched, high-register synth tweaks that split the difference between Yazoo and Litüus in U41A.
This is it. Big tip!
Gorgeous and essential archive material from master of ‘The Tokyo Sound’ and environmental music pioneer, Hiroshi Yoshimura, the latest unearthing on Chee Shimizu's 17853 - previously only available on a very limited Japanese cassette back early 80s.
Conceived for the eponymous exhibition of new wave, international fashion held by the Seibu department store at the Suzue corporation’s loft on Takeshita Pier, Tokyo on 18th September, 1983, the perfectly mannered 7-song instrumental suite of Pier & Loft was subsequently issued on cassette thru Fukusei Gijutsu Kohboh later that year.
The record sweetly captures a debonaire, technologically-enhanced style that we’d perceive as specific to the Japanese capital in early ‘80s: an economical and precise synthetic sound, with brightly cute motifs rendered to the rafters in soft reverbs and layered with an elegant simplicity that masks the measured intricacy of construction.
And while the insert notes ask us allow for some slight background noise and distortion form the original master tapes, it’s barely perceptible, and probably would have gone unnoticed if, like the music itself, it weren’t so fastidious in its precision and construction.
Six of the seven tracks are feather light and beatless, ranging from heart-melting romantic themes such as Horizon I’ve Ever Seen Before to the moon beam of Tokyo Bay Area - which are both long enough to let you really float away - whereas Wavy Patterned Icecream gives it a deft dab of beatless synth funk that melts into air, and Kamome Dayori continues that rhythmic theme on the downstroke into the album’s sole appearance of drum machines in the gently swinging budge of The Sea In My Palm, which warmly recalls something from Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack.
Flavoursome collection of ersatz exotica from late ‘80s Germany, picked out and dusted down by Jan Schulte, and backed up with two Wolf Müller remix updates for Kenneth Bager’s Music For Dreams label, outta Copenhagen, Denmark
“Copenhagen’s Music For Dreams comes with yet another strong release - a double album of personal favourites compiled by Jan Schulte. According to all maps and witness accounts, Germany does not officially have any tropical forests. This is of no concern to Schulte however, who has unearthed many stunning examples of tropical drum music recorded there. Perhaps the number of botanical gardens and palm houses in Germany confused musicians into mistaking the climate, or maybe it was just a happy blend of escapism and multi-cultural integration within musical scenes that spawned such a curious output of undefinable tribal folk jazz.
Most of the tracks picked by Schulte were released on small labels in the late 80s. The musicians involved were mainly traditionally schooled, born and raised in Germany. At that time to be interested in foreign folk music might have seemed a gimmick to some, what with the emerging world music boom already snowballing into the mainstream. But these songs, while they may be based on musical traditions from foreign lands, deal much more with introspection than exploitation. Schulte himself points to his "general fascination for music that describes places where the artists have never been. Songs about the jungle or the rainforest made by people that know the rainforest only from television and books. Somehow I think you can hear their mythical imagination and fantasy in those tracks, he explains. We certainly hear it in the extensive use of wildlife samples on both "Tagtraum Eines Elefanten" by Argile and on "Wuhan Wuchang" by Total Art Of Percussion. Or on the repetitive and trace-inducing drum circle re-enactments of Ralf Nowys "Akili Mali" and Bob Moses's "Boat Song Part II”.”
Canada’s Tess Roby makes her long touted IDIB début, poised between dusky balearic romance and waking dream pop, with just a touch of folk-wise new age diva about her.
Quite remarkably for an IDIB releases, the hand of Johnny Jewel is unusually absent apart from some mixing treatment on Ballad 5. The rest of the record is written and produced by Toronto/Montreal’s Roby, whose measured vocals are the centrepiece of each cut, variously framed against languid Yacht boogie vibes in Given Signs, or most beautifully buoyed by creamy chromatic arps in Catalyst, and like Nico meets Tangerine Dream on the album’s exceptional parting missive, Borders.
"The Beacon crowns Ashurst Hill in Dalton, Lancashire, looming over the verdant English countryside nearly six hundred feet above sea level. This spartan brick monolith was erected in 1798 as a watch tower to warn of French invasion during the Napoleonic War — and there it silently remains, keeping infinite vigil. It stands in Tess Roby’s mind. The Beacon calls to her. “Throughout my life I have felt the pull to return to it,” she says. “I’m beckoned by father’s roots and by the sullen landscape of fields leading to the coast.”
Tess Roby is an artist with a vision. The Montreal-based photographer and musician, an eight-year veteran of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, seems utterly original, moving with a restless energy toward the sublime. Her sound betrays an intrepid longing to discover and explore, to reject convention and transcend cliché: Roby is a born traveller, absorbing everything she hears and making it new. Ethereal and crystalline, bathed sumptuously in synths, her music is heady, dreamy, singular — a transmission from parts unknown. The classical training and aesthetic omnivorousness combine like worlds colliding.
Roby’s debut album Beacon was written in 2015, following the death of her father. She collaborated with her brother Eliot to create what they describe as a kind of spiritual homage — both to her father and to the Beacon, where the family travelled often. Roby recorded these songs with the drum machines and synthesizers she found in her father’s recording studio, and galvanized by his spirit she imbued the music with love, movement, whispers, memories, and pain. “All the while the Beacon remained effervescent in my mind,” Roby remembers. “Visions of it ablaze on the hilltop, standing motionless while I searched for understanding.”
Deftest, pendulous house winners from POI ‘pon return to L.I.E.S. for a 3rd round of deep and rugged dance music
In Vitro gets it right from the off with bubbling drums hingeing around wide bass and scudding, darker electronics for those who like to dance right into it, before In Vivo takes that swang to subaquatic extremes almost recalling a grittier T++ or Monolake workout.
However, it’s left to Neurogenesis on the B-side to bring the rave up properly with a whipsmart, cantering Chicago groove rider that works a charm.
Big one for he dancers!
I:Cube packs 6 serious heaters on the 120th release from Versatile, the long-running label he co-operates with Gilb’R.
LP 1 throws down a sort of demented cumbia-house style lit with see-sawing accordion in Flutes Souterraines, along with the chunky electro-house jaxx of Troglo Dance before curving into psychedelic slow acid a la Tin Man or The Analord in Bifurque.
On disc 2 he restlessly shifts the pattern again to a sort of brilliantly skewed gamelan dance with La Nuit Des Rats, then synking into viscous cosmic disco chug on Ramurc, and saving the googley-eyed 6am business of Fractal P for the most lip-smacking moments of the night.
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
After a searing run of releases and remixes, Ancient Methods makes the natural move to working with vocalists in The Asking Breath Comes To Each, teaming up with Tropic Of Cancer, Huren, Zanias, and Azar Swan for a distinctive new addition to AM’s carefully expanding catalogue.
The sole preserve of Michael Wollenhaupt for some years now, in the last few years Ancient Methods has carved towards working vocals to deadly effect on a number of remixes for everyone from The Soft Moon to Wolfsheim, beside his own edits as Room 506.
All this has clearly fed into the stonking original material found on The Asking Breath Comes To Each, which royally boots off with the harpy screech of Azar Swan over the scorched earth gallop of Swallow The Screw, before trimming back to the acidic darkroom canter of The Standards Will Come And Go feat. a possessed Dave Foster aka Huron - arguably summat of a wet dream for anyone who needs talc to help get their duds on.
Tropic Of cancer executes a perfect, pensive and floating counterpoint to the razor sharpened 16th note serrations of It Won’t Take Me on the B-side, and we’re feeling pangs of guilty glee towards the borderline cheesy/lush epicness of Zoe Zanias’ vocal on the restrained pulse of Andromeda.
How can a modulated dub chord, fathomless fuzz and a monotone baseline played out for 20 minutes nearly bring you to tears? Listen to these versions of Main Street’s I’m Your Brother and find out.
As ever; mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, pressed at Pallas. Infinitely ESSENTIAL.
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo.
We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way. "Smile" was the fourth release on the label and is for many people its best - a three track EP clocking in at over 20 minutes and once again featuring the voice of Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, on the title track.
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
Elysia Crampton’s eponymous opus - their 4th official album - is a peerless study in sonic ontology, exerting a psychedelic spin on notions of roots & future in a studiously conscious and intricately woven yet immediate manner that’s core to Elysia’s oeuvre. We’re really feeling this one; reckon you might, too
“Dedicated to Ofelia aka Carlos Espinosa, china* travesti revolutionary (*femme in Aymara). Elysia Crampton’s self-titled album marks her 4th official release.
The Amerindian musician draws on various Andean styles such as kullawada, huayño, tarqueada, quirqui / tundique, khantus, & morenada, together with genres like metal, psychedelic, & jazz fusion, to tell a story of her movement in the world— performing her history, both sonically & corporeally, as a means to gain economic access & agency.
With this album, Crampton further situates her work within a long Aymaran musical legacy* that implicates cultures & sites beyond the Andes (following trajectories of dispersion through the literal migration & interaction of bodies & in the circulation of Aymaran concepts, images, music & goods via the world market after the conquest).
Building upon the ancient notion that Aymara culture is something sustained through movement & contact with others (recall the 'S' meander sign in Andean art) rather than soley being defined in stasis, segregation & linear time, Crampton's work retains the sensation of a belonging in spite of its so-called promiscuity, continually carrying a sense of origin amidst constant motion, which from a Aymara relation to space-time (nayrapacha or 'past' related to the ocular & resides in front) is an origin that also lies ahead, not only behind.
*This legacy extends well before 900 B.C., but one should note that it was particularly during the mid twentieth century (60s & 70s) that Aymara musicians began building the agency to travel the world themselves (their culture or "cosmovision" had already reached Europe through the expansion of the Spanish market as early as the mid-sixteenth century, informing the European imaginary before the French Revolution), performing their identities through music & dress for audiences in countries like Japan, France, & The United States. It was this movement that would shape not only the national identities of countries like Peru & Bolivia, but would also become the definitive sound of so-called world music today (while shaping other globalized genres like "new age”)”
Jan Jelinek’s iconic album 'Improvisations And Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001’ is finally given a vinyl issue for the first time. It’s another deep blue mood piece full of fragmented Jazz loops which will be essential listening for those of you enamoured not only with 'Loop Finding Jazz Records’ but also his quiet masterpiece 'Personal Rock’, released under ther Gramm alias. If you’re as obsessed with that album as we are, this reissue is a must.
"For the original 2002 CD on Soup-Disk and Sub Rosa (Audiosphere), Jan Jelinek and the Japanese trio Computer Soup (Satoru Hori – trumpet, Osamu Okubo - toys & electronics, Kei Ikeda - toys & electronics) presented eight tracks all recorded one afternoon in the trio’s living room in Tokyo. They are excerpts from a joint group improvisation that subsequently underwent rudimentary editing, on which Jelinek and Computer Soup worked separately.
Jelinek met the three musicians at his first concert in Japan in 2001, at Tokyo’s Yellow club, where Computer Soup performed as the support act. Delighted by their free improvisation on pocket-sized electronic toys, trumpet and oscillators, he arranged to meet Hori, Okubo and Ikeda a few days later for a session at their apartment. The resulting three-hour recording, made on their living room floor, formed the basis for Improvisations and Edits. A few days later, Jelinek returned to Berlin. Over the following months, they separately chose passages from the recording that were then edited and assembled into an album.
Formed in Tokyo in 1996 as a quintet (including Shusaku Hariya and Daisuke Oishi), Computer Soup began by performing with acoustic instruments on the streets of Shibuya. Ikeda und Okubo soon switched instruments, and from then on the group’s minimalistic but densely woven sound was defined by electronic toys, oscillators and Satoru Hori’s trumpet. Their first album was released in 1997 on the Japanese label Soup Disk. Eight further releases followed."
Throughout the illustrious thirty-year recording career of Horace Andy, with its innumerable highs, his unmistakable falsetto has lit up just three albums of indisputable greatness - "Skylarking", for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One; "In the light", for Everton Dasilva's Hungry Town label, in queens, new york; and - with the biggest original impact, by far the most contemporary of the trio - "Dance Hall Style", for Bullwackies in the bronx.
Recorded at the tail end of the seventies, dance hall style reworks songs like "Money Money", first recorded by Bunny Lee and Derek Harriott's "Lonely woman" - alongside a version of Lloyd Robinson's "Cuss cuss" - and births bona fide classics like "Spying glass" (later covered by Massive Attack).
The musicians include Wackies regulars, men like Owen Stewart and Oral Cooke from Itopia, Ras Menilik and Jah T.; also Horace's multi-instrumentalist spar Myrie dread from the hungry town sessions. At the desk, Lloyd Barnes, Junior Delahaye and Douglas Levy coax unequalled vocal performances from Horace Andy, in correct showcase fashion, all worthwhile extended mixes. Iconic album, essential purchase.
Clarice Jensen, artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), makes a gripping first solo mark on the cello with 'For This From That Will Be Filled', an expansive suite of Cello recordings alongside filigree electronics and tape loops designed to highlight and perceive the instrument’s unique fidelities. It notably features one striking work conceived with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Ushering in Miasmah’s 12th year of operations in the nether fields of modern composition, Clarice’s début is exemplary of the intense, slow-burning aesthetic which connects many of the label’s releases. It unfold in four parts of languorously void-touching ideas, scaling and sustaining a sublime tension said to “explore the variable differences between acoustic and electronic sound as well as depiction of the simulated and the unconscious.”
Using an array of methods ranging from FX pedals to multi-tracking and tape loops, Clarice both gently and ruggedly severs the sound from its source and contrasts it against its own grain, conjuring a contemplative effect akin to gazing out of a bus or train window at night, with light reflecting and scattered at odd angles, distorting the view and providing fleeting, surreal glimpses of new dimensions in the process.
The effect really first comes into play on BC when the string cycle gradually disintegrates with the wilting warble of a GAS or Basinski work, whilst her performance of Cello Constellation, a work for multi-tracked cello and sine tones written for Clarice by Michael Harrison patiently shows her ability to distress the instrument, make it keen like a choir of cosmic banshees, before the staggering title track occurs on the B-side, from a glacial traverse of icy dissonance and cascading borealis light to something like the drone of a sub arctic seed bank nestling humanity’s future in the deepfreeze of For This From That Will Be Filled (B).
Still one of the best techno albums out of Berlin in this millennium so far, Shed’s seminal debut LP, Shedding The Past is finally and necessarily reissued on his own label, The Final Experiment - newly expanded to include all 12 tracks from the CD edition, and cut to heavier vinyl than the original 2008 pressing!
Thanks to the timeless cues and intent it was built on, Shedding The Past still sounds amazing today, working to an effortlessly adroit, light-footed and dynamic schematic that makes much of his subsequent work feel a bit clunky and overdone by comparison.
On release in 2008, it was a seriously big album for a techno world in flux between classic Detroit house, echoes of UK dubstep, broken beat and Braindance, and traces of tuffer Frankfurt sounds - all components of the Soloaction sound he’d developed for years prior.
Fair to say that Shed distilled those styles perfectly in his début album, as proved in its most impressive highlights such as the balletic gait of Another Wedged Chicken, the misty-eyed beauty of The Lower Upside Down and the breakbeat seduction of ITHAW, but most powerfully in its spine-freezing eternal anthem, Estrange.
Trust us: no techno collection is complete without a copy of this album.
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.