‘Replicas: The First Recordings’ was released In late 1978, Gary Numan was booked into a small studio in London’s Chinatown with the same musicians that had played on Tubeway Army’s debut album, released a month earlier.
"Two stereo master tapes were compiled of eleven tracks. A month later they again went to Gooseberry Studio and recorded an additional three tracks, including ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and ‘Replicas’. At the same time, the band recorded a session for the BBC’s John Peel show, taping alternate versions of three songs from the December recordings. Finally, Numan returned to an upgraded studio, Marthus Music, in February to overdub and remix the Gooseberry recordings into their released versions. Only one alternative out take still exists (‘Down In The Park’), which is included in this release."
Omar Souleyman turns out another brilliant batch of club-ready turns on EDM powerhouse Mad Decent
Getting back to the type of fire found on his Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace turns following years of Four Tet-produced missteps, ‘Shlon’ is delivered hot and direct in the vein of 2017’s ‘To Dyria, With Love’ with 6 tracks of whirlwind microtonal synth licks, stentorian vox and driving machine rhythms.
’Salon’ sets it off with slow donks and line-dancing claps, ’Shi Tridin’ steps it up with a wild mix of Euro-house swagger and blazing synth crossfire, and ‘Mawwal’ makes room for dry-iced, beat-less slow jam in the titular style of sung poetry. ‘About Zilif’ is the BIG one though, featuring Rizan Sa’id slinging wild drums and scything riffs compatible with electro chaabi, and ‘Layle’ nearly hits Psy-trance levels of yoghurt-weaving club action.
Ana Roxanne exerts a gently intimate and singular spin on new age ambient tropes on her beautiful new LP, sounding something like Julee Cruise via Maggi Payne. Surely among this year’s finest quiet listens...
“Ana Roxanne is an intersex Southeast Asian musician based in Los Angeles. Born & raised in the Bay Area to immigrant parents, Ana's love for music and singing began through her mother's cd collection of 80's/90's R&B divas. Raised in the catholic church, she became a devout choir nerd and found any opportunity to sing, whether for religious mass, the jazz ensemble of her catholic high school, or karaoke at family gatherings. Her commitment to singing led her to a brief stint at a vocational jazz program in the cornfields of the midwest; in a remote town of 7,000 people, she began a formal study of jazz and classical music. During these years she would tour with various ensembles to beautiful old cathedrals in nearby cities and became enamored with the sacredness of choral music, as well as the enveloping sound of harmony. A near death experience, too, served as a connection between music and spirituality, and music as a healing art after facing tragedy.
In 2013, Ana was also fortunate enough to spend a few months in Uttarkhand, India where she met an incredible voice teacher who introduced her to classical Hindustani singing. Living and studying with this teacher deeply impacted her outlook on the voice as art. It was there that she began to see the singer - the Diva - as a symbol of divinity; that the unique power of one's voice comes from the vulnerability of using the body as an instrument. Be it romance, love, or worship of a deity - in order to access such depths of emotional expression, one must be willing to be intensely vulnerable, lay one's heart in the open air, expose what is kept hidden. This brief study was the catalyst that led her to finish her music study at the experimental Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she began to combine all of these influences into her current self-titled project. This album ~~~ was created during her last years residing in the Bay Area, a tribute to the great musicians who inspired her and the landscape where she spent her formative years.
In addition to the worship of R&B and pop divas, Ana's current practice explores themes of gender & identity. In October of 2018, she decided to come out publicly as intersex, and is dedicated to being a voice for her community and speaking out about social justice for intersex youth.”
Rugged budgers from FUMU, Kassem Mosse, Raster-Noton regular Grischa Lichtenberger, LDWG and Sensu appear on the abridged 12” pressing of Youth’s acclaimed ‘Sports’ comp
Siphoning highlights from the 16-track showcase CD (which also featured strong tackle by mutant experimental techno bods including Turinn, Peder Mannerfelt, CVX, Iueke and many more beside), this 12” sampler now places some of the comp’s firmest dancefloor joints onto vinyl.
Up top your boy Ludwig a.k.a. LDWG kicks off with the brutal bass gnaw and drunken master bashment lurch of ‘DRM1MKIII’, next to the slow, arid, gutted hunch of ’Silica Gel’ by Kassem Mosse - affiliate of Youth boss Andy Lyster from his meandyou. days - and the viscous swagger of Raster-Noton regular Grischa Lichtenberger.
Down below, smog monster FUMU takes control with a hollow-belly industro bashment workout ‘FM’ that sounds like Geins’t Naït meets Craig Leon in an iron silo, and Belgium’s Sensu recoils the grotty slow electro slog of ‘MHG’. Shame they missed off some of the CD’s other highlights but mustn’t grumble cos there’s some choice gear inside.
Pauline Oliveros’ astonishing drone classicism finally surfaces on vinyl for a definitive 30th anniversary edition newly expanded with material from the slightly later but related ‘The Readymade Boomerang’ album.
Recorded in 1989 in a cistern with a 45” reverb, located 14 feet below the ground in Seattle, ‘Deep Listening’ is a masterclass of intuitively divined harmony helmed by one of the 20th century’s most revered composers, accordionists and musical thinkers; Pauline Oliveros. Accompanied by her long-time Deep Listening Band collaborators Stuart Dempster (trombone, hosepipe, conch shell, didjeridu) and Peter Ward a.k.a. Panaiotis (voice, whistling), the trio generate an utterly atavistic yet future-facing music that sounds convincingly electronic but is actually entirely acoustic in origin, and is likely to leave deep listening types floored at their conception of in-the-moment composition.
Like the plangent call of mother earth lamenting for the ages, it’s hard to avoid comparisons for this record with events practically beyond human conception. Of course, it’s just three people in a very echoic space, but the results directly speak to our sixth senses in a way that really escapes concrete classification and can really only be grasped at the most elusive, spiritual level - unless you want to get into the physics of acoustic phenomenology and psychology, and to be fair that might spoil the effect. Instead, we recommend finding time and space to give this album your full attention - preferably at night, when conditions are similar to the darkness the performers experienced in the cistern - and feel yourself dematerialised, like their sounds, into a perceptive state of pure, finely graded vibrational decay and harmonic mystery.
Original Junior Boy Matt Didemus and german electro artist M. Maischein do slinky, tropical electro-acidic breaks as Hydromantic on the first 12” from Hunee’s Lifetones label
Also incorporating additional percussion by H. Severud aka Telephones, the ‘Archipelago EP’ is Hydromantic’s first outing on record following a debut live performance at Berlin Atonal 2019. In Hunee’s own words the duo’s music is “the outcome of their explorative approach towards timbre, rhythm and space”, which, for the dancers and DJs, means not your usual kind of dancing tackle.
In each corner they work up seductive syncopations of exotic drum palettes and beautifully spaced out electronics, roving from the trickle of Mbira-like melody, rude 808 bass and wriggly acid in ‘Archipelago’ to sweetly unfurl a tangle of modular twangs, crepuscular pads and Severud’s drums in ‘Pipe Phase’, before really taking the vibe off road and down the rabbit hole in ‘Paranormalisation’, and checkign out with the pendulous electro minimalism of ‘Drip By Drip’.
RIYL Dolo Percussion, DJ Sotofett, SW & SVN, Mor Elian
Aidan Baker (Nadja, b/b/s) and bass clarinetist Gareth Davis continue their fruitful collaboration with "invisible cities ii" - five new tracks of finest ambient / chamber jazz / subtle drones of a highly meditative quality.
"2 years ago, the canadian guitar player aidan baker and clarinetist gareth davis from belgium released their duo debut "invisible cities" that surprised many by its quiet, even meditative quality. davis had made himself a name in a wide range of fields, from the postrock of a-sun amissa or oiseaux-tempête, new music (peter ablinger, bernhard lang), or experimentation with the likes of elliott sharp, merzbow or scanner, while baker is mostly known for his drone / postmetal duo nadja, but that's just one out of several steady projects (e.g.b/b/s with andrea belfi and erik skodvin aka svarte greiner) and a multitude of solo albums.
on "invisible cities" the duo explored the calmer side of things – from chamber jazz to ambient / drone and back, giving much space and air to breathe to their respective instrument. subtle guitar drones, sonore clarinet sounds, a sonic scenery of peacefullness and meditative introspection – all this you'll also find on the new album "invisible cities ii" which is an accomplished continuation and refinement of the duo's first collaborative effort from 2018. recorded between 2018 and 2019 in berlin and amsterdam, mastered and cut at d&m berlin by kassian troyer."
Ecstatic, nostalgic gear reminiscent on a childhood spent in Indonesia, rendered thru the prism of cosmic IDM arrangements.
“The Keep is the solo project of Gothenburg-based Oliver Knowles, who combines his Indonesian heritage with a love for drones. Speaking about the track Knowles said “‘Barry Manny Drone' is about loneliness. The track is meant to be a kind of reassurance, or comfort blanket."
Primer is a collection of drones, noise and rhythms influenced by the vibrancy and excitement of Spanish and Catalonian street festivals that take place in Barcelona each year, where the record was written.
As well as the location, Knowles also marks other inspirations as films and their scores saying "With this EP, the tone of films like Under the Skin and Annihilation, and reading The Southern Reach Trilogy that Annihilation was adapted from was very influential." Although the tracks on the EP are instrumental, Knowles as a means to express intense personal feelings of anxiety or sadness created them. He used the four tracks on Primer to manifest these ideas in a positive way, allowing a sort of personal catharsis.
Born in Singapore, Knowles then lived in Indonesia until he was 6 and pays heritage to his Indonesian heritage on this EP by using samples of traditional Indonesian instruments, including a small Indonesian hand drum that his mother gave him years ago.”
Smagghe & Cross reprise their ponderous ambient/cinematic duo for Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music
Following ‘MA’ (2017), french disco/house producer Ivan Smagghe and library music/film composer Rupert Cross explore a melancholic, meditative intersection of ambient mood music riddled with literary, cinematic and esoteric influences. NoYo’s Adelle Stripe also returns to supply readings of her text ‘Sacred Heart’, after presenting her vocals to the previous S&C album, while the addition of numbers station samples from The Conet Project neatly dovetail with the project’s ambiguous, ethereal appeal in the album’s quiet highlight ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’, the name of a trad english poem whose original melody was used on the mysterious broadcasts.
“This second LP on Offen is an ajar window overlooking the phantasmagoric world of Smagghe & Cross, a remembrance of days that never were. The music is sparse, the past is forever : ghosts of industries are conjured through the English countryside, fading memories play static with an idea of romance, the sun breaks through the iron clouds. A record free of uncouth nostalgia but laced with ethereal melancholia.”
First ever vinyl release of Tom Raybould’s award-winning movie soundtrack for excellent AI-themed sci-fi thriller The Machine (2013).
"Undoubtedly one of the greatest (and most overlooked) movie scores of the 2010s, The Machine finds its influences in the works of John Carpenter, Vangelis, Brad Fiedel, and Tangerine Dream, but presents its own unique twist, one that cleverly evokes the thin line between man and machine that haunts the whole film. Cold and tenacious rhythms suggest mechanical killer instincts, brooding synths crystallize the fear of an AI-controlled future, but the warm and gentle sounds of guitar and piano ease the tension and bring hope of humanity. From its menacing introduction to its tender ending, Tom Raybould’s masterwork ingenuously blends ambient, electronic, neoclassical, and synthwave to recontextualize and upgrade the classic 80s sci-fi movie score template, holding its own against mammoth soundtracks like Blade Runner or The Terminator. Truly."
Skeptical, Duke Hugh and Steven Julien rework Spacek’s troddin’ broken beat tune for Eglo’s 10th anniversary celebrations
Halftime D&B pioneer Skeptical takes the full A-side with a wicked steppers remix placing Spacek’s falsetto on a wild, pitching bassline and flinty drums with rugged traction. B-side, Duke Hugh emphasises the original’s dubwise undertow in a playful, jazzy style, and Steven Julien (a.k.a. Funkineven) redresses Spacek in his finest acidic funk, blushing FM synth chords and deliciously woozy guitar lines.
Sissel Wincent and Anthony Linell (Abdulla Rashim, Ulwhednar) have their way with Pär Grindvik’s catalogue in the 3rd of five remix 12” for the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt.
Chasing up her 12”s for Peder Mannerfelt’s label and remixes of fever Ray and HTDW, Sissel Wincent is at her best in a convulsive rework of ‘Magnolia’ full of pointillist electro rhythm and subtly reverberating, doomy atmospheres with a poignant finale. The artist better known as Abdullah Rashim, Anthony Linell follows with a superb, subaquatic techno spin on ‘Ensemble’.
Shifted and Damon Wild kick off a series of remixes for tracks by Swedish techno boss Pär Grindvik ov the Aasthma fame alongside Peder Mannerfelt.
Shifted applies his patented greyscale texturing to ’Tide Us Part’ from Grindvik’s ‘Isle Of Real’ LP with gritty, forceful traction, while ‘Folium’ from 2013’s ‘Air’ 12” comes reworked as a percolated deep space techno mission by NYC’s Damon Wild.
MixMup/Kassem Mosse and Physical Therapy get deep and playful on the 5th of five remixes for Pär Grindvik, the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt
MM/KM go below the surface with a stealthily building but never peaking techno rework of ‘Wall To Wall’ from Grindvik’s ‘The Game’ (2017) EP, and Queens, NYC loon Physical Therapy trots out a loopy, prancing pony of a remix for ‘Drift’ from 2004’s ‘Gem’ 12”.
Mick Harris, Parrish Smith and Overlook run ruffshod over a highlight from Ron Morelli’s ‘Disappearer’ album for Hospital Productions
Brummie squadron leader Mick Harris is properly up for a brawl, knuckles taped up and dusted in glass on his pulverizing A-side remix, but Parrish Smith (Volition Imminent) absolutely bosses the session with his transition from tense, half-stepping drums and panic stations synths to full-on 150bpm industrial onslaught, and D&B producer Overlook (Lucid Dreams) recalls the exquisite bleakness of Vereker’s Restraint alias in his cut of dank, droning techno rolige.
Adriana Lopez and Klara Lewis takes the reins on 2nd of five remix 12”s for vintage gear by Pär Grindvik, boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt.
Barcelona’s Lopez reworks ‘Front Row’ from 2017’s ‘The Game’ 12” with a brooding, hulking, monotone techno churn, leaving Klara Lewis to render ‘London Marble’ from 2017’s ‘Aged’ EP as a vast cloud of gaseous ambient harmonics that crystallise into a beautiful frost of icy ambient noise.
Solid Blake and Art Alfie exert rude and moody remixes on Pär Grindvik’s catalogue in the 4th of five remix 12” for the boss of Stockholm Ltd and half of the Aasthma duo with Peder Mannerfelt
CPH resident Solid Blake resets ‘Silent below deck’ as a corkscrewing electro mutation pinned into place with jabbing drums and dry claps, contrasting with the arid, grumbling bass and dry-mouthed hi-hats of Art Alfie rolling techno spin of ‘The Marlton’.
The superb debut by Bristol’s Tara Clerkin Trio’s is a beguiling side of smoky, blue, jazz-wise chamber-pop and trip hop comparable to a less lofty, more earthed Julia Holter record
“Tara Clerkin Trio present their self titled debut LP on Laura Lies In. Similar to that directorial effect of filming at double speed and then slowing down for playback, the record ambles with assurance, expertly paced.
Opening with a jovial cacophony before the beatific ‘in the room’ confidently relieves, washing away any unease with an innately alien familiarity.
Coming to with the padded percussive patterns of 'Helenica', taking a moment to remember where you are in this temporal smudge. The serene contemplation of 'Any of these' signals we're homeward with a dependable afterglow, a friend you don’t need to thank for a good weekend.
A record existing disconnected from the daily getyadowns, a holiday from life, optimism as resistance against mundanity, something extraordinary amongst the ordinary, positively grey.”
After years messing about with his robot band, Squarepusher gets back to ye olde drill ’n bass of yore with ‘Be Up A Hello’, his most enjoyable album in decades, basically.
The jizz-fonk is still present and correct, but the junglist breaks and acid are also back in a big way, along with stacks of analogue hardware, throughout the album’s nine tracks of accelerated, hyperactive tekkers.
While the influence of jazz-fusion has always been key to Squarepusher’s work, we’re usually best impressed when he purely gives it up for the rave in proper, if mutant, ‘90s style. he does just that with the unmissable ‘Nervelevers’ and ‘Speedcrank’, which are right up there with AFX’s remix of ‘Box Energy’ and ‘Cock/ver10’ in terms of ravenous acid breakbeat with not a nanosecond spared for razor-sharp edits, while ‘Vortrack’ lends that style a deliciously darkside appeal, but ‘terminal Slam’ takes it a bit too bro-style with its Van Helan levels of noodle acid riffage, and ‘Mekrev Bass’ pulls it back from the brink with Venetian Snares-like complexity and tension. The two beat-less works - his night-glyding ‘Detroit People Mover’ and ’80 Ondula’ - are almost necessary to save you from cardiac arrest if doing it all in one sitting.
‘Have We Met’, as Dan Bejar puts it, “came together in such a crazy way - all equal parts ecstasy and terror.” Initially conceived (but quickly ditched) as a Y2K album, Bejar was without a clear concept in mind. So he let it all rip while brainstorming at home.
"Culled from years’ worth of saved writing, set aside for projects “beyond music” and recorded at his kitchen table, ‘Have We Met’ harkens back to ‘Kaputt’-era Dan stringing together lyrics off hand while lounging on his couch. The resulting vocal sound exists in the sweet spot between two Destroyer worlds colliding: hints of the past, more strident Destroyer mixed in with a relaxed, new-aged Crooning one. No re-recording. No cleaning up.
Frequent collaborator John Collins was tasked with the role of layering synth and rhythm sections over a stream-of-consciousness Bejar, as Nic Bragg added “completely unexpected and somehow comforting” threedimensional, shredding guitar. The Destroyer band-orientated approach was shelved; “The record could have gone on and on, and the mixes kept evolving up until about a day before we sent them off to be mastered, which was also 48 hours before John and his wife went to the birthing centre, where their first child was born; our true deadline!” says Bejar. Opener ‘Crimson Tide’ is a six-minute journey that takes its rightful place among other Destroyer epics.
It welcomes with a sparse rhythm until percolating synths and propulsive bass build and make it all a reality with unsustainable imagery - oceans stuck inside hospital corridors and insane funerals. It’s the sound of a somewhat eccentric and unorthodox recording process laid out and built up by three musicians exploring the depth to which they can take an idea. On ‘The Television Music Supervisor’, trickling keys, glitches and ‘clickity click clicks’ (a variation on the standard Bejar ‘la da das’) focuses on how those who dictate our relationships with music and media are susceptible to error, a most 21st Century concern. Perhaps the most audacious Destroyer track yet, ‘Cue Synthesizer’ steps back to address the rote and often-detached mechanics of music. Up next, the waltzy and woozy centrepiece ‘University Hill’ drifts even further and applies that logic more broadly, insisting “the game is rigged in every direction” and “you’re made of string.”
Thirteen albums in, ‘Have We Met’ manages to meet somewhere between trademarks and new territory - atmospheric approximations of feeling and place, wry gut-punches of one liners and the deluge of energy meets a thematic catharsis of modern dread, delivered with an effortless, entrancing directness. No need to expound any further - he’s got it all spelled out for you in the music."
Peder gets back to work properly with four powerful techno pounders on Blawan and Pariah’s Voam label following the experimental exercises of his Cav Empt tape.
Despite the slightly post-apocalyptic title, you best believe it’s a lot of fun inside. The tense canter and pranging synth lashes of ‘Black Alert’ triggers serious frolics between the frenetic 140bpm pacing and cosmic turbulence of ‘Everywhere, Everywhere’, a pitching noise-techno trampler named ’Summercase 2006’, and, best of all, a jagged-toothed, bittersweet electro/IDM mutation that we imagine will go perfectly with that nutty new Jasss 12”.
What a doozy?! Peder rules, OK.
Will Guthrie’s hypnotic, amorphous percussion sprawls between free jazz, Javanese gamelan, and electro-acoustic disciplines in a spellbinding new opus for Oren Ambarchi’s inimitably unpredictable Black Truffle
“Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie returns to Black Truffle with Nist-Nah. Like his previous solo record on the label, the abrasive hip-hop concrète of People Pleaser (BT027), Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, this time in a suite of six percussion pieces primarily using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. The music presented here is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat.
However, far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music, the pieces presented here are equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.
Nist-Nah presents a variety of approaches across its six pieces, from the crisp, precise rhythmic complexity of the opening title track to the droning textures of ‘Catlike’ and ‘Elders’. On the epic closing ‘Kebogiro Glendeng’, Guthrie offers an extended, layered rendition of a Javanese piece belonging to a repertoire primarily used for warmups, beginner’s groups and children first learning Gamelan, elegantly gesturing to his own amateur status while using the piece’s insistently repeated melody as an extended exploration of the hypnotic effects of repetition, falling in and out of time with himself to create woozy, narcotic effects until the piece eventually dissolves into a wavering fog.”
‘Mystic Familiar’, Dan Deacon’s new album, is the result of years of obsessive work, play and selfdiscovery.
"It’s at once his most emotionally open record and his most transcendent, 11 kaleidoscopic tracks of majestic synth-pop that exceptionally expand his sound with unfettered imagination and newfound vulnerability. Since 2015’s ‘Gliss Riffer’, Deacon has branched out into an array of collaborative projects including film scores to Rat Film, HBO’s Well Groomed, ESPN’s 30 for 30: Subject to Review; collaborating with the NYC Ballet’s resident choreographer Justin Peck, LAPhil and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra."
The soundtrack to Shane Meadows’ ‘The Virtues’ which screened on Channel 4 last May / June. Features six original pieces of music by PJ Harvey written for the series. Includes tracks used throughout the series, including music by Aphex Twin, MONO, Lisa Hannigan and more.
“I am so happy to have provided the original music for this extraordinary and powerful new drama by a director I have admired and followed all my life. Shane has a unique directness and sensitivity to his work which I am drawn to and aspire to in my own work, so our collaboration was open and trusting. I sent Shane ideas as demos for him to try out as he edited and let him choose what he used and where to the greatest effect. In the end we both loved how the demos worked so left them as they were, adding to the raw beauty of the piece.” - PJ Harvey
Stray Fantasies marks a deepening of the discography of wife-and-husband duo Hollie and Keith Kenniff under their collaborative moniker Mint Julep, an expertly manicured electric-pop venture that stands in stark contrast to the nebulous and experimental Helios and Goldmund outputs for which the latter member is known (though both members have ambient projects under their own names).
"Where those projects seek to defy conventional songform through textural, amorphous exploration, Mint Julep gels all the elements with a surprising and impressive songwriting expertise that speaks to the skill and well-roundedness of its creators. Stray Fantasies further proves this by delivering twelve fully crystallized, iridescent pop pearls glimmering with the interplay of synthesizers, pulsing basslines, and punching drums that ballast Hollie’s oneiric singing as she unfurls themes of vulnerability, insecurity, and other aching minutiae of love and relationships."
Donato Dozzy and the Retina.it duo debut their dark and sleazy electro project, Men With Secrets on Bunker NYC
An unexpected treat, ‘Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads’ straddles a murky line between 1982 and 2002 with 13 tunes spanning scuzzy electro proper, melodramatic cold wave synth-pop and finely crafted interludes.
It’s a properly skooled album in the most classic sense, luring listeners in with the first of their evocative ‘4th Dimension Signal’ sound design shorts, before patently nodding to classic Dopplereffekt in ‘The Misfortunes of Virtues’, and giving it up for Sheffield’s finest in ‘Cabaret (Démodé)’, along with the kerb-crawling synth-pop sleaze of ‘Elle est Nihiliste’, a gnashing swivel of Suicide Commando vibes in ‘Angelus Novus’, and a massive highlight tucked away at the end in ‘Aletheia’.
A must check for all fans of vintage wave gear and its contemporary echoes.
Avant-garde composer and student of La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi, Ellen Arkbro renders sustained and harmonically opaque chords on her stunning second solo album for Subtext. More minimal and extended than her 2017 debut ‘For Organ and Brass’, 'Chords’ is a focussed study in a gradual manipulation of acoustic timbres, using subtle synthesis of organ and guitar through two extended pieces bound to generate uncanny sensations to anyone familiar with the conventional tone of her chosen instruments.
Although underpinned by mathematical rigour, Arkbro draws direct connections to sacred music through a strict method of reduction, stripping away elements in a process she likens to a sculptor chipping away at stone. What’s left is primed for a kind of mind-altering osmosis, where the listener gradually fills in the gaps, or as she tells the most recent issue of The Wire “…what you pay attention to will change what you hear”.
Influenced by her teachers and the spirit of New York’s 1960’s Downtown scene, Arkbro is meticulous in her process and use of unusual tunings to reveal strange, sustained sounds that seem to continuously change shape. This pursuit of a kind of sonic “emptiness” belies the often unearthly spatial dimensions she manages to conjur, making highly perception-based sounds that have an almost supernatural quality.
The results sit somewhere between sacred and industrial music, a listening experience with highly meditative, spiritual, sometimes disturbing qualities - quite a remarkable achievement.
Today was Galaxie 500's 1988 debut album, spawning one of the most influential sounds in indie rock history.
The band, whose membership was comprised of Dean Wareham, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang (the latter two being of Damon & Naomi fame), started playing together during their time at Harvard University, borrowing a drum kit from their classmate Conan O'Brien and starting to play gigs between Boston and New York City. Soon a demo made its way into the hands of Shimmy Disc label boss and indie rock super-producer Mark Kramer, who recorded the band's debut single, 'Tugboat', its follow-up 'Oblivious' and the subsequent LP, Today.
The band's early aesthetic prompted comparisons to the Velvet Underground and Jonathan Richman (notice the Modern Lovers cover 'Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste') although you can hear a fair bit of Spacemen 3 in here too. The finished product offers a genuinely unique sound though, one that carves out its own singular moment in underground rock music's history.
Opening 2020 with a storm, Malka Tuti delivers a new 7” by mysterious artist Lena Muir.
"Two cuts of Post Punk infused dance floor bonanza for your weirdo selectors set, or your next car chase. Sounding like they were taken out of a Robert Rodriguez movie, the 2 tracks push relentlessly forward, with a quirky drum machine, heavy bass and kick-ass guitar riffs.."
Huerco S’ West Mineral label follow Pendant’s sublime 'Make Me Know You Sweet' album with uon’s wholly absorbing study in brownian motion and isolation tank ambience; a hypnotically lush exploration of underwater romance. If you're into the impeccable run of Vainqueur releases on Chain Reaction, this one's for you.
It’s the 2nd release from the enigmatic project, whose debut 12”s in 2017 was among the year’s standout ambient and dub-related releases. On this new one uon poetically describes three different behaviours of water and its amorphous states through a gently elemental push and pull of forces best considered in the vein of Basic Channel, Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas or the shimmering convections of Ross 154.
Beautifully elusive but crucially watermarked with a sense of originality in personalized style, Solaris opens the set with a 17 minute cut - a seemingly infinite journey through swells of diffracted chords and silty filters, simultaneously connoting sensations of opiated amniotic safety and oceanic infinity.
Where the A-side feels like floating in a lush mass, the bass-heavy articulation of his B-side’s J may well urge listeners onto the ‘floor with the same, inexorable traction of classic Vainqueur records, and in a way smartly reflects uon’s mutable DJ style, before the aqueous qualities of his final track Bus soothes to a deeper blue state of loved-up introspection which, like Solaris, could have have easily taken up a side to itself.
Stone cold classic ‘90s Detroit techno from UR agent Suburban Knight, reissued for first time in a decade
Widely regarded a jewel in the crown of UR’s early ‘90s run, the darkside techno template of ‘Nocturbulous Behaviour’ has cast a long shadow of influence over techno for nearly 30 years. The A-side’s Infra Red Spectrum’ is a masterclass in spine-freezing, super bass-heavy techno that possibly betrays a return influence from Belgian techno, which itself took large inspiration from Suburban Knight’s early Detroit classic ‘The Art of Stalking’ (1990). The all-too-short dread techno bomb ‘Magnetic Timetable’ follows on the A-side, backed with another all-time UR M.V.P. in ‘Nocurbulous’, with its bulldozer bass drop and totally haunting, sleepwalker synth lead brought to life in-the-mix by the Ultimate Survivor (a.k.a. Mad Mike) “Somewhere in Detroit”.
Tortoise mainman Jeff Parker throws down the lissom, balmy jazz-fusion of ‘Max Brown’, the final track of his ‘Suite For Max Brown’ album as a tease for the promising full LP
“I’m always looking for ways to be surprised,” says composer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Parker as he explains the process, and the thinking, behind his new album, Suite for Max Brown, released via a new partnership between the Chicago–based label International Anthem and Nonesuch Records. “If I sit down at the piano or with my guitar, with staff paper and a pencil, I’m eventually going to fall into writing patterns, into things I already know. So, when I make music, that’s what I’m trying to get away from—the things that I know.”
Finders Keepers don their flasher macs and visit the soundtrack to French skin flick 'Jeune Filles Impudiques' aka Schoolgirl Hitchhikers.
The film itself is apparently quite so-so, but these tracks depict a vibrant No-No generation in the wake of the 1968 Paris uprising. For the break hunters there's a pair of real killer drum workouts, especially the feverish 'Gilda & Gunshots', but the sleazy, second-class jazz miniatures and library theme of the title track will whet the appetite of collectors everywhere.
This is the first taste of a new series from FK dedicated to the work of the film's director Jean Rollin, documenting some of his finest moments on vinyl. Tip! (For adults only)...
This second Galaxie 500 LP (from 1989) tends to be regarded as the band's finest, and in hindsight it sure sounds like a formidable piece of work.
Using a similarly slowed down, thinned out combination of guitar strum and plodding drums the band somehow continue to forge a unique sound that's helped terraform the subsequent indie rock landscape. Bands like Low owe a great deal to this trio's proto-slow core concoctions, and their songwriting never sounded better than on this LP, with great songs like 'Blue Thunder', 'Strange' and 'Tell Me' all helping cement the group's cosmically charged sound.
Further to the originals, towards the end of the album the band's take on a couple of covers, including Joy Division's 'Ceremony', The Red Krayola's 'Victory Garden' and best of the bunch, the George Harrison song 'Isn't It A Pity', which sounds great in this context, rendered in all its weary simplicity.
This 1990 Galaxie 500 album draws its title from the classic Ornette Coleman LP of the same name and transpired to be the group's final studio outing.
There seems to be a slight expansion of the Galaxie 500 sound on this outing, expanding upon the dream-pop building blocks of prior outings with a heavier drum sound and more textural guitars. Songs like 'Hearing Voices' and 'Spook' soar magnificently, while elsewhere, the woodwind solos of 'Way Up High' and miniature fanfares in 'King Of Spain Part 2' take the group's aesthetic into fresh directions - there's really not a single moment in Galaxie 500's discography that's not imbued with some measure of magic.
The closing cover of the Velvet Underground's 'Here She Comes Now' makes for a fitting full-stop in the band's lifespan as a recording entity, effectively bringing their sound full-circle.
Facsimile reissue of an iconic number from the important Smithsonian Folkways Recordings archive, focuseded on beautifully lissom and serene Kora recordings made in Senegal and The Gambia, 1977, with a Sony 722 1/2 track stereo deck using 4 cardioid condenser microphones...
“The hypnotic, delicate sound of the kora, the harp-like instrument strung on a halved gourd, has been a trademark of West African music for centuries. Gambian Griot Kora Duets (1979), featuring the master player Alhaji Bai Konte and his equally influential son Dembo Konte and Ma Lamini Jobate, is a remarkable recording that documents an evolution in the kora’s use in the traditional music of the Gambia. The album, made in Dembo and Alhjai Bai Konte’s living space, shows the musicians incorporating complex, polyrhythmic arrangements. Though these musicians are intrinsically linked to the Jali tradition of griot families in West Africa, in which kora players are the historians and record keepers of local cultures, these recordings, with their stylistic flourishes, marked a new beginning for international interest in the kora. Dembo Konte went on to tour internationally, performing on John Peel’s legendary BBC program in 1989 and collaborating with the influential group Mustaphas 3.”
Debut album from a mysterious new operator on Hospital Productions, a “fallen disciple’ who grew up in a religious cult and who now makes masterfully crafted Techno and EBM modelled in the image of classic Regis, Silent Servant and Ancient Methods productions and which features recordings of sermons by the pastor he had to listen to during his religious upbringing.
‘Suburban Scum’ is Nathaniel Young aka Guilt Attendant's devilishly detailed debut of girder-strength techno for Hospital Productions, forged in the image of late ‘90s hard techno and reverberating strongly with prevailing trends. It’s inspired and informed by the artist’s deeply held urge to undo the dogma instilled by his religious Christian upbringing. and, as such, it expresses a sense of free will within the context of Satan’s fall from grace, fully grasping techno’s repetitive excess as a potential path to hedonism, freedom and other ungodly matters.
Recorded between 2016-2019, the 8 tracks of ’Suburban Scum’ find Guilt Attendant in cold control of his agency. While they may possibly make crowds consider their own relationship to god, especially in his use of sampled sermons by his former preacher that crop up throughout, and most strikingly on the closing ’Severe Mercy’, the majority are more likely to make dancers slam the walls and trample a hole in the ‘floor, especially with the galloping horsepower traction of ‘Broken (Free)’ and his scudding 140bpm missile ‘Cursed Spawn of White Flight’, while the title track deals in purely clenched EBM and the dread-filled palpitations of ‘Imminent Unraveling’ features his vocals low in the mix and wrapped around the track’s rugged spine.
While there’s a certain irony in eschewing one dogma to embrace another, Guilt Attendant utilises the inherently principled form of hard techno as a steely framework in which to explore his own spirit. In the process he opens a derelict warehouse-like playground to reflect on key themes of moral independence, social segregation, free will, blissful despair and decisive autonomy - that patently apply to popular conceptions of the dancefloor as “church” and techno as ritual.
After starting the decade on ECM, and dancing with Perlon in 2015, Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer hash out their most starry-eyed and jazz-frayed sound for Mana in ‘The Clouds Know’, achieving a style that lies somewhere between Rashad Becker, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, Beatrice Dillon and that ace ‘John Tchicai With Strings’ Lp for Treader
“Developing a sound that tends to drift along as otherworldly atmospheres and strange fusion, Vilod evade easy categorisation, even compared to Villalobos’ already experimental and genre-twisting solo minimal offerings. He and Loderbauer pull away the backbone inherent to the structure of that dance music, and The Clouds Know refines a deft and subtle musical noir built on ambient cues, sparks and claps of electricity, brushed drums, black voids and subterranean bass swoops. There's a twinkle in the eye and moments of deadpan levity, but the overall mood here is sober and introspective. Emotions run deep.
Through studio mastery and an enigmatic language the album forms a fascinating sonic and sensory work with few compromises. With erratic rhythms notably submerged—techno remains as an irregular pulse in the belly of the beast—fields of crisp, uncanny detail expand greatly. Humid environments appear, dense with the chatter of synthesised insects and the gentle rain of drums and whispering cymbals, enchanting the listener in focus or sublimating into layers of ambience depending on your disposition - and the quality of your stereo field.”
Reissue of Jah B’s previously unreleased blinder ‘Vampire’ backed with Tony Jackson’s high grade Roots Reggae ace ‘Mother I Love You’, newly reissued on Wackies...
Produced in fine Wackies style, Tony Jackson’s sought-after declaration ‘Mother I Love You’ is placed on the front along with the heat-hazy gauze of the ‘Mother’s Dub’ on Itopia’s original riddim.
B-side is haunted by ‘Vampire’ from Jah B and Wackies Rhythm Force, which has been beautifully transferred from tape (or original copy?) replete with spooky artefacts on the vocal mix, before really coming out of the dub’s nooks and crannies.
Killer 12" from Mark Ernestus Ndagga Rhythm Force.
Featuring all members of Jeri-Jeri plus the Basic Channell/Rhythm & Sound boss under a new moniker, 'Yermande' yields some of their strongest material to date, making the connections between Senegalese Mbalax, Jamaican dub and Berlin minimalism ever more inseparable. Comes in a stripped-down 'Kick and Bass Mix' featuring Mbene Diatta Seck dubbed to sound uncannily like Tikiman in parts, and backed with the achingly dextrous instrumental. Better yet, the 'Prophet 5 Mix' introduces the legendary Sequential Circuits model to the blend with hypnotically technoid effect.
The Chosen Brother’s utterly haunting roots reggae classic - as championed and versioned by Rhythm & Sound - comes back ‘round on this new 12” edition, packing Dub and a previously unreleased Version on 12” for the 1st time!
The Chosen Brothers’ original was first issued as ‘March Down Babylon’ on ‘Wackie’s Selective Showcase Volume One’  and subsequently appeared on their 1st album ‘Sing and Shout’  and the ‘Reggae Goodies Vol. 1 & 2’ compilation. However, it’s likely best known for Rhythm & Sound’s 1998 version, retitled ‘Mash Down Babylon’, that was a highlight of the Burial Mix 10” series and later as a jewel in the crown of Rhythm & Sound’s ‘w/ The Artists’ compilation.
Now cut to 12” for the first time by CGB at D&M, who have capably handled all of the Wackie’s reissues since 2000, the OG sounds spectrally massive on this platter, casting a spiders web of FX over the steep valley of dread bass, mournful vocal and melting brass. Madder yet, the ‘Dub’ opens out with a succession of class wheel-ups before omitting the vocal and leaving a dancing skeleton of spindly drums and picked guitar in its wake.
BUT, the big number for any reggae or Rhythm & Sound collector is the B-side’s languorous Version, leaving the vocal out for a lusher take than the stark Dub, and making very clear the links between Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark sound, the in-house style of Lloyd Barnes’ Wackie’s label, and ultimately the Berlin vikings of Mark Ernestus & Moritz Von Oswald (Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound).
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
The second instalment from Basic Channel's offshoot, Basic Replay, a reissue label convened to showcase prime influences and lesser known inspirations, the men from Berlin have selected and remastered a truly shocking follow up to Keith Hudson's 'Playing It Cool..' album reissued last year.
'Call me rambo' was originally recorded in 1986 and released on the Heavyweight label, an imprint formed by the Heavyweight soundsystem, based in the Wood Green and Tottenham areas of north London. Featuring Chester Roots at the controls and his nephew Ackie at the microphone, this is raw and dangerous english dancehall. Hailing from that blissful period in the middle eighties, when clubs could play Marley Marl next to Super Cat, or Half Pint next to early Trax records, 'Call Me Rambo' opens with a bang, racked with strafing machine gun fire and the helicopter sounds free with a Commodore 64, natty dread a go scientific an' ballistic.
Stylistically speaking, Ackie's voice is reminiscent of the great Barrington Levy, and the simply enormous, rampant rhythm sends shockwaves through any musical system - all b-boys and hardcore addicts would do well to sweep a copy of this and ask questions later. Flip the script, and Chesse retains Ackie's winning 'Don't push me' refrain, and much of the sonic elements but works the board hard, 'Rambo Gun Salute' as a part two is simply perfection, dubwise and anywise. 'Rambo Salute' takes the dub even further out, as Ackie drifts further into the mix, and Chester works it on out in true ragamuffin style. "Ramming dancehall is the priority", so the man say. This has shattered the office record for rewinds this week and is utterly essential for ALL self-respecting music fans.
(Suburban Knight + DJ Pierre’s Wild Pitch Mixes) ÷ King Tubby x X³ = Basic Channel’s Q1.1. Or something. Stone cold essential techno classic. As ever; mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, pressed at Pallas.
The Basic Reshape of Carl Craig's 'The Climax' is without question one of the finest remixes of all time. Seminal 12" from Basic Channel....
It's a definitive, driving, hypnotic club killer that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time/
"Remake" Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to "Remake Uno/Duo", Carl's sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere.
Killer joyride of noisy, white-knuckle rhythms and biting-point sound design by Milan’s Advanced Audio Research for the increasingly ace Haunter Records
In hot pursuit of the styles found in his 2018 debut, the ‘First Grade’ LP - which recently turned up in Jon K’s killer TTT mix - the ‘Top Secret’ LP doubles down on that sound with nearly twice as much material and more belligerent confidence that places him in close orbit with fellow Italian demon, Shapednoise while also recalling the breakcore blatz of Somatic Responses and Venetian Snares.
No punches are pulled across the album’s 12 gory cuts, which often run at a frenetic 160bpm and all leave no nanosecond shy of seething action, fulminating standout pieces in the club mastication of ‘Gandalf’, the supremely cranky grind of ‘Gizmo (Tribute to Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata)’, his roiling R&B noise fusion, and the hardcore razz of ‘Trans-Mongolian Railway’.