The Chi Factory unfurl lushly overgrown 4th world drones, voices and field recordings made on a greek island, naturally drifting between time-slowing beats, FM radio interference, and languid instrumentation in four parts that describe a transition from dawn to dusk...
“Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American poet who lived on Patmos, Greece, as a self-exiled hermit since the sixties. Jack Kerouac called Lax “one of the great original voices of our times, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence”.
The Chi Factory would like to give special thanks to his good Patmian friends Ulf Knaus and Nikos Eliou, who showed us his house on Patmos (everything is still the same since he left) and also his favourite old wooden door (see leaflet). His great minimalistic poetry became a source of inspiration for the Mantra Recordings. His life on Patmos was far away from public attention - quiet and always surrounded by the skies, seas, cats and birds. Lax was a real dreamcatcher.”
Exceptional microtonal minimalism and stark spatial sound design from Karl Fousek, highly recommended for fans of Alvin Lucier, Eleh, Nate Young, Zbigiew Karkowski...
“Serving as a score for David Hartt's film of the same name about the Habitat Puerto Rico project by Moshe Safdie, In The Forest finds Fousek at his most focussed and controlled. These five pieces/chapters move with precision and intent. With subtlety and curiosity. Shrouded in ambiguity. And while Fousek works much more restrained here than on previous releases, by paying attention to every detail, he creates an intriguing work of sonic storytelling.”
Soul Jazz Records presents this new collection featuring the heavy 70s roots reggae of Bunny Lee - a living legend, one of the last of the great Jamaican record producers who helped shape and define reggae music in the 1970s from a small island sound into an internationally successful musical genre.
"From teenage fan to young record plugger for Duke Reid, Sir Coxsone and other early pioneering Jamaican musical entrepreneurs, Lee has spent his whole professional life inside the Kingston music industry. In the 1970s he rose up to become one of the major record producers in Jamaica alongside Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and the other ‘small axe’ producers who broke the dominance of the ‘big tree’ producers that had ruled Jamaican music in the 1960s.
Featuring some of the heaviest Jamaican artists, including Johnny Clarke, King Tubby, Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo, Tommy McCook, The legendary Aggrovators (featuring Sly and Robbie), The Mighty Diamonds and more, the album is a rollercoaster ride of rare, deep and classic 1970s roots, dub and DJ sounds. During this era, ‘flying cymbals’, crashing reverbs, dark echoing thunderclap gunshots and other ‘implements of sound’ filled his record productions as Bunny Lee explored the outer limits of dub with his friend King Tubby in the mix on wild versions that accompanied any 45. A Bunny Lee record provides a creative and mysterious hidden guide to reggae music itself, a double-sided three-minute intangible history lesson etched in wax.
Bunny Lee was one of the first Jamaican producers to travel to England in the late 1960s, at the beginning of the nascent British reggae music industry as record companies such as Trojan, Pama and others began licensing Jamaican music in the UK to supply the expanding West Indian communities living up and down England. Lee encouraged other Jamaican producers to do the same, including Lee Perry, Harry J and Niney The Observer and also became a conduit between the British music industry and numerous younger Island-based producers - a frequent flyer reggae ambassador, a musical courier exchanging tapes for royalties. "
Angel-Ho takes to Hyperdub with her killer debut album proper, ‘Death Becomes Her’
Metamorphosing from the bullet-riddled chrysalis of her ‘Red Devil’ mixtape into a melodically colourful and vital voice in new electronic club music, the South African artist is accompanied by guest vox from K Rizz, Queezy and K-$, plus production by Gaika, Nunu, Bon and Asmara Maroof, who all play their role in “killing the old self, and expressing a poetic way of assuming a new identity.”
The album is thus about “emancipation and trans identity”, and reveals Angel-Ho as a gifted lyricist/vocalist as well as a master of curious, probing arrangements of tone, texture and rhythm. But, for anyone familiar (or even slightly obsessed) with her fractious ‘Red Devil’ mixtape, her advance into far more tempered and filigree sound organisation may come as a shock. Her music now more closely resembles the hard-won styles of Arca and Lotic, with stronger binds to mutant R&B and Rap, as well as core influence from SA musics such as Gqom and Kwaito.
Where her previous releases were effectively dizzying, abstract descriptions of South Africa and the trans-global Black and queer experience, ‘Death Becomes Her’ merges the figurative and brutalist with more literal, and poetic expressions, for a varied and full frontal definition of Angel-Ho as an artist. Songs such as the Kwaito-esque dance-pop of ‘Like A Girl’, and ‘Muse To You’ are just that, proper dance songs with verse/chorus structures and stunningly animated/animating rhythms, while ‘Baby Tee’ offers a smart sidespin on R&B conventions, and others naturally push the prism toward the avant, as with the use of Bee-Gees choruses in the blinding, off-key and jagged ‘Live’ or the Coil-ed poise of ‘Pose’, or the keening, oblique shape of ‘Bussy’.
Royal Trux just announced their first album of new songs since 2000's Pound for Pound.
"The new album not only maintains the magic chemistry between Jennifer Herrema (vocal, moog, guitar, melodica) and Neil Hagerty (vocal, guitar) but expands upon it greatly with their natural ability to give us something unexpected, necessary, and truly unique. Their own formidable and informed imaginations.... the same two creative minds that brought us (to name a few) Twin Infinitives, Cats and Dogs and Accelerator, are present in the unadulterated, exhilarating energy that has the album listed on Pitchfork and Stereogum's most highly anticipated albums of 2019 lists.
For the "band", it has been a natural, fluid return. Says Herrema, "Nothing has changed within the Truxian universe we created for ourselves as teenagers; because Trux is and will always be our way of life whether living it together or separate...This is no hobby rock kick. We are long game lifers with no fear, no regrets and plenty of gratitude for the way the universe has rewarded our singular dynamic."
Royal Trux find innovation in their 'Bitches Brew' aesthetic which now defines the standard mash-up approach so commonly ascertained and claimed by the majority of musicians that whether cognizant or not have followed in Trux's very large footsteps: "everything in the pot whether you like it or not," deriving from world music, punk rock, jazz, metal, electronic, southern, teeny-bop and all the rest. In the tradition of the blues, through appropriation and re-evaluation, Royal Trux changed the way we think of music. Their return is nothing short of glorious. "It's funny how the outside world perceives or feels compelled to parse complicated relationships and dynamics...Usually it's an all or nothing game", muses Herrema. "This next chapter is just another perfectly aligned bit of kismet.
No concerted effort to force anything forward or to create something with an eye on the past. Only an awareness that the present had come calling with a gift to assist the future future of Royal Trux. The true believers that were once strangers found their way into our universe because everybody was ready for it and it simply, as if on cosmic cue, came to be."
Add Sleaford Mods to The Fall in a small bowl, stir half-heartedly while scrolling thru memes, remove mulch from bowl, lick it, spit it out, and you have something like ’Stunning Luxury’.
“Snapped Ankles have taken on the guise of the very agents of their community’s demise – the property developers and brokers who heat the market on the promise of Stunning Luxury. With their adopted warehouse habitat under constant threat, the woodwose have taken this sharp-suited incarnation in order to infiltrate. The resistance starts here.
From humble forest beginnings via bohemian East London on debut album Come Play The Trees, Snapped Ankles are moving on. The log synths have been transformed into gaudy “To Let” and “For Sale” signs, which have become the new instrument of choice for the discerning woodwose. The sounds they eke out of the housing bubble are as frenzied and unstable as you’d expect. Dystopian bangers. Illicit thrills. Stunning Luxury moves quickly through life in the capital: microdosing mindfulness in the morning, a poisoned nod to the marketing department, investment portfolios and death by same day delivery.
Snapped Ankles may appear to have further integrated with the city, but they never lose their outsider eye. Not content to take modern life at face value, they’re here to innovate. ‘Three Steps to a Development’ reveals the secrets of successful and aggressive gentrification learnt from an old bee-keeping manual. ‘Rechargeable’ seeks to harness the kinetic energy of dance to power the city. We need a pulse! ‘Letter from Hampi Mountain’ gives a nod to those that laid the groundwork for Snapped Ankles and invites like-minded individuals to suit up and join in.
The primal rhythms and forest chants are all present and correct. On the surface it’s hedonistic business as usual – a communal dance for the ages. But there’s a sense of discomfort too. There’s subversion, but it’s not clear who’s subverting who. There’s a message, but it’s often fragmented. Keep dancing. Keep foraging. Perhaps the woodwose are human after all…”
Octo Octa debuts on Ninja Tune’s Technicolour with a volley of breakbeat-driven and rolling vocal house cuts.
Presented by the artist as her most vulnerable work to date, the A-side’s ‘I Need You’ opens with breathy coohs channeling Indian classical music under reverb-heavy pads, before unfurling gnashing, tinny jungle breaks, and eventually gelling into a rolling breakbeat house workout.
The B-side’s ‘Bodies Meld Together’ is a pumping house piece with brooding chord progression and ‘Loops For Healing’ trades in balmy balearic feels.
The debut album that never was from cult 4AD band Rema- Rema, featuring former members of The Models and Siouxsie and The Banshees, they were among the first bands to be released on 4AD. Their only contribution to the label’s storied history, they split-up before their EP's release, going on to form or join bands as diverse as Renegade Soundwave, The Wolfgang Press, Mass and Adam and the Ants.
"Rema-Rema featured former members of The Models and Siouxsie and The Banshees, and their much-loved Wheel in the Roses EP (1980) was among the first records to be released on 4AD. Their only contribution to the label’s storied history, they split-up before its release, going on to form or join bands as diverse as Renegade Soundwave, The Wolfgang Press, Mass, and Adam and the Ants.
The debut album that never was, Fond Reflections, comes almost forty years after their debut EP and has been culled from the band’s rich archive of reel-to-reel and cassette recordings, with member Gary Asquith and mixing engineer Takatsuna Mukai painstakingly working on them to make this collection as cohesive as possible. The ten tracks pretty much reflect the band’s live set and is the closest to what their debut album could have sounded like. Worth noting too that although all their 1980 EP tracks are present on this album, they are different recordings.”
The lesser spotted half of Mouse on Mars follows the duo’s percussive study ‘Lichter’ for Infinite Greyscale with an animated solo expedition full of drums and off-kilter electronics
In the 12 minutes of ‘Damn Lieu Lit’ and its 15 minute extended version, Toma comes off like Spencer Clark holidaying in a Rashad Becker daydream, with cute, sloshing wooden drums and glancing metallic percussions unfurling across bubbling viscous bass and painterly strokes of bittersweet synth resembling acidic alien brass.
Stripped down and plaintive desert blues from Northern Mail
“In exile from his city in Northern Mali, singer/songwriter Ahmed Ag Kaedy returns to the origins of Tuareg folk with sessions of stripped down solo acoustic guitar. Mellow pentatonic notes dance over plaintive vocals, intimate and close mic'd, endearing in their simplicity. Drifting from melancholic ballads and pleas for peace, “Akaline Kidal” is a politically charged and poignant recording for a community ripped apart by division and civil war.
While the Tuareg guitar genre is popularized by rock heavyweights like Tinariwen and Bombino, the origins of the genre are in simple acoustic arrangements. Created in the 1980s as political folk music, the first recordings were made on contraband cassette tapes. Distributed on underground networks, the music spread throughout the diaspora, planting the seeds of revolution and establishing the Tuareg guitar sound.
Recorded onto 8-track cassette tape in a basement studio in Portland, Oregon, “Akaline Kidal” is a call back to those early recordings. Captured in continuous single takes, the effect is unfiltered and raw. Like his predecessors, Ahmed Ag Kaedy imbues his songs with a pointed focus as he transmits a message home. Available on LP and cassette, accompanied by full song translations.”
Erstwhile Coil member Thighpaulsandra strip right down to voice and electronics with gurning, cabarat-ready results
“As audacious as the sleeve it comes housed in, the UK’s most eccentric audio malefactor returns with his eighth studio album, Practical Electronics with Thighpaulsandra. Unique in the Thighpaulsandra oeuvre, this one eschews the usual group based recordings, consisting of electronics and vocals only.
Hovering between haunted narratives and extended instrumental sequences Practical Electronics is an eccentric excursion into playful pop and fearless electronic experimentation. Simultaneously intimidating and accessible, the energy of this untamed mind unleashes an artefact where high art unfolds as an oblique electronic cabaret.
Having cut is teeth amongst such legendary outfits such as Coil and Spiritualized Thighpaulsandra has constantly catapulted himself further and further into a musical landscape utterly of his own devising. Practical Electronics is the latest exemplary installment of a voice that is uncompromising as it is outlandish.”
25th anniversary, 1st time vinyl edition of Merzbow’s “death metal” noise album, ‘Venereology’ - a super strong example of the Japanese artist’s influential, pre-digital phase - newly remastered by James Plotkin and now backed with a 20 minute bonus cut
An entry drug for many J-noise fiends, ‘Venereology’ is a proper fucking blast, chucking everything from revving engines and blast beats into a maelstrom of apocalyptic, full spectrum dominance.
The original album is etched into the first three sides, and now comes chased with two ‘Outtrack’ parts; a pulverising rhythmic noise onslaught, and what sounds like 30 Napalm Death tunes playing at the same time.
Copenhagen’s Anastasia Kristensen finally arrives with her nervy, greyscale techno debut for Warp’s exhumed sublabel, Arcola
‘Ascetic’ by name, but playful in nature, the lead cut was first heard on her RA mix in 2017, and now also appears as a rolling Breaks version that could feasibly have landed on Hotflush. ’LXR Jam’ is a scratchy techno jacker, and ‘Donni’ goes off like a cranky Randomer roller...
96 Back stokes the spirit of braindance in a colourful and kinetic debut album of techno-ambient-electronica, featuring guest input from Happa, for Sheffield’s CPU stronghold
Smartly expanding on the styles showcased in his 2018 debut EP, the ‘Excitable, Girl’ album opens out 96 Back’s sound across multiple axes of inquiry rooted in the prism-pushing efforts of mid ‘90s Warp and Rephlex releases.
That means everything from OG SoYo bleep and Cornish acid to Detroit electro and Italian electronics get referenced in-the-mix, generating slippery mutant highlights across the board from the nippy clip and strobing arps of ‘Matryoshka’ and the joyous Italo-electro chuff-on ‘Excited, Boy’, thru the darkside electro burn of ‘Ghzel Tea’ and the glorious astral IDM projections of ‘Lezi’ with Happa, thru to the curved air of ‘Vennsate’, the curdled, mercurial flow of ‘Seize’, and the acrobatic complexities of the album’s lush title tune.
Anyone into the Analord series, DMX Krew, or µ-Ziq at his most melodic need to give this one a whirl.
A tech-house hymn to menstruation, plus garage pivots and sub-loaded house heft from NYC x Berlin’s Klein Zage, backed with remixes by DJ Python, Ariel Zetina and Local Artist.
On ‘Womanhood’ Klein riffs on “a nihilistic declaration of menstruation” in a manner recalling Jenny Hval’s house incursions, while ‘Absolutely’ demonstrates her tuffer garage tastes with killer, rubbery 2-step spring and lyrics flying the flag for the female orgasm, wheras ‘She’s Out There’ knuckles down to a rudely wired Berlin darkroom sound.
DJ Python draws out the etheric appeal of ‘Womanhood’ with a drowsy dembow refit, Ariel Zetina follows their drop for Sweat Equity with a grimy 8-bar version of ‘Absolutely’, and ’She’s Out There’ becomes a playfully dubbed stepper in the hands of Vancouver’s Local Artist.
London’s hottest property, MC & producer Pinty commits a long-awaited debut 12” with Peckham’s Rhythm Section International
Peer of Archie Marshall a.k.a. King Krule, who produced 2/3rds of ‘City Limits’ under his DJ JD Sports, Pinty has been making moves for years now, gathering acclaim for his moody realist style which has recently lead to a tour support slot for Rejjie Snow.
For the past 8 years, Pinty has also lived on the same street as RSI’s Bradley Zero - Bradley’s 13, Pinty’s at 14 - so this EP was always a natural conclusion. The results are superb, some of the most straight-up but effortlessly different takes on UK rap, garage and house in recent memory, sharing much in common with the modest but vital vibes of Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Tirzah, as the likes of The Streets.
Production is handled by Archie Marshall on the first four songs, including the standout segue from woozy P-funk to R&B strut in ‘Tropical Bleu’, again on the Bugz In The Attic blue step of ‘Honey’, the jazzy curl of ‘Ceasors’, and the Burial-esque 2-step dipper ‘Nightcrawler’, while he capably goes it alone on the jazzy garage gauze of ’Sunday Smokes’, and all his pals jump in for the skippin’ London soul of ‘City Limits’.
With a price of well over $1000 on the few occasions the original LP has hit the market, 'Live Without Fear' is a beautiful album of humble purity and peaceful spiritual jazz vibes that lives up to the hype.
"With the blessing of creator Soji Ade and colleague Kahil El Zabar, we're delighted to be able to finally share their music with you, 40 years since it was recorded. As so often with private pressings, few copies were pressed and those that were suffered from little or no distribution. However, with our new remaster and with added liner notes from Chicago music archivist Steven Emmerman, their message of love and spiritual unity can now be revealed and appreciated worldwide.
NOTE: The original LP was released with both sides approaching 30 mins in length. This is extraordinarily long for an LP and as such the quality of sound will suffer during playback. We have therefore taken the opportunity to release the album as 2 x 12" sides, each cut at 45rpm, and the sound quality has greatly improved as a result."
A new compilation with music from the Upper East of Ghana where Frafra is the regional language. All artists are from in and around Bongo, the town where Ghanaian star King Ayisoba was born and raised. This is a collection of styles, all recorded in Francis Ayamga's Top Link studio. Ayamga is also drummer in King Ayisoba's band and creates beats and bass for the new Bongo stars.
"Bongo is a small town and is the capital of Bongo District, a district in the Upper East Region of Ghana. It’s a twenty minute drive to the border of Burkina Faso; “we share water” one of King Ayisoba’s band members once said. King Ayisoba, one of Ghana’s most famous musicians, was born and raised in Soe, a small village just outside Bongo; a fifteen minute drive on a sand road. Each time I visit the Bongo District, I have to visit King Ayisoba’s family too and pay my respects. Ayisoba’s father and mother are old but vital, they still work the land. I heard that during the harvest time everyone is a farmer. Young people come back home from the big cities like Accra and Kumasi to help with the harvesting and most of them have herded cows and goats when they were young.
Sitting on the back of Francis Ayamga’s motorbike we make many stops. Francis plays the traditiona drum in King Ayisoba’s band and he runs a studio in Bongo. He knows most of the people in Bongo, and there is always something new going on. Of course he has to explain why he has a white man on the back of his bike. The people in Bongo are proud of all the musicians and especially of King Ayisoba and his band who play the whole world and bring the Frafra tradition to all the continents. Actually he is teaching the world some Frafra along the way since King Ayisoba is well known for his powerful shouts and interaction with the audience.
During one of the King Ayisoba tours Francis gave me a pendrive full of music he recorded in his studio. I listened through all and heard a lot of great music. I made a selection, sat down with Francis and King Ayisoba and then came the idea to make a compilation that represents the music from the Upper East, focused on Bongo, all in Frafra and full of variation: rap, gospel, kologo and traditional chanting, it’s all there. I spent a week at Francis’ Top Link studio and met many great musicians. One of them was Zenabu, a traditional singer who brought her whole women group. They did not fit in the studio so we recorded them outside and it sounds beautiful.”
Cult Vietnamese-Chinese MC Triad God links with Palmistry on ‘Triad’ for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!?, serving the follow-up to ‘NXB’, which was released in 2012 by Hippos In Tanks to widespread underground acclaim.
Palmistry again handles the lion’s share of production in ‘Triad’, matching Vinh Ngan aka Triad God’s drowsy delivery and low key intonation with careful, minimalist dembow/dancehall rhythms and gossamer, elegiac atmospheres, while Organ Tapes also supplies a tenderly rugged backdrop to album closer ‘Chinese New Year’.
Rapping and singing a mix of Cantonese and english, Triad God mostly eludes any grip of what he’s chatting for non-Cantonese speakers, but for us, the overall vibe of ‘Triad’ imparts much more than any prosaic reading of the album. From the intimately cinematic mise-en-scene of the intro, thru to the soft-touch choral ambience of ‘So Pay La’ and ‘Gway Lo’, to the Jesus-arms dancehall bumps of ‘BDG’, the angelic cadence of ‘Dill’, and the MIDI meditation of ‘Hay Wan’, it’s the kind of record that quietly demands your attention while never quite looking you in the eye/ear, and does so in the most beguiling style.
A total beauty.
First vinyl issue of ‘Circumfluence’, a singular, epic suite of mulched shoegaze and ambient experiments made by Korean duo Puredigitalsilence in 1998, and sounding uncannily like Leyland Kirby jamming with Mark Hollis in a parallel universe...
Salvaged by Daehan Electronics, who were behind LPs of Kim Byoung Duk’s avabnt-garde jazz and Liquid Liquid drummer Dennis Young’s ‘Quest’ in 2018, ‘Circumfluence’ is one of those records that appears out of nowhere to effortlessly bridge loads of stylistic gulfs, only to then recede into the undergrowth until someone with big enough ears comes along and recognises its worth.
Keen ears will latch straight onto the rotted bluster of opener ‘Oceanview’, where they spend 23 limning a widescreen worldview as dense and sorely romantic as Leyland Kirby’s ‘Sadly The Future Is No Longer What It Was’ volumes with an array of analog electronics and drums’.
Once they’ve sucked you in and swilled you around for a bit, ’See Through Your Eyes’ evacuates into glorious ambient noise and by now you should really know why you made the purchase, as they continue to roll out into misty, slow, lysergic horror film themes with ‘Almost There’, and the heart-gnawing shoegaze bliss/ter of ‘Seeweed’ calves away to leave the coruscating might of ‘Image Eldétique’ feat. Day-tripper, and what sounds like a prototypical Sun Araw on ‘Death (Live at Ssamzie 2001.2.24)’.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ravishing and rare solo piano suite ‘BTTB’ is finally issued on vinyl - expanded, reshuffled, and newly replete with liner notes by none other than Haruki Murakami. Trust it’s swoon-worthy stuff.
Originally released in 1998 and hard to get hold of outside of Japan, ‘BTTB’, or ‘Back To The Basics’ is now reissued on 2LP to mark its 20th anniversary. It’s effectively a definitive edition of ‘BTTB’, reshuffled from the original 2LP pressing to also include ‘Energy Flow’ from the BTTB’ maxi-single, (which peaked at No.4 in the Japanese singles charts), as well as the slippery elegance of ‘Reversing’, both on the vinyl album for the first time.
Tech specs aside, this new edition is a sumptuous testament to Sakamoto’s effortlessly natural, poetic evocations of emotion, by then channelling some 30 years work as an arranger of classic synthpop (YMO, collabs with David Sylvian), and seminal soundtracks (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; The Last Emperor) into some of his most stripped down yet affective music, hovering on the line between precise, mindful composition and intuitively fluid improvisation.
While the majority of the material here features Sakamoto playing conventionally beautiful solo piano with magnificent highlights on the likes of ‘Opus’, he also extends into experimental, prepared piano on a handful of pieces, both serene and frantic, such as ‘Prelude’, ‘Sonata’ and ‘Uetax’, cannily resonating with Aphex Twin’s prepared piano pieces on ‘Drukqs’, which were released just two years later.
A legendary free-jazz side resurfaces with Art Ensemble of Chicago’s seminal ‘Tutankhamen’, recorded in Paris, 26th June, 1969, and still sounding outta this world 50 years later
‘Tutankhamun’ was recorded only weeks after the pioneering Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Anthony Braxton Trio had departed America, where they struggled to make a living from their art, for Europe, “the American jazz musician’s promised land” where they made an indelible mark.
Revolving Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favours on the recording, the Ensemble instinctively move beyond jazz’s concerns with melody, harmony and rhythm to a metaphorical and physical headspace where they could cut loose, focussing on the very texture and grain of their sound in a way that effectively resonates with the European avant-garde, while also working as an extension of jazz, proper.
Where the notion of free-jazz may have since become associated variously with macho feats of musicianship, psychotomimetic abstraction, and sometimes anything but jazz as most people know it, in the Ensemble’s hands it’s a coolly playful framework for witty, colourful expression and novel combinations of instrumental ideas that rarely test the listener’s patience, and are more likely to light up yer swede in the most pleasurable way.
'Secrets of the Beehive' is one of David Sylvian's most acclaimed solo works. It was here that he refined his creative relationship with Ryuichi Sakamoto, who contributed string arrangements and piano to the album, and the two came up with a sound quite magical in it's ambience and warmth.
Out of print for over 30 years, David Sylvian’s 4th album ‘Secrets of the Beehive’ is another masterclass in sophisticated songwriting by the artist once claimed as “the most handsome man in the world”
‘Secrets of the Beehive’ was first released in 1987 and finds Sylvian growing ever more graceful in his artform,. Again, he’s joined by Ryuichi Sakamoto in some form on practically every song, but this time the jazz-funk swerve is more suppressed (definitely no Mick Karn bass on this one) in favour of a more theatrical, modern classical air to proceedings, woven with threads of latin acoustic guitar, rich brass, and cinematic strings to opulent effect.
Breezy Balearic MIDI bumps by Dutch duo Rimer London and Lyckle aka Lamellan for Dekmantel
It’s a drop-top vibe, drenched in sunshine and retro haze from the trickling, rhythmelodic wriggle of ‘Horse Massage’ to the animated MIDI bass frolics and playful turns of phrase of ‘Spider’ on the A-side, then all woozy and chromatically blazed-out in ‘Oyster’, while ‘Railrunner’ recalls South African bubblegum flavours and ‘Pippo Denemarken’ sashays into the sunset with Casio-keyed melodies.
Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and W. David Oliphant’s visionary guitar/synth duo regroup for this absorbing split with Arabic ensemble Karkhana and Cairene artist Nadah Al Shazly
Leading on from the awe-inspiring might of Bishop & Oliphant’s ‘Beyond All Defects’  album - a personal massive favourite - the pairing return with a more tempered sound here, incorporating reverberating percussion and textured electronics into a pair of subtler, psychedelically layered arrangements. Their sense of menace is now more implied than explicit, with the inclement swell of toxic rain and hellish FX in ‘Rakshasa’ worthy of comparison with Æthenor and Nurse With Wound at their most hallucinogenic, while the sublime tension of ‘Axiulou’ conjures a more stately procession towards some unheimlich, dreadful unknown.
On the B-side, Lebanese/Egyptian/Turkish ensemble Karkhana, featuring Constellation’s Sam Shalabi and Cairene singer Nadah El Shazly, offer some antidote to the febrile A-side, traversing from opiated string shimmers and reversed tapes loops to avant-garde, modal jazz vividly rendered by Fadi Tebbal’s mixing.
For his second proper full length solo album, David Sylvian decided to be a little more ambitious. Eschewing the mix of ambient and vocal tracks we would come to see together on his subsequent records, on ‘Gone to Earth’ Sylvian decided that it would be best to pull them apart, and what we end up with is two full length discs, one vocal and one instrumental.
Disc one is the jazzy and slightly mysterious vocal part and disc two an ambient, drifting excursion perhaps comparable to the work of Harold Budd or Bill Nelson. Even though Sylvian would later master the blend of ambience and vocals, it’s great to hear his mind working on ‘Gone to Earth’ as he strips his vocal parts down to nothing and concentrates instead on mood, beauty and atmosphere.
Class, mid-‘80s electro-boogie-soul pearls drawn form three 12”s and drizzled onto Numero disc
“Pre-dotcom electro-funk from the long-running S.F. collective New World Music, gathering the best of their opium-hazed Macola-issued singles on one tidy 12”. Winding keys loosely hug an over-worked 808, as a slapping, watery bass gallops alongside, the looming bummer of the mid-’80s drug war hanging heavy over the whole affair. Intellectual Thinking finds New World Music jamming towards a techno future that never arrived.”
Parisian producer Bambounou debuts on Whities with a fine follow-up to the rhythmelodic aces of 2018’s ‘Parameter Perkusja EP’
Working again with a percussive palette especially concocted for his set at Freerotation 2017, he turns out three super slinky and mesmerising workouts, tilting in with a mix of dry and fluid gamelan drums embedded in creamy atmospheres and choral pads on ‘Temple’, then with grubbing low-register hits and claggy atmospheres in ‘Tour’, before inducing trance states with the hazy shimmy of ‘Seize-Sept’.
A hidden japanese vocal jazz gem resurfaces via Mule Musiq’s reissue selection from Tokyo’s legendary Johnny’s Disk Records
“Studio Mule present a reissue of Mayumi Sonoda with Kichiro Sugino Trio's Gogo Sanji No Aki, originally released on Johnny's Disk Record in 1982. Johnny's Disk Record is an independent jazz label run by the owner of jazz cafe Kaiunbashi No Johnny located in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The legendary label released a string of albums of high quality but down-to-earth music, spanning from modern jazz, avant-garde jazz, to left-field pop. Albums such as 1980's Farewell My Johnny / Left Alone and 1978's Aya's Samba (STUDIOMUL 013LP) have reached cult status among fans as some of the best works to come out of the Japanese jazz scene.
Gogo Sanji No Aki is an album by vocalist Mayumi Sonoda -- a jazz vocalist who looked up to Chris Connor and made her debut at a US Army camp at the age of 16 -- that was recorded with the help of Kichiro Sugino's Trio. Opening with the bilingual ballad "It's over", in which she sings in both English and Japanese, the album sees her covering standards that giants like Helen Merrill, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday have popularized, while showcasing her vocal abilities that set her apart from her peers. A hidden, Japanese female vocal jazz gem.”
Cranky dancefloor mechanics from StabUdown Productions, Facta, Kreggo and Piezo, squaring up the first multi artist compilation on the latter’s ANSIA label
Jimmy Donadio aka Prostitutes aka StabUdown Productions takes the lead with the grimy rigour of ‘FyeRRR!’, with brute drums and stabbed-in samples coming off like Novo Line doing 8-bar. Piezo follows with the scratching, spitting industrial funk rhythms of ‘OiOiOi’, whereas Kreggo swangs out with the pendulous electro of ‘Ligeti’, and Facta slows it down for the wobbly strutter, ‘Not Now’.
Art edition of John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies’s Halloween soundtrack featuring deluxe packaging with unique art by Chris Bilheimer, as well as a massive foldout poster.
"The new Halloween movie has the distinction of being the first film in the series with creator John Carpenter’s direct involvement since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Carpenter serves on the new David Gordon Green-directed installment as an executive producer, a creative consultant, and, thrillingly, as a soundtrack composer, alongside his collaborators from his three recent solo albums, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.
The new soundtrack pays homage to the classic Halloween score that Carpenter composed and recorded in 1978, when he forever changed the course of horror cinema and synthesizer music with his low-budget masterpiece. Several new versions of the iconic main theme serve as the pulse of Green’s film, its familiar 5/4 refrain stabbing through the soundtrack like the Shape’s knife. The rest of the soundtrack is just as enthralling, incorporating everything from atmospheric synth whooshes to eerie piano-driven pieces to skittering electronic percussion. While the new score was made with a few more resources than Carpenter’s famously shoestring original, its musical spirit was preserved.
“It was great,” Carpenter said of the experience. “It was transforming. It was not a movie I directed, so I had a lot of freedom in creating the score and getting into the director’s head. I was proud to serve David Gordon Green’s vision.”
Dutty debonaire ghetto trax from DJ DR-660, laying it down with a gilded trowel for Berlin’s FTP
Coming outta nowhere with the sleaziest style, ‘Sex Music’ shows DJ DR-660 to be a proper saucy bugger. On the A-side they tee off with the percolated juke pressure of ‘Talk 2 Me (Consent)’ piling thicc 808s under beckoning vox, before ‘Fuk Me FTB (Da Bomb Edit)’ brings call and response chants on the sort of groove that drive ‘em wild on the New Dance show back in the day. B-side they take cues from Erotek (R.I.P.) with the cool rhodes and direct lyrics (I Wanna Fuk U) of ‘Rhodes Rec.’, and on the hair-kissing chords and trim percs of ’Short Dick Man’.
Arch minimalist Neel gets the most of his machines for One Instrument Sessions
“In a scenario of overwhelming number of instruments, musicians often do not take the time to deepen and explore the creative possibilities of each gear they possess. One Instrument aims at counter-acting this tendency by challenging and limiting each artist in producing a composition by using only one instrument of their choice.
One Instrument presents "One Instrument Sessions”, a new format on which each artist shows a more personal narrative of the sound experiments they compose.
Neel opens the series with a solo record including “Aria”, a 20 minutes long piece made with the E340 Cloud Generator of Synthesis Technology, and “The Morning After”, composed with the Roland SH-01A.
The E340 Cloud Generator is an oscillator which Neel says has always been a fan of. It has eight sines and sawtooth VCOs with unique modulation capabilities. “Aria” came to life while he was preparing for a live techno set: when he stopped the recording the oscillator kept running producing the sound and tones audible in the composition.
The Roland SH-101 is Neel’s favorite synth. “The Morning After” is one of the 9 experiments he created while using the boutique version of the machine.”
Steve Rutter (B12) indulges a downbeat techno-pop fantasy with vocals by Stereochemistry’s Karla Hajman as KineStatics
The results range from something like Lolina doing fluffy electronics, to Bjorkian pop, and one canny piece of lullaby/psychedelic vocal processing spliced with early B12 vibes in ‘Labyrinth Trip’.
Italy’s Life & Death sequence a rare Vatican Shadow cut alongside trax from Scuba, Midland, Ninos Du Brasil, DJ Nobu, Isolée and Cosmo in ‘Displaced Soundtracks 02’
Originally found on the Bed of Nails compilation, ‘Cities Outlined In Chalk’, Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow beauty ‘He Held The Victims Responsible (Luxor)’ makes its first vinyl appearance along with an ambient track by Midland ‘First Tube’; the modular roil of DJ Nobu’s ‘Spring’; a breezy new age Batacuda groove by Ninos Du Brasil; Scuba’s nipple-stroking ‘Love Theme’; the lilting skank of Isolée’s ‘Adriana’; and the astral hardcore techno vectors of ‘Fottimi’ by Cosmo.
KDJ’s Mahogany Music cut loose Jayda G, Jahn Cloud & Meftah, Julien Dyne and Brenk Sinatra remixes of ‘Keep Coming’ from Amp Fiddler’s ‘Amp Dog Knights’ album
Jayda G’s mix is brimming with good times vibes in its piquant strings and beating toms; Detroit duo Jahn Cloud & Meftah make a strong introduction with their creamy, come-to-bed soul rework; Montreal guy Julien Dyne hits that beatdown crease with rudest hustle; and Vienna’s Brenk Sinatra stirs it inna proper mid ‘90s R&B style.
Biblical dub rudeness from Joachim Nordwall as The iDEALIST, featuring guest vocal by the infamous Genesis P-Orridge. Perfect partner to the new 7”s on iDEAL’s Dub On Arrival label!
Following the percussive focus of his ace ‘E235’ CD of collaborations for Entr’acte, the Swedish scene lynchpin stokes wood-fired drum machines with dread chat, lazer zaps and cold, plangent bass bleeps in the A-side’s ‘Inner Space Dub’, while the B-side stumbles down a starker corridor of distended LFO tweaks and diffused drums hingeing around Genesis’ vocal mantra, “she fell into an eclipsed darkness” that could have happily (never) ended in a locked groove.
Bugged-out but slow, heaving groves from Beijing’s Zaliva-D duo. Imagine a darker, munted Tzusing meets Toresch
“Welcome to the richly rhythmic and deeply esoteric world of Zaliva-D. Based in the Chinese capital of Beijing, they’ve been circling the country’s borders for more than a decade due to the extreme difficulty of streaming music there. Zaliva-D consists of musician Li Chao and Aisin-Gioro Yuanjin, who’s responsible for their stunning live visuals.
Wrapped around a core of gut wrenchingly ferocious kicks and haunting vocals, these tracks possess a mantra-like quality and drown the listener into a world of Chinese and South East Asian textures. Forsaken, mastered by Wouter Brandenburg, is their most well-written, organic and esoteric record to date, showing a more fragile, sensitive side.”
Deep and supple acid house from debut UK duo Aquarius TX, echoing the OG sound of summer ’89
‘Sunset 17 (Extended Mix)’ is filigree streak of 303s gilded with gorgeous pads and low-key but on-point vocal, but better yet is the debonaire NYC-style swing and hyperprismic FM synth chords of ‘DX-FM’ with its super nimble, swingeing rhythm programming. DJ Normal 5 jumps in with a bassbin-pumping breakbeat electro remix on the B-side.
Sensitive sound sculptor Jonny Nash follows the utopian terra-forming of ‘Eden’  with a more pensive trip into the ether on ‘Make A Wilderness’, his first LP for pals at Music From Memory after a self-released stack on Melody As Truth
Taking cues from the vivid literary description of landscape and environment in work by authors Shusaku Endo, J.G. Ballard and Cormac McCarthy, on ‘Make A Wilderness Jonny limns an “other” space, relaying a series of sonic postcards from an ancient non-place of the imagination.
Nash wrote and recorded the music in Amsterdam, London and Venice during 2017 and 2018, bringing in vocalist Laura Giavon and cellist Janice Wong to add fleeting human presences to the album’s wilderness themes. The results, while steeped in ideas of isolationism, are perhaps best described as introspective, laced thru with Nash’s signature, heart-rending melodic flourishes and delivered with his achingly patient timing, always keeping listeners hovering, anticipating his next note.
A. Naples & J. Slattery’s Incienso pick another winner with Nikolajev’s debut round of intimate dance music and night-gazing electronica
Arriving in pursuit of his 12”s for Collect-Call and PÄÄSTEVEST, the Estonian producer dials into a richly hypnagogic sound recalling 1991’s dewy-eyed groves in ’12AM Monday’, before the bobbling rhythm and balmy chord progression of ‘Plasticine’ raises the heat a little. ‘Left’ follows on like a Carpenter-esque soundtrack to a midnight Rizla run, and ‘Lumipoly’ demonstrates an instinctive feel for emotive synth strokes that we’d like to hear more of.
One of Muslimgauze’s most sought-after albums is given a proper vinyl cut, rendering ‘Azzazin’ over 2 discs, replete with 2 unreleased tracks
Back in 1996 ‘Azzazin’ was released on CD and a 10” of remixes, with the latter since becoming an expensive collector’s item, making this new pressing a steal at twice the price. Ultimately arriving in the latter phase of Bryn Jones (1961-1999) aka Muslimgauze’s oeuvre, ‘Azzazin’ contains some of the project’s most minimal, concentrated gear with he original CD pressed on disc 1 and the corresponding remixes reserved to disc 2.
The music is utterly menacing in its stare-down conviction and absolute refusal of practically anything beyond puristic, twisted tones for the first half of the record, with raw, buzzing, and amorphous results perhaps best compared to Mika Vainio at his most intently focussed. Meanwhile the 2nd half of the album sees him keen into more conventional Muslimgauze styles via longer tracts of viscous bass drone and middle eastern percussion flux that give way to gristly distortion and sampled Palestinian voices, nestling - if we’re not mistaken - two spellbinding bonus beats in the vortex that closes side C and a barely-there vignette on side D.
Nice analogue synth pursuits from Athens-based Into The Light, applicable to home listening and canny DJ use
“For the second instance in their international parallel series, Into The Light Records treat us with seven lush, rich and warm recordings by currently Warsaw-based producers Sasha Zakrevska (Poly Chain) and Bartosz Kruczyński.
Soon after releasing their debut albums - Baltic Beat’ and ‘Music For Candy Shops’ - and realizing similar interests and traits in their solo music, Zakrevska and Kruczyński sketched out a plan for an album and live performance. The record is to a large extent fashioned after the show, with most of the tracks performed live and edited down.
’Pulses’ is a result of hours spent in studio with a minimal set-up of Prophet ’08, Moog Sub 37 and Korg Minilogue; The work present their mutual attraction to minimal synth, repetitive arpeggios and drone music. A perfect blend of poly-rhythmic patterns, ambient textures and beat-less acid moments by one of the most fresh and unique collaborations.”
Warm and deep house from Japan’s Kez YM, following a slight hiatus with his debut album for MCDE-affiliated Faces Records
“It's been a long way since his debut EP at 4Lux Recordings was played by Moodyman back in 2008. Since then he also received support from influential people like Theo Parrish, Rick Wade and Cassy, just to name a few.
Strongly rooted on his Detroit/Chicago Deep House/Funk/Disco/Afro he rocks dancefloors from Berlin to Tokyo, and he's one of the current leading deep house dj's from Japan.
From downbeat to more uptempo tracks, this album is a perfect extension of Kez's path until now. Classy and lustful synths pave the way for a combination of elements that draw inspiration from his jazz masters, his motorcity heroes and a strong percussive connection to Africa.”
Finally, Roland Kayn’s breathtaking cybernetic salvo, ’Simultan’; one of the most important works by one of the 20th century's greatest (if unsung) composers; all newly remastered from original tapes and reissued for the first time since the original 1977 release by classical music label, Colosseum. Huge Recommendation for followers of work by Jaap Vink, Leo Küpper, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Fullerton-Whitman, Autechre, The Hafler Trio...
Italy’s Die Schachtel, following the lead of Frozen Reeds’ and their 16CD edition of ‘A Little Milky Way of Sound’ in 2017, have the honour of reintroducing ’Simultan’ into the wild. Presented to the highest possible standards on the format it was intended for, the unfeasibly complex dynamics and revelatory perceptive spaces opened up inside ’Simultan’ are bound to generate jaw-dropping reactions with Kayn's growing ranks of followers and even the most hard-to-please fans of outer-limit composition.
Collapsing ideas from electro-acoustic, concrète, electronic, and computer music disciplines into what he termed “cybernetic music”, Kayn methodically and effectively worked off-the-radar towards a form of Artificial Intelligence in music from 1962 until his death in 2011. Building on his earlier studies with seminal figures such as Boris Blacher and Oskar Sala (whose FX appeared on classic Hitchcock’s), as well as time spent playing organ and piano with Ennio Morricone and Egisto Macchi’s exploratory Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Kayn devoted his life’s work toward realising what would become recognised among the most incredible, genuinely prism-pushing arrangements of sound ever recorded.
’Simultan’ is the first in a series of seminal Roland Kayn boxsets released between 1977 and his blinding masterpiece ’Tektra’ in 1984. While he had previously contributed ‘Cybernetics III’ to a Deutsche Grammofon split with Luigi Nono, ’Simultan’ was where Kayn’s ideas really came to fruition, and with results that practically document the birth of a new music, or a computer manifesting its first signs of sentience in sound.
Weighing in at six pieces clocking in at over two hours, it’s arguably a difficult, spasmodic birth when compared with the smoother contours and expansive arrangements of his subsequent releases, but that amorphous atonality and noisy unpredictability accounts for much of the attraction to ’Simultan’, which sounds like very little before it, or even since.
If you’re the insatiably curious, technically pedantic type, then many of your queries about Kayn’s music will be answered in the lucubrate liner notes included on the insert, which provide all the technical context one would need to know. But it’s better to just dive head-first into ’Simultan’ and let your head be consumed, dissolved into those micro-organismic diffusions and unfathomable chaos.
Mercifully this 2nd wind will prevail on further reissues of Kayn’s aforementioned run of boxsets up to and including ‘Tektra’. We advise making some space on your shelves and your calendar to spend some time with this incredible music.