Root Strata co-owner Maxwell August Croy and Jared Blum (Vision Heat) fully commit to YMO and Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo styles for this session of far eastern electronics and spare ambient jazz gestures clearly intended for fans of YouTube recommendation algorithms.
In 16 succinct pieces, each as lovely as the next, they rotate a kaleidoscopically colourful sound that variously touches on ‘80s computer game and film soundtracks as much as the sophisticated, searching 4th world styles explored by Haruomi Hosono and Yasuaki Shimizu, or their antecedents such as Visible Cloaks in the modern sphere.
The addition of Jonathan Sielaff (Golden Retriever) on bass clarinet and Adam Hill on double bass lends proceedings a trustingly loose and expressive aspect that differentiates Kagami from their field.
Nina Kraviz gives Mount Kimbie a thorough booting for the benefit of the ‘floor
Turning Love What Survives into an effortlessly rolling techno glyder peppered with dubbed-out vocal idents and pumped by a killer Italo bass arp on the front’s Main Mix, then strippibn it all back for a murkily subaquatic Tool 1, and the lean gym-bunny hop of Tool 2.
Bittersweet, crystalline hybrids of IDM + R&B with ambient AI ideas...
“Welsh producer Odeko first appeared on Mr. Mitch’s forward-looking Gobstopper imprint with the A.I. influenced EP “A History With Samus” in 2016 immediately snagging a “producer to watch” tag from Fact magazine and a premiere at SPIN. In early 2017, his second EP “Digital Botanics / Construct Conduct” arrived confirming his sound and setting the stage for him to start working on this – his debut album “Rose Tinted Vision Implant” that is set in a post-Ballard, post-Gibson, post-Miéville, alternate reality. “Rose Tinted Vision Implant” sees the Bath-based producer creating a cutting edge sonic world inspired by “speculative fiction, time/reality shifting stories and dystopian shit.” The entire record is structured around, and expands upon his passion for the “future,” underpinning the music via a underlining narrative.
“Rose Tinted Vision Implant” starts with “The User” (aka the listener/ protagonist depending on your perspective) of the ‘Optic.Rose’ going through the process of getting an implant is made by a mega corporation, (think “whatever Elon Musk’s legacy will be 200 years from now” says Odeko “not necessarily evil or good, just a world owning superpower.”). And then we follow “The User” who has unfortunately received a bad egg through stages of that devices degradation. Sonically we’re there to observe. We open (“Anomaly Detection”) with a precursory scan and move onto installation (“OpticRose_0_1_Installation”)
through to a battery change and a recalibration. From this point, the ‘presence’ begins to take over the implant and the tracks verge into a more cerebral range.
Odeko notes “its a bit of a satire on corporate brands pushing these great products that everyone is obsessed but that are detrimental to both the world, and how we perceive reality. Our relationship with social media and tech could go down a dangerous path if we loose sight of things. I’m going quite far here for the sake of the concept, but things like VR, AR, the want for body tech, mixed with our desire to be connected, emotionally, digitally, physically, wirelessly could lead us to a world where everyone has implants, or some kind of tech built into them.”
Sonically its a record that explores a post-IDM, post-Grime, post-Ambient, post-Glitch, post-Retro-House, post-Instrumental Grime, take on electronic music, like Gobstopper’s Mr. Mitch himself and his label mates Orlando, Lloyd SB, Tarquin, Clu, rAHHH and Loom, Odeko is making a kind of post-genre music. Yes its a cerebral concept under the music but as popular shows like Black Mirror have shown – critiquing our new future can be fun, unusual and highly rewarding. Welcome to the world of Odeko”.
Optimo highlight the burned-out blues growls and chops of their favourite singer-songwriter Jacob Yates
“Optimo Music is thrilled to release the new album from Jacob Yates. Not only is he one of our all-time favourite artists from Glasgow, but he is one of our favourite artists from anywhere. Criminally unknown except to a few who have been long transfixed by his recordings and performances, we hope this release will open a few more ears to his wondrous musical world.
“The Hare, The Moon, The Drone” is the third album from Jacob Yates. This recording finds the band exploring dark hawthorn hedged lanes, moors and suburban, new build estates. There's something more earthy about the songs but the menace and darkness remains. Musically there is a big shift on this album, a field recording of a folk band from a dark, pine filled glen. The opener, The Car sets the scene for the rural side of the album, dank and stone cold. The tracks then shift through the woods, people turn into animals, we pass a sunlit glade, do you hear a love song? Cassie Ezeji closes the side sweetly lamenting in Gaelic as the snow falls.
Side two is a more urban affair opening with despair in a bedroom in Belgium, we visit a faith healer and drop in on your lonely mother. Lovatt recounts the story of a karaoke addicted murderer before we finally go home to our new build just outside of town where the pylons tower over Michael and his sister Rachel. It's a journey you can go on, looking out of the window of the bus, glimpses of lives glide by, cards on seats promise to help you. Ding! It's time to get off.”
Quick on the heels of his last 12” with Young Marco’s Safe Trip, Darling blesses the label with two nimble electro beauties here
Loosely working around the groove with latinate suss in the lush swerve of Sim and locking off some superb, whirring electro syncopations and chirruping alien voices in Moon Fleet.
First ever official reissue of the very rare Butterfly LP, recorded in Tokyo in 1979 by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock.
"Due to its super-rare status as a Japan-only release, this exquisite collection of covers never got the recognition it deserved at the time, despite incredibly inspired performances from Kimiko, Herbie and the supremely talented musicians assembled for the project. From heavenly drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis to bassist Paul Jackson, reedman Bennie Maupin and the master percussionist Bill Summers, the legendary performers crafted amazingly good vocal versions of Herbie / Headhunters jazz-funk. Unsurprisingly, it has been heavily in demand for many years.
The LP opens with Kimiko's highly desirable version of "I Thought It Was You", an elegant take on Herbie's own anthem. Other superb re-workings include the delicately soulful "Butterfly", jazzy groover "Sunlight", the smooth and sexy "Tell Me A Bedtime Story" and the beautiful ballads "Maiden Voyage" and "Harvest Time". A wonderful example of perfectly understated and masterful jazz-funk soul fusion that shouldn't be missed, the set closes with a jaw-dropping version of Stevie Wonder's "As"."
David Moufang's catalogue must be one of the deepest and most sprawling in electronic music - he has been involved with so many projects, for so many labels, with so many different sounds over the last 2 decades that it's impossible to know where to begin - taking in elements of Techno, Jazz, Drone, House and ambient music along the way.
His collaborative venture with Benjamin Brunn started out life on the Raster Noton related Bine imprint, but it's this amazing set for Smallville that's really got pulses racing with anticipation. "Songs from the Beehive" features 7 extended tracks that take in disparate elements from across Moufang's career, merging them into an immersive wash of sounds that drive around padded beats designed for the floor, yet surrounded by sound fragments and tapestries rarely associated with Techno music.
The opening "Love the one you're with" is a case in point, over 12 minutes the track evolves from a hazy stew of audio shrapnel and loose samples to a deep and bouncy shuffle full of scattered keys and funked changes. The fact that it takes the kickdrum almost 5 minutes to make an appearance tells you a lot about the pace and compositional attitude of these tracks - slowly taking time to unfold and unravel, revealing new dimensions with every repeated listen.
"Honey" makes a welcome appearance, while the immense "Come In" exudes a breathless elegance that's all midnight keys and angular motion - it's just impossibly lovely. With really quite sublime artwork from Stefan Marx, this really is a treat for followers of Move D and great electronic music generally - we urge you to check it out.
Tasty reworks of Robyn & Kindness, with Wolfgang Voigt diffusing the rich pop sentiment of Who Do You Love into a slow tumpin’, diaphanous Gas style with Robyn’s vocals beautifully shielded by sheets of mist, then evaporated altogether and letting the strings take over in his New Romantic Mix.
Mad Professor meanwhile makes it sound like the early ‘90s with a rolling, High Voltage steppers’ dub of Electric.
Jan Jelinek’s iconic album 'Improvisations And Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001’ is finally given a vinyl issue for the first time. It’s another deep blue mood piece full of fragmented Jazz loops which will be essential listening for those of you enamoured not only with 'Loop Finding Jazz Records’ but also his quiet masterpiece 'Personal Rock’, released under ther Gramm alias. If you’re as obsessed with that album as we are, this reissue is a must.
"For the original 2002 CD on Soup-Disk and Sub Rosa (Audiosphere), Jan Jelinek and the Japanese trio Computer Soup (Satoru Hori – trumpet, Osamu Okubo - toys & electronics, Kei Ikeda - toys & electronics) presented eight tracks all recorded one afternoon in the trio’s living room in Tokyo. They are excerpts from a joint group improvisation that subsequently underwent rudimentary editing, on which Jelinek and Computer Soup worked separately.
Jelinek met the three musicians at his first concert in Japan in 2001, at Tokyo’s Yellow club, where Computer Soup performed as the support act. Delighted by their free improvisation on pocket-sized electronic toys, trumpet and oscillators, he arranged to meet Hori, Okubo and Ikeda a few days later for a session at their apartment. The resulting three-hour recording, made on their living room floor, formed the basis for Improvisations and Edits. A few days later, Jelinek returned to Berlin. Over the following months, they separately chose passages from the recording that were then edited and assembled into an album.
Formed in Tokyo in 1996 as a quintet (including Shusaku Hariya and Daisuke Oishi), Computer Soup began by performing with acoustic instruments on the streets of Shibuya. Ikeda und Okubo soon switched instruments, and from then on the group’s minimalistic but densely woven sound was defined by electronic toys, oscillators and Satoru Hori’s trumpet. Their first album was released in 1997 on the Japanese label Soup Disk. Eight further releases followed."
Jamal Moss turns to his brightest moniker for the astral trajectories of The Anticipatory Organization on Pedro Vian’s Modern Obscure Music
These are some of the more intense, freaky Jamal Moss workouts in recent memory, gettign into orbit with the acidic glissandi and head-warping phasing of The Things We Don’t Know, then staying out there with the oddly bass-less and heady pressure of The Disbelief Habit, until you’re suitably prepped for the blinding white light jackers intensity of The Achievement Factory, one of those real golden moments in the Jamal Moss canon.
Soul Jazz’ latest album ‘Yoruba! Songs & Rhythms For The Yoruba Gods In Nigeria’ is newly recorded in Lagos, Nigeria. The album is co-produced by label head Stuart Baker and Laolu Akins (founding member of the legendary 1970s Nigerian Afro-Funk/Rock group Blo).
"Yoruba!’ features an array of local master drummers led by Olatunji Samson Sotimirin and singers (featuring the lead vocals of Janet Olufanmilayo Abe) performing heavyweight Afro-rhythms, with talking drums, Bata and Dundun drums and a mass of percussion in these deep spiritual and sacred songs used to honour and worship the traditional and ancient Yoruba gods in Nigeria, West Africa. The enormous impact of Yoruba and West African music and culture is worldwide - from the first Afro-centric explorations of African- American jazz musicians in the 1950s such as Art Blakey, Randy Weston and Dizzy the explosion of Nu Yorican Latin music in New York City starting in the 1960s - Mambo, Boogaloo, Latin funk and soul - through to the sacred and powerful Afro-derived music of the religions of Santería in Cuba, Candomblé in Brazil and Voodoo in Haiti, which all came into existence on account of the Atlantic slave trade which began over 400 years ago.
On a wider scale West African music remains the primary root of all African-American musical forms - from New Orleans jazz to Bronx rap, gospel, soul and more. This album features songs honouring the Nigerian gods of the Yoruba traditional religion - Yemoja, Obatala, Ogun, Sango and others - as well as a selection of instrumental cuts focusing on the Bata and Dundun drums."
Hugely sought-after techno classic originally released on Berlin’s legendary Chain reaction and out-of-print for 15 years, now newly remastered from vinyl by Matt Colton at Alchemy.
A massive personal favourite of Demdike Stare's, Shinichi Atobe's 'Ship Scope' was Chain Reaction's penultimate release in 2001 and, with the benefit of hindsight, also one of the legendary label's most sublime offerings.
Phase fwd to 2015 and DDS rightly put it back into circulation with this necessary reissue arriving in the wake of Atobe's much loved archival salvage, 'Butterfly Effect', which caused quite a ripple in late 2014.
Notable not only for its unusually sweeter, dreamier ambient tone - especially when compared with the rest of the CR#'s - but also for its happily lost-at-sea feel, connoting a deeply romantic and almost shoegazy late '90s / into-the-'00s deep techno aesthetic that would essentially become washed away with the advent and normalisation of mnml techno's pristine production values.
Quite simply, it's a must-have for followers of the romantic streak in Ross 154, Convextion and classic Chain Reaction - do not miss!
With his own label and last year's feature on Alix Perez's newly conceived 1985 Music, Compa still found time to delver his 3rd MEDi release.
"With no signs of slowing down his mission to produce and share music...."
Music From Memory mine more gold from Michal Turtle’s archive of idiosyncratic home recordings made in Croydon between 1983-85. Combining vocals like a pre-echo of Dale Cornish, together with the dreamiest electro-jazz, balmy ambient dub and languid 4th world grooves, this one has breezy summer days and long warms nights written all over its blissed out face.
“Delving further into the archives of British musician Michal Turtle, MFM 029 ‘Return To Jeka’ brings together eight previously unreleased works recorded between 1983 and 1985. Drawn from a larger archive of works the compilation highlights a fascinating period of material Michal recorded after the release of his only album.
Working as an accompanist musician at the Laban Centre in New Cross at the time, Michal there met Jonathan Smart who was currently studying Dance. After being invited to add spoken word vocals to a few of Michal’s tracks, Michal discovered Jonathan was also an accomplished guitarist; and Jonathan would add guitar to a number of recordings from this period. Vocalist Lucianne Lassalle who Michal was working with in locals bands ‘The Duplicates’ and ‘The Wicked Kitchen Staff’ and who had worked with Michal on recordings for his album, would also collaborate with Michal during this period.
While some tracks were produced with he idea in mind of a follow up to his album ‘Music From The Living Room which UK label Shout proposed but which would sadly not materialise, others were in fact demos written for student dance choreographies. Produced in the living room of his parents home in Croydon, South London and later in his apartment in Camden Town, Michal Turtle’s home recordings featured on’Return To Jeka’ continue his unique musical explorations; drawing extensively on the use of percussion and electronics they bring together elements which were not only in many aspects visionary but also sound like little else.”
Cranky, dubbed-out electro fizz from Robert Bergman and TBZ, freshly percolated for the R=A 7” series.
Their A-side is a loose churn of raw drum machines and sticky synth scree punctuated by a persistent if scatty gasp, ri[e for fans of Trevor Jackson or Not Waving at his wildest.
On the B-side Mad Sick is more desiccated, pinched and hypnotic, driving forth with effect recalling Beau Wanzer or Tuning Circuits bits.
Detroit OG’s Omar S & Brian Kage (Reference) reheat a class ‘90s vocal sample in two ways for the ‘floor
Rolling out with clipped congas and bouncing chords riddled with ‘80s Italo-disco vamps and Linn drum cracks in Thru The Madness, then bring some B-More or Jersey sounding breaks on the deeper, wider, 5am face-rolling Honk & Nik mix on the B-side.
The Trilogy Tapes get the best out of J. Albert in the Envy Turned Curiosity EP with four deadly cuts of coiled, Afro-cubed breaks and gloomy synth pads.
Picks of the bunch are the beautifully brooding hybrids of B-More, Dark Garage and UK Broken Beats with cinematic strings on Money Between Friends and the haunted swang of Envy Turned Curiosity, while Deepstate Riddim goes rude and rugged on a dubbed out breakbeat flex and Designer Life recalls the meditative blue pressure of Parris.
Much needed reissue of the second and final Stasis album following his Inspiration  LP and the Redcell : Stasis  hook-up with B12.
On this first vinyl reissue of Fromtheoldtothenew we’re reminded of the importance Steve Pickton a.k.a. Stasis played in bridging between the Artificial Intelligence scene in the UK and second wave Detroit Techno.
It's a sound that oscillates between nimbly loose salsa and breezy new age pads in Utopia Planetia and deep but rugged pressure on Behind The Smile, thru to tribal business on Beating Skins and the kind of downbeat, hip hop-leaning instrumentals that also saw him signed to Mo Wax.
Followers of classic Carl Craig, Kenny Larkin, Dan Curtin, early The Black Dog, Plaid, the Likemind label, B12 etc should dip in.
Krust gets on a wavy good-foot for Doc Scott's 31 with a stripped-down blend of hot-stepping ‘80s synth-pop groove and minimalist D&B in The Portal, and some prime, natty hi-tech rolige in Concealing Treachery.
Dekmantel crack the deeply rugged garage-house of Leo/Mirjam off Betonkust & Palmbomen II’s Centre Parcs EP, and repackage it with a high-velocity Legowelt remix riddled with virulent acid lines and snappy electro drums at 140bpm.
UK techno legend Steve Bicknell pulls the interstellar overdrive lever on Mind Patterns
Firstly hitting serious G-force with the face mangling dis-torque of Vein Injection, then on cruise control in the acidic quadrants of Patterns Of Suppression, and with planet-colliding force on the Preset Minds face melter.
Uncertainty Principle kicks off with five tracks of needling bleeps and bass jitters from FFT.
A smart first move, the fifth 12” keeps establishes loose but specific coordinates between the scratchy SoYo bleep ’n bass of sensory_hyperlinkfft_3abstract1, the Aleksi Perälä style tekkers of 8.7, and the pinched hyaline structures of sensory_unlinked up top, before twisting off into Alva Noto-esque glitch angularity with abstract5, and the skittish bleep flux of collective_disconnected.
Suspiciously reminds of that Distorto 12” on SCSI-AV.
Strong survey of the current Italian crop, including highlights in Alessandro Adriani’s Drexciyan trip, the tentative ambient ephemera of Chevel, and the mercurial beauty of Catarina Barbieri
“Flowers from the Ashes is the latest multi-artist project to bear the acclaimed Stroposcopic Artefacts imprimatur. There is a sensibility of decadence and corroded grandeur etched within its four album sides, reminding us that historically "decadent" times have nonetheless resulted in some of the boldest acts of individual and collective creativity. Like the 'floral' theme that has remained a consistent feature of S.A.'s graphic presentation, the music here equally presents fragility and intensity in a way that really drives home this visual metaphor for good, while still holding out the promise that similar creations will be seeded in the near future, Though many of the artists involved have set of residence outside of their native Italy, all contribute here to make a captivating portrait of a shared spirit and cultural memory.
The album opens with “Errori,” deceptively fragile sonic ornaments crafted and suspended in space by Blackest Ever Black artist Silvia Kastel. This is followed closely by the mellifluous, warming glow of percussionist Andrea Belfi’s “Spitting & Skytouching,” and then by the resolute electric bass patterns and luminous fog of “Lux et Sonus,” from Eeri label head Marco Shuttle. Hospital Productions alumnus Ninos du Brasil open the B-side with a similarly dense, amorphous construction built from tribalistic chants and rhythmic patterns, to be followed by Mannequin label boss Alessandro Adriani’s “You Will Not Be There For The End,” showcasing his distinctive take on the ‘paranoiac breakdance’ aesthetic of classic EBM. S.A. veteran Chevel rounds out the first record in the program by interlacing several percolating synth lines together into a richly conversational piece.
The journey continues with “Starving The Mind,” an undulating mini-epic from S.A. founder Lucy that is animated by his signature balance of seductiveness and concentration. The bright, biting acid synth tones of “PRV-HH3-X”, by Lory D, then takes a sharp right turn into an invisible metropolis ruled by reflective high fashion and hidden intrigue. The imposing architecture of “Virgo Rebellion,” designed by modular synth futurist Caterina Barbieri, acts as an excellent companion piece, and sets up the closing “4G” from Spazio Disponibile co-founder Neel - a crepuscular serenade that accurately sums up much of the foregoing activity.”
Deadbeat does dub poetry alongside Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann and Mike Shannon, with results ripe for fans of the Jay Glass Dubs & Leslie Winer LP, or downbeat moments from Strategy, Andreas Tilliander or The Bug
“On his latest studio album, Scott Monteith, aka Deadbeat, ruminates with hard-earned wisdom and confidence upon the notion of carrying on in the face of worldwide nonsense. Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve began with the simple idea of asking friends from across the globe for messages of hope. No musical input was provided beforehand, and each participant was free to interpret the request as they saw fit. Though some of the names involved will be familiar to electronic music listeners (Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann, Mike Shannon), the common thread linking all of them is their friendship with Monteith and the many hours he has spent enjoying their company over the years. As so often happens when good conversation is shared among good friends, the results are as surprising as they are inspiring, spanning original prose, dialectic word games, and timeless quotations in six languages. Each song on the album was then composed around the content received, and named after the people who did the speaking.
Ranging from the overtly political to the tenderly inspirational and many points in between, Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve provides verbal expressions of hope as diverse and rich as the experiences of the people who so generously delivered them. Musically the album sees Monteith taking his well-honed sound design abilities and widescreen arrangements to new heights, and exploring a deep interest in traditional analog recording methods to mesmerizing effect. Every sound on the record, whether generated from his tried-and-tested array of software-based tools, or from the enormous collection of guitars, organs, pianos, and percussion instruments found in the Berlin-based studio he now calls home, was recorded via microphone. Even as the very first track slowly fades into existence, it's clear that the smoke filled atmosphere of the place has penetrated the recordings to their very core. Indeed, it is no understatement to suggest that without the physical confines of the magical studio Chez Cherie, and the countless late night conversations and musical contributions of all the other beautiful souls who occupy it (T. Raumschmiere, Ben Laubner, Tilman Hopf, PC Christensen, and of course Cherie herself), this latest Deadbeat album would have been an impossibility. Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve is a document of collective action, and the power of community.”
Brilliant reissue of Maria Monti's Il Bestiario, originally released in 1974 and a prime example of the avant-garde art-song of the 1970s.
"Known for her renderings of Italian popular songs, Maria Monti is an Italian singer and actress with a noteworthy career: cabaret singer in the '60s, ambitious avant-garde folk artist in the '70s, and starring in films by directors as such as Sergio Leone's Fistful Of Dynamite (1971) and Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976).
Il Bestiario is a near perfect emblem of the fascinating territory gained through collaboration. It enlisted the radical poet Aldo Braibanti as its lyricist, features arrangements and synthesizer from Alvin Curran (Musica Elettronica Viva), the baritone saxophone of Roberto Laneri (Prima Materia), as well as the soprano saxophone of jazz legend Steve Lacy.
The result is absolutely stunning, musically unique within the respective outputs of its participants' long and noted careers. Unquestionably one of the most beautiful and neglected albums of its decade."
The surrealist ambient/avant-pop experiments of Anticlines form the most significant solo release to date by Lucretia Dalt. It follows her releases with Human Ear Music, Care Of Editions and Other People - all dispatched prior to 2015 - with her finest, poetic study on the relationships between time-based arts, a.k.a music, and the time scales of geology.
Thanks to the inclusion of her own vocals and a tendency towards simple, melodic leitmotifs, and despite its heavy conceptual roots, the results find a fine line between experimental savouriness and pop sweetness, knitting Latin rhythms with her poetic gestures in the first side, before the 2nd side cannily finds those ideas fragmented, stratified into finer graded layers.
"Anticlines is a volume of poetic theory and sound contemplating the bodies of self above and beneath the earth’s surface. On Anticlines, Dalt conjures a sonic space of speculative synthesis and spoken word where South American rhythms rattle contemporary composition recalling Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, and Annea Lockwood. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase will be charitably designated on behalf of Lucrecia Dalt to Tierra Digna, an organization dedicated to the defense of Colombian communities affected by economic policies that violate human rights and devastate the environment. tierradigna.org. Come! Mend!"
Vive la Void is the new solo project of Sanae Yamada, co-founder and keyboard player of Moon Duo. RIYL Stereolab, Broadcast, Fever Ray...
"Yamada wrote and recorded the self-titled debut album over roughly a two-year period, during windows of downtime in Moon Duo’s substantial touring and recording schedule. The dense, shape-shifting atmospheres of the seven songs grew out of late-night basement experiments in the layering of synthesizer tracks, a process that also led to meditations on the changeable nature of memory and perception. The result is an undulating blend of ethereal swirl, low end thrumming, and electric crackle, buoyed by Yamada’s understated but captivating vocal melodies and her striking lyrics.
“The lyrics were a way of reckoning with my own memories and also of trying to process my reactions to the human situation,” Yamada explains. “I wanted the voice to have a kind of ghostly quality, to emerge from and recede back into the song, or to pass over it like weather. It’s one of many layers of sound, which are meant to blend together in such a way that on one listen you might hear one thing, and on another listen you might hear something else, so the music seems to change even as it stays the same.”Yamada has spent the last decade as a working musician, moving between semipermanent home bases whenever she isn’t living in a tour van. In some ways, then, it feels inevitable that Vive la Void became a meditation on the strange rhythms of long-term touring, constant relocation, and the accompanying stream of brief but compelling encounters. It’s a testament to her empathy and creativity that these songs feel both specific and universal, familiar yet tantalizingly unknowable.
“I feel like the movement of life in the sphere of consciousness is this process of trace-leaving,” Yamada reflects. “Wherever we go, whomever we interact with, whatever we touch, we leave and absorb these invisible traces, this residue of memory that lingers. I wanted the sonic textures of this record to explore that state of being there and not there, of something being with you but not tangible.”
Boli Group present their keenly anticipated début album, N.P.D.S. on Posh Isolation. A suite of classicist chamber arrangements for Piano, Cello, Violin, Alto Sax & E-Max infiltrated by sparingly used synths, this is the sound of rarified contemplation in breezy white rooms, hovering between stately solemnity, urbane spirituality and ornate ennui...
"Hartvig is perhaps best known for his work with the group Synd Og Skam. And though less known, Brynje 1&2 is just as exceptional. Taking both technology and classicism as allegories, each group charts routes in and out of pop music, somehow arriving at an observer's distance to the distinct stylistic choices in the process. The label Visage has published the best of this, and the logic has certainly been carried into 'Boli Group LP,' the latest offering from Hartvig and his distinguished ensemble of Nina Cristante, Holger Hartvig, Thea Thorborg, and Cæcilie Trier.
There is a nearly unendurable fragility to 'Boli Group LP.' It's as if Hartvig has let the complexities of his themes stand in mourning; his narrator taking a moment to themselves behind sunglasses, exhausted for the rose-tinted lens of the prepared script. The album is willingly dramatic, though it never plateaus into melancholia. Hartvig pirouettes at the edge with the sorrowful string arrangements and the pristine timbre of the piano, the immediacy of the acoustics always binding the listener tightly to the risk. Pastoral and meditative, the electronics don't tamper with the delicate fabric being woven. They always register as supportive and understated. The synthetic hum, occasionally yielding a doleful melody as it does, manages to imbue a naiveté to this contemporary and subtly idiosyncratic chamber music.
Though the track titles lead us on, in time the examination the album provokes is that of the tension in transparency. The album's secret, barely kept through the minimalism, is its distinct folk noir quality in holding it. "boli group creating new chamber folklore embracing the playing of instruments, not the played, but that which is playing for the sake of future focus and edit into the very minerals of instrument, intuition, emotion, fragility underlying, the warning, always pulsating acts of drama, wet leaves, asphalt, pan to right, agriculture and electricity poles a container ship, lonely in horizon hoping for a clear thought, but everything existing as conspiracy the sound of a search, uncertain and always asking, for certainty is false, showing sceneries changing permanently and forever narrating, like a panorama of grey clouds, keeping humidity levels high, heating up before the release of water and lightning investigation for folk instruments. What are their songs and where will they go, over time, woven together like a piece of fabric created to stand against the lethal winds”
Persistently at the edge of wave cycles for the past decade, Matthew Weiner brings his TWINS project to Mike Simonetti’s 2MR label with a ‘floor-ready and generally easier to grasp sound in That Which Is Not Said, which is to say the acronym of his name spelt out for those who don’t know.
Eight songs variously touch on yelpy, snappy EBM recalling DAF/Suicide (Glass Breaks Glass), the cold synth-pop smarts of Depeche Mode (Taset of Peppermint), The Cure (Stuck), along with side-spins into mutant disco (Before This Runs Out) and John Bender-esque styles (The Sky Remains The Same).
Sleazy psyche grind escaped from Green Door Studios’ exit/entrance to hell. RIYL DIV, Goldfrapp, Optimo Music
“Another fierce and unique act from the depths of the Glasgow underground appear on Optimo Music with their debut Green Door studios recorded four track EP.
Keyboard player Jim McKinven was previously in Altered Images, worked for many years in Martin Rushent's Genetic Studios, was in One Dove and previously appeared on Optimo Music as one half of Organs Of Love. He is however but one component of this transgenerational band.
They describe their music far better than we could - "Seedy Electronica, consisting of 2 Basses, Electronic Drums, Synths and Dark Vocals. Inspired by the avant-garde that influenced the electronic music scene of the late '70's and early '80's.”
V-Sor, X’s outstanding post-punk/cold-wave bullet Authors 2 bubbles back up on Peripheral Minimal.
Hailing from Lichfield in the English midlands, Morgan Bryan formed V-Sor, X in 1979. The classically skinny and drily emotive Authors 2  was his first single, and despite being admonished as lacking emotion and musicianship at the time, it clearly held its own with enough folks to be trading for over £100 on the 2nd hand market nowadays.
Thankfully that “something” isn’t just its rarity (there were only 300 copies of the original), as the A-side delivers a virulent blend of spiky arps and almost operatic, horror-film inspired gothic vox in Authors 2, whilst the B-side makes haunting turns towards what would become known as neo-folk with Station, and an unmissable mix of fluttering synths and cathartic vocals in Back Room Commentator that clearly reunite with fellow Midlanders Eyeless In Gaza.
DJ Koze fully stretches out Knock Knock, a 16-song set of soul-fuelled hip hop downbeats, disco chops and swinging tech-house workouts featuring guest spots from Speech ov Arrested Development, José Gonzalez, Mano Le Tough, Sophia Kennedy, and more.
Working to a smart, sun-kissed, optimistic agenda that’s been at the heart of Koze’s charms since the end of the ‘90s, Knock Knock will likely work a treat for anyone with their head still in that era.
From the guest spots by golden era hip hop MC, Speech from Arrested Development, to the turn by José Gonzales, and two numbers featuring Róisín Murphy, it’s almost inarguably a sound for those that miss the heyday of cheap credit, semi-guilt free smoking, and bootcut jeans. In that sense, it’s a nice escape from reality...
Stephen O’Malley serves Ragnar Johnson’s transcendent recordings of sacred flute ceremonies in New Guinea on his amazing Ideologic Organ label. Johnson’s Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea: Madang / Windim Mabu album was previously reissued on Ideologic organ in 2016, and was recently sampled on Björk’s Utopia album. This collection, featuring an array of mostly unaccompanied flute recordings, is equally spellbinding and worthy of your close attention.
“Crying Bamboos is a translation of the pidgin description of the sound of sacred flutes: “Mambu i cry, i cry, i cry”.
Sacred flutes are blown to make the cries of spirits by adult men in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea. Pairs of long bamboo male and female flutes are played for ceremonies in the coastal villages near the Ramu River. There are seven male initiation flute cries from Bosmun, four flute cries from Bak: Borai with occasional single garamut percussion and two flute cries from Kaean, one with vocals and hand drums. The flute players were of the last generation to have learned this skill during a complete cycle of male initiation. These previously unreleased recordings were made in 1979.”
Absolutely killer set of mutant futurism from the bassbins of Brittany, France featuring 8 slow Dancehall jammmmz from Low Jack.
Editions Gravats kick off the club-ready Les Disques de la Bretagne series with exclusive re-workings of tracks from Low Jack’s half of the Glacial Dancehall tape with Equiknoxx, all making their first appearance on vinyl.
Arriving 4 years since Philippe Hallais a.k.a. Low Jack started up the Gravats label with his îlot 7”, Hallais returns to his roots with these ruddy dancehall bangers, each nipped and tweaked from the OG tape for optimal, freaky impact inna dance.
Dubwise and direct but laced with strange details that light up on repeated listens, the plate turns up some massive highlights with the loping Linn drum cracks and digickal synth torque of Partei and the rogue bogle of Brass up top, then with some killer sino-flavour on the rugged ’90s rub ’n tug of Raid Leader and the Flex Dance Music-compatible knocks and horns of Light.
You can take it on trust: this one is properly top-loaded with the heaviest gear...
Another collection of handpicked, anonymous and mostly impossible to ID archival treasures selected and compied by Light Sounds Dark.
This one wades through Radiophonic detritus via some derelict industrial wastelands and what sounds like cybepunk electro played on cardboard boxes. Later on, Ambient transitions steer us deeper into a darkened space where 4th world tribalism and pagan rituals spool themselves to tape at some point over the last 50 years. Good luck shazzaming this lot...
KIller shots of spiky rock with Algerian style, Arabic vocals and tight traces of reggae, dug out from France ’77 and delivered in 2018 by Geneva’s Bongo Joe
“The 45s series goes on and presents for the first time music from the past. This fifth single focus on legendary algerian kabyle rock band Abranis founded in 1967. The band pioneered the fusion of chaabi (traditional) music with 60s-70s western rock, proudly singing in their own berber kabyle language while wearing hippy rockers outfits. Their shows - in deeply influenced by Pan-Arabism conservative Algeria - where often cancelled by governors and the band once was arrested by the police, generating riots. The band kept on playing and recording until mid 90s. This 45t presents two majors tracks from the band:
A Side: Chenar Le Blues released in 1977 have been a big hit on algerian national radio. The band response to The Doors.
B Side: Avehri released in 1983 shows the band’s obsession to merge different music styles with the North African traditional airs. This one goes strangely reggae.”
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
After a long gap the legendary British dadaist group Hastings of Malawi have finally released their second album.
"Another musique concrète jewel created with the same peculiar, disjointed, uncommercial and totally original Hastings of Malawi aesthetic. 35 years after the release of their critically acclaimed album Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth the British dadaist group Hastings of Malawi have released a new album - an epic sound poem entitled Visceral Underskinnings.
It is a 40 minute film without light that reflects on the human condition, on modern society, on the nature of telephony and electricity and an attempt to make sense of the world in which we live that provides no answers. It is a sound collage of diverse elements including the voices of George Washington Johnson ('the whistling coon' 1846-1914) and Dr Hastings Banda - the first president of Malawi. It includes randomly generated computer music, voice synthesis, recordings of cold war number stations, American military sound weaponry and recordings of the some of the many sound sculptures produced by Hastings of Malawi over the last 30 years. Hastings of Malawi produce sounds that sit in that grey area where sound art and music meet but they reject both labels and cannot be comfortably placed in either camp. This is not an easy album to listen to but persevere and you may or may not be able to decipher its meaning."
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
'London Is The Place For Me 3' is a fantastic collection of African music originally recorded as 78's on the Melodisc label.
The product of Ambrosa Campbell and his West African Rhythm Brothers/Stars, tracks like 'Lagos Mambo' and 'We Have It In Africa' combine a keen jazz aesthetic with gorgeous chiming guitar and Caribbean rhythms. Capable of evoking summer sunshine in slate-grey February, the impact of this music in post-war Britain must have been astonishing - a situation which is vividly documented in the extensive liner notes.
The only authorised reissue of all time classic dub album originally released by Starlight Records on 1981 Now matched with a second disc of original vocal versions...
Includes previously unreleased tracks from Junior Reid and Ranking Dread Roots Radics at Channel One, produced by Linval Thompson and mixed by Scientis. This newly created 2LP combines the classic 1981 album with vocal hits on the same rhythm tracks...
The only authorised reissue of all time classic dub album originally released by Starlight Records on 1982 Now matched with a second disc of original vocal versions...
"Includes previously unreleased tracks from Hell & Fire, Sister Nancy and Papa Tullo Roots Radics at Channel One, produced by Linval Thompson and mixed by Scientist & Prince Jammy New cover art by Tony McDermott
More classic dub sides from Roots Radics band, paired with the vocal versions on the rhythms."
Boy Harsher’s début EP Lesser Man returns for a fresh pressing on Nude Club, who are also behind a new reissue of B.H.’s Yr Body Is Nothing album.
Thanks to an achingly tight blend of rictus grooves and perfectly gaunt vocals, Boy Harsher have steadily caught the attention of listeners worldwide, leading to the dispatch of their resoundingly acclaimed EP with Ascetic House in 2017.
This one packs some proper heat, tracing the pair’s metamorphosis from Teen Dreamz into the Boy Harsher of today thru the gothic darkwave elan of Lust and the infectious canter of Modulations, to the hypnotic engine of Pain, and taking in Hi-NRG zingers such as Run beside the drone descent Crimea, and the sore, sludgy synth-pop romance of Love.
RIYL Tropic of Cancer, Xeno & Oaklander, The Soft Moon
Pye Corner Audio brings his wood-fired analogue sound to Lapsus Records after touring the houses of Mondo Tees, Polytechnic Youth, Analogical Force and More Than Human already in a productive 2017 cycle.
In a smart play of contrasts, we hear much-loved and lesser-heard sides of PCA’s sound in Where Things Are Hollow. The supple, rolling arpeggios and acid tweaks of Resist, and his wobbly, chromatic cosmic chugger Northern Safety Route both bear the hallmarks of Martin Jenkins’ signature dancefloor romance.
However, fans should be very intrigued to hear him go beat-less and weightless in the other two parts. With Mainframe he conducts a stellar display of piquant bleep motifs and arcing choral pads converging into a gently distorted and dissonant harmonic smudge at the track’s peak, and Continental Drift seemingly operates on the opposite side of that wave with a sullen stir of low end swells and light pollution aurora reflecting the scale of the track title.
Moscow’s Buttechno reverts to his birth name for this tranced-out doozy on his own RASSVET Records, who previously dispatched his 1984  12”.
Coolly adapting Lorenzo Senni’s PointilisticT tekkers to his own ends, Milyakov riffs on virulent, beatless trance arps in four ways on the front, including one perfect locked groove, while the B-side renders a more ragged and unpredictable rogue rhythm called B A D which obstinately bears practically no stylistic relation to the other tracks.
The trance bits are the big reason you need this one, though. DJs, dancers, trancers and MDMA romancers - your time!
Osiris have the rare honour of hosting a typically sublime Burial remix on the B-side to Deep Summer, Simon Shreeve (Kryptic Minds) aka Mønic’s melancholic and dusky industrialullaby.
Perfectly measured for the pensive atmosphere of summer 2017 in a Brexiting UK, Mønic’s Deep Summer courses ghostly R&B/folk vocals thru an arid scene of knackered, worn-down drums and keening harmonic pads, barely but stoically keeping its head up against its impending conclusion in a cannily metaphorical narrative arrangement.
Trust Burial, then, to extract and amplify some sense of beauty from the reserved anguish of Deep Summer on the B-side, opening with a filigree collage of seagulls, windchimes and pads recalling the “better days” of ‘90s summers, before lone voices sardonically echoes the sentiments of Nigel Farage (say it like garage) in the recurring phrase ‘we don’t need noone else’ against a rhythmelodic moire of maribas, pealing sax and queasy subbass squirms, perfectly capturing the lucid sleepwalking momentum and frayed socio-cultural fabric of Britain right now in the gauziest, impressionistic terms, replete with an updraft of balearic guitar in the closing stages perhaps predicting our mass exodus to a Ballardian super-city along the mediterranean coast.
Benidorm, you’ve been warned.
Fred Welton Walmsley III (Lee Bannon) completes his esoteric ambient metamorphosis with Dedekind Cut’s melancholic Tahoe album for arch American electronic drifters, Kranky Records - home to some of the some of the finest atmospheric ambient works of recent decades by Stars of The Lid, Loscil, Tim Hecker.
In key with Kranky’s heritage, Dedekind Cut very neatly plays to the label aesthetic on Tahoe with a widescreen suite of slow, windswept synths layered into expansive harmonics evoking cinematic and psychedelic sensations. They range from pop-ambient pockets of bittersweetness to more brooding tracts of durational immersion, with each connected by an overarching feeling of sadness or unresolved strife.
It’s all very much what you’d expect from a Kranky release, until you start paying closer attention. Where Kranky’s chorus of ambient angels have often spent decades on their craft, developing personalised timbral sensitivities and sound identities, the shapeshifting Dedekind Cut’s newness to this particular field is betrayed by the more elusive reach of his soundsphere, but the artist makes up for a lack of tonal richness by conveying his intent more directly thru the arrangement and overall feeling, or soul connoted by his compositions.
One of the most sensitive sets of ears in Paris, GRM affiliate Jonathan Fitoussi meets Clemens Hourriére for a beautiful 2nd orbit of planet Versatile in Espaces Timbrés. As the sibling shuttle to their acclaimed Five Steps  side, it finds Fitoussi & Hourriére tethered again to the classic Buchla modular synthesiser, but this time with Versatile staple I:Cube on board to lend a fresh set of ears in-the-mix and pon-the-desk with subtly majestic, widescreen results.
It’s worth properly mentioning Fitoussi’s credentials at this point. Beside a string of solo and collaborative releases in the last decade, he’s been pivotal in digitising and transferring from tape the legendary INA GRM catalogue for anthologies of Luc Ferrari, François Bayle and Pierre Schaeffer, not to mention the majority of those invaluable Recollection GRM editions, which is no pedigree to be sniffed at.
On Espaces Timbrés he brings that sound sensitivity to the table opposite longtime spar Clemens Hourriére in a lush, wide-eyed suite of synth music elevated from the norm by the infinitely layered and lucid clarity of their constructions, each underlined by a crafty rhythmic suss. The results thusly and semi-naturally oscillate the club and behind-closed-doors headspaces, scaling from evocative sci-fi panoramas such as White Sands and the very Limerence-like flutter of Labyrinth to pulsating dancefloor bewts like Basalt Columns and the creamy glyde of Cymatics, before really coming into their own within the DMT breath glitter of Euclidean Space and the Pye Corner Audio-like propulsion of Lunar Leap, leading to the glassy helix f Oeil at it’s finale.
This is near immaculate stuff, treading the finest line between classic cliché and genuine wide eyed wonder with trustingly high fidelity production.