Gorgeous and essential archive material from master of ‘The Tokyo Sound’ and environmental music pioneer, Hiroshi Yoshimura, the latest unearthing on Chee Shimizu's 17853 - previously only available on a very limited Japanese cassette back early 80s.
Conceived for the eponymous exhibition of new wave, international fashion held by the Seibu department store at the Suzue corporation’s loft on Takeshita Pier, Tokyo on 18th September, 1983, the perfectly mannered 7-song instrumental suite of Pier & Loft was subsequently issued on cassette thru Fukusei Gijutsu Kohboh later that year.
The record sweetly captures a debonaire, technologically-enhanced style that we’d perceive as specific to the Japanese capital in early ‘80s: an economical and precise synthetic sound, with brightly cute motifs rendered to the rafters in soft reverbs and layered with an elegant simplicity that masks the measured intricacy of construction.
And while the insert notes ask us allow for some slight background noise and distortion form the original master tapes, it’s barely perceptible, and probably would have gone unnoticed if, like the music itself, it weren’t so fastidious in its precision and construction.
Six of the seven tracks are feather light and beatless, ranging from heart-melting romantic themes such as Horizon I’ve Ever Seen Before to the moon beam of Tokyo Bay Area - which are both long enough to let you really float away - whereas Wavy Patterned Icecream gives it a deft dab of beatless synth funk that melts into air, and Kamome Dayori continues that rhythmic theme on the downstroke into the album’s sole appearance of drum machines in the gently swinging budge of The Sea In My Palm, which warmly recalls something from Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack.
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
A Wolf Eyes masterpiece comes back to take your mind with this expanded reissue of their ‘Dread’  killer, re-cut at D&M and now featuring a bonus digital track taken from their ‘Sandpapered Eyes’ CDr
‘Dread’ is among the very earliest and gnarliest Wolf Eyes releases. It features the unholy trinity of John Olson in formative formation with Aaron Dilloway and Nate Young, each playing a fizzing and spitting disarray of tapes, electronics and guitars interspersed with scant vocals, and fundamentally catching the group at their most ragged and primitivist during a time when underground rock and noise was in need of new ideas.
The seeds planted in Dread sprout in the pavement cracks between sludge metal, avant-garde electronics and punkish No wave, establishing a low down and dirty sound that would eventually become known as Trip Metal. But it’s fair to say that their modern sound is generously polished when compared with these nascent, evil doings, where half-cut drum machines drunkenly slur in a torrid union with Nate Young's vocals, at times recalling throat-scarring hardcore, and at other reminding of Mark E. Smith with a bad cold on some home-brew.
In swapping out rock’s macho posturing for genuine, certifiable madness, and effectively reducing it’s structures to rubble, Wolf Eyes forged one of the most deadly records of the early ‘00s, which still remains utterly compelling today, 17 years on. And just in case you’re the insatiable type (you’re a Wolf Eyes fan, it’s most likely), the bonus cut of ‘Sandpapered Eyes’ should finish you off to the bone.
On Bloodline, Steven Julien a.k.a. Funkineven explore a charmingly personalized sonic ontology under his own name for the 2nd time following 2016’s self-titled album, coming into his own with a wickedly expressive meld of jazz-fusion and machine music.
Bloodline is concerned with paying dues to Steven’s ancestral roots, but it’s also an acknowledgment of influence of new age synth styles, Japanese electronics and the history of East London raving, adding up to a sound that’s brilliantly timeless and distinctly his own.
It’s a sort of hauntological soundtrack, if you will, traversing in a range of jump-cuts and fades from the filmic synth atmosphere of Hunt to a killer 303 + Linn drum combo in Roll Of The Dice, and ruggedly debonaire electro-bass on Bloodline, before swerving hard into mutant jazz-funk with Apache. The vibe then takes a super sweet turn with the percolated electro-funk of Queen of Ungilsan, and wraps up with the classicist ‘80s boogie-meets-new age strokes of Temple Rd.
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Laurel Halo stakes an eagerly and widely awaited return with the beguiling 4.1 world techno dimensions of 'In Situ' for Honest Jon's after cutting her teeth with highly acclaimed albums and EPs for Hippos In Tanks (R.I.P.) and Hyperdub.
Arriving two years since the Ann Arbor-quartered musician began testing a new hardware set-up on 'Chance of Rain', Laurel has refined those slightly clunky experiments here with a fluidly dextrous approach to Afro-inspired, rhythmelodic drum programming taught by psychedelic jazz and cosmic electronica.
It's a mental playground of fantastic dancefloor geometries, blooming at every angle with refreshed ideas of alien scales and hieroglyphic drum patterns designed to be deciphered by bodies in motion and heads in flight.
With nods to Afrikan Sciences, Kerry Leimer and Actress, she commands her machines with a deceptively loose sense of control, encouraging them to chatter freely, coolly, resulting in the ingneous, midnight groove formations of 'Focus I' and the future primitive techno funk of 'Drift', beside the discombobulated topographies of 'Nah' and the footworking centrifuge, 'Leaves'.
Time will tell, but this may well be one of the 2015's most impressive, nuanced collections of new electronica. A massive recommendation!
Bubbling up from the archive, a brilliantly warped, acidic and intoxicating décollage of soundsystem shrapnel rinsed thru the echo chamber. RIYL Tapes, Raymond Scott, Ennio Morricone, Horsepower Productions
“Shimmering hologram oases belie the bone-dry heat inna this ya ghost-bloodcl@$t-town; When tumbleweed beliefs pose as the only sign of life, it's time to step into Death's saloon; Bust down the dusty double-swinging doors even the Preacher-man dares not enter!
The Bartender has run out of liquor and listening; Sullied Doves have danced their last number; Lawmen, levelled and long-gone, litter the dance floor; Bodied outlaws doubled and draped over the bar. When the only exit is a horse-drawn hearse; Face to face with Death, who will shoot first!?!
Step into this rattlesnake-ridden realm! Dancehall Showdown is a crazy non-place world where 60’s Spaghetti Westerns, 70’s Library Synth Records and 90’s Golden Era Dancehall come together for a death-defying communion inna Yard! The old posse of SKRS and MX7 ride once again under the banner of their co-run label, ICS Library Records, off into the fringes of sound-based reality.
SKRS' OG Papa Coolbreeze reinforces their select palette, "This album is our reiteration of influences ranging from Spaghetti Western era Upsetters to Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research Inc. to early Horsepower Productions. Now the soundtrack we paint, however, is something entirely unique on its own". Simply put: there's NOTHING like it out there!
Full disclosure: this LP has been shelved for well over 3 years now with the sudden disappearance of Oklahoma's now-mythical Digitalis Recordings, who were set to release it hot on the heels of their 2012 SKRS debut LP, TheCallFromBelow. Since then, we've laboured to break more ground and lay several more keystones in the growing SKRS/ICS groundation-foundation in order to withstand its intensifying expanse and weight. Now that the ground has been prepared, we've decided to take Dancehall Showdown back into our own hands and give it the proper love and nurturing we had always intended for it.”
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
Includes the first new Universal Indicator (aka Aphex Twin) track in two decades as well as bangers from Bjarki, Nina Kraviz, Biogen, DEKA and more...
Nina Kraviz pulls together a heavyweight compilation of techno (and related) bangers revolving Bjarki, Universal Indicator and Marc Arcardipane among other on ‘Don’t Mess With Cupid, ‘Cause Cupid Ain’t Stupid’
In 10 parts the set delivers weapons grade gear in ‘Pitch-Hiker’ from the living legend Mark Arcardipane a.k.a. Pilldriver, and likewise with the highwire hardcore tenacity of Universal Indicator’s ’15 c7’, while Bjarki lives up to the label’s name with his mind-bending banger ‘3-1 Tap Lush’, and Kraviz keeps her end up with the high velocity pound of ‘OPA’, and Deka does the damage with the martial acid of ‘Pearl (Nikita Zibeline Edit)’.
Following on from his works Stories and Apologues, Berlin-based composer and vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita returns with his new album Book of Life, the third instalment in a trilogy of solo vibraphone recordings.
"With Book of Life Masayoshi continues his mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight. Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow such as in Fog or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound, as with the title track. Focussing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often underappreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one.
“I think the vibraphone is capable of more interesting and beautiful sounds that haven’t been heard before. It’s quite a new instrument but it’s often played in a similar way. I feel that there is a lot more to explore with this exciting instrument.”
Book of Life sees Masayoshi expand on his compositional skills, bringing in more orchestral elements such as strings, brass and even a choir to interact with the vibraphone. And not just any choir — members of this chorus include musical friends Peter Broderick, Hatis Noit, David Allred and Shards who featured on Nils Frahm’s latest album All Melody. The instruments come to represent characters in Masayoshi’s stories, hinted at in each accompanying text contained in the album booklet, which Masayoshi recites at his live performances. They set the scene for each piece, for example “the choir in Misty Avalanche is meant to resemble the blizzard, while the vibraphone is the bird hovering above,” he explains.
The title track however, was unusual from the start; “Book Of Life is very different to my other songs. It was about humans, whereas the other songs are all about animals and nature. And it was improvised initially, whereas normally my songs are composed and planned. This one was free. I scratched the vibraphone bar as if I was writing something. An image connected in my mind: these two people meeting and sharing their lives. This image was the book of life.”
The upbeat lead single It’s Magical features two cellos and a flute as extensions of the vibraphone; “like a man who’s put artificial wings on his arms to attempt to fly like a bird, before an airplane was invented,” says Masayoshi. A different version of the song, called Spaceship Magical, also appears on the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary box set 1+1=X. “Like most of my songs, It’s Magical started from one simple phrase that I’d played again and again. But at one point I had two very different versions; one acoustic with orchestral arrangement, whilst the other had distorted guitars with electronic bass that perfectly suited the collaborative nature of the label residency when Robert invited me to participate.”
Deeper, jazzier tricks from LT, carrying the vibe to RSI from earlier appearance on YAM Recordings
It’s pleasant, summery stuff with noteworthy cuts in the jazzy NYC house sensibilities of ‘Untitled (Chesney)’, and, better yet, the gauzy jungle dream sequence of ‘Forest Floor’, which sounds like a melted LTJ Bukem.
Bradley Zero and Mali Baden-Powell offer extra production on the other two tracks, a jazzy breakbeat number named ‘Mesosphere’, and ‘North Circular’.
The desire to discover and delve into new and unexplored areas of music has turned attention on the Japanese jazz scene of the 1970s, often regarded as its gilded age.
"The recent compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 threw much needed light on this fascinating era and presented a range of artists and music that surprised and delighted all who heard it. A key track on the compilation was one of the rarest and least known: Dead Letter by the Tohru Aizawa Quartet, taken from an album that was so elusive, some pondered whether it even existed.
The album, Tachibana, was recored in 1975 and, until included on the J Jazz compilation, was unknown except to a small group of obsessive Japanese jazz collectors. The privately pressed record was the only album made by the Quartet, four amateur musicians who were university students at the time. The session was financed by a local businessman, Ikujiroh Tachibana, who pressed up a few hundred copies to use as a business card. In the intervening 40 odd years since its recording, few copies have surfaced, making it an in-demand yet elusive artefact from the golden age of Japanese jazz. BBE Records are honoured to present a fully authorised reissue of this holy grail, licensed directly from the band themselves.
Tachibana has all the necessary components of a cult album: pressed in small numbers, a few mysterious and vague details about its origins, languishing in obscurity for decades and, above all, superb musical craftsmanship and skill. It can now be enjoyed by a new audience around the world. The album opens with the dynamic percussion workout Philosopher’s Stone written by the then law-student and drummer Tetsuya Morimura. It propels along with the band at full pelt, showcasing Morimura’s well-developed drumming style. For a teenage amateur player to compose and perform such an accomplished and impressive piece is a testament to the talent that the band contained. Philosopher’s Stone is followed by Sacrament, an epic modal composition by saxophonist Kiyochiro Morimura that fans of Wayne Shorter, Pharaoh Sanders and late-era John Coltrane will appreciate. After an extended intro the band drop into a heavy, churning groove, Morimura’s saxophone scorching above the volcanic rhythm section. Dead Letter, written by Aizawa himself, is an epic piano led symphony of spiritual jazz. Think McCoy Tyner at his imperial finest and you’ll get a favour: impact, emotion and power all suffuse to create a overwhelming experience. Amazingly, this is still the only Aizawa composition yet to be recorded.
The Tachibana album also includes two cover versions, both Latin favoured numbers delivered with élan and brio: La Fiesta by Chick Corea and the classic Samba de Orfeu by Luiz Bonfá. So, just five tracks in total, the sole existing evidence of an astonishing band, the Tohru Aizawa Quartet."
David Holmes channels Angelo Badalamenti in fine style...
“50 minutes of new, original music from David Holmes soundtracking Steven Soderbergh’s six part tale of passion, intrigue and deception.
Initially released as an interactive app in which the viewer directed the narrative - Mosaic is a six-part HBO series conceived and directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Sharon Stone. Mosaic is a twisting tale of passion, intrigue and deception focusing on the disappearance of a high-profile resident of picturesque Summit, Utah and the four-year effort by law- enforcement and civilians to discover the truth behind the crime.
With that in mind, Mosaic’s original soundtrack weaves as intriguing a tale. Recorded between Belfast and Los Angeles by Holmes, the album features a modern-day Wrecking Crew of musicians. Echoes of Maestro Morricone abound alongside the influence of avant-garde pioneers and Holmes' current soundtrack contemporaries in a selection of deep listening tracks.
To quote Mark Kermode, 'Mosaic' outlines Holmes’ expertise at “ratcheting up the tension” with strings, horns and synthesizers swelling throughout. As this tension peaks there is inevitable release - in rhythmic and harmonic tracks such as ‘What I Want Is The Red Room’ and Badalamenti-esque lounge eeriness in the likes of ‘Four Years Later’ - guiding the 20 cues presented on this release into a cohesive, full and nuanced album that reveals subtle and rewarding intricacies on each repeated listen. ‘Mosaic’ once again outlines Holmes as a modern master of the original soundtrack.”
Godfather of the current Peckham sound, Wbeeza turns out three deep warehouse jams for London’s Troy Town label and party series...
Landing 3 years since his 12”s for Arma and Secrtesundaze, ‘The OD’ is built for dirty, decadent nights in scuzzy joints, packing the deeply hypnotic acid momentum of ‘The OD’ alongside the lip-smacking garage swang and wavy lead of ‘Grove Park’ and the party-ready Detroit burn of ‘Bizzle Boogie’.
Benoit B follows his ‘Japonaiserie’ 12” for Berceuse Heroique with a classy ride between bass-heavy electro and smoky Gallic downbeats for Wisdom Teeth
For the ‘floor, Benoit tees up the lush electro suspension system of Vague à l’Âme and a beautifully crafty mix of whirring trills and Martian woodwind in Kimono coming off like a mutant Red Planet number.
In between those cuts he explores a more sultry style in the Far Eastern-inspired sashay of Gyvenimo Tékmé featuring vocals from Dália, then with the nimble, hyaline designs of Ice Valley landing somewhere between Jay Glass Dubs and Invisible Cloaks.
Nyege Nyege Tapes return with their third ever vinyl release; an amazing collection of thumb piano recordings by Ekuka Morris Sirikiti, a legendary Mbira player from the Lango people recorded from Ugandan radio c.1978-2003. Heavily textured with radio static and ferric distortion, think Konono Nº1 or Honest Jon’s East Africa sets relayed by The Conet Project...
Hailing from the Langi tribe of Lira, Northern Uganda, legendary local griot Ekuka Morris Sirikiti performs his music in various situations - festivities, market days, and other gatherings - on a homemade foot/drum contraption coupled with the Lukeme; a small, handheld thumb piano that produces flurries of metallic rhythmelody under deft digits, and is maybe best known as an Mbira in its heavily distorted use by the DRC’s amazing Konono Nº1, as well as myriad other recordings from the vast Central and East African region.
Entirely comprising recordings of the original radio broadcasts made on various devices, the music on ‘Ekuka’ is distorted to differing degrees, resulting in a broad spectrum of fidelities that are both unavoidable and inherent to the music, its reception, and its perception by those who didn’t catch the broadcast as it happened.
The 12 songs selected zig-zag across the timeline 1978-2003, with an alternating patina of ferric noise that camouflages their chronology - it’s difficult and unnecessary to discern their recording dates, as the songs serve a timeless social purpose, from everyday reminders to be a good husband; take your kids to school; and don’t disturb the wife of your son; to Government commissioned warnings about venereal diseases, drinking alcohol and paying taxes.
Considering this all took place against the backdrop of tribal warfare and cattle raids by rebels, the raucous laughter on ‘In Boloney For Ayinet’ demonstrates the humour and pathos behind the songs in a way that may literally escape listeners elsewhere. And in that context ‘Ekuka’ is quite unlike most other vintage recordings which resurface outside of Africa beyond, say, Honest Jon’s ‘Something Is Wrong’ and ‘Bellyachers, Listen’ sets, which admittedly document a much earlier period c. 1938-1957, but were also selected from recordings not specifically or even vaguely conceived for the international market.
As with Nyege Nyege Tapes’ previous dispatches from modern day Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, ‘Ekuka’ provides a genuinely street-level, unfiltered perspective on unfathomably long-rooted traditions in a way that sounds incredibly fresh, unfamiliar and hugely interesting to keen ears the world over.
Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone Joe McPhee: pocket trumpet, soprano saxophone Kent Kessler: double bass Chris Corsano: drums
"Great dedicated music by four strong individual players, brought together by Portugese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado – intense communication with room for outbreaking solo-parts but always held together through a vision of playing together, exiting and interwoven with beautiful melodies!"
‘Emotional Music’ is a beguiling suite of ambient electronica synpathy from L.A.’s Robert Girardin, marking up his début proper and first solo release with Palto Flats and Elon Katz’ Zero Grow. RIYL 0PN, Rene Hell, Visible Cloaks
“R. Girardin – Emotional Music is a collaborative release from Palto Flats and Zero Grow, a contemporary rendering of synthetic midi-fusion and DAW experimentalism. Drawing links between Rashad Becker’s textured compositional approach and the multicultural electro-fetishism of Benjamin Lew, Emotional Music uses known palettes in non-traditional methods.
In Emotional Music we are treated to Girardin’s tooling of the synthesizer as a spiritual instrument, one where the typical motifs of musicality and style degrade in favor of poetic modulation matrices and breath controlled hopefuls. Synthesizers occupy a special place in sonic energy, dependent on electricity for physical sound creation, void of voice without human intellect and touch. Emotional Music is a synthesis of both the human and synthesizer’s expressive logics; one of internal architectures capable only through external inlets and outlets.
R. Girardin is a Hollywood location scout living in Los Angeles. Recent work includes contributions to the score of Invernomuto’s film “Vers L’Europa Deserta, Terra Incognita,” and lectures on the aesthetics of decentered spatiality in Southern California at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland and UC Irvine. Girardin has previously released music on Italian label Hundebiss.
The artwork features a cover photo by Girardin and blind drawings by artist Roee Rosen.”
Freakish, high-impact techno missiles from Bjarki on Nina Kraviz’s Trip
Check for the wide-eyed 150bpm pounder ‘Oli Gumm’ with its shattering breakdowns, and the mash den trample and avian squabble of ‘Hatann Satann’.
Reissue of proper keys-in-the-pot boogie disco
“Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the Sophisticated Ladies’ sought-after 1980 New York disco single ‘This Ain’t Really Love’, backed by a Mighty Zaf extended edit of their 1977 release ‘Check It Out’, and accompanied by interview-based liner notes. Here, the single will be available in its true 12” format, saving collectors and DJs alike from spending triple-digit figures on an original copy.”
Blondes’ Sam Haar goes solo with the richly textured deep electronica dives of ‘Euso’, his début solo album with Barcelona’s Modern Obscure Music
In ‘Euso’ Haar draws on his practice as an art technological consultant to diversify his bonds into more abstract and experimental electronic music designs than previously heard in his leftfield house-oriented work with Blondes.
“Modern Obscure Music welcomes Sam Haar to the imprint for the first album released by an artist other than label founder Pedro Vian. The album is entitled Euso. Sam Haar is a New Jersey born producer and sound artist. Influenced by both experimentalism and traditional dance music, Haar’s music is something uniquely his own. He is best known as being one half of musical hardware loving duo Blondes with Zach Steinman (neither of them are actually blonde). They famously favour machines over computers and provide hypnotic live shows. Blondes have released the majority of their discography for Rvng Intl., before jumping to R&S in 2017 for the more danceable Warmth album.
Euso is an intense exploration of sounds, textures and feelings, with field recordings laid over coarse soundscapes. Haar’s compositions are woven patchwork-like from the fabric of the sounds that he uses. There is a real feeling that his music is alive, due to the fluidity of his compositions and how the tracks mutate.
The album opener Paradiso offers colourful synthetics alongside running water and bold sounds. Hal (the Slip) features urgent percussion and hypnotic bass sounds, whilst Gold Coast sees vibrant synths do battle over emotive strings. Radial splits sounds and reforms textures in an ever-changing manner and Stabilis snatches lost dialogue over machinery type misshapen beats and poised synths. Awatsa is bathed in watery synthetics and is lifted higher by combo of strings and punched beats, as Hive offers wonderful synth based confusion. Plegadas rounds off the LP with eerie strings, ghosted vocal forms and enveloping synths. The Euso album is a powerful musical statement from Sam Haar.”
Optimo pull out and edit some '88-'90 dancefloor peaches from legendary Aussie industrial unit, Severed Heads.
The tuff and ecstatic proto-trance drive of 'Greater Reward' (1988) is given a 'Piano Power' edit by Optimo, riding killer kicks and flickering rimshots with slick keys and swarming tribal voices chopped at crucial points beside the original 12"'s irresistible dub mix.
The more exotic, chattering tribalism of 'Big Car (Crash Dub)' (1990) conjures images of stomping, tanned and nearly-naked Goan revellers, while 'All Saints Day (Saints Day Dub)' swings to ruddy industrial bass funk laced with lush ecto pads. Quite simply; they don't make 'em like this any more.
Highly recommended for your 'floor!
Jacking NYC house from erstwhile witch house queen Lauren Flax (ov Creep) for UTTU’s Dance Trax series
Leading on from her turn for NYC institute Nervous Records, and a previous hook-up with Kim Ann Foxman, Lauren rides the acid groove proper on ‘It’s Ours’, which Jimmy Edgar reworks as a slinkier metallic groove in the vein of Larry Heard’s Gherkin Jerks.
On ‘Your Mom Likes Flange’ she slips down tripper wormhole of recursive delays to a darkroom ready bass canter, before rubbing out the wilder ’Acid Ghetto’ and cutting loose with splashy chromatic riffs on the staccato jack of ‘Sequenc_tial Discord’.
“Last time we heard from the Growing Bin, Basso was sat at the water‘s edge, trousers rolled up, toes in the tide, savouring a Falanghina while Eleventeen Eston went with the wave. Now we move from the shoreline to the ocean shelf, led on an underwater adventure by young Parisian Shelter. Where previous releases have seen the synth-obsessed Frenchman take his inspiration from Caribbean rhythms or Balearic attitudes, this marine missive sees Shelter turn to the lavish world of the library, creating his an alternate score to Jean Faurez’ 1960 documentary short.
More submersible than snorkel, our journey begins in the very dark of the deep, mystical harp trills echoing through the inky blackness, picking up the bioluminescent shimmer of an Abraliopsis Squid. Gradually we make our way into the light, cruising past shoals of silver scales and underwater forests. ‚Immersion’ offers a placid, percolating rhythm and billowing pads, providing sonic symmetry for the dancing leaves, while the spheric soundscape of ‘La Vie A L’Ombre’ bubbles away like an underwater volcano. The optimistic ambience of ‘Plenitude Azotee’, brimming with delicate melody and glistening sequences, perfectly captures the wide-eyed wonder of a reef dive, before drifting into the serenity of ‘Parade’, an aquatic acquaintance of A.R.T. Wilson’s ‘Overworld’. A brief foray into shark fin funk sees out the A-side, before we’re back amid the beauty of the ocean floor; ‘Variation Abyssale II’ echoing the album opener but with even more poetry. The exotic and otherworldly sine waves of ‘Dans La Jungle De Varech’ simultaneously sound like a rainforest canopy, alien landscape and coral microcosm, expanding our horizons nicely ahead of the adrenaline rush of ‘Hors D’Haleine’. Shelter then sets us at ease with the tidal tonality and subtle shuffle of ‘Fumeurs Noirs’, a sublime synthetic suite, then leaves us to marvel at the soft focus splendour of ‘Synthii Outro’.
This is Jules Verne by way of Vangelis, just grab your goggles and take the plunge…”
Antony Naples & Jenny Slattery’s Incienso follow DJ Python’s Dulce Compañia - one of the albums of 2017 - with the debut LP of hypnotic ambient reggaeton pressures by Bailey Hoffman a.k.a. Beta Librae - co-founder of NYC’s Technofeminism events with Umfang.
Moving farther along the same line that gave us DJ Python’s unmissable album, Beta Librae smudges her vibes to a more mutable flux of feelings in Sanguine Bond, traversing beatless froth and pendulous dembow shuffle in the first side, thru to the intimate deep house humidity of Cosmic Machines, and deeper into underwater sonics on Urras, cosign up for air with the trickling Afro-Cuban lilt of Canis Major, and melting out into new age dimensions with Pink Arcade and closing on a surprisingly ace jungle/dembow mutation New Feelings.
Very safe to say: if you loved the DJ Python album as much as us, you’ll be allllllll over this one, too!
‘1/1’ is the soundtrack to Jeremy Phillips’ directorial debut, the film submerges the viewer into the mind of Lissa, a 20-year-old girl in rural Pennsylvania and her struggles with sex, drugs, love and loss. Liars have created an electronic soundtrack that reflects the film’s use of mixed media abstractions and multi-film formats, which undoubtedly stands up as an album in its own right.
"Created soon after Liars’ 2014 album ‘Mess’, these are the last recordings by Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill before Hemphill amicably left the band. In 2017 Angus Andrew released ‘TFCF’, Liars’ eighth studio album and Aaron Hemphill recently released Nonpareils’ ‘Scented Pictures’, his debut solo album. (Both albums are out on Mute, Andrew and Hemphill’s label since Liars’ debut, ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’.) Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill were given the script for ‘1/1’ and, after reading it on a flight from LA to NY, immediately decided to take it on. “It was very heavy, it was very intense and by the time we got to New York, we’d read it. At that point, we hadn’t seen anything but we were on board just from reading the script,” explains Angus.
Soon after, Liars rented a space in Copenhagen and started work on the film’s soundtrack. The director, who up until that point had been using temp music to mark out where the score would go, gave the band descriptions for each of the cues. Instead of giving musical direction, he gave them emotional and descriptive language to describe what he wanted, such as “imagine you have a 100 piece puzzle, but you have 1000 pieces - what would that sound like” or “the character is submerged in water at 4am” or “an alarm clock won’t stop ringing.” Liars were delighted, “This was the perfect thing for us to hear, that allowed us to explore that feeling. At this point we still haven’t seen the film, we were going off the script and a few sample scenes. These descriptions were really helpful for us, and even though they were abstract, they allowed a lot of interpretation.”
Hemphill goes on to say, “We tried to find ways to take it off the grid. We would watch it, read the script and try to get a feel for the plot development and then base the music off of our memory.” The result is a fractured, emotional response to characters within the film. Without using visual cues that might allow the music to simply mirror emotion, Liars have delved deeper into the reality of some of the more complicated themes of ‘1/1’. Director and writer Jeremy Phillips has explained that the film was originally created in response to watching the films of John Hughes for the first time - after the director’s death in 2009 - and wondering what a Molly Ringwald film would look like now. Highly personal, he explains that it “started to connect me with the past, and dealing with depression and anxiety.”
Phillips has described the film as very much a joint production between all of the artists involved (he himself found specific inspiration in Liars’ single ‘No. 1 Against The Rush’) and some of the film was edited to work with the music, an unusual technique. The director explains, “I view this movie as ours, and that goes for everyone involved in the production. I wanted there to be give and take between everyone working on it.” This is particularly evident as the film was actually changed in some sections to adapt to the music.
Phillips goes on to say that “The music, how it functions in the film, is really the access point to the main character’s thoughts/feelings. It's a coming-of-age story, she’s very distant and the music guides you through the emotions, as both she and the visual language of the film keep maturing.”
Virgo’s seminal début LP comes back around on Trax for the first time, following the 2010 reissue on Rush Hour
First things first - there’s nae worries about the pressing; it’s loud and clear like most of the recent Trax releases. Secondly, do we even need to stress how good this album is!? From their balmy all-time classic ‘Do You Even Know Who You Are’ and the bleeping sonar depth of ‘In A vision’, thru to the lush suspense of ‘Take Me Higher’ and the lusting opulence of ‘Ride’, this is Grade A++ classic Chicago dance music.
Sextet is the second studio album by Manchester postpunk funk group A Certain Ratio, originally released by Factory Records in January 1982.
Self-produced at Revolution Studio, Sextet saw the original Ratio quintet of Donald Johnson, Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Simon Topping and Peter Terrell joined by co-vocalist Martha 'Tili' Tilson. Written and recorded following a transformative sojourn in New York at the end of 1980, the album reflects Latin, samba and even jazz influences (eg Skipscada; Day One), while still retaining Ratio's signature brittle funk textures, heard in full effect on Lucinda, Gum and trancelike floor filler Knife Slits Water.
First time vinyl reissue of Alice Coltrane’s last LP for Impulse! - remastered from original tapes...
“Originally released in 1972, Lord Of Lords was Alice Coltrane’s final album for Impulse! and the last installment in her awe-inspiring trilogy that also included Universal Consciousness and World Galaxy. While all three records featured strings alongside a jazz ensemble, Lords Of Lords stood apart from its predecessors due to the sheer size of the orchestra (12 violins, 6 violas and 7 cellos, arranged and conducted by Coltrane herself) and its refined, blissful performances – shining a vital light on the devotional path that she would follow for the rest of her career.
On the first two pieces, "Andromeda's Suffering" and "Sri Rama Ohnedaruth" (titled after the spiritual name for her late husband), Alice’s dazzling piano and harp blend perfectly with the blanket of strings, while the haunting rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Ben Riley and a magnificent, droning electric organ emerge immaculately on the title track and closer "Going Home." Coltrane's musical vision is bold in its imagination and cosmic in scope, yet remains intensely personal and immediate. Lord Of Lords points inward as much as to the beyond, recalling her classical roots and recasting Eastern modes to radically invert the American avant-garde and spiritual jazz traditions.”
Remastered and expanded reissue of a beautiful early K. Leimer album demonstrating his DIY Closed System Potentials method for painting lush electro-acoustic ambient scapes. It follows excellent retrospective compilations issued by RVNG Intl (a Period of Review) and V-O-D (Recordings 1977-90) to get farther below the surface, in the mind of his pioneering, homespun magic.
“Closed System Potentials is honest and intimate music, with the elements of DIY work ‘by hand’ that lends a realness and tangibility to the proceedings. Its juxtapositions are, to me, distinctly Northwestern: it is both alive and synthetic; homespun in execution, yet cinematic in aspiration; acknowledges global experimentalism of the time, yet reveals some isolation in its curious re-wiring of genre standards; grayscale in mood, but with an underpinning of hopefulness that, for me, recalls the futurism of the time.”
Mesmerising dream house with a lush, pastoral aura from Linkwood of Firecracker Records fame
Making his welcome first move in three years, the Edinburgh-based producer unfurls the rolling, gauzy beauty of ‘Mine Meld’ with its panoramic pads and effortlessly cushioned groove reaching Ron Trent-style levels of soul-warming subbass by the track’s end.
On the other side ‘Nae Drama’ bristles with rawer electronics and simmering tribal drum patterns laced with a swell of field recordings and wilder FX bound to bring the crowd to a frisky fever pitch, recalling some transfixing blend of Carl Craig and Ra.H sensibilities.
Another ace addendum to 0PN’s ‘Age Of’, including album cut ‘We’ll Take It’ plus two brand new productions and the brilliant, previously Japan-only bonus level, ‘Trance 1’
‘We’ll Take It’ finds 0PN in full-blown industrial sci-fi mode with some of his deadliest drum programming and churning synth torsion emulating the motion sickness of time travel, accentuated by additional production by James Blake.
‘Monody’ hears him plumbing a sort of proggy IDM uchronia, where the mid ‘70s folds in to mid ‘90s and mid-WTF we call this decade, and ‘Blow By Blow’ follows that logic to sound like a bastard organism imagined by Autechre and Steve Vai making its first tentative steps into a VR world.
Best of the lot is ‘Trance 1’, which previously appeared on the Japan-only edition of ‘Age Of’ and now blazes out on this release like the view of planet exploding in the rear window of an escape shuttle headed for new solar systems.
Bonus points for the ‘spliffy’ jeans-style avatar on the jacket!
One of the rarest records in the world, by ‘Os Mutantes’ before they were ‘Os Mutantes’, copies have changed hands for $5000...
"‘O’Seis’ are the core members of the mighty and legendary ‘Os Mutantes’ - namely Rita Lee and brothers Arnaldo and Sergio Baptista, accompanied here by Raphael Vilardi, Maria ‘Mogguy’ Malheiros and Luiz Pastura.
The record features anthemic, heavyweight, psychedelic rock on ‘Suicida’ b/w deeper, tripped-out MPB-folk on ‘Apocalipse’. Both tracks were written by Rita Lee, assisted by Tobe and Vilardi respectively. The term ‘holy grail’ is a little overused these days perhaps, but this definitely is one. Originally pressed and released by the band themselves in 1966, apparently only a handful of copies are known to exist (sources/numbers vary)."
"Nothing can stop a flutist. We can do whatever we want, whatever we feel. My flute, is a mirror of myself. I express feelings more easily with the flute than with language." This is what Jean Cohen-Solal said on the cover of his first album, Flûtes libres, renowned for its adventurous overdubbing of alto, piccolo and bass flutes, in treble or in C and ocarina.
"Mentioned on the famous Nurse With Wound list, the path followed by Jean Cohen-Solal included many exciting adventures in the 1970s, from his participation in the cult animation series Les Shadoks where his voice can be heard alongside the actor Claude Piéplu, to his proximity to the GRM where he worked alongside Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, Luc Ferrari, Guy Reibel and Béatrice Ferreyra, or his involvement in progressive music with Captain Tarthopom (1973), an album very much in the same style as that featured in Europe on the Vertigo label, but in an instrumental form, and even more audacious, without turning its back on the same classical influences as everyone else.
It is impossible to pin a label on Jean Cohen-Solal, he is the equal of his anglo-saxon counterparts Bob Downes, Harold McNair, Jon Field (Jade Warrior) and Jeremy Steig, just to mention the most creative of the bunch. His affinity with strings, already heard in his work with Serge Franklin, (author of the the ineffable Free Sitar) on Flûtes libres, is perfectly echoed here by the work of Jean-Claude Deblais, himself author of one of the little-known summits of sound illustration and French underground music: Le Miroir du fantastique."
L.A.’s Deb DeMure, a.k.a. Drab Majesty, captures the heart ache and glamour of his home city in the purple neon-lit wave pop of Careless, his debut album with NYC’s Dais Records and also his highest profile release to date.
Inspired by the range of characters on his childhood bus trips from “home in crumbling Hollywood to his grandmother’s apartment, nestled in the pastel pristineness of Beverley Hills”, as well as later troubles with drugs and the death of a loved one, Drab Majesty packages nostalgia and emotion with a sincerity that’s equal parts timeless pop romance and late ‘80s/early ‘90s Californian ennui, and it works a treat.
His candy flossed guitar reverbs are undoubtedly debted to The Cure in the best way from The Foyer thru Entrance And Exits, while the vocal harmonies float and flit between Robert Smith-style naval gaze and pure Paddy McAloon swoon, vaulted to sky-kissing levels of MBV sehnsucht in Unknown To The I, or like a less laconic John Maus produced by Cliff Martinez in the The Heiress, whilst Foreign Eye clearly salutes classic dancefloor Depeche Mode.
Really classy stuff. Tip!
No nonsense acid techno and lush ambient dance music from Oslo’s André Bratten
On the first in a trilogy of 12”s, Bratten really impresses on both sides, first with the stonking warehouse welly of ‘Un’ at a clenched and unrelenting 145bpm tilt recalling Bjarki and Caustic Window era AFX, then to the contrary with a wide, beautiful tract of floating pads and percolated techno pulses in ‘Pax Americana’, whose whirring rhythms also sound great at 33rpm rather than the recommended 45.
Sun dazed Antipod-earia from Danny Wild’s Low Slung on Aussie label, Ken Oath Records
Marking his 2nd move on the label after the ‘Coastal Garden’  single, ‘Blow waves’ expands on Low Flung’s hackneyed definition of ambient downbeat music over a whole LP, resulting in a slowly congealing blend of analogue synth sources spread on drum machine grooves...
Coyote Records launch a class début from VIO_L3T into orbit of UK drill, grime and weightless styles, backed with a signature, playfully moody remix by E.M.M.A.
Hailing from not-so-grimy Somerset, VIO_L3T fidns a balance of inner city tension and more spacious, widescreen synth feels to his first release, scanning the expansive synth intro and cold drill drums of Cloud-Tech next to the teetering dembow break structures and spiralling arps of Sentinel and the clipped, airy bump of Fragment.
E.M.M.A. gives Cloud-Tech a more immediate appeal, curtailing the intro so she can get busy with slugging bass and a more psychedelic, less glum synth arrangement in signature style.
A stargazing electro-techno session from Barcelona’s Lone Romantic label
Levels are set astronomic with the Doppleffekt-like arps and bone-rattling electro breaks of ‘Hohenheim’ and its ‘floor-engulfing 2nd drop, while the bilgy hydraulic pump of ‘Shimano’s Tribute’ comes off like a rogue Ultradyne transmission, and ‘Edelweiss’ twists off into E.R.P.-alike deep electro territory.
Lithuania’s Patrica Kokett swivels on a mean, slow groove in four bugged-out ways for the excellent Knekelhuis label
“Patricia Kokett’s sound is shrouded in a veil of mysticism. The brainchild of Lithuanian Gediminas Jakubka, Diabel’s metallic heartbeat underlies a magical superstructure that evokes some kind of DMT infused trip. Or possibly even some kind of ancient ritual, where one is intoxicated by serpents blood. Guided by repetitive drum patterns, it creates a slow joint dance that opens the path towards transcendence.”
Big room/family-size chunks of Detroit house, revolving around Carl Craig’s ‘C2Back2ThaBasicsEDIT’ of ‘Heavy’ full of happy piano chops and Steffanie Christi’an’s soulful vox, along with the stripped down ‘Dub’, and the brooding build of Inner City’s own ‘Dark Side’ mix loaded with KMS’ lustrous Reese bass.
Copenhagen’s regenerated Multiplex dispense a long overdue 3rd ‘Tivoli Trax’ volume of leftfield house cuts
Kicking off with the crunchy IDM breaks of Hüebsch Originators’ ‘Merchants of Venice’ from the ’Tivoli Trax’  CD, then switches tack into subaquatic deep house in ‘Bodies’ by Vassdrag, along with the cruise control swing of B From E’s ‘No Memory’, and the hubby bubble of ‘Nightwave’ from Dennis Bøg a.k.a. Reissue a.k.a. Dennis Uprock.
Stunning HD orchestral // text-to -speech début by Tokyo-based artist and curator, Nozomu Matsumoto, a huge recommendation if yr into the augmented realities of TCF, James Ferraro, Mark Leckey, Goodiepal and Elysia Crampton, or the layered, highly evocative narratives of Mica Levi, Sam Kidel and Terre Thaemlitz…
Climatotherapy is Nozomu’s remarkable first vinyl release and début for The Death of Rave, conceived as a soundtrack for a health forecast given by Amazon’s Text-to-Speech interface Polly. It sounds like little we’ve heard before; an augmented reality rendered with soaring Hollywood strings and pristine arrangements evoking the hyperreal tapestry / idyllic ambient of Alva Noto’s Xerrox series paired with R&B folk tropes and a non-linear narration conveying Nozomu’s ideas with clinically emotive clarity.
The text-to-speech narration finds Polly curating our mental and moral energy into health; her prognostications framed by those strings to startling, uncannily calculated effect, using additional vocals and music to limn in HD an up-to-the minute and personal perspective on themes of morality in Artificial Intelligence which could be called key to Japan’s hauntology, also intersecting with the artist’s own experience of meteoropathic sickness, and its symptoms related to barometric fluctuations and psychic-atmospheric disturbance.
A strikingly singular work, ‘Climathotherapy’ effectively resonates with the novel musical sci-fi of James Ferraro, Elysia Crampton and T C F, as well as The Death of Rave’s own editions such as Mark Leckey’s IoT study ‘GreenScreenRefrigerator’ and Sam Kidel’s ‘Disruptive Muzak’. It’s a properly unique record of its times...
Awesome 2nd volume of ‘Midnight in Tokyo’ jams, with selector Dubby taking over from Toshiya Kawasaki to pick a diamond-studded set of ‘80s jazz fusion vibes from Japan...
All but the most ardent Japanophiles will be new to the sounds in ‘Midnight in Tokyo Volume 2’, which takes the listener for a personalised cruise around Dubby’s hidden gems, collected over decades and perfectly picked to brief.
To play favourites, the delicious warped slump of ‘Hikobae’ by Genji Sawai is frankly unmissable, as are the glittery glyde of ‘So Long America’ by Yasunori Soryo & Jim Rocks, the slinky tickle of ‘Imagery’ from Katsutoshi Morizono with Bird’s Eye View, and the glam strut of Parachute’s ‘Mystery of Asian Port’.
Steve Poindexter & Traxman boot off their Factory Music Chicago label with a banging pack of hard-to-find and exclusive Chi house bangers
Windy City pioneer Poindexter percolates the dance proper with ‘Return to the Ghetto’ from his ‘Demolition Man’  12”, beside the dusty, tracky exclusive of his ‘911’ banger with Armando featuring killer synth sirens and maaad subbass.
Down below, Traxman brings up the filtered jack of ‘1990’ in classic style, before reworking Armando’s classic ’We’re On The Move (Snare Yo Azz Off)’ with a tight, simmering jack beat.
DJ Protein pipes up with a ruddy ghetto-house flip of Destiny’s Child b/w a pendulous deep house ace
Fabio Monesi a.k.a. Hissman - a.k.a. DJ Protein for purposes of this 12” - gives the club what it wants with the A-side’s gritty call + response spin on ‘Say My Name’, while the B-side is rolled out raw but plush for the swangers.