Precision-tooled rolige from el mysterioso, Forest Drive West
Following his D&B outbreak for Hidden Hawaii with two slinky wrigglers for Livity Sound; a swinging deep techno piece recalling vintage Convextion circa Ebullience, and the crankier, UK style lag of Escape with its hip-slipping swang and cold, dank clammy atmosphere.
Strong one for followers of Kowton, Peverelist, Simo Cell
Among the most distinctive artists working between classical and improvisational paradigms today, Vancouver’s Ian William Craig affords a rare, intimate glimpse of his live practice with Durbē, which arrives via Sean McCann’s Recital Program after some gentle arm-twisting.
Not originally intended for wider consumption, Durbē came into being as a a night’s worth of recordings made in a 14th century Latvian church, and as such is imbued with a stately, even religiose melancholy that plays frictionally at odds with the artist’s abstract leanings.
Thanks to Sean McCann, who has purportedly fallen asleep countless times whilst listening to this, day and night (and not ‘cos it’s boring, but ‘cos it’s so hypnotic), the private recording is relinquished to a wider audience - all of us earthly mortals - revealing what sounds like plainsong ripped from a shredded palimpsest of a songbook and recited by a chorus of tattered digital poltergeist.
Home Age is the first proper Eleh full length since 2012's Homage To The Pointed Waveforms.
These new pieces seek to expose the inherent musicality of pure electrical currents via high resolution Serge STS synthesizers. Like early Eleh work, Home Age is inward looking, domestic and deliberate but also slowly emotional and revealing as if peering blurry eyed through a window. Melody, harmony and counterpoint are suggested but not revealed.
East Man is a new project from Anthoney Hart and its material predates his previous work as Basic Rhythm.
"His unique take on grime reduces the sound to its steely fundamentals, bringing in influences from dancehall, drum and bass and techno to gird the voices of the MCs he works with. His own name for this hardcore continuum mongrel is 'Hi Tek'."
Third Man cough up a killer document of Adult. recorded in live performance at Jack White and co’s Nashville, TN facility in spring ’17. With the duo’s latest studio album, Detroit House Guests recently dispatched on Mute, Live At Third Man proves they’ve still got the live chops, and back catalogue, to claim their place among America’s eminent synth-pop acts.
Framed by audience applause/laughter and the sound of their fog machine blowing strong, Nicola Kuperus (vocals) and Adam Miller (electronics, bass guitar) deliver their set with military precision and deadly, punkish style, rinsing thru versions of Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed from their debut album, Anxiety Always, and a mean, sparking take on Pressure Suit off the Entertainment 12”, along with a searing rendition of their classic Hand To Phone, plus no less than two previously unreleased cuts in the cantering sino-electro-pop jags Misshaped, and Does The Body Know?
DJs may struggle to get away with playing these with proper amplification, but for home use the LP serves its purpose damn well.
Mellifluous, rootsy stepper from Sister Rasheda, backed with Counter Action Warriors’s heady dub.
Schooled by Jah Shaka, Rasheda plays deep into the UK sound system style on the front, while the dub brings the tune forward in lushly effected fashion.
A fascinating immersion in the heart of a funeral ceremony live recorded in Bali, where gongs, cymbals, and drums give rhythm to the bewitching atmosphere of this mortuary procession.
"The international audience’s interest into Balinese music and its gamelan orchestras dates back to the edition of large ethnographic series in the 1950s, 60s and 70s which largely encouraged the discovery of this music beyond Indonesia’s borders. Taking advantage of a more advanced technology compared to the vinyl golden era, the present field recordings produced in 2011 render at the closest the power of gamelans. They are presented here in two forms. The first one offers a display of Beleganjur music out of the ritual context, which can be differentiated by a more melodic form and a more dramatic and hypnotic aspect of the compositions.
The second one presents the Beleganjur style in the ceremonial context of the Ngaben funerary rite in the village of Peliatan. The utmost vitality of these orchestras springs out throughout the different stages of these funerals, and the sound environment surrounding the musicians immerse the listener in the very heart of the procession following the corpse. With The Gamelan of The Walking Warriors, Akuphone carries on its exploration of ritual and ceremonial music with those materials of rare intensity. These recordings were collected by Vincenzo Della Ratta, PhD in Ethnomusicology from the Sapienza University (Rome). As a specialist of the gongs music from the Austronesian cultures of Southeast Asia, Della Ratta is the author of numerous articles on the subject. His field researches have already been edited as a vinyl entitled Kwangkay: Funerary Music Of The Dayak Benuaq Of Borneo (Sublime Frequencies, 2016)."
What Mortazavi and Friedman have in common is their shared expertise in uneven, cyclical rhythms – the foundation of their trance-like art music, which is both subtle and ecstatic.
"Through repetition and improvisation in the studio they create “numbers” – groove-based pieces played on a variety of drums (Mortazavi mainly plays the Tombak) mixed with electronics. Natural, i.e. given, motion patterns provide the musical backbone. This results in a precisely timed harmony between the electronic sounds and live grooves.
Thanks to the extreme acoustic range of the Tombak and his extravagant technique, Mortazavi merges perfectly with Burnt Friedman’s signature sound and repertoire, which seems to belong to no specific place or time.”
Contradictory sides of fuzzy ambient and noisy techno from Thomas9000, debuting as the 1st release from London’s Premature Records.
Arriving with pats on the back from Nic Tasker and Jane Fitz, Obscule gives up a playful, beatless vignette in the A-side’s title cut, landing somewhere between Anthony Manning and Nicola Ratti, where the B-side’s Droid drill down to a turbulent sort of noise techno stress test with chaotic synth squall and jagged, old skool Regis style bite and swerve.
The Monika Werkstatt project opens its doors to friends and artistic peers
Rounding up fine remixes such as Nite Jewel’s disco-ready re-shuffle of Grow by Barbara Morgenstern + Werkstatt; a ghostly-dubbed and motorik take on Lucretia Dalt’s Blindholes from Cómeme and Cititrax’s Borusiade; deals’ reverb-bathed remix of Sonae; and a very Berlin-ready re-canter of Islaja by Charlotte Bendiks.
RBMA put some bull hormone into the Library Music genre, sponsoring Kiwi composer Grayson Gilmour’s opening gambit, Red Bull Music Academy Library Series Vol.1.
Gilmour, a graduate of the 2011 Madrid RBMA brainwashing camp, and, strangely enough, a regular on staunch indie Flying Nun Records, stirs up the kind of emotive signposts and cues that make people want to buy and feel shit they don’t need with an adjective grasp of baroque pop and post-rock-electronic convention on the front, backed with Paul Jebanasam’s far starker Thalamus (Machine Learning Variation).
The Alchemist and Lunice cement an unexpected but predictably solid collaboration with Moving Parts
A batch of mid-tempo instrumental bangers crafted for Red Bull’s BC One breaking convention. Clock the styles on Clockwork and the drunken master flex of Revolutions Per Second for the strongest beats.
Last spotted showing their chops on Porridge Bullet, the Dima Disk duo jump on Rub-A-Dub’s white label series with four thistly bangers and sawn-off breakbeat knockers.
Their sweaty, hypnotic house Rolla appears to work out in the same grubby gym as the L.I.E.S. lot, while the bittersweet lead hook of Gelberderte is comparable with Lone style. Your rug will be properly cut with the rasping, slicing breakbeat roil of Loosie, and Fetty leans much farther left with a keening, salty take on weightless bleep techno dynamics riding big swolled subs.
Memnon Sa grab our attention with the cover photo of RAF Fylingdales on Lemurian Dawn, and proceed to hold it firmly with a doozy mixture martial drums, mandrax synths and throat singing inside.
The fact that Lemurian Dawn is released by Aurora Borealis - home to albums by Haxan Cloak, Grumbling Fur, øjeRum - should be a signal of quality to those who know, but for everyone else, this is a class example of the eldritch infecting doom metal dimensions, swapping out glaring darkness for a gauzier, psychedelic appeal and sensitivity that takes hold with the subtlety of a psychoactive you didn’t realise you’d ingested. Fans of Steve Moore or Ghost Box should add this to their mushy playlist.
“Memnon Sa return with ‘Lemurian Dawn’, a cosmic journey through space, time and myth. Black ops missions witness the binary sunrise on a forgotten world. Pan dimensional spacecraft hover over ancient pyramids on worlds undreamed of.
The guitar driven doom metal sound of the acclaimed debut ‘Citadel’ has been replaced here by a myriad of analog synthesisers, ancient world instruments, throat singing and strings. ‘Lemurian Dawn’ channels New Age meditational works, film soundtracks and cosmic jazz from the 70s and 80s. The result could be the soundtrack to a lost 1970’s European animation sci-fi film, warm analogue sounds that hint at cosmic forboding and sinister forces unseen.
The album was recorded over a month and a half at Misha Hering’s Holy Mountain Studios in Hackney, London, and mixed using almost exclusively analog equipment to 1/2 inch tape.
It was mastered by legendary mastering engineer Dave Cooley at Elysium Masters in LA.”
Chicago Ghetto House staple Jana Rush delivers a properly rugged debut album of footwork on Lara-Rix Martin’s Objects Limited.
Notably entering the world of DJing at age 10, and making her first productions only 3 years later - some of which ended up on Dance Mania alongside DJ Deeon - Jana’s recent tilt into footwork, documented on the warped, febrile designs of her MPC 7635 EP as JARu in 2016, places her not only as one of the scene’s few female operators, but also one of its rudest and most idiosyncratic.
Pariah is Jana’s first longform statement and it bangs from every angle. percolating stammering vocals on lip-bitingly tight typewriter beats, Midline Shift gets it going with a style comparable to the headier oddness of Jlin and the stripped fundamentals of RP Boo in a mutable aesthetic which informs each part of the album, variously flipping from hardass pressure in the slicing tessellations of Beat Maze to floating, chords-driven lushness in Divine and the levitating structure of Chill Mode, but also tending to Chicago’s jazz and spiritual music roots with the hyperventilating flute chops of ??? ??? and the soul-infused belter Old Skool.
However, the big highlights for us appear in the super tuff clench of Break It and Rapid Fire, where she’s not afraid to strip it right to the bone, and likewise the two freaky af 303 turns, namely No Fuks Given and Acid Tek 2, before it all comes together in staggering, lush form with the jungle/juke throw down Frenetic Snare at the LP’s close.
Remastered selection of post punk peaches, packaged with an 11x11” double-sided insert featuring liner notes, lyrics and photos
“Lives of Angels was the brainchild of Gerald O’Connell from London, England. At the end of the 1970s, O’Connell had been working on material for Mystery Plane, a band that included his wife Catherine on keyboards and backing vocals. In 1980 the pair of them left to form Lives Of Angels and focus on O’Connell’s own songs, which he felt were more “oblique, atmospheric and evocative” than the narrative style and social commentary of Mystery Plane. The result sounds both of its time, comfortably nestling under the gloomy clouds of British post-punk and goth, and oddly out of time; its homemade quality placing it outside of obvious chronological signifiers as the motorik riffs and spartan drum patterns loop over and over to infinity.
O’Connell was unimpressed by the musical offerings of the early ’80s (with the exception of New Order, Cocteau Twins and Depeche Mode, he notes), instead drawing from San Francisco psychedelia, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Congolese guitarist Dr. Nico and the full pantheon of krautrock (especially Amon Düül II, whose song ‘Archangels Thunderbird’ contains the line, “There is no elevator to Eden but a hole in the sky”). Keyboards and some vocals were provided by Catherine, who also acted as editor, making changes to the arrangements or pointing out inappropriate drum patterns (hence her credit in the sleeve notes as “percussion censor”). “Elevator to Eden” was originally released in 1983 on cassette by Color Disc and reissued on vinyl in 2012 on Dark Entries, in slightly condensed form. ‘Hole In The Sky’ is an 11-track compilation of material from the Lives of Angels archives. Including two tracks from the original Elevator To Eden’ cassette omitted from our vinyl reissue, two tracks from Color Disc compilations and 7 previously unreleased tracks. This compilation features the very earliest Lives of Angels recordings “Call Moscow” and “Somebody Else” as well as the final composition from 1986 “The Infinite Corridor” plus original mixes of “After Dark” and “Look Out Kid” different than the versions on the ‘Color Supplement’ compilation. ‘Hole In The Sky’ is an impressive example of early ’80s home recording; a DIY interpretation of the elegance and ambition of the previous decade’s krautrock.”
Loft takes their mutant party to Wisdom Teeth with Three Settlements Four Ways. Landing in the wake of a vinyl pressing for his RA-praised Turbulent Dynamics EP, the vibes and production are, by turns, much lusher, layered and knotty than previous outings, bringing Loft’s sound closer to say, Arca or Lanark Artefax.
Up top, they emerge from tremulous beginnings to open out an optimistic, airborne club blessing with the percolated drums, hyaline chorales and virulent acid lines of Filton Recall, then squashing the pressure down low with bubbling subs generating effervescent ambient chords and a spire of giddy hardstyle trance motifs in Funemployed.
Flipside he commits to more chaotic themes with the ambiguous, pranging dynamics of Oh Well We’re All Fucked, chewing up and spitting out a rainbow coloured gob of sawn-off breaks and convulsive club deconstructions, then settles into a nervy swing with the lush but agitated bump of Pottlin.
Hard-to-resist Afrobeat jazz burners right here from Nigeria’s Ayetoro.
The drums are just incredible, but also the swingeing basslines, cool vocals, and warm-ass brass. Classic sounding, but smartly contemporary with it, not simply rehashing the vibe.
Woiii!!! Dark Entries on their best game with this pre-Yello collection by Carlos Peron and Boris Blank, presenting the first ever collection of their near-mythical Tranceonic recordings. Includes a prototype of ‘Bostich’. Need we say anymore?!
“Tranceonic is the duo of Carlos Perón and Boris Blank of Yello who met in 1971 in their hometown of Zürich, Switzerland. At this time Carlos studied Free Jazz while Boris listened to bands like Pink Floyd and Queen. The two bonded over a conversation about The Mahavishnu Orchestra album ‘The Inner Mounting Flame’ and became musical friends. From 1973 to 1976 they played in the New Wave group Urland. After the split of the group Perón founded the Tranceonic studio with his equipment in his private flat. Carlos invited Boris over to his studio and a concentrated work began. The idea was to make experimental new music with the hopes of having a hit in the United States. Everybody at this time was into punk, but Tranceonic loved industrial and electronic sounds. Their foresight and innovation created new ideas. Perón and Blank made electronic avant-garde music informed by the Berlin and Cologne schools. By 1978 the two had enough material to record an album and made a trip to San Francisco to visit Ralph Records. The Residents promised to release the music if the duo removed all the tape hiss, which never materialized.
‘New Crime’ is the first ever vinyl compilation of material produced, recorded, performed and mixed at Tranceonic Studio between 1976-1979. The equipment set up at the studio included a Farfisa Synth Orchestra, WERSI string ensemble, ARP Odyssey with Sequencer, ARP Quadra, Roland SH 3A, CR-78, Space Echo and Korg Minipops 120P and many effect boxes normally used for guitars. Samples were self-recorded using a Revox cassette deck and turntables. Blank and Perón experimented with manipulated tape loops, echo effects and snippets of found sounds. Blank also explored foreign near-equator exotics playing Arabesque percussion and a homemade bamboo flute. Perón experimented with CV triggering and dubbing super 8 film effects from vinyl. Both members took turns singing Carlos’ lyrics. Stylistically the songs anticipate the feeling of Yello’s ‘Solid Pleasure’ album and included here is the first instrumental mix of “Bostich”.”
Utterly spellbinding survey of John Cage’s late works, mostly focussing on orchestral pieces performed and recorded circa his 1990 visit to East Berlin, and including a stunning rendition of Some of The Harmony of Maine  performed by Edition RZ’s Jakob Ullmann, who coincidentally write the box’s lucubrate liner notes. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Cage but can’t see a way into his crenelated catalogue, we strongly recommend checking this set for some of the late, great thinker and composer’s most accessible and gratifying work.
The three discs of Klang Der Wandlungen feature five full pieces written between 1948 and 1992, just before the composer’s death at 80 years of age. By this point in the early ‘90s, Cage was already long established among 20th century avant garde heavyweights, having studied under Arnold Schoenberg - the inventor of serialism - and an extensive background in writing for modern dance with his longterm partner Merce Cunningham, as well as pioneering the prepared piano and penning the seminal 4’ 33”, perhaps one of the most important works of the 20th century.
Following an interest in eastern philosophy and anarchy from the late ‘40s, his work became defined by aleatoric music, or chance-based composition from then on, which came to define the sphere of Amercian avant-garde in opposition to the ‘new music’ coming from Darmstadt in the ‘50s, or European traditions and their focus on technicality or artisanship. These Cageian ideas had seeped into East Germany before reunification, and, in 1990, Cage was invited to East Berlin in the newly reunified German state at the behest of the IGNM (International Society for Contemporary Music).
The recordings in Klang Der Wanderlung were part of the programme or related to this visit, and, with historical context, came to show how his ideas had, over the preceding decades, become absorbed into European practice. We can hear striking similarities with the tension of Giacinto Scelsi in the remarkable opener Seventy-Four, and with Luigi Nono’s use of intangible quietness in 103, whilst the breathtaking Postcards From Heaven - here performed on harp by Gabriel Emde - is comparable with the feather-touch minimalism of Morton Feldman. Really, not what you may expect if you’ve only heard Cage’s famous, atonal early pieces such as Cartridge Music , a prototypical piece for adapted vinyl turntables, for example.
Another of Cage’s famous, early Imaginary Landscape compositions, makes up one of this set’s two biggest highlights. Gabriel Emde performs harp on a utterly gorgeous rendition of In A Landscape , a Satie-esque piece for dance presented here for the first time, whilst Jakob Ullmann’s organ performance of Some of The Harmony of Maine, renders the pioneer of Quiet Music at his loudest, performing Cage’s work in bold, striking gasps shattered by passages of near-silence.
Jakob Ullmann’s liner notes offer a lot more to sink your teeth into, alongside the music, which as always, is up to Edition RZ’s uncompromisingly high standards. Together with the delectable packaging, it makes up a perfect entry point to one of the most fascinating wormholes ever opened by art or music.
Savage pulsating drone-rock from France
"France is the trio of Jeremie Sauvage on electric bass, Mathieu Tilly on drums and Yann Gourdon on amplified hurdy-gurdy. They play one note / one rhythm producing energetic performances reminiscent of the early collaborations between Faust and Tony Conrad. Creativly recycled influences result in intense shows with pounding overtones and repetitive pulsing rhythms. Loud straight and trance-inducing.
The pertinency of the recordings only slowly appear On “Occitanie" in the mass of sound, the rhythmic repetition and the elongated drones. The hurdy-gurdy forces you deeper, highlighting points of microtonal flux, cracking open the single note, the nodding rhythm, to imply the presence of every note, every sound, inside it. The insensible evolution, lurks in a corner of noise and finally imposes itself slowly on careful listening.
The band members of France perform in various other projects: Tanz Mein Herz, Toad and Jérico, all are member of the collective La Novià, an organisation based in Haute-Loire which brings together professional musicians and is a place for reflection and experimentation around traditional and / or experimental music.
In 2009, France was invited to play in Pau, a city far south-west of France, next to spain, by the people running Pagans Musica, a like-minded traditionnal-oriented group of people, also bent on educational issues concerning the local music and dialect: Occitan and on fusioning traditional musics and rock related sounds and instruments. They had set up a show for France and their band Artus and originaly wanted to have Acid Mother's Temple join the bill. The japanese band had done versions of songs coming from their village (eg. "La Nòvia") but weren't touring near France so instead they invited Duo Ancelin Rouzier as the third act, a band both Artus and France were also very fond of.
Pagans had everything set-up for the concert to be recorded and as France had plenty of time for sound-check, they went on to record the “Pau" album in the afternoon, taking a thirty seconds pause in the middle of the session so as to mark both sides of the vinyl. The Occitanie Lp is the recording of the live set later that night, with no cut and a longer, more savage performance."
In the endless ocean of Sun Ra recordings, Space Is The Place ranks among the very best but more importantly stands as the most immediately understandable of his records.
This masterpiece touches flawlessly on elements of many of Ra’s multiple phases and provides both a mission statement for and a gateway to his immaculate body of work.
Back in 1972 Sun Ra organised his Arkestra for a compellingly ambitious score, which has since been referenced by practically anyone with an interest in Afro Futurism. The accompanying film was just as groundbreaking, chronicling the time-travelling astral adventures of Sun Ra , which would turn out to be an allegory for racial power struggles in the US at the time.
The music was all recorded in San Francisco, arranging a truly mind-blowing programme of heavy synthesizer and organ blasts, hypnotic vocal chants, free jazz chaos and deeply funky Afro-Latin percussion influences that's still seen as a well of inspiration today. We're holding back on the hyperbolics but this is just one of those records that every self-respecting music lover should own, so you know what to do... Highly recommended!
For only the 2nd time, German ambient techno pioneer Max Loderbauer (Sun Electric, MVO Trio, Vilod, Ambiq) presents his solo work on Greyland - an absorbing, six track follow-up to the Transparenz  LP for Loderbauer and Tobias Freund’s Non Standard Productions label.
Marking a bit of a departure for the Marionette label, who’ve previously issued a string of percussion driven records by Kilchhofer, Burnt Friedman and the like since 2014, Greyland keens their aesthetic into more esoteric realms of pulsating kosmiche electronics, while still keeping the dancefloor in view on a trio of bumpier B-side cuts.
In the first instance, though, Loderbauer works on generating a swell of wobbly, organically raw and diffused electronics, alternately laced with trickling modular knocks against banks of distortion in Corner, or tilling a stereo-swirled, monotone kraut groove in Undercurrent, whereas the elegantly shifting figures of Heliopolis show off his firm yet genteel grasp of modular electronics.
B-side, Loderbauer stealthily ups the ante. With Artus he carves a sequence of insistent, glassy plongs and lush, floating pads disturbed by shards of dissonant glitch, before eking out a scratchy sort of dubtronica somewhere between Bellows and Isan with Who’s That Born, and then slyding off the page with the creamed hyaline tones and languorous subbass waves of Golden Crescent.
Riveting compendium of stark, raw blues by an erstwhile sparring partner of Loren Connors, recently salvaged from an old shoebox of tapes, restored by Taylor Deupree and mastered by Carl Saff.
"I would go as far as to say that the few recordings that exist of these Robert Crotty sessions are among the finest and most beautiful blues documents of all time." -- Loren Connors
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors’ doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness.
Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987) is the first anthology of the late bluesman’s work, as selected by his former playing partner. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the legendary Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.
Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region’s blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties — until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty’s brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty’s ultra rare sole LP Robert Crotty Blues and Prove It! 7-inch -- both released on Connors’ private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.”
Another peach from the STROOM〰 label, this selection of avant-garde pop by NSRD catches the ace Belgian label looking beyond The Lowlands to one of Latvia’s most important, multi-disciplinary groups of the 1980s, sounding out a style somewhere between the slyvan, drizzly post punk of Vazz and the poetic art-pop of Lena Platonos, but with a chilly Baltic air all of its own.
Circling core members Juris Boiko (1954-2002) and Hardijs Lediņš (1955-2004), NSRD or The Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feeling were a self-professed group of non-musicians who happened to make music as part of their practice, which also encompassed performance and action art, visual arts, poetry, samizdat (clandestine or bootleg literature) and video art, all in a fine attempt to explain, import and transpose postmodern art ideas into their home country.
NSRD called their movement ‘Approximate Art’, and by the end of the ‘80s were working with West German artists such as Indulis Bilzēns and Maximilian Lenz aka Westbam. This set surveys the years leading up to and including the late ‘80s, mostly collected from from reel-to-reels, tapes and obscure releases via Seque and their own Approximate Art label.
It’s all a bit like watching or listening in on someone else’s strange dreams, or tuning in to an unidentified radio station, where the lo-fi quality and synthetic inputs give a weirdly detached yet captivating quality that we can’t quite place a finger on. It lends an heavy-lidded lullaby-like effect to Karstvīna recepte / Uz pirti / Garām aiziet vīrs ar cigareti, whilst the icy slow synth-pop élan of Pļava provides a massively seductive highlight to lovers of Northern electronics, and Kastanis beautifully catches that Vazz sound, but replacing their supple dub suss with a strange mix of plasmic tones and brittle groove.
Kurmja aptuvenie ceļi finds them porous to mystic eastern influence and the possibilities of computer music in a way that recalls László Hortobágyi’s imaginative fusions from the same era, and the industrial klang of Ievadmūzika Maskavas TV programmai “LAIKS” - or Intro Music for the Moscow TV programme “TIME” has got to be one of the sickest, dissonant ‘80s TV themes we’ve ever heard.
Total revelation this one.
Acid Jesus was the first of many collaborations between Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke.
Situated in Frankfurt's thriving techno scene (and it´s holy label trinity of Playhouse, Klang and Ongaku), Flügel and Wuttke succeeded with their own and unique take on a sound that owed as much to Underground Resistance and the Belleville Three as it did to Sven Väth and Andrew Weatherall.
This epic set includes their best material circa 1992-1998, including a host of previously unrleeased pieces.
Remastered reissue of a freakish bag of tape experiments and punkish drum machine innovation from a lesser known nook of ‘80s France
“Alésia Cosmos was a collective of musicians led by Bruno de Chénerilles formed in the early 1980s in Strasbourg, France. The group consisted of Pascal Holtzer (guitar, synthesizer, tapes, drum machine, vocals), Pierre Clavreux (vocals, gong), Marie-Berthe Servier (vocals), Bruno (guitar, tapes, synthesizer, drum machine, vocals) and Tunisian percussionist Lotfi Ben Ayed (darbukas, bendir). In 1981 Bruno composed and wrote some sci-fi radio plays for French state radio channel France Culture. Under the influences of William Burroughs, John Cage, Pierre Henry and others, he developed tape music studio work. By 1982 he appeared for the first time under the name Alésia Cosmos Furi Show. It was a solo performance on guitar, voice, analog synth and tapes. This experimental show lead to a music project based on Bruno and Pascal’s compositions to be performed and recorded with other musicians in the beginning of 1983.
Exclusivo! was the group’s debut album recorded and self-released in 1983 on Planetarium. Pascal and Bruno would compose tunes in their personal home studios. Then they would bring the tapes, electronics, guitar lines and lyrics to experiment and rehearse with the other members of the group. Improvisations and adaptations brought more ideas and the album was recorded in a few days. The result was a musical mixing of electronic music, field recordings, North African and Asian percussion, electric guitars and voices, compositions and free improvisations. All four musicians take turns singing onomatopoeic phrases and backing vocals, even sometimes in an unknown language, a sort of mixed bag between Breton and Japanese.”
Mad grab of styles from “Athens’ Best Kept Secret”, 2 Katara - including a handful of wicked, mutant disco bits, and an epic, 17 minute piece of prog funk ‘Greek Lady’ that’s practically worth the admission alone for any cosmic nuts..
“‘Break at Home’ is the collected recordings of the mysterious group ‘2 Katara’ which was formed in Athens, Greece in 1978 by George Theodorakis (keyboards, percussion, vocals) with his close friend Dimitris Papangelidis (bass, guitars, percussion, vocals). TIP!
This musical-duo recorded quietly over a decade between Theodorakis’ family idyllic home studio in the Philopappou hill of Athens and the nearby studios Theta and SR. For some part, the tracks seem like adventurous experiments or even unfinished samplers or riffs the band starts to develop, but at the same time there are productions that are clearly meant to be the backbone of an album that never came out.
Into the light proudly presents 14 sun-soaked productions from the above-mentioned sterling material from 1981 until 1991 where the band split. This sixth installment is meant to be enjoyed as a journey from proggy pop to TR-909 drum driving compositions to Mediterranean disco-not-disco and further futuristic synth-scapes.
The many elements from the Greek traditional folk music - especially in ‘I Can Not’ which is an ambient take on a folk lament song from Epirus area and the reverse play recording of a Greek orthodox priest chant on their last ever recorded epic 17min track ‘Greek lady’ -, the unusual but clever combinations of colourful styles and the intense improvisation put the group in the first line of Athens’ best kept secrets!”
Ratio; an epic track bordering on 19-minutes that harks back to his earlier dance floor focussed releases.
"Over the course of the summer Floating Points has developed Ratio as part of his solo live electronic show at festivals around the world. The track has fast become a fan favourite, a true highlight of the set."
The follow up of the acclaimed first volume of this compilation, a real discovery for many DJs and music lovers worldwide who didn’t know that much about Zouk or DIY electronic music of the french west indies. The selectors Julien Achard and Nicolas Skliris continue the excavation of French Antillas vinyl from the 80’s and the 90’s and for this second volume, they found some really exciting new references which should be soon « classics » on the dancefloors.
The selectors Julien Achard and Nicolas Skliris continue the excavation of French Antillas vinyl from the 80’s and the 90’s and for this second volume, they found some really exciting new references which should be soon « classics » on the dancefloors.”
Sublime dream-pop beauty from Colleen, a gorgeous and crucial push and pull of experimental urges and pop immediacy. Make sure to check the brain-dancing percolations of ‘Another World’ and her exquisitely off-kilter title track. RIYL Arthur Russell, Teresa Winter, Delia Derbyshire...
Recorded in the wake of the 2015 Paris attack, which occurred just as she was visiting, A Flame My Love, A Frequency, finds Colleen setting aside her trusted viola de gamba to incorporate a Critter & Guitari pocket piano synthesiser and newly acquired Moog filter pedal into her feathered dub propulsion system, buoying her reflections on life and death, and bird-watching, with a creamy, bubbling backdrop that’s perhaps at odds, or even in defiance of personal strife in the preceding year.
Described in avian swoops, zig-zagging arpeggios and aerial shimmers, she flies the fine line between sorrow and beauty in a way that reflects that brutality and grace of the natural world as much as the scenes of Parisian cafes under blue skies which would turn into a bloodbath only hours later. This dichotomy lies at the heart of A Flame My Love, A Frequency, as Colleen navigates a flux of strong feelings between the exquisite instrumental melancholy of November thru to the title track’s plaintive cubist folk keen, emulating the sensation of flapping your wings hard against the headwind with Separating, and offering a sublime, necessary space for introspection with Summer Night (Bat Song), whilst the gently frothing, pizzicato piquancy of The Stars vs Creatures and One Warm Spark lend a more optimistic spin in their wistful shimmers, crucially not forgetting to dream in the face of so much shite.
Another Japanese ambient holy grail is ticked off the wants-list with a first ever vinyl pressing of Midori Takada & Masahiko Satoh’s Lunar Cruise following the widely celebrated reissue of Takada’s Through The Looking Glass earlier in 2017.
Flanked by YMO’s Haruomi Hosono and jazz player Kazutoki Umezu, Takada & Satoh’s original recordings of Lunar Cruise richly resonate with the preceding ten years of digitized 4th world innovation as well as traces of Badalamenti and Lynch’s synth parts from Twin Peaks of the same year, all while clearly pre-echoing the reverberant synthetic spaces of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST. Even 2nd hand CD copies of Lunar Cruise are trading for a pretty penny, so this vinyl edition could hardly be more welcome right now.
Working deep into the modern ambient zeitgeist, Lunar Cruise’s charms sound as appealing now as ever, catching up with Takada’s sound seven years after her debut percussive masterpiece, Through The Looking Glass to find her working with a broader, worldly instrumental palette inspired by her 1989 tour with Satoh thru Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The pieces alternate super sparse and enchantingly cybersensuous states of mind with more urgent, pealing jazz and free experimentation that breaks far out of the ambient mould into sufi-esque dervishes and rippling dance studies recalling Steve Reich in full flight.
The effect is overall more crisply urbane, angular than the pastoral tranquility perceived in Takada’s better known precedent. From the names of its bookending pieces of Iron Paradise, also reflected in their tensile nature and construction, thru to the ten minutes of stoic tonal experimentation in Chang-Dra, and driving dervish of A Vanished Illusion, a sense of urgency and control is paramount to Lunar Cruise in a way that wasn’t there in its forerunner, pointing to a tightening and vivification of Takada’s ideas that perhaps reflected the increasingly cybersensual world around her and Satoh, as opposed her earlier new age influences.
Highlights belong to In D’s precise, vivid percolations of woodblock percussion and the wistful temperament of Madorone, underlined by Hosono’s quizzical fretless bass probes, but if there’s any one definitive moment, it comes in the gently pealing gamelan and breathy synth voices of Ancient Palace, which really freezes that cusp-of-the-’90s ambient shiver somewhere between new age optimism and the numbness of cybernetic sensuality.
A light-footed disco-house gem from London's Al Zander, making his debut with Blind Jack's Journey after a coupla 12"s for Karakul and Stamp Records.
The big attraction is the A-side's trim hack 'n splice job flipping twinkling keys, raw soul vox and greazy bass loops for friday night good times.
Turn her over and 'Endcliffe Park' resets the vibe to a hushed, heads-down shimmy nudged with rosy-hued chords, nimble beat switches and a plonging B-line in orbit of vintage, lowdown Pepe Bradock or Morgan Geist.
First-ever fully licensed compilation of this music to be released outside Japan.
"There was something in the air in the urban corners of late ‘60s Japan. Student protests and a rising youth culture gave way to the angura (short for “underground) movement that thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years. Rejection of the Beatlemania-inspired Group Sounds and the squeaky clean College Folk movements led the rise of what came to be known in Japan as “New Music,” where authenticity mattered more than replicating the sounds of their idols.
Some of the most influential figures in Japanese pop music emerged from this vital period, yet very little of their work has ever been released or heard outside of Japan, until now. Light In The Attic is thrilled to present Even a Tree Can Shed Tears, the inaugural release in the label’s Japan Archival Series. This is the first-ever, fully licensed collection of essential Japanese folk and rock songs from the peak years of the angura movement to reach Western audiences.
In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city’s “New Music” scene.
Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based “underground” artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the “Japanese Joni Mitchell” Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene.
Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo.
Nearly 50 years on, this “New Music” is born anew."
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
Klein debuts on Hyperdub with an intuitively avant blinder, the Tommy EP, dropping a pin at the label’s farthest flung coordinates, somewhere between concrète R&B and soul-wrenching jazz noise. Very safe to say, if you were into Klein’s Only LP, this one’s a peach..
We pick up in Prologue with a candid glimpse of Klein in the studio riffing on Mariah Carey along with her pals - Atiena, Jacob Samuel, ThisisDA, Eric Sings and Pure Water - we’re dropped off 25 minutes later at the glitching jazz chord chops of Farewell Sorry feeling dazed and seriously wondering, wtf just happened?!
To offer some kind of description, the London/LA-based artist takes the cut-up, collaged themes and techniques of Only to beguiling new degrees, flinging the listener thru a maze of idiosyncratic gestures from clouds of diaphanous, operatic vocals in Act One to the tenebrous R&B of Cry Theme and the rainy parade of Tommy, then crushing ‘90s soul and jungle like you’ve never heard in the all-too-short Runs, and even some sorta grungy jungle trample in Everlong, while B2k is possibly best described as kitchen sink hypersoul.
It’s anarchic, unsettling and steeply unique stuff, largely thanks to her distinctive concrète palette - no recognisable plugins or owt here - but also thanks to a balance of daring, knowing, and playful boldness that makes it clear she couldn’t give a f*ck about trends or convention, which is evidently all too rare nowadays.
The trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi,aka the Soundwalk Collective, are based between New York City and Berlin, their efforts span fine art and music, digesting anthropological, ethnographic, and psychogeographic study, through the lens of electronic sound - recording, processing, and synthesis. Marking the debut of the new imprint Dischi Fantom, Transmissions - a four LP anthology, gathers four previously unreleased studio compositions into a single sprawling set.
"Transmissions is a distillation of sonic worlds - its source material and recordings linked to specific locations, natural or artificial, collected by the trio over long periods of investigation, travel, and field work in the Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea, the Rub’ al Khali Desert, and the region around Odessa. Cacophonous and often chaotic, images drift in and out of view - the sounds of nature, captured frequencies, ambience, radio intercepts, voices, music, archival recordings - the list goes on. A careful ordering of chance encounter, captured in the search for beauty the chaos of the world. Across Transmissions' works - Ulysses Syndrome, Medea, Empty Quarter, and Bessarabia, emerges a startling post-modern realm. A sonic bubble of non-linear narrative, where concrete meaning eludes the ear - continuously changed by the listeners themselves. Published in an edition of 300 copies, and accompanied by a booklet (amazingly designed by Fabrizio Radaelli) which includes Black-Winged Night, an essay by David Toop, as well as a conversation between the Soundwalk Collective and Dischi Fantom founder, Massimo Torrigiani. A stunning start for the label, and a brilliant effort by one of the most interesting projects in the contemporary scene, this is one not to miss.
“I hear this displacement of refrains. I am not fixed within signs but adrift within signals. Like a bat or a dolphin, I hear scanned frequencies otherwise inaudible to my human limitations and these voices and tones captured from the aether seem to me to be our equivalent of those voices of gods who spoke ‘words that flew’; music asserts its regional and cultural affiliations and yet at the same time it drifts unmoored in the ocean of sound.” David Toop
Berlin's enigmatic Errorsmith has at long last delivered a debut album worthy of all the angst and hyperbole associated with his cannon of work to date.
Errorsmith first came to attention with the release of two legendary 12"s under the alias 'MMM' - future disco electroid monsters penned in collaboration with his mate Fiedel, fast becoming club anthems in Berlin and regular fixtures in Gescom DJ sets for years on end.
Finally followed up with the Debut Errorsmith 12" a couple of years later, the sound developed into a more academic, fractured, sculpted stretch of loops and cut-ups, alienating the dancefloor brigade somewhat, but leaving in its wake a slew of admireres. In the years since Errorsmith 1, collaborations have followed with I-Sound and DJ Scud, and a fruitful tribute album for Hamilton Bohannon recorded with fellow Berlin cut-up House pioneers Soundhack under the memorable 'Smith 'n' Hack' alter ego.
And so onto this bizarre and totally crazy debut album, a brilliantly original and sometimes grating display of visionary sound-sculpting skill, made with a bare minimum of hardware, looped, spliced and re-edited into a body of work that at times unleahes adrenalised dancefloor edits, while at others constructs pieces best used as soundtools for playing in or out.
As a display of visionary sound sculpting and untouchable editing technique, 'Errorsmith 2' ranks as one of our favourite albums of 2002!
Lindstrøm launches his most concerted pop effort with 4th solo album, It’s Alright Between Us As It Is, neatly incorporating vocals by Jenny Hval, Frida Sundemo, and Grace Hall in a seamless segue of seven sleek and disco-ready songs adapting 40 years of dancefloor history to a timeless but fresh style.
Spire lifts off with lagging ‘70s drums and Vangelis-style synth streaks, tailing off into the lattice of latinate ‘80s arpeggios in Tensions, and a purring beauty named But Isn’t It starring Sweden’s Frida Sundemo, and something resembling ‘90s trance breaks for disco mums and dads with Shinin feat. Grace Hall.
Drift gives room for some twanging instrumental expression, and Jenny Hval voices the album’s most impressive piece with a hushed, cryptic performance on the bittersweet acidic twyst of Bungl (Like a Ghost), fading out into a neo-classical keys and tempered symphonic lift of Under Trees.
Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran traverse the outer reaches on this killer Visible Cloaks document for RVNG.
We just knew last year's debut Visible Cloaks offering for RVNG, the Miyako Koda-featuring Visible Cloaks single Valve, would be the prelude to something greater from Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran. Reassemblage marks the Portland pair's second album and further expands upon the Visible Cloaks 'verse, calling on Motion Graphics and Root Strata alum Matt Carlson for assistance.
Inspiration for the album stems from a video essay of the same name by Trin T Minha-ha, which explored the impossibility of ascribing meaning to ethnographic images. With this in mind, Visible Cloaks set about transposing the inherent futurism of acts discovered on their inspirational Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes well into the 21st Century through modern sound design.
This results in an album whose eleven tracks possess a startlingly lucid and vibrant vision, forming new structures and ideas in the process. The aforementioned Valve features early in Reassemblage, Miyako Koda's presence gaining even more meaning within the context of Carlile and Doran's intentions for the album.
Elsewhere, vocals are deployed with a more abstract bent, VC playfully skewering Matt Carlson's voice through digital manipulation on Neume for one of the album's forays through musique plastique. Circles offers a genuinely spine-tingling moment of modern classical, whilst Motion Graphics follows his avant-jazz Future Times gripper with some illuminating assistance on the digital tranquility of Bloodstream.
Wonderful stuff all round.
John Duncan and Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio) explore the greyest areas of psychoacoustic and psychosexual drone noise back in 1991, newly remastered for this reissue on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
“Black Truffle is thrilled to announce the first reissue of legendary performance and sound artist John Duncan's forgotten gem Klaar, originally released by Extreme in 1991 and partly created in collaboration with Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio). Duncan is perhaps most well known for his notorious early performances pieces, which explored violence, self-denial, and the establishment of extreme psychological and physical states in both artist and audience. Alongside these transgressive experiments, Duncan began to create audio works primarily using short wave radio. Where some of Duncan's earlier recordings are composed of magnificently sculpted but abrasive walls of noise, Klaar, recorded while Duncan was living in Amsterdam, occupies a more meditative territory.
Opening with 'Delta', which layers long tones seemingly sourced from slowed down voices over a distant, watery field recording, the remainder of the first side is occupied with the epic title piece, which arranges shortwave radio abstraction, vocal experiments, and field recordings (street sounds, fireworks, monastic chants) into an episodic cinema for the ear. The second side is dominated by the long, brooding 'The Immense Room', where layers of shortwave interference and field recordings are gradually built up into a pulsing, wavering bed of sound infused with a subtly disturbing sense of psychological unrest. This rises to the surface near the end of the piece as sexual moans and ominous rumbles crisscross the stereo image before being abruptly brought to a halt.
A singular work of electroacoustic composition, Klaar is both compositionally sophisticated and infused with a sense of mystery and a vital reality often lacking in more academic experimental music; it sits proudly alongside contemporaneous recordings by Duncan's friends and collaborators Jim O'Rourke and Christoph Heemann and is a must for anyone interested in their work.
- Francis Plagne”
Lone spells out his influences for the DJ-Kicks series
A winding session taking in shoegazey electronica, wonky hip hop, jazzy Detroit house and blue indie rock along with two exclusive numbers, the dusty NYC deep house of Arc and Saturday Night.
NYC/Berlin’s Hayden Payne aka Phase Fatale extends his Redeemer album tracks for proper ‘floor pressure on Hospital Productions.
Order Of Severity lives up to its mantle across the entire A-side, expanded and cut deeper for bass frequency response and allowing the growling mid-range guitars to really cut the the mix, whilst Silent Servant’s input really shows int he 2nd half.
Operate Within hunts down a more typical EBM sound accentuated with clenched snares and raging bass torque on the B-side, next to a cold, killer, blank-eyed augmentation of Spoken Ashes.
First ever reissue of a seminal, ambitious fusion of Congolese vocals, likembe and rhythms with analog electronics and free jazz leanings, 'Noir Et Blanc' is justifiably hailed as one of the first and most influential records of its kind, or “in the same class s Byrne & Eno’s Bush of Ghosts… an imaginary collaboration between DAF and Fela Kuti” as the UK’s Melody Maker astutely put it in 1983.
Ever since its original release in 1983, Noir Et Blanc’s nine songs have informed countless DJs and dancers from the NYC new wave to Italy’s cosmic selectors and, pivotally, the swell of Belgian music that fed into New Beat and early techno. It’s no less than a stone cold classic and requires your attention pronto, if isn’t prized enough already.
In unprecedented form, Noir Et Blanc distills and renders the electric buzz of artists breaking new ground. It features Bony Bikaye, a Congolese musician obsessed with the possibilities of progressive German and American musics as much as his indigenous traditions, working with french synth nerds Claude Micheli and Guillaume Loizillon as CY1, and Algerian-born Pierre Job aka Hector Zazou, who all converge a radical attempt to mesh the mutual themes of disparate styles at the service of the ‘floor. Zazou himself has something of an eye-watering CV, having been involved with a huge number of influential projects, from ZNR to La Perversita and beyond; one of those producers with a crazy sprawling body of work you would do well to sink into.
Inarguably, the results have withstood the test of time thanks to the combination of Bikaye’s warm vocals with the minimalist tang and nudge of CY1’s metallic rhythms and Zazou’s wide scoped vision, songs such as the infectious modular dancehall prototype M’Pasi Ya M’Pampa and the roiling, alien plongs of Woa or the grubbing acid of Keba still sound utterly outlandish, out of space and time more than 30 years later, and notably feature some of the funkiest performance ever by Fred Frith.
Now ripened for rediscovery by a new generation of clued up selectors, the timeless qualities of Noir Et Blanc clearly resonate as strong as ever with the modern scene, sounding at times uncannily close to TV on the Radio clashing Congotronics, and just as likely to be played by Vladimir Ivkovic as Jon K or ATFA’s Brian Shimkovitz.
Basically one of those records that forms the square root of everything right now, and loved by those in the know.
Jlin breaks thru the Chicago footwork ranks with one of the scene's most fascinating, essential mutations in 'Dark Energy', co-presented by Planet µ and Jamie Kuedo's very promising new Knives label.
It's quite possibly the most distinctive contribution to footwork since the RP Boo album and Rashad's jungle splices, and, in such a fast-moving (quite literally) and active scene, that's gotta be saying something. Keener Chi watchers may have previously checked Jlin's standout 'Erotic Heat' and 'Asylum' joints on the Bangs & Works Vol.2 compilation but, since then, the Gary, Indiana-based producer has honed an incredibly tight new style and pattern, exhibited here with shocking impact. Rather than breathlessly frantic chops and hyper momentum, she favours offbeats and more spacious arrangements, but isn't afraid to lace them with visceral, forward tones; as with the zig-zags of 'Infrared (Bagua)' which sounds like an alien instrumental version of Usher and Luda's already mental 'Dat Girl Right There', full of quarter, half and triplet rhythm switches, or in the razor-edged synth strobes that scan Holly Herndon's vocal in 'Expand'.
Factor in the frankly unhinged hyper-tech flux of 'Abnormal Restriction' and the richly expressive percussive motifs of 'Unknown Tongues' or the adroit brutality of 'Guantanamo' and you've got something really, really special. Incredible stuff - Massive recommendation!
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) metamorphosize into The Belbury Circle, incorporating their pal John Foxx on two tracks of Outward Journey.
Pulsing with proggy soft trance riffs and draped in nocturnal atmospheres, it’s one for driving your car late at night thru the conurbations, commuter villages and gentrified docklands of a pensive Brexit Britain, turning up two standout moments in the John Foxx-led highlights of Forgotten Town and the beautifully wistful Trees, with plenty of time of reflection over your milky tea on Café Kaput and the twinkly gaze of Departures Inc, with a wistful guitar solo worthy of an Alan Partridge-style despairing breakdown in a lay-by.