Monotonous greyscale rhythm drills from Shane English for L.I.E.S., following suit with his General Dimensions  LP a tape for Unknown Precept, and collaboration with Beau Wanzer.
A-side dishes up the blank-eyed, mid-tempo grind of 1111, with a brute bass spooked out by distant bells and groaning atmospheres, before Land-Lock ups the ante with sparkier electro drums and ear-worming vocal abstraction, but little concession to ‘progression’ or anything so frivolous.
That ascetic aesthetic informs the B-side, too. Drip dispenses tightly grained slow industrial techno la ADMX; Icon sounds like a steel factory having an after-hours bashment; and Over the Railing peers back a darkly detached scene of distant church bells and threadworn bass pulse.
Students of Decay proceed that tremulous Sarah Davachi beauty with Caroline No’s equally captivating collection of songs, No Language, firming up as the Melbournian’s debut solo album after nearly three decades of providing vocals and guitars to Antipodean indie-rock and pop units. If Mazzy Star was raised on Flying Nun records, she may well have ended up sounding like Caroline No.
“Recorded in early 2015 and originally released as a micro edition cassette on World News Records, No Language is the debut collection of songs by Melbourne’s Caroline No. The group’s unique, beguiling sound sits somewhere between archetypal Dunedin pop and languorous, textural improvisation. No Language was spontaneously recorded with one microphone and the serendipity of the session proves tactile in the listening experience. We hear heavily reverbed laughter, coughing, fits and starts with various processing equipment, all of which contribute wonderfully to the ephemeral nature of the music. On “Up To Downtown” vocalist Caroline Kennedy implores the band to “just try to stay in time” before lurching into what, against all odds, turns out to be a remarkably anthemic earworm of a pop song. Closer “Roomer” incorporates granular processing (perhaps a pedal someone forgot they’d brought to the session) to endearing and startling effect. Ultimately, No Language is a marvelous balancing act of a record, drawing from pop, free improv, and psychedelia in equal parts to arrive at something timeless.”
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.
Gritty but warmly seductive tape experiments from Alex & Léopold aka Radiante Pourpre, originally issued on tape in 2014 thru the Paris-Bordeaux-Marseille label and collective, Simple Music Experience, and now cut to vinyl by Antinote.
With a murky fidelity lodged somewhere between The Caretaker or Tape Loop Orchestra’s wistful clag and the kinetic air of Bellows/Giuseppe Ielasi/Nicola Ratti, Radiante Pourpre quietly does its dilapidated thing, coaxing tape loops into lolling figures-of-eight that feed into a fizzing harmonic mulch, bubbling with nods to ghostly, bygone lounge and bossa nova styles like some sort of ferric tempura for the ears.
Night Slugger L-Vis 1990 touches down a fine slice of Afrobeats-style feminine pressure, autotune in full, enhanced effect amid pink-hued chord contrails and chrome-pinched dembow groove.
Austin, TX’s Holodeck reclaim their boys from the Upside Down for reissue of the LP variously known as Survive, HDXV, or HD015 for this edition.
Landing just ahead of a 2nd season of Stranger Things, the cult TV phenomenon which benefitted from S U R V I V E’s soundtrack, this LP is a perfect, in-demand reminder of what pushed the Texas synth trio into wider popular consciousness.
Complementing IDIB's deluxe reissue of 'Night Drive', the label present a buffed up edition of Chromatics' breakthrough single 'In Shining Violence', retitled as 'In The City' and including five new tracks.
The eponymous lead cut was already antiqued anyway so it's definitely not lost any of it's dilapidated disco lustre, in fact it's just as addictive today as when we heard it first in 2007. For the spotters, their 'Hands In The Dark' track from the 'After Dark' comp is also here, retitled as 'Dark Day' and remade with extra-swoony guitars, next to a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire'. Back to the 'floor they drop the vocodered slow grind of 'Lady', and the dramatic Drag pop of 'Dagger Moon', compatible with the likes of Balam Acab, and usefully provide an instrumental of 'In The City' - but really, who doesn't like that vocal?! Awesome.
Turin’s freakiest kick off the G.O.D. CUTS series with Traag’s Money Orientated; five pieces of post Detroit techno and EBM with a noirish sci-fi atmosphere accentuated by snippets of whispered and suggestive dialogue looped and placed with psychotomimetic effect recalling output from Phork, Dale Cornish or Moon Pool and Dead Band...
“The first Ep of this series couldn't be by any other but Travis Galloway and Chris Durham aka TRAAG. The Detroit based guys have inaugurated the Gang of Ducks imprint with the magnificent White Wall ep and after that, in 2014 they released a mini-lp named UPN 50, one of the most appreciated outputs of the label.
Money Orientated ep explores the most narcotic side of their sound, which takes influence from the Michigan noise scene spitting out some bad washed EBM beats. The 5 tracks follow one another perfectly, proving that the Traag sound has become a solid thing.”
Sam Kerridge launches a major rethink of his style with the high-velocity tempos and razor-toothed bite of The Silence Between Us, new on Downwards.
Toiling somewhere between Ueno Masaaki’s Vortices for Raster-Noton, the pitching pelt of La Peste for Hangars Liquides, and the machine convulsions of Somatic Responses, he goes balls-to-the-wall with the breakneck momentum of Possession/Control, harnessing reverse-edited kicks, helter-skelter EBM bass and spectrographic noise ghouls in a surge of searing rave energy.
Flipside, those knotty, strobing pulses keen thru empty stomach inversions and bursts of tangled EBM synths on Ascension, which is effectively a snappier edit of the A-side, whilst Radical Possibilities of Pleasure sounds like a field recording from a french hardtek invaded by dildo dibble in choppers and riot gear railing lasers against any unlucky dancers.
Killer digickal reggae originally reelased in 1990 and now reissued on vinyl for the 1st time.
This album appears in the wake of Cubiculo’s previous reissue of O. Maddo’s Hear Mi Name Call, which arrived in tragic circumstances, coming from mastering only a day after the artist had died in 2016. Includes proper DJ tackle in the hard but sweet bubblers Gun Talk and the lovers style of This Lady.
A flipping big yes to this cranky AF, heavily-cut-up concrète beating recorded in 1963 by Karel Appel - a Dutch artist, who, as he exclaims, “I Do Not Paint / I Hit!”, and is best known for his abstract-expressionist “hits” since the ‘50s. That’s him looking like an Audint member on the front cover, and going ham on the kettle drums on the back. What a guy?!
Sounding something like Sun Ra meets Gottfried Michael Koenig for a noisy night ‘round Varèse’s place, Musique Barbare Van Karel Appel is a raucous and captivatingly unhinged blow-out transposing Appel’s intuitive, inner-child-like approach to the traditional canvas onto a sonic backdrop of wild, beat-up drums, electronic devices, and hacked-up varispeed tape FX at the University of Utrecht.
It’s never been reissued since the original release in 1963, and therefore trades for a lot of money 2nd hand to those in the know; which isn’t us by the way - meaning it’s landing some serious punches on our unsuspecting bonce.
With a sense of unadulterated, unquantised freedom akin to Harry Bertoia’s also-just-reissued Sonambient collection, Appel treats his palette with a shockingly loose and tactile fashion, sending keys and careening drums skittering down flights of imagined stairs to explosive impact zones and frantic junctures of jagged, non-melodic colour.
There’s three pieces, each as mad as the next, sending us spiralling from the arrhythmic playtime of Paysage Electronique to the hoarse holler and relatively concise, proto-No Wave jammer Poème Barbare, and, a full side roll-out of crashing timpani, wigged-out organ fiyah and spoken word in Le Cavalier Blanc.
You can safely consider our minds blown, and take that as a warning/heavy-recommendation for your own swede.
Officially available to download for the first time, including Napalm Death’s Mick Harris and Nick Bullen as Scorn, plus some hypnotic Seefeel oddities, but most worthwhile for the transfixing, rare recording of a Yanomami Group Healing ritual made by David Toop.
“Third record of a thematic series of 9, published from 1993 to 1998 called Utopian Diaries. Ancient Light and the Blackcore was released in 1995.
“It begins with Scorn at his best, Naked Sun with M.J. Harris (Lull, Painkiller) & N.J. Bullen. Followed 3 new tracks by Seefeel (As if, As track & As well) recorded during the sessions of Seccour. The first rhythm is made with scratches - at the end of the pieces we discover extraordinary recordings of an intoxicated and painful ceremony of some Amazonian Shamans - recorded by David Toop in the rainforest of Southern Venezuela (communauty of Yanomami) in november 1978. Noted in the booklet, an important text written by David Toop: 'Technicians of the Subworld', about his trip and more generally about the relation between music and intoxication (the shamans as a vivid exemple). Why are you there? the large track by Timothy Leary (voices) & DJ Cheb i Sabbah (production) is the last piece that ended this other film without image.”
New album from Dominick Fernow’s most intriguing alias with "Sound on Sound” processing by Silent Servant and a remix from Substance (Chain Reaction). A huge recommendation if you're into Vainqueur, Huerco S, Talk Talk, Carl Craig, Rhythm & Sound...
Following a still-ongoing series of reissues of the earliest, previously tape-only releases from Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, this long-in-the-making new album proper is an epic 80 minute set featuring additional production from Silent Servant, a remix from Substance and some of the deadliest subs we've heard in an age.
It’s by far the most ambitious and far-reaching Rainforest dispatch, taking that artificial, tropical humidity as a starting point before heading deep into a kind of textured ambience, moving away from the extreme saturation of those early cassettes and the industrial environmentalism of his previous album Green Graves and instead creaiting a kind of 'Fear Dub’ - as the label call it - which is essentially the perfect encapsulation of the deep sense of paranoia contained within.
The opening Jungle Is A Shapeshifter is a gargantuan 35 minute head-melter that’s split across the first two sides of the vinyl pressing. Co-Produced with Silent Servant, it’s the most absorbing piece of "Ambient" music we’ve heard in a long while - slowly unfurling via chorus pedal guitars that gradually degrade, while a fathoms-deep bass pulse and tape-delay gives the piece its shape. It’s like an updated, tranquillised, fever-dream variant of the kind of ambient dub Vainqueur made his own back in the mid-90’s - we could listen to it on a loop for hours.
Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo, another Silent Servant co-production, clocks in at a relatively modest 17 minutes and heads off into more open terrain, this time with submerged percussion providing some propulsion, while shards of coloured synth pull you back into the swamp. It’s another humid, breathtaking session - bringing out the best in both Fernow and Silent Servant via perhaps the most important and satisfying work either artist has been involved with.
Praying Mantis Black Arts is another masterclass in sub-bass construction, while Chile’s Crimson Tide is the shortest track on the album, a kind of broken coda before Substance ends the set with a remix of Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo, deploying a tribal reduction that references classic Chain Reaction from a producer who was part of it first hand.
It’s a relatively upbeat conclusion to one of the most immersive listening experiences you’ll have in 2017; those of you looking for escape should dive in - you won’t want to re-engage with the world around you for a while.
First major retrospective of James Dean Brown’s legendary Hypnobeat in over 30 years!
For the uninitiated, Hypnobeat have been a dirty electronic concern since 1983, working with everyone from Tobias Freund to Helena Hauff in their time, and responsible for an endless slew of haywire, driving hardware improvisations comparable with proto-techno, EBM, electro and tribal psychedelia, but basically best referred to as Hypnobeat. Inside Prototech, you may well recognise Kilian from inclusion on a Light Sounds Dark compilation, but unless you’ve properly neeked out and collected their hard to find tapes, the rest will be new and very tasty to anyone who likes their jams live and dirty, a la Smersh, Frak, $hit & $hine, Not Waving. All tracks remastered by George Horn at Fantasy studios, Berkeley.
“Dark Entries and Serendip Lab have teamed up to release ‘Prototech’, the first vinyl retrospective by German electronic trio Hypnobeat, recorded 1984-86. James Dean Brown and Pietro Insipido formed Hypnobeat in 1983, but it was the addition of Victor Sol only a few months later that found the project reaching, as Brown puts it, “the desired level of technical sophistication.” In time, Tobias Freund also lent his talents (and equipment) to this loose-fit sonic scheme, where the protagonists sought a new, electronic manifestation of mankind’s tribal music roots. Two cassette releases surfaced – 1985’s “Huggables”, and “Specials/Spatials” the following year. By this point the Frankfurt-based group had already explored fiercely mechanical creative expression through various configurations of hardware and personnel, revolving around core ingredients such as the TR-808, TB-303 and MC-202. The project lived on in spirit as Brown activated Narcotic Syntax in the 90s. While a more modern, digital concern, rooted in the Perlon label family, NS still channeled the Hypnobeat concept of a “new tribalism”, not least on their “Provocative Percussion” double 12″ released in 2006.
For all the punky veneer, there are instances where these tracks reach staggering levels of sophistication, not least on “Slash! Buffalo Eats Brass” with its intricately programmed 303 lines and nimble beats that sound a far cry from most machine music made in 1986. Prescient “Can God Rewind?” is also dazzling in the complexity of its percussion and the richness of its synth lines in C as they throb out a bastardised version of acidic Disco straight out of the rhythm collider. Elsewhere, some tracks are more primal in their execution. Visceral opening track “The Arumbaya Fetish” was a cathartic venting of Brown’s least favourite sound on the 808, the iconic cowbell, while the astounding proto-Acid miniature “Moon Jump” places limber 303 lead lines in a hail of thunderstruck patterns. “Kilian” has a stripped down quality that speaks more to the industrial era that Hypnobeat was conceived in, and “Mission In Congo” is a raw, reverb-soaked drum workout that captures the percussive-obsessive nature of Hypnobeat perfectly. Six of the seven tracks selected on this collection were primarily powered by two 808s. “I am amazed that the release sounds like we really had a plan back then…” states Brown, but this accidental magic is in fact the raison d’etre of Hypnobeat. They weren’t the only ones prefiguring the next big revolutions in electronic music in the mid 80s, but there certainly weren’t many artists stumbling across modes of expression that sound so relevant today.”
Hyperactive anime soundtrack styles - think Squarepusher meets Foodman
“Iglooghost presents his debut album “Neō Wax Bloom”, almost two years to the day since he made his debut as a teenager on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint with the “Chinese Nü Year” EP - four tracks documenting the time-traveling adventures of a gelatinous worm-shaped creature called Xiangjiao. Expanding on this story, “Neō Wax Bloom” follows the events surrounding two giant eyeballs crashing into the mysterious world of Mamu. Across its 11 tracks, Iglooghost builds a typically intense, hysterical, borderline batshit crazy soundtrack, introducing new characters to his fantastical world and inviting back old friends Mr. Yote and Cuushe for the ride.
In the words of Iglooghost:
“When a pair of giant eyeballs crash into the strange, misty world of Mamu, the mysterious forces that govern nature itself are disrupted. A life cycle of transforming creatures is thrown off balance, and the odd looking inhabitants of Mamu are forced to adapt to this calamity. These inhabitants include Yomi - a multicoloured pom-pom monk; Lummo - a wise blind witch training a band of melon coloured babies; and Uso - a sneaky bug thief hidden in a green cloak - as well as many others. As their respective stories begin to interlock, the mysteries surrounding the giant eyeballs are slowly revealed.”
Previously unreleased recordings by a co-founder of Smegma, one of USA’s pivotal free-improv groups
At the heels of their Smegma LP, Alga Marghen peer into the early recordings of their co-founder, Eric Stewart aka Ju Suk Reet Meate. Much like his pseudonym may suggest a greeting in a Yorkshire butcher’s shop, his sound suggests a documentarian approach to uncovering the oddness of upended convention, revealed in two extended movements recorded with no remixing or overdubs, and now released to the public for the 1st time.
Comprising exclusively unreleased solo material, this is quite the historic artefact, looking right back to the earliest period of his involvement with Smegma in the A-side’s four-part Something New Opus I-IV (1975-1977), which takes in spindly, bluesy string figures and unnervingly acousmatic magick with two sections of frankly fuck-knows-what smears of free jazz, concrete electronics and thumb pianos, while the B-side’s Or Feets Opus I-III (1980) checks out three solo pieces ranging from psychey guitar jamming, extended vocal technique and plunderphonics to an amazing piece of processed vocals and The Caretaker-esque shellac warping with a proper outsider bent.
“Sidestepping all normal expectations on this album, Ju Suk Reet Meate (founding member of Smegma) directly goes about casting musical spells, utilizing primitive "inner mind" techniques on hammered dulcimer, tape loops, thrift store records, a homemade synthesizer, electric guitar, saxophone, mouth sounds, and manipulated christian radio broadcasts. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, these previously unreleased recordings reflect a similar "inner-mind over limited technique matter" aesthetic as the acclaimed but seldom heard classic Solo 1978-1979, originally released on Pigface Records in 1980.”
One of the rarest Vangelis soundtracks of all surfaces on vinyl for the first time - and it’s an absolute peach.
'Amore' was released in 1973 and was Vangelis' second collaboration with movie director Henry Chapier, after recording a score for the highly obscure film 'Sex Power' a year earlier. While an LP was released for the 'Sex Power' score, in very limited quantities, nothing was released of the music for ‘Amore’, nor was the film viewable until it's eventual release on DVD a few years back.
The recordings have been surfaced from the archived masters of the album and includes half an hour of previously unreleased music - an incredible mix of highly atmospheric Library music styles and that inimitable production style, check the widescreen synth vistas and pulsating beat of opener ‘Venezia’, or its more harrowing counterpart on the album closer “Amore” for some idea of the delights held within...
10th anniversary reissue of Puzzles, the record that really helped introduce both All City the label and Hudson Mohawke the producer to a wider audience all the way back in 2007 - the year dubstep broke the mainstream, the government snubbed our snouts in clubs, and bankers had a laugh, which all makes Mike Slott and HudMo’s Heralds of Change moniker seem uncannily prescient.
Puzzles was among a raft of new releases in 2007 that ushered in the whole wonky hip hop phaseshift, which in retrospect can be heard as a kind of retaliation against dubstep’s (by then) cartoonish rave antics by focussing a return to the jazzy boom bap principles of American hip hop proper, only with one leg shorter than the other.
The six tracks inside have coolly withstood the test of time, with smoky nuggets to be (re)discovered in the hazy lean of Future and the fractal groove displacement of A Muse, reserving a definite scene highlight in the 8-bit glitter and skudged knocks of Spotted and their Timba or The Neptunes-styled banger, Work That.
Mesmerising side of two previously unreleased Charlemagne Palestine pieces, recorded by Mayo Thompson and Kurt Munkacsi, effectively revealing the groundwork for his early masterpiece, Four Manifestations on Six Elements in 1974 at the grand theatre of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.
Untouched and unheard by Palestine for more than 40 years, a recent listening session between Palestine and Alga Marghen revealed moments of genuine beauty in the tapes which totally warranted this release, both as a historical document of the time surrounding one of his most important recordings, and as a striking new release in its own right.
Four Manifestations on Six Elements is easily one of our favourite pieces by the stuffed toy fancier, and thus it’s a total pleasure to wrap our ears around the sessions that went into its creation. On side A we find the 15 minute Voice Piece, recorded in the night of January 25th, 1974 and revealing Palestine’s cirrus falsetto occasionally rising over airborne clusters of sustained Bösendorfer chords that ebb, flow and pulse with effortlessly natural grace. By the end we’re practically floating into the 2nd set of recordings, made the same night and the next, in two takes of Bösendorfer + Voice, with more soothing, lulling cadence in Take One, where the falsetto really comes into play, and then in Take Two’s radiant ten minute play of swirling bass and shifting overtones again with that ethereal, almost childlike vocal.
Wickedly unhinged anti-music jams from best coast freqs, Smegma; recorded 1973-75 at their shared house in Pasadena, LA and previously unheard until now!
As the rest of the world was going prog, glam or soulful, Smegma were giving no fxcks and going sick on their own sound, as likely to turn on funky rockabilly as express an utterly feral combination of gibberish lyrics, ragged guitars and hit-owt-within-reach percussion that still sounds like nobody else - well, apart from LAFMS, whose number they would eventually join anyway.
Opening and closing with invasive vocals from a local C.B. radio operator called Turkey Mon, whose transmitter signal was so powerful it was picked up on the tape head as they recorded, the set variously trips in and out of consciousness from the wild group singing of Pigface Speaks - a sort of combination of native american song, free jazz scat and getting MWI - to a straight-faced garage rock cover of rockabilly classic Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache and the bubbly bop of The Taster, by LA freak and street singer Wild Man Fischer, amid the genuinely “free” flights of Requiem and the moonshine drenched avant-folk dance of Why?
Perhaps unbelievably, many of the personnel on this record - Dennis Duck, Ace Farren Ford, Ju Suk Reet Meate - are still operational in Smegma’s current touring band, which is either a testament to the sincerity of their madness, or to the appeal of making a proper daft racket, but either way they all deserve a big salute for travelling paths lesser dotted with the doo doo of convention.
On her floating follow-up to the subliminal vibes of Phobiza Dia: Vol.1 with Total Stasis, Phoebe Guillemot a.k.a. Ramzi synthesises four impeccably hypnagogic dub, house and downbeat sensations for the like-mellow-minded folks at Mood Hut.
There’s a succulent, downtempo tension to this one that gets us from the off; tentatively feeling out a humid, deeply overgrown scene inhabited by lonely sax sprites and unidentified voices grooving to natural, cumbia-grained dub rhythms with For Vanda - imagine Twin Peaks replaced somewhere warmer - before Fuma steers that feeling to a more elegant terrace scene of gentle, woody shuffle and cooing ambient pop tones.
Meanwhile Messiah coolly messes with our sense of geography, introducing tabla-like percussive cadence on a swell of bird calls and night-breeze chorales for the morning after slopes, and then takes us to the South Seas via Addis Ababa and ATL with the exquisitely warped, auto-tuned ambi-R&B-exotica of Malehaye.
Italy’s DJ Plant Texture runs the claggy house and jungle-juke jams for UTTU, strengthened with a trio of Simoncino remixes.
Lloyd Goes To Mars, or LGTM herein, comes in a fidgety, warped RaveONine mix for the bumping house heads, before bifurcating into a rushing’ Jungle Mix and the collapsed breaks of his Slow08 Mix on the front.
Simoncino takes the B-side with three deeper acid rubs, at best in the ruddy 303s and foliation pads of the remix original, and also included as a Reese-styled deep Dub and rugged Bonus Beat.
The heeds of Glasgow’s 12th Isle keep their vibe gloriously off-map with Cru Servers’ debut LP batch, Blubber Totem. After touching down on a Bomb Shop 7” and self-issuing a tape in the last 5 years, this is the CS brothers’ most substantial and definitive recording to date, relaying an experience akin to a waking dream situated in a different star system to our own.
Plotting coordinates in a zone familiar to Dices and AEM Rhythm Cascade’s Thoughtstream or Belgium’s Innercity, the Cru Servers duo disembark with hieroglyphic electronics of Incubation on Ram Skins, then tilt into 100bpm muggy chug with Shot To Life, before getting buck wild with the severely warped garage torque of Dorito Rook and a slice of fluoro industrial trance in Ark Bile Top Ups recalling Black Zone Myth Chant’s egyptian fantasies.
The recursive wormhole, Deith 2 Hansy prangs out like Rob Hood on a psychedelic secret mission, slopping yer mind into something like Lorenzo Senni in gravity-less space, but they bring us back to disco firma with Accursed Share, only to let it all go with the floppy body of Yellow Domes & the Dawn.
Ninos Du Brasil’s excellent third album and second for Hospital Productions is their deadliest yet; offsetting tribal drum rituals laced with bestial electronics and possessed vocals, including a guest appearance by No Wave legend Arto Lindsay. Highly recommended if you’re into Psychedelic Warriors Of Gaia, Female or Vatican Shadow.
Nico Vascellari and Nicolò Fortuni come out to play in the dark, taking their fascinations with ritual musics - from Brazilian Afro-Latin tribal rhythms to library music and freezing Scandinavian BM - deep into the festering undergrowth of their shared, exotic aesthetic.
Where the cover of their last LP for Hospital Productions Novos Mistérios  depicted a naked man covered by a leopard pelt, Marvin Gaye Chatwynd’s oil painting of a screeching Chiroptera in flight on the Vida Eterna jacket makes a strong visual allegory for NDB’s finer tuned spatial sensitivities inside, with their churning rhythms now embedded in fathoms of dread space and shaded in layers of processed vocal chants, both punk, metal, and tribalistic.
The big highlight is no doubt the closing cut, Vagalumes Piralampos, where Arto Lindsay, the legendary founder of DNA, chimes in on a stygian, moonlit jag between the eyes of bossa nova, batucada and the sort of esoteric electronics also charted by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement or Cienfuegos.
But it only really makes sense after you’ve expended your energies along with the band thru monstrous techno shakedowns such as O veto Chama Seu Nome, the soca-like rush of Condenado Por Un Idioma Desconhecido, or found yourself lost, without coordinates, in the pitch black breakdown of No Meio Da Noite and have been hypnotised by the stalking rhythms and atmospheres of Em Que O Rio Do Mar Se Toma with an explosive percussive charge that mimics sharp blades scything through a nocturnal jungle...
This post-revolution Iranian album from 1985 is so ahead of its time, so completely off on its own sonically and stylistically - that you'd be forgiven for thinking it were a hoax.
In reality it's one of the most sought-after and exceptional records from the Smithsonian Folkways catalogue, here brought back to life in this facsimile edition put together by the Dead Cert imprint. Until now, it's been the preserve of a small handful of collectors who rightly hold it in huge regard and close to their chests. A syncretic traversal of Iranian folk music and modular synth strafing radio-phonic, musique concrète, neo-tanktrik and sound design disciplines, it simply sounds quite unlike anything out there (if you know better, please, please share!) and has had us, and everyone who's heard it, utterly enraptured.
OK, there may be some precedents in the work of electronic music pioneer Ilhan Mimaroglu, and it has undoubtedly directly or indirectly inspired music that has come since (Keith Fullerton Whitman's 'Variations For Oud & Synthesizer', for instance), but we're sure you'll agree that the elements have rarely gelled so fluidly, phantastically psychedelic as this, before or since. It's possible to trace that combination of traditional and contemporary styles, mixed with a liberating sense of freedom and abstract expression, to the composer's history; from early enrolment in Shah-sponsored music schools and conservatories he was awarded scholarship for further studies in Holland, and when the revolution arrived in Iran he would permanently leave for the world famous Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in the late '70s, all priming Dariush's tastes and skills for these recordings made during the mid '80s, late at night in the university studios with the permission of Professor Ussachevsky.
It's testament to its enduring magic that listening back now for the umpteenth time we're still bewildered and vividly transported as we were the first time, lost to its roil of tangled timbres and etheric dynamism, keeling to the metallic lushness of the strings and rendered mindblown at the synchronised sweeps of modular synth and simulated environs. It's a genuine wonder of the electronic music world, and an utterly essential listen, by anyones standards.
Rafael Anton Irisarri unveils his latest sublime panoramas, presenting his first major solo work since 'A Fragile Geography' for Room 40. If you’re into GAS, Tim Hecker, Lawrence English or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - this one comes highly recommended.
Mantled in reference to the socio-political upheaval it was borne in, The Shameless Years was written in a flurry of creativity at the end of 2016 when Irisarri booted up some old software in addition to his trusted palette of guitar, pedals, amps and analogue processing at his Black Knoll Studio. There, he rediscovered a mean sense of purpose that lends these recordings a thematic cohesion producing his strongest work in ten years of releasing material under his own name as well as The Sight Below, Orcas, and collabs with Slowdive’s Simon Scott, among others.
In typically gauzy vision, the album starts off from an elevated perspective with stately melodies masked by impenetrable fields of noise harmonics on Indefinite Fields - perhaps a poignant metaphor for hope thwarted by terror and confusion. It passes on into the glum marching rhythm buried beneath RH Negative’s banking walls of shoegaze distortion and the expansive lost-at-sea feel of Bastion, sustaining and building a symphonic melodic defiance against the swell, before sublimating himself to the lushness of Sky Burial, which on one hand is a deeply serious mediation on his own mortality, and on the other somehow sounds uncannily close to a shoegaze version of Careless Whisper. Such is life.
To perfectly compound and heighten the impact, Irisarri shares the weight of emotion with Tehran-based composer Siavash Amini in the LP’s final, and arguably most affective, two parts. In a subversive gesture to the travel ban on Iranians imposed by La Naranja, which is only made sweeter thru its release by a Mexican label, the pair worked remotely to realise a fitting diptych with the tempestuous glower of pealing harmonics and apocalyptic low end rumbles in Karma Krama, then tempering and moderating that rage in a palindromic passage from doom jazz to majestic harmonic clusters and back in The Faithless with a crushing sense of controlled rage that reminds us of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore at their most subdued and devastating.
Yasuaki Shimizu’s Music For Commercials  is here given a much needed first ever reissue some 30 years since it appeared on Crammed's Made To Measure library music series, which also included editions by Tuxedomoon and Hctor Zazou. Very safe to say that if you were enchanted by Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage LP or their Fairlights, Mallets & Bamboo mixes, this one is a must!
In 24 parts Shimizu unfolds a tightly packed lattice of crystalline gems and vignettes crafted for TV commercials, plus the 15 minute Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu piece for a Computer Animation Video which is practically worth the price of entry alone.
Presumably titled after the corporations who employed him, you’ll find stacks of super sweet, pastoral 4th world emulations patched from keys, sax, gamelan, drum machines and electronics for the likes of Seiko, Ricoh, Sharp, Honda, Knorr and Bridgestone, each as exactingly cute and piquant as the last.
Known for his numerous albums, soundtracks, and collaborations including with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bjork, this is perhaps Shimizu's most sought-after and influential work and one that perfectly encapsulates our collective yearning for peace and quiet in an increasingly commercialised, chaotic world.
Yves Tumor’s debut for the PAN label offers a perfect distillation of everything the label stands for, filling another as-yet-unnamed niche between the eyes of hypermodern styles. It’s an album that takes you from the most beautifully produced earworm one moment, to the depths of sonic experimentation the next - making for easily one of the most impressive and memorable albums of the year.
The Tennessee-raised, Turin-based artist has sown seeds across the contemporary field in visual as well as musical fields over recent years with releases for NON, Janus and Halcyon Veil issued under an expanding roll call of names, as well as visceral live work for LA's Hood By Air earlier this year. However, it’s under the Yves Tumor moniker that he commits his most personal and noteworthy work to date; the result of three years of creative discovery, drawing from a deeply emotional, vulnerable place to grapple with themes of social anxiety, paranoia and missing loved ones to present one of this year’s most staggering albums.
Serpent Music covers the full bandwidth of Tumor’s far-flung aesthetics, navigating from lushly organic yet elusively distanced instrumental textures in the opening strokes of Devout and the homesick soul ache of The Feeling When You Walk Away, before more oblique, abrasive drums and layered electronics begin to infiltrate the airborne keys of Dajjal, and with Role In Creation he incorporates the east African motifs heard in his Bekelé Berhanu output, but with a much gentler, more optimistic effect.
But just as you begin to get a grip on his slippery scales, Serpent I rushes into a ferocious tribal battery, resolved with the stentorian pastor and doom echo chamber feels of Serpent II, and he really starts to let his mind drift with the conflated pastoral and darkroom noise vibes of Seed, and the eastern-facing Alice Coltrane nod, Spirit In Prison, skizzily returning to smokey vapour trails in Cherish and Face of a Demon, to wash us up on the lonely, distant shores of Perdition.
Alongside the likes of Dean Blunt or Klein, Yves Tumor is patently rewiring the conventions of soul music and psychedelia according to his own, twisted schematic and modernist insight, making this album feel vital at a point where conservative sensibilities seem to have permeated the spirit of so many “independently" minded creators.
Dasha Rush breaks two years of silence since the Sleepstep album for raster-Noon with a fierce return to the ‘floor
Igniting the schranzy drive of Katusha; the brittle boned dark techno rolige of Dystopian Drive; a blank-eyed monotone push called Black Swan; and the ambient acid elegy, Acid Melancholy.
Shackleton curves back to Woe To The Septic Heart! with British-German singer-songwriter Anika as his new vocal muse, who lends a refreshing new spirit to his sound following collaborations with Ernesto Tomasini and Vengeance Tenfold in recent years.
Perhaps knowingly timed for release with UK summertime, Behind The Glass is a decidedly mid-summery album full of semi-pastoral psychedelic themes and production in Shackleton’s signature style, equal parts Wickerman soundtrack and Jarman-esque uncanniness with a dash of worcester sauce sourness dosed direct to the pineal gland.
Think ritual dogging sites, lost Spiral Tribe members attempting to find their way out of a nuclear bunker for 20 years, or pagan aliens descending at full moon over Welsh glades. The production, as ever, is incredible.
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.
Carla Dal Forno, Sam Karmel and Tarquin Manek return to F Ingers’ noumenal haunted house slightly older, lusher and with a more detached, dub-filtered gaze in Awkwardly Blissing Out, which has to be one of the most evocative album titles we’ve heard all year.
With the damaged, water-logged audness of their Hide debut still lingering like a smell you can’t get out of the curtains, F Ingers’ 2nd grimoir reprises that mildewed nostalgia with a dusky/dawning appeal, capturing the air of hours lost in a pharmaceutical haze or a slow, gradual comedown, metaphorically manifesting residual gurns flickering on twisted lips and from wayward eyelids, clammy fingertips and glowing pores.
Since their debut collaboration, each member of the trio has issued respective solo LPs - Carla with You Know What It’s Like, Karmel in the magnificent CS + Kreme, and Manek with the ace LST and Tarcar outfits - but here they beautifully subsume all individual egos to a common theme that’s testament to their group familiarity and shared status as outsider Melbournians recording both there, and stationed thousands of miles from home in Berlin.
In a sense, listening to Awkwardly Blissing Out is like eavesdropping on the trio’s telepathic comms, intercepting relayed messages about love, like the plasmic bleep lullaby of My Body Next To Yours, or losing yourself in big cities as with the mild dread of Your Confused, and dealing with reminders from home, both positive and negative as in the sun-dazed All Rolled Up and the nerve-bitten post-punk dub jolts of Awkwardly Blissing Out, which all seem to inhabit a more indistinct, smudged place in their collective imagination.
Our imposed ideas aside, though, this is a captivatingly uncertain, ambiguous album that slowly, voyeuristically sums up those glimpses of a parallel world we all escape to at times.
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo.
We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way. "Smile" was the fourth release on the label and is for many people its best - a three track EP clocking in at over 20 minutes and once again featuring the voice of Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, on the title track.
Shackleton tends to his roots and branches, remerging with vocalist Vengeance Tenfold for the doomy incantations of Sferic Ghost Transmits - their first collaboration since 2012’s The Drawbar Organ EPs - which acts as a more sullen counterpart to the radiant vibes of this year’s brilliant Devotional Songs with Ernesto Tomasini.
Shackleton’s input oscillates from pointillist gamelan percussions and abyssal bass thru to elusive, unfathomable electronic diffusions whilst the impish spirit of Vengeance Tenfold is, at best, a John Balance-like conduit channelling messages older than time itself.
If you can handle the portentousness, though, you’ll be absorbed into a psychedelic narrative of cryptic percussive communication, blues-hooked chants, metallic polymetric cadence and shimmering dissonant miasmas, which, as with any string substance, may leave you feeling dazed and queasy, but ultimately better for undergoing it.
Julian House aka The Focus Group twists the kaleidoscope to reveal a fractious mosaic of some 25 vignette-like parts in just over 37 minutes with Stop-Motion Happening, the ‘Groop’’s - as it’s spelt on the cover - most delirious and mid-summery dosage to date.
Referring to that title again, ‘Groop’ as it’s purposefully spelt on the sleeve art, but not the metadata, quite possibly makes a nod to Stereolab’s The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music” and certainly suggests a temporal connection between the two records, if nothing else, as the music itself is perhaps better described as more Space Age Suburban Micro Dosing in its fractal nature and gentility.
The tracks weigh in between 15 seconds at their shortest to nearly 7 minutes at longest, acting like the hazily fragmented recollections of an ageing psychonaut or the sonic sketchbook of a romantic ’60s dreamer who was in the throes of the psychedelic age, with mind opened to Far Eastern thought in the pause-buttoned tabla and sitar chops of Stop Motion Happening and New Toytown Walk and the mystic bliss of Rendering The Forests, whereas other parts tie that in with nods to The Beatles’ psychy phase in Sir John Pepper and The Gone Outside. You can trust the other twenty tracks are of a similarly anachronistic and delightful style.
The lysergic/psilocybic whimsy is strong on this one. Do check.
Mogwai return with their 9th studio album which was recorded with producer Dave Fridmann at his Tarbox Road Studios in New York State.
"Every Country’s Sun, named after a friend’s lack of knowledge in how the universe works, takes two decades of Mogwai’s signature contrasting sounds and distils it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock and transcendental euphoria. It will definitely appeal to fans of the band and will gain many new ones along the way."
Not for the first time, but arguably the most significant, Pye Corner Audio crosses paths with Ghost Box for his first LP of 2016; a narcotically hypnagogic and dystopian trip entitled Stasis.
At least one leap year cycle since his last album with the GB’s, Sleep Games, right now this one feels like a stygian trudge into bleakest futures, operating at such a stoned pace that it moves slower than actual time, and by submitting to its temporal warp we’re allowed to regress back into a pre-digital epoch of paranoid cold, or even civil war atmospheres and paranoia.
It could almost be the soundtrack to a Ben Wheatley flick (low budget, not the over-glossy high rise) about British time travellers, forgoing Dr. Who queso for a more hard-boiled, furtive vibe about anachronistic assassins sent back to kill Nigel Farage at birth, only to uncover that he’s part of an exceedingly dangerous non-human race with ties to Johnson, Cameron and all the other pebble-people, so they round them all up and lock them in a hostel in Middlesbrough with a broken kettle and packet of poisoned monster munch between the lot.
Of course, that fantasy is all set to a soundtrack of wistful electronic mists and pulsating arpeggios that could be right out of some late ‘70s / early ‘80s synth library, and ultimately shows that whilst technology has advanced in the meantime, that ostensibly archaic music still reflects an underlying eldritch darkness contemporary and relevant to both eras, then and now.
Smartly incisive, psychopolitical sound art/poetry study on the relationship between Black America, sonic fiction and social media
“'Absent Personae' is a collaboration between Liverpool-based sound artist, Jon Davies aka Kepla, and New York-based media theorist and music writer, DeForrest Brown Jr. Following in the style of verbatim theater, Brown – through private recordings in various urban public environments – recalls a palpable though unseen trauma while wading amidst Davies’ digital processing of found social media audio. The result is a psychopolitical meditation on Black America as a (de)territorialized subject.
“'Absent Personae' was commissioned by Electronic Voice Phenomena as an interstitial spectre in transition, resonating with the sinister politics of pseudo-science histories, while speculating on identity as evasion and persona without orientation.
The piece is a post-industrial Dérive considering the psychological liminal zones between old and new industry and urbanity, the changing landscapes of labor: a fractured genealogical memory trace obscured by intercepted signals and the liquidating flux of late capitalism."
Sounds like taking a walk thru the docks at night, only to discover a rave full of doomcore zombies, which you continue to watch from one end of a gargantuan hangar...
“Following an earlier release on Opal Tapes, several releases through her Summer Isle imprint and a vinyl issue on the esteemed BANK Records NYC. Rita M's E-Saggila project returns to Opal for the most advanced statement of intent from her so far. Lux Campaign is an elegant union of industrial and rhythmic noise music with techno (Lux Campaign, Green Zone) Jungle + DnB (Stature and Scent) and as stand alone pieces of gothic abstraction. “
Sully boomerangs back to the influential Keysound label with Escape, a full spectrum showcase of the sound previously gestated on his Carrier  album and further developed over a unique flux of grime, jungle, footwork inspired mutations during the interim.
Driven by a timeless urge to “create moments where problems go out the window for a while”, he’s crafted an immersive album touching on key aspects of the hardcore UK dance paradigm. Thema I opens the album with a sweeping elegiac ambient gesture which he returns to later in the LP, providing the scant moment of respite of an intense session taking in tool-sharpened grime starring Jendor bars on Casablanca and a nod to vintage El-B in Bullseye featuring Roll Deep’s heavily JA-accented Jamakabi.
A pair of Assembly pieces find him abstracting instrumental grime in devilish style, with superb, Zomby-esque results in the second one, before completing the LP in the junglist mould of his outstanding Blue EP, screwing across the ‘nuum timeline with grime licks squeezed into the amen rushes of Vanta and again with eski bleeps skidding thru the Remnarc-like ruff ’n tumble of X Plus Y.
Gird your loins, people, for 51 tracks, 2 hrs 35 minutes of prime, classic DAF. Think you can handle it?
As the legendary duo of Gabi Delgado and Robert Görl approach their 40th anniversary of formation, Grönland present the exhaustive, definitive Das ist DAF retrospective, including brand spanking new remixes from Giorgio Moroder and Boys Noize demonstrating the timeless resonance of their EBM/NDW classics with the modern disco.
From the razor-dancing Der Mussolini to the playful hooks and clenched twang of Im Dschungel der Liebe and the blend of daftness and steely electro-punk thrust in Kebap Träume, you’ll find the blueprints for masses of dance music to come, but more importantly these cuts still kill it cold on the ‘floor. If you’re into Powell, Ancient Methods, Not Waving or even LCD Soundsystem and don’t know DAF, sort it out with this set right now!
“Many things have been said about this band: they were called the “godfathers of techno,” the pioneers of EBM and the forefathers of electropunk. Yet they only laugh coolly and remain tight-lipped in the face of any attempt to historicize them. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – better known as DAF – is a myth.
What we know is that they released four albums in a short time span between 1980 and 1982, and that those albums changed the history of music worldwide. Yet DAF’s international renown certainly was not based in the name: Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl were never looking for friendship; their expressions were invariably ones of steely, piercing stares, and they presented themselves with a precisely staged iciness that belied the ardor burning inside them.
DAF initially formed as a quintet in the confines of Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf, alongside bands like Fehlfarben, Der Plan, Mittagspause and others, but later adopted a conceptual approach that left no space for other “young lords.” From that point on they worked as a duo. With precision percussive elements mastered in classical jazz training, a legendary Korg MS-20 and a highly fetishistic militaristic spoken-word style, they produced four albums in quick succession – records that could be construed as substitutes for sex, drugs and violence. While the first album, Die kleinen und die Bösen – on which half the tracks were recorded in Conny Plank’s studio while the B-side contained live recordings – still hinted at roots in original punk music, they then created a triptych of leathery, sweat-soaked hedonism on Alles ist Gut, Gold und Liebe and Für immer. In the early 1980s the records in the DAF box set Groenland Records is now releasing quickly made this duo the international figurehead of the music everyone now associates with the Rhine region: DAF, along with Kraftwerk and Can, were the pioneers of German electronic music. They were always in vogue. Sequencers, synthesizers, commanding drum beats and the most cutting staccato spoken-word vocals – an alliteration only disrupted by the notion of the uniform. Very few bands have managed to contrive their own look in such masterly fashion, and to even make it a subject of their work: “Was ziehst du an heut nacht?,” “Verehrt euren Haarschnitt” and – oh yes – “Tanz den Mussolini.”
DAF’s militaristic aspect is only broken by their attitude of denial, which invites us to dance in the dark with them and to follow Delgado-López’s rhythmic movements – even if he seems to be dancing entirely for himself. Perhaps it is that contradiction itself that renders this duo so eternal.
This compilation will allow you to experience the music of DAF; the darkest and hardest driving musical imperative ever to come out of Germany.”
Check the title track, Future Nights for slinky big room techno-trance build...
“Uwe Schmidt has long been recognized as one of electronic music’s most respected and versatile artists. A man of many talents, projects and identities including Atom Heart and Señor Coconut, Uwe’s playfully ironic and acid-tinged Atom™ moniker is perhaps the identity that most speaks to the New York dancefloors where The Bunker makes its home. Several Atom™ releases are much-loved Bunker classics and with the Future Nights 12” Uwe offers a heady experiment in what happens when a track takes you so far inside your own head that you’re in danger of losing your way back.
All three tracks have been getting heavy pre-release workouts in Brooklyn courtesy of The Bunker residents. The A side is comprised of two fuzzy vocal techno tracks that are as fun to listen to as they will be to subject to some heavy tweaking in the hands of a capable DJ. The B side, “Chemistry” is particularly versatile and crazy-making with elements of darker techno stirred into a disorientingly stereophonic maelstrom that’s guaranteed to cause a dancefloor to lose its moorings until the only thing keeping reality from splintering is the track’s dry academic vocal reassuring us that it’s all just chemistry.”
Rod Modell (DeepChord) returns to Astral Industries’ elevated planes, this time with Chris Troy on a 20 year follow-up to their first Waveform Transmission; V 1.0-1.9 for Silent. With the 72 minute V 2.0-2.9, they present a supremely serene addition to their nebulous catalogue, paradoxically plumbing reverberant, expansive space to beautifully introspective effect.
Modell’s signature dub techniques are in effect, but only as part of a greater system of ambient processing, with having bass reserved to daubs of low end pressure in a swirling ecosystem of harmonious tone and abstract crackle that’s more widescreen kosmiche in its outlook, totally in key with the Astral Industries aesthetic that Modell has played a strong part in with DeepChord’s Lanterns and the Colours of Time (Re-Intrepreted) session with Wolfgang Voigt.
We warmly encourage pumping up your noumenal lilo and casting adrift in these epic realms.
Sixth in Dekmantel’s 10 year anniversary series, four tracks from Amsterdam staples Young Marco, Tom Trago, Awanto 3, and Suzanne Kraft.
Everyone plays neatly to the brief of party-ready, celebratory vibes with Suzanne Kraft on a rare uptempo bent with the fluid electro-house of Moving in a Larry Heard style, beside an LFO-swept downstroke from Tom Trago in Digital Love, plus Awanti 3 on a lush tribal disco hustle, and a very buoyant Young Marco in the colourful stride of Palace Green Beans.
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.
Cassy fixes up one of her hypnotic house bewts with Cassy004, reserved especially for her eponymous label, which was last in operation in 2010!
Working to a formula of insistent kicks and processed vocal loops, and not much else, the Panorama Bar resident reminds us why her Poem has stuck in our heads for so long with these three aces; playing it deep down and below the belt with the monotone darkroom tension and sublimated vox of One, before recoiling to the perfectly balanced bass and plasmic vocal panning in Two, cantering to a lip-biting but heavy lidded effect in the 2nd half. But if you like it tougher, there’s always the pounding, Chicago-styled slug of her One (Cassy Reshape) to get you slamming the walls.
Tokyo’s Kinuko Hiramatsu aka Sapphire Slows emerges like a pop butterfly from the lo-fi chrysalis of her early work on NotNotFun with Time; a seven song suite of lucid vocals and crisp, lilting electronics signifying a slick rethink of her sound and style.
After initially emerging as part of a new, underground pop milieu united thru the prism of Amanda & Britt Brown’s NNF and 100% c. 2011, the japanese artist promptly receded back into the Tokyo underground. She was not heard again until the Confession 7” for Big Love Records in 2016 and The Role of Purity 12” found her early veil of gauze gently removed, revealing a fresher sound and new found song-writing clarity.
Time, for patten’s Kaleidoscope (UK) is the firmest testament yet to that switch, collecting seven songs written during those fallow years of 2014-2016, with each framing a finer mix of synth-pop, trip hop and plasmic new age vibes that feels up-to-date, yet cannily in her own dreamspace and time.
We’re really partial to the flickering rimshot and piquant arpeggios that cradle her plaintive vocals in Confession, while My Garden finds her bending light into a gorgeous sort of digi-dancehall/trip-hop black hole of the sort that Tricky should be making, and the etheric acid-pop ace, Piece Of You sounds something like a collaboration between Teresa Winter and Kouhei Matsunaga.
Gorgeous, floating ambient architecture crafted on an iPhone by Tokyo’s H Takahashi, one of many pearls picked out by Where To Now? Classically-styled in the mould of Eno, Roedelius, Satie, also resonating with Anthony Manning’s crystal clear electronica...
“H.Takahashi, Tokyo based Architect and sound designer follows up his revered collection ‘Where To Be?’ on Where To Now? records with ‘Raum’, a full length LP suite of meditative Pulse Minimalism.
‘Raum’ draws it’s cues from a melting pot of closely connected yet wholly individual strands of Minimalism - from the Japanese Minimalist works from the likes of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa, to masters such as Erik Satie and John Cage, and Ambient leaders Brian Eno and Roedelius, Takahashi soaks this historical influence and rings it out it through a modern filter to create a record of stillness, ethereal beauty, and transcendent energy.
Takahashi composes all of his music on his iPhone, and this is no gimmick, rather a conscious decision which allows Takahashi to constantly create ‘on the go’ without the constraints of space, and for Takahashi ‘Raum’ serves as a mediation on the relationship between sound and it’s environment.
For Takahashi this creative process “feels something like an invisible phenomenon taking over & mutating these constantly changing spaces into abstract sound, creating a brief pseudo space which expresses and highlights the features of the environment for a moment in time.” Although perhaps quite an abstract statement of intent, when deeply immersed into Takahashi’s pieces this idea of slowly gliding through different architectural spaces is naturally conjured through the gentle repetitive pulse which runs through his work and the playful unstructured tonality of objects which weave around this forward (or upward) motion.
‘Raum’ was created across the city of Tokyo, be it a Café / Park / Office / Road / Platform / Subway these pieces explore the power sound holds to emotionally enhance and mutate the listeners environment.
The power of the music presented is in that which is barely there, embracing space, silence, and cyclical repetition. The music is to help us function - it's music to work to, to sleep to, to help us find a sense of space and oneness within a world that is increasingly wild and untameable.”
Ernestas Kaušylas aka Brokenchord is a music producer and composer born and raised in Utena, a small industrial town in Lithuania. Kaušylas was quickly picked up by Black Acre, releasing both a 7inch single and an EP.
"Endless Transmissions is the brainchild of Kaušylas who single handily (bar two tracks) wrote and performed the entire album. The only collaboration was with jazz drummer, Augustas Baronas , who he encouraged to play as mechanically as possible. The LP pays homage to creativity and the ability topush the limits of technology with the physicalness of a human body. Kaušylas explains “machines that mimic human grooves is boring but the other way around it becomes quiet interesting”.
With nods to the likes of Bonobo, Radiohead and Illum Sphere within the LP, Brokenchord also has an exquisite cinematic quality to his production stating “Endless Transmission is a movie painted with sound”.
His previous accomplishments include; his track Lowe featuring in the Radiohead office chart in 2011, which received an invitation to remix Give up the Ghost, from frontman and personal hero Thom Yorke, which was included in the remix album compilation King of Limbs.
In 2014, he composed music for Danish Theatre group Hotel Pro Forma spectacle, winning the prestigious Lithuanian Golden Cross Of Stage Theatre Award. Since then he has supported Bonobo’s North Borders Tour in Latvia and Lithuania and radio hosts such as Mary Anne Hobbs, Gilles Peterson and Stuart Maconie have aired his music.
The talented polymath currently resides in The Hague while he finishes his Bachelor of Music studies at the Institute Of Sonology.”
Perhaps the most important contemporary torch carrier for cold wave pop, Martial Cantarel yields his strongest work to date with ‘Lost At Sea’; a richly evocative collection of songs and instrumentals that doesn’t shy away from up-to-date sounds, but uses them inventively and nimbly at the service of the ‘floor and with an ear-snagging sharpness when consumed on headphones.
“Since composer Sean McBride unveiled his first utterance as Martial Canterel almost 2 decades ago, he has produced a body of work both substantial and alluring within the field of live analogue electronic music. Effortlessly fusing a variety of styles and influences, Martial Canterel is one of the premiere outfits utilizing analogue electronics and modular synthesizers. In particular FM synthesis is employed to produce clustered polyphonies and organic atmospheres - a staple of his signature style.
Three years have passed since Martial Canterel’s last full length album Gyors, Lassù was released on Dais Records. During this down time, McBride found himself in a state of flux, ebbing back and forth between material displacement and musical aestheticism. His expert pedigree in electronic sound and arrangement bridges the gap created by an undecidability between life at home and abroad - his new album, Lost At Sea, is an attempt for the artist to locate common ground, mutating fable with reality, exteriority and interiority.
The album's introductory track, Giving Up, has all of the hallmarks that Martial Canterel has utilized in the past…melodic chorus, upbeat rhythm and classic sequential dynamism. Where the song diverges is in its core theme of nature: nature’s return to a period of restoration after the failures and recklessness of humankind. Although this first glance refamiliarizes one with the tight, upbeat appeal typically found within the genre, Lost at Sea quickly takes a more serious and sobering tone.
The slower pace of songs like Scampia and Puszta yearn for McBride’s complex love affair with far flung destinations. Re-evaluating the political strife and social unrest in these historical locations, McBride delves deeper into political and geological reference points creating symbolic representations using mechanized percussion, white noise and various sine waves.
The conceptual nature of Lost at Sea reaches even deeper depths within the waveforms of Astralize, a track based upon academic Donna Haraway’s pre-civilized theories of human neglect after the ‘azstralization’.”