Autechre drop ‘Plus’, the ruder counterpart to their brooding ’Sign’ album, rinsing squashed drums and harsher textured tones in a newly aerated, noisier sort of sound design.
If you were left glowing but still hungry for some rufige after ’Sign’, this album’s for you. Their staunchest North Manc C++Boy attitude is in spine twisting, neck snapping effect on nine unusually raw cuts that bleed dank air and squeeze melody from scuffed and scaly surfaces. It’s definitely still AE, but allowing for more space and finer graded textures in the mix, from their juiciest sloshing basses, to the rusted drums and iridescent, aerosolised timbres in a subtle new mutation of their sound.
As we commented with ‘Sign’, it feels like they're haunted by their older forms on ‘Plus’, but still inexorably pulled toward a futuristic unknown. We can feel those opposing forces at action in the stunning hyperstep dynamics and almost nostalgic ken of ‘X4’, which is one of the album’s durational highlights along with the totally absorbing concrète setting and avian chirrups of ‘ecol4’, and the quicksilver techno slipperiness of ‘TM1’, while the likes of ‘7FM ic’ deliver sharper shocks of impossible limb movements, and ‘marhide’ epitomises a noisier approach with straight-jacketed electro extruded thru some kind of imaginary airlock, saving bittersweet touches for the extended melodic thoughts of ‘lux 106 mod’ and the aspartame flavour tang of their beatless roller ‘ii.pre esc’, which is bound to become a favourite.
A mesmerising, mystic new age audity from Hungary, 1987 - starring the touch of László Hortobágyi - resurfaces from cult British-Russian jazz label Leo Records after 33 years in the wild - RIYL Suba/Rex Ilusivii, David Toop, Suzanne Kraft
Reissued on the artist’s own label, Fodderbasis, home to a string of recent self-reissues, ‘Snapshot From The Island’ imaginatively trips out into a no-person’s-land of new age ambient and jazz expression, terraforming a highly personalised sonisphere likely to appeal to listeners who like to get their mental boots muddy and seek out long-forgotten peaks of the ‘80s experimental backwoods.
Born in, and working from, Budapest, Tibor Szemző carved out a niche in music for film and installation starting with ‘Snapshot From The Island’; his first solo album and a landmark in the modern Hungarian experimental canon. He’s credited with practically everything you hear, performing its flyaway flutes, reticulated drum machine rhythms and electronics for the most, while another Hungarian legend, László Hortobágyi supplies synth gilding to two of the album’s highlights, as well as recording and mixing the whole thing, which surely places it not far from his own solo work.
The 24’ title track is a panoramic beauty, very gradually emerging like a dawning vista to take in rolling cascade of slow drum machine patter and flutes that gather into echoic ravines and ceremonious, mystic vocal drones, then overgrown with the sound of elephant calls and squally noise murmuration. ‘Water Music’ meanwhile is a minimalist work for tape looped and phasing flutes in a Reichian vein, and ‘Let’s Go Out and Dance’ brings it right down to lushest pastoral jazz terrain with some superbly slinky drum computer work landing not so far from styles you’ll find on International Anthem nowadays.
Autonomic synth-pop by Donato Dozzy and Eva Geist, expanding on the retro-futurist allure of Dozzy’s Men With Secrets album with a full LP of needlepoint arps and laser-guided grooves landing somewhere between IDIB, dBridge, and Italian potpourri.
“Raster presents »Il Quadro di Troisi«, a project by Andrea Noce (Eva Geist) and Donato Scaramuzzi (Donato Dozzy). The record is a colorful ode of an Italian scented vision, overflowing of details and profound intensity. The contemporary world condition, the pandemic in Italy and around the world define »Il Quadro di Troisi« as a unique and right-on-time release.
This record is a enigmatic collaboration between the two Italian natives Andrea Noce and Donato Scaramuzzi. Andrea Noce takes lead on the vocals, with Donato Scaramuzzi carving the dreamlike soundscapes of the record. The record was born with a correspondence between the two artists about the late actor and director Massimo Troisi, and this exchange soon became an inspirational source of identification. Andrea Noce’s lyrics are sensitive and multi-faceted, they perfectly cling to the musical phrases and flow like a filmic monologue from the oeuvre of that very Troisi.
In a highly creative and confident manner, entire decades of national music history are comprehended and transformed into the here and now. The record takes its cue from the italo-disco, synth pop tradition corroborated by the contribution of artists such as the legendary Twilight Music co-founder, Paolo Micioni, as well as Stefano Di Trapani who wrote »L’ipotesi«. With »Il Quadro di Troisi«, Noce and Scaramuzzi prove their eclecticism, and passion for their home country.
»Il Quadro di Troisi« is a collaboration between Raster and the Milan-based festival Terraforma. With this release, the first with a purely Italian focus on the label, Raster celebrates its long standing relation with Italy and the Italian audience, encapsulated in the label's project ›Electric Campfire‹ held in Rome for ten years. Terraforma is an international experimental and sustainable music festival taking place since 2014 in the park of Villa Arconati, where Dozzy has been invited at every edition in different forms, DJing, live performing both in solo and with Voices from the Lake (together with Neel).”
The fourth release of the thru the cosmos series, Eta/Aquariids commemorates sensational astronomical events that occur in the summer night sky.
"A sonic travelogue for the ultimate immersive experience for all stargazers and imaginative persons alike. This project consists of newfound sounds and 7:1 field recordings specific to our observation locations. In echospace, we pride ourselves on the many years of unique experiences that culminate from our deep love of astronomy. We have special plans to watch these meteorites grace our atmosphere, and not just as mere observers on Earth, but of whom believe in connecting with those from the future and the ones before us.
It is known that ancients partook in this experience, dating back as far as the Egyptians. These space particles disintegrating from Haley's comet are stunning, and simply provide us all with an exceptional human experience. It is advised that anyone watching be placed in complete darkness. And in this darkness, we are surrounded by light. This epic sound world was created to score as a soundtrack for the multitude of otherworldly cosmic events and features what we would consider some of the most engaging sound designs to date. A sonic universe all its own."
Limited 2XCD edition inspired by and created during the production of "analogue oceans", these two versions were omitted due to their 60+ track lengths.
"This release features current IV [subduction] and current V [obduction], the last 2 closing pieces of this ethereal opus cv313 has created, a mind shifting movement of electricity modulates voltage and currents into a sonic world like no other. Anyone in love with the original will have so much to adore here, this is hands down some of most engaging sounds this project has ever explored!
"The sound of water is deep, its form is serpent-like, its color green, and it is best heard in the roaring of the sea." -The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan This mysticism is the essence of our time. Engineered, written & produced by cv313. Tape Transfers, digital conversion and mix downs in Echospace. Additional Modular development and Reproduction by Variant. Conceptualized with @ Antique Modulation, Ann Arbor / Detroit, MI circa 2012-2013. Field recordings conducted in Gamma, Japan & Maui, Hi.
After their acclaimed 2014 debut album as a duo, Anja Lechner and François Couturier widen the scope of music even further.
"The duo sings in a voice of its own, be it with original compositions, free improvisations, drawing upon a Bach cantata or an Argentine folk lament or subtle inclusion of works by Henri Dutilleux, Giya Kancheli or Anouar Brahem. Having internalized influences and repertoire the German cellist and the French pianist not only locate atmospheric and expressive connections among far-flung sources, but also create new music that reflects and refracts its inspirations."
Limited Edition 60+ minute [LIVE] recording from cv313, culled from content created for the 2018 MUTEK Festival (Montreal, Canada).
"In preparation for this performance, there were over 3 hours of alternate renditions of classics alongside new unreleased material, of which only 60 minutes made it to the stage. We compiled the first hour long recording into CD/Digital format to commemorate the Canadian debut of this obscure and mysterious project. A very rare appearance, one of energy and depth, from the moment the bass dropped, it stole the breath from the room... Features unreleased live versions of the most recent album, "analogue oceans" and some of the most recent reshapes/alternate versions and redesigns of various projects meant to take shape and unveil a sound universe unlike any other. Now we'll let the music do the talking, with love from echospace....."
This CD features 4 never-before-heard versions culled from the original recording sessions. All tracks have been remastered for CD and also includes STL's first ever remix.
"This CD is included with the purchase of the midnight blue 12" re-issue or separately on this limited Limited CD edition, packaged with silver/chrome sticker, housed in resealable poly sleeve and hand numbered. Only 100 of these will ever exist"
Ooooof, it's been a while since we last heard from Pole but the German reductionist dub innovator has found his mojo again and this is his finest slab in ages. Proper frazzled low-end treatments for blunted exotica darlings.
It's been five years since Stefan Betke dropped a full-length, but to be honest we haven't been too interested since 2000's "3", the third and final part of Betke's trilogy of albums that still sound like little else. Those records helped light the touchpaper for a generation of young producers to experiment with dub sounds in a freeform electronic context, and while it burned out quickly the traces can still be heard fizzing through. Betke reissued the trilogy earlier this year and has now followed it up with "Fading", recapturing the unsurpassed essence of those early jams without repeating himself.
Inspired by the idea of memory loss as he watched his mother suffer from dementia, Betke wanted to connect ideas of the early Pole albums to his contemporary practice. And that's exactly how "Fading" sounds: the skeletal, decomposing dub sound that was so idosyncratic in 1998 is still present, but Betke fleshes it out with a mature worldliness that brings in elements of exotica and the subtle whisper of distant, half-remembered pop. That's not to say there are riffs (there really aren't, it's pure vibes from beginning to end) but yr transported to a world where oddly familiar elements are wrapped up tightly in tape hiss and white noise.
Like on those first few albums, Betke's rhythms feel elastic and in constant flux. Drum machine sounds and sonic detritus become pretty much interchangeable, melting into each other to create a highly distinctive sound universe. There's an element of nostalgia for sure - the glassy, polished (im)perfection of the early 2000s Mille Plateaux set is very well represented here - but Betke brings it into contemporary dimensions, updating the frame without losing its soul. It's the sound of a dying supercomputer on a distant world, if that supercomputer had learned about Earth's pop culture solely by listening to Jamaican soundsystem music of the 1970s and 80s.
A yearly tradition, Burial drops a 12 minute Chrimbuss spesh ‘Chemz’,
Readied for doing snow-(arch)angels after one too many Baileys, it’s a multi-part, mini-epic replete with snow crunch textures, sleigh bells and cockle warming vibes to see you thru a festive season under lockdown.
The timeline of ‘90s UK rave is rinsed for goodness, racking up 2-stepping garage breaks, Reese bass, sublime pads, and helium diva and R&B vox across twelve minutes of light/darkside switches that, at the very least, will get your heart-rate up, but may also get your old skool raver auntie up and doing the running man.
Yep, this is one chrimbustide tradition we can get down with.
The superb, cybergunky results of an artist’s residency by two leading rhythmaticians, Don’t DJ & NWAQ, push far beyond their respective club boundaries on debut recordings for Belgium’s Meakusma
Hitting square between the eyes of their respective, grooving styles, ‘Fashion’ catches the German/Dutch duo consolidating freeform improv approaches into a pineal-squeezing style of psychedelic electronic noise that transcends the sum of its parts, and to the point you might never guess they’re behind it.
Recorded live at Vanessa’s place and at Meakusma Festival, the recordings are over easy on the distortion in a way that we’ve never heard from other artist before. And it sounds like they’re having top craic doing it, combined with unnerving avant-punkish vocals channelling John Bender and some kind of voice-in-the-head spirits, and a selection of rotted beats that still don’t give the game away, nodding more toward Nate Young or Aaron Dilloway than their usual vibes. It’s perhaps only at the shine-eyed ’Vanessa’ and whirligig harmony of ‘White Lies’ that they appear closer themselves, but only a glimmer of it, and it’s simply a strange pleasure to hear them go off road with such unexpected, intra-dimensional results.
Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction masterpiece resurfaces for a remastered 20th anniversary edition. Answering the prayers of dub and electronic fiends everywhere, this long overdue vinyl edition of ‘Multila’ acts both as a reminder of Sasu Ripatti’s pioneering work and a primer on his early practice.
Technically the Finnish artist’s 3rd album, 2000’s ‘Multila’ offered a looser limbed, sensuous take on dub techno as much informed by the Finnish climate and landscape as the templates of Basic Channel, SND, and the deep house styles established between the late ‘80s and during the ‘90s.
It’s an immensely immersive work that prizes the qualities and infidelities of analogue production nose to tail from hardware to tape and D&M’s revered all-analogue mastering facilities, which up until this reissue has only previously been available on vinyl spread across the 'Ranta' and 'Huone' 12"s. Anyway, the Keplar label remedy that issue right here with Rashad Becker’s remaster which faithfully combines to present the album as it was perhaps always meant to be heard.
Between the submerged, coruscating crackle of ‘Ranta’, the soothing tone of ‘Raamat’, and the 22 minutes of semi-organic, lissom swing and ambient smudge in ‘Huone’ on the first disc, to the water-logged tumescence of ‘Karrha’ and the 16 minutes of head-swilling textural abstraction and saline buoyancy in ‘Pietola’ on the 2nd disc, you’re in the presence of pivotal, peerless material that effectively splits the difference between the GRM, King Tubby, and Huerco S.
Another record that arrived just on the cusp of strange times™ and sold out before anyone really had a chance to notice, Laila Sakini’s ‘Vivienne’ is an intimate collection of threadbare songs for piano, voice and effects that evoke a tremendous sense of melancholy - like a set of half-remembered earworms drifting into view decades later. It's an album that provided us with a strong sense of presque vu - a feeling of being stood on the verge of some great inner realisation - and is perhaps the most vital and real re-configuration of traditional singer-songwriting we’ve come across since Grouper’s 'Dragging A Dead Deer' re-aligned dreampop/shoegaze signatures into something much more intangible and personal. For those of you who realise that not all quiet music should be tagged “Ambient”, this is perhaps the most important intimate listening 2020 has to offer.
‘Vivienne’ is full of plaintive and uncooked recitals adorned with minimal effects - some delay, the sound of distant clattering filling in as percussion - with results that are substantially more than the sum of their parts. Sakini creates a fully insulated and self sufficient soundworld that operates on its own intimate logic. Bits of it remind us of the last few seconds of Cranes' ’Tomorrow’s Tears’, or what Britton Powell describes as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” in his liner notes to Dominique Lawalrée perfectly formed 'First Meeting’ - another apt frame of reference.
On album closer ‘Butterflies' Sakini’s vocal plays a more prominent role, although still distant and layered, somewhere in very vague proximity to Grouper albeit less aware of its audience. There’s an almost baroque, merry-go-round feeling to it, like a once forgotten dream recalled with lucid clarity for a split second, before slipping out of grasp for eternity.
One of the strongest debut albums we've heard in years, Nazar’s ‘Guerrilla’ is a record about the Angolan civil war that we reckon will come to be one of the defining albums of 2020
Relaying the tragedy and terror of his family’s experience of war, Nazar uses a highly distinctive sound design palette and manacled grasp of what he calls “rough kuduro” rhythms to bring listeners deep into his mindset. While essentially impressionistic, Nazar vividly dramatises the theatre of war in a way that’s perhaps needless to say, authentic; drawing on his parents’ first-hand accounts and his own familiarity of the war’s aftermath, including his Rank General father’s writings and his mother’s oral recollections, to supply a shocking record that doesn’t shirk from the gore and adrenaline, while acknowledging sensations of blissed relief and optimism amid its scrambled con-fusion of feelings.
As previewed in 2018’s remarkable ‘Enclave’ EP, Nazar’s singular sound naturally bears a strong relationship to the Kuduro futurism of artists on Lisbon’s Príncipe label, however his use of cinematic tropes and a visionary style of narrative arrangement distinguishes his sound in its own lane. Setting the scene with the resigned negative ecstasy of ‘Retaliation’, Nazar becomes a physical presence via his vocal duet with Shannen SP, who returns from the ‘Enclave’ EP to supply icy gynoid vox to his blunted rap in ‘Bunker’, before lead single ‘UN Sanctions’ comes off like Klein’s hauntological elegies taken to the club, and the thrilling kuduro skirmish ’Immortal’ gives way to the contrasting, blissed succour of ‘Mother’ at the LP’s heart. But that relief is short-lived as the album’s final section stakes its message brutally clearly in the end scenes, running between his ravenous ‘Arms Deal’ to the schizzy but exactingly disciplined trample of ‘Why’, and the triumphant yet heartbroken denouement in ‘End Of Guerrilla’.
Where Burial somehow bridged a sort of maudlin vibe with still glowing embers of UK dance music in a style that became known as hauntology, Nazar follows to use a similar technique to distill and connote the pathology of war and its aftermath in a way that’s equally vital as a timeless expression of contemporary concerns on how the past plays out in the present day.
Totally absorbing new album flush with ambient-jazz-electronic touches from Vegyn, following their production chops for Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and JPEGMAFIA with an ear-snagging new showcase on London’s PLZ Make It Ruins.
Affiliated with James Blake and Frank Ocean and known for work on some of the most prominent, boundary-probing rap releases of recent years, Vegyn brings a refreshingly optimistic, laid-back, dreamy aesthetic to the table in ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’. If this album had reached ears this summer it would have bene among the season’s most played, but as it stands it’s going to keep us warm all winter with its collaged mosaic of fleeting field recordings, Satie-esque melodic wist and sparingly used but super crispy R&B/hip hop snap.
A big, big look for fans of Klein, Gila, BoC, Oli XL.
Breathtakingly unique dust'n'bones drone-folk-noize workouts from Minnesota trio Maths Balance Volumes, who accurately paint a painful picture of 2020 while refusing to ignore the past, cramming harrowing folk and blues wails into ghostly shells of genre-agnostic experimentation. A late highlight of a trying year.
Billed as "music for a world in which things have never been okay", Maths Balance Volumes' latest album "A Year Closer" sounds shockingly resonant as we prepare to close out twelve months that have shifted the cultural landscape for the foreseeable future. The Minnesota outfit have been recording since 2002 and have dropped a slew of records on labels like Chocolate Monk and KYE, but their music has never sounded so in tune with the global mood. The trio drift spectrally between the past, present and future, never relying on prettiness or resting on overdone signifiers. So when they use elements of American folk and blues it sounds like a conversation with the past - warts and all - rather than an attempt to paper over their country's awkward, guilty history.
At times, it sounds like the dying gasp of New Weird America coughing through lo-bitrate Limewire experiments; at others, it's more like Tortoise at dusk jamming with Florian Fricke, barely audible over kettle squeals and tape hiss. Instruments are blurred and indistinct (is it a bass? a guitar? a bottle? a sample?), voices are sung and spoken, sometimes sampled, sometimes screamed. Genres are approached, but nothing is sacred: every element is disintegrated within an inch of its life until only effigies remain.
Somehow "A Year Closer" brings these last few months into focus without feeling like a mournful lament, lashing together spirituality, history, sound and politics without falling into nostalgia, scolding or repetition. Unmissable, really.
Detroit visionary Terrence Dixon scans stellar new horizons on the awe-inspiring 3rd chapter of his most cherished, foundational and inspiring album series.
Roughly once a decade since 2000 the pioneering Afrofuturist has offered a new landmark of deep, electronic music, and ‘From the Far Future, Pt. 3’ stakes one of 2020’s - and probably the next decade’s - leading examples of Detroit techno at its furthest, most experimental limits. This series of albums has consistently been the place to go for Dixon, and by extension the 313’s, most unruly but truest works, dashing between broken drums, dissonant alien synth tones, and the deepest recesses of the warehouse mind in a rudely distinguished calibration of Motor City mechanics. For us he’s right up there with the city’s deepest heads like Jeff Mills, Drexciya, Mad Mike, or Howard Thomas for producing some of that sound’s most vital, uniquely expressive machine music.
Dixon’s latest landmark sees him double down on the proprioceptive depth with acres of abstract, spatialised synth work while fine-tuning and ruggedly fucking with rhythmic conventions. From the black hole sensations of the album opener to abandoned space station ambience of ‘Found In Space’ and ‘Remarkable Wanderer,’ and the uncharted planet atmospheres of ‘By Land’ or ‘Rotation (Delay Mix),’ he has that side absolutely on lock, and in a way that lends proper cinematic cadence to the album’s flow of raggo muscle car drive between ‘Don’t Panic,’ the warehouse donuts of ’Spectrum of Light,’ a strobing deep technohouse centrepiece ‘Unconditional Love,’ and the widescreen warehouse-in-space scope of ‘Out of Darkness.’
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Pivotal NYC figure Gavilán Rayna Russom pays homage to the sacred and the profane in a heady suite inspired by Bernini’s C.17th sculpture, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Their follow-up to last year’s ‘The Envoy’, which re-introduced Russom to the world under her new name, ‘Transverberation’ stems from the artist’s enduring obsession with Bernini’s sculptural rendering of St Teresa’s experience of being penetrated by the Holy Spirit. The resulting album is steeped in nostalgia for her uni days and art classes - “She often spent most of that class sitting next to her girlfriend so they could fondle each other in the darkened lecture hall; the mix of religious ecstasy, sexuality and attention to detail in the sculpture lodged deeply in her consciousness” and works as a sort of ontological anchor for rediscovering her sense of spirituality in this new phase of music writing and composition, where the dancefloor is mostly left for dust in favour of loftier and psychedelic themes.
“As a deeply spiritual and often extremely solitary and private person, her love of the story that animated Bernini’s hand has continued to grow throughout her life, especially after multiple visits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s to the chapel of Santa Maria de la Vittoria in Rome where the sculpture is currently kept. Transverberation sees her returning to that story as a sober woman in her mid 40’s, initiated into several spiritual traditions that specifically work with the energy of saints. The 9 works that comprise this release are also informed by her experiences of quarantine and social distancing. In an environment of enforced solitude and ramping collective horniness, the idea and practice of sexual intimacy with god became deep, complex and necessary.”
Pye Corner Audio's "Black Mill Tapes" is back with a special 10th anniversary reissue. One for the synth fetishists, this sounds like John Carpenter turning his hand to slithering Detroit techno or SURVIVE after 48 hours at Berghain.
It's not hard to find records fashioned from a collection of analog synthesizers based around vintage movie soundtracks and charity store Tangerine Dream records right now, but Pye Corner Audio's "Black Mill Tapes" remains one of the best examples of the genre. Martin Jenkins' skill was revealed fully here as he took the influence of John Carpenter or Goblin and flipped it completely, edging creepy, anxious arpeggios and moss-covered drum machine loops into club music zones that hinted at a different kind of dark room.
This 10th anniversary set bundles the four "tapes" in a boxset and should appeal to horror/sci-fi enthusiasts, Mogwai fans, Ghost Box obsessives, Boards of Canada fans, Minimal Wave lovers and second wave Detroit techno completists in a single breath. It's more than simply soundtracks for an imaginary film; Jenkins takes us on a journey but never completely relies on nostalgia, allowing his influences to seep through genre framework and form into an amorphous blob that's somehow timeless.
MOMA Ready with a pack of deep, hard and tracky cuts to see out the year in style
Keepers of the flame for a style of OG, US dance music, MOMA Ready has been prominently active in the AceMoMa duo, and solo, for House of Altr, stoking a true strain of club music whose meaning has too often been lost in translation by its Euro counterparts.
On ‘HAUS Psychology’ he keeps the pressure gauge ticking on seven deftly pounding cuts, applying measured weight to fine takes on classic NYC, Chicago, and Detroit signatures. For the strongest stuff, we advise skipping between the balanced dub chords and velvet-punch kicks of ‘Always On Your Mind’, the starker groove and lip-smacking pads of his late night special ‘Bliss Count’, and the crunchier breakbeat techno swang of ‘Delusions of Grandeur’, and his splashy breaks in ‘High & Lows’, and you’ll know exactly what to do next.
Vladimir Ivkovic’s excellent Offen Music present a superb, long-lost album by Mitar Subotić a.k.a Suba, a Serbian producer who moved to Brazil in the ‘90s after making amazing, cinematic records as Rex Ilusivii, and whom sadly died in 1999 when on the cusp of becoming one of Brazil’s most prominent producers. If you’ve been following Offen Music’s amazing records by Toresch and Rex Ilusivii, fell hard for that CultureClash LP on Lost Futures, love Muslimgauze, or hanker for lush ’90s vibes that you’ve never heard before, this one’s a total must-check!
Originally realised in 1995 at Suba’s Wah Wah Studio in São Paolo, Brazil, only shortly after the release of Subotić’s album as part of the Angel’s Breath duo with Milan Mladenović, Wayang discretely echoed that album’s esoteric pop themes and, at the time, was intended as Suba’s début release. For reasons undisclosed, the album was shelved in the archive, and he eventually released São Paolo Confessions in 1999 as the first Suba album, proper.
It may have taken over 20 years, but Wayang now finally finds its audience, and at a time when the scene has been perfectly massaged by waves of interim reissues and especially the DJs sets of Vladimir Ivkovic and Lena Willikens, whose shared rhythmic senses find a lot of common roots in this record. From the almost-junglist temporality of its opening cut, thru flashes of tribal rhythmic psychedelia, to passages of arcane incantation and some blindingly avant arrangement strategy, Suba proves he is a visionary artist and storyteller with tales for days.
After swirling our swedes for the last few months, we can assure you that Wayang is a distinctly psychotropic episode from a richly imaginative producer, with a proper play it again and again factor that hasn’t diminished since we first heard it.
Obscure Japanese New Wave peachiness from Osaka’s Viola Renea, out of print for 35 years and fetching high prices for originals - big RIYL early Factory, YMO, Liquid Liquid
Viola Renea may hail from Osaka, Japan, but properly sound like they trotted around some enclave of Ancoats in the ‘80s. Their sole, 1985 LP packs bags of Factory-esque jazz-funk basslines and jangly melodic guitars with ounces of swagger, and just a bit of strange impishness, across 8 devilishly memorable songs.
The scarcely seen 85 OG has become the preserve of keen collectors and with hindsight it’s not hard to hear why; it stands out a mile from much of the other Japanese reissues that have hit these shores, with particular, peculiar highlights in the dubbed out psychedelic disco stepper epic ‘Faros Faras Island’ withs its wigged-out folk vamps, or the stunning techno-pop meets jazz-funk angularity of ‘Māyā Candra’, and the gorgeous meld of iridescent FM synths and Vini Reilly-esque lilt in ‘Chariot Of Palace.’
Acidic Ghanaian highlife meets funk on this legendary 1978 set that sounds like fusion from another dimension. Historic!
Dan Boadi scored a huge hit with his first widely-available album "ABRABO", so he traveled to the USA to record "Money is the Root of All Evil". Produced in Chicago, it captures the red-hot essence of the era's best funk and soul without losing the Ghanaian highlife edge, even managing to melt reggae rhythms into the cosmic slop. The result is an album that might be best described as fusion, but avoids any awkward trappings, sounding unique and vital. Crate diggers and breaks freaks will no-doubt already be onto this one, for the rest of us this is simply a killer album that joins the dots between continents and genres, finding a rich seam of creativity.
A bearhug of chill-out room gouching gear from MFM spanning the golden era of ‘90s ambient dance music with gems from David Moufang, LFO, Global Communication, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Sun Electric and many more notables of that era.
Since the world turned into a big chill out room in early 2020, albeit with a heavy sense of anxiety, this set could hardly be better placed for downtime in the comfort of your own home, rolling out mystic highlights such as LFO’s MDMA-tingle arps and pads in ‘Helen’ and the sublime suspension systems of Global Communication’s remix of ‘Arcadian’, along with Move D’s early nugget ‘Sergio Leone’s Wet Dream’, and the lush pads of his close spar Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum, plus a strip of killer slow acid in Sideral’s ‘Mare Nostrum’, and the blissed romance of ‘Love 2 Love’ by Sun Electric.
One for the lovers and the ravers.
Ukranian composer Oleg Shudeiko returns with a brilliantly weird new album inspired by Renaissance/late Medieval polyphony and created with generative modular synthesis and historial instrumentation.
"Oleg Shudeiko pairs software re-creations of medieval harmonies with human free improvisation ‘Madrigals’ is the result of a two-year-long exploration into generative counterpoint in modular synthesis. Inspired by Heinali’s love of the polyphonic compositional style of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the album employs historical acoustic instruments such as the theorbo lute and the baroque alto viola alongside Heinali’s mastery of notoriously complex generative synth systems.
Heinali (Kyiv-based Oleg Shpudeiko) points out that late Medieval and early modern music - like his own studious approach to synthesis - is often inherently mathematical. Both are as much musical expressions as deeply cerebral studies. In modular synthesis, theory guides the musician’s reading of the sequence of logical operations, knowing the system well enough to anticipate its sound simply by reading the matrix of algorithms at its heart. In the case of early music, polyphony was achieved by acute study of interrelationship between notes and intervals. In both cases, harmonic layers are acquired in theory before practice, almost always by a single composer working alone.
Heinali writes of the surprising joy of writing generative patches that bloom with their own unpredictable life: “after two years of working on the patch and then several months of recordings, I discovered in awe that some of the voices acquired a kind of subjectivity. They were now framed by their stories — sets of relations that had been established over several years of practice. There was, for example, a high bird voice that loved ostinato and sometimes, under certain circumstances, went into deep bass. The interaction of these voices, as a result, gave rise to some kind of narrative”.
In ‘Madrigals’, music moves gradually. It is a garden of many intricate textures; its flora abundant, its seeds sprouting with colour and surprise. Heinali’s astute references to Medieval music were informed in part by the advice of Julia Vash, formerly of the University of Music and Theatre ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ Leipzig.
The ascent in opening track ‘Rondine’ feels physical, with high peaks and thin air. In ‘Beatrice’ (a piece beautifully elevated by Igor Zavgorodni’s brilliantly intuitive, poignant viola) a Millefleurs tapestry depicts pastoral bliss with a thunderstorm threatening to burst over the horizon. ‘Giardino’ is a tender, dusklit garden of diverging trails. Closer ‘Vita Nova’ lives up to its name, bursting with electric life. Over almost twenty years of mercurial, unique experimental electronic music, Heinali has become a much sought-after creator of electroacoustic soundscapes. His 2017 and 2018 releases on Injazero Records garnered huge acclaim from press and radio worldwide, marking his arrival as a singular and significant voice in the experimental-electronic music landscape. He has also composed original music for video games, contemporary dance production and installation. His recorded works have also been released by Sony, The Flenser, Fluttery, NEN, Paradigms and other labels. His history of live performances includes appearances at venues and festivals such as the Zorlu Performing Arts Center in Istanbul; Plivka, Art Arsenal, and Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv; Ukraine’s Next Sound festival and Museum of Modern Art of Odessa; and Berlin’s Akademie der Künste."
In 2016, the Japanese Duo Tenniscoats (Saya and Takashi Ueno ) visited Munich for the first time to play at the Alien Disko Festival, invited by the band the Notwist. In the japanese-bavarian bar Nomina, Saya and Ueno listened and joined the acoustic brass-string-combo Hochzeitskapelle (Markus Acher and his brother Micha are also members), who use to play in between people in restaurants, on the street, on boats, etc ...but only on a real stage, if they have to. Inspired by this evening, Saya founded the brass-band Zayaendo back home in Tokyo, together with her friend Satomi Endo, who plays the soprano-saxophone. They started to play in parks, forests and bars, and many friends joined, making them a collective with up to 20 musicians. Some of the members are also composers and contribute their compositions.
"In 2018, the collective came to Munich, and joined the Alien Disko festival. In 2019, they invited the Hochzeitskapelle to play with them on a 2-week-tour to japan. When they returned to Munich after this for the 2019-edition of the festival, their Munich friends organized a welcome-surprise-party for them, playing one evening only cover-versions of Zayaendo-songs. Taking part were the Hochzeitskapelle joined by Kofelgschroa-acoordion-player Maxi-Pongratz, the experimental duo Schnitt, who play with a vinyl-cutting-machine, trumpet and bass-clarinet, joasihno alias Cico Beck (Notwist) with his music-machines, the duo of Munich-based Japanese pianist Sachiko Hara and clarinetist and composer Christoph Reiserer, and a school-big-band led by g.rag-trumpet-player Alois Schmelz, who excited everybody by beautifully singing one song in Japanese. They played Zayaendo-compositions from the album „Zayaendo Music“.
Every band had recorded their cover-versions at the rehearsals ... just to give as a souvenir to the Zayaendo-members... but as this is such a wonderful and special compilation and just beautiful songs, we decided to make a small, limited vinyl-edition of this as well for others to hear. And traditionally, this has of course to be housed in a screen printed jacket by master Señor Burns, numbered and individually colored."
DJ Stingray and Skee Mask remix Keleketla!
"Reaching outward from Johannesburg to London, Lagos, LA and West Papua, Keleketla! started as a musical meeting ground between Ninja Tune cofounders Coldcut and a cadre of South African musicians (introduced by the charity In Place Of War), including the raw South African-accented jazz styles of Sibusile Xaba and rapper Yugen Blakrok (Black Panther OST). From those initial sessions, the record grew to encompass a wider web of musical luminaries, Sosimi, legendary LA spoken word pioneers The Watts Prophets and West Papuan activist Benny Wenda. Collaborators on this 12” include South Africa sessions with Soundz of the South Collective, DJ Mabheko and London sessions with Tony Allen, Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne, Tamar Osborn, Miles James, Joe Armon- Jones, Afla Sackey and Eska Mtungwazi."
For us there was no record that better captured our sense of surreal dislocation this year than this one. Originally released on tape over the summer, 'In This Lingering Twilight Sparkle’ finds Mark Leckey stitching together a fantasy travelogue made up of found sounds, spoken word and dismantled tunes like some hallucinogenic mixtape; part audio diary, part YouTube session taking in fairytale folk musics, iMessage notifications and gothic horror that will make you question... stuff. It’s been remastered by Rashad Becker for this vinyl edition and, like the tape, all profits will be donated to Arts Emergency - a mentoring charity and support network designed to help young people find a way into cultural industries through these endlessly bleak times. So, basically, you should cop this if you wanna own an insanely singular work of art (from a f*cking Turner Prize Winner™ no less) and help stop our cultural landscape from being completely eviscerated at the same time. Holy work, if u ask us…
"In the Age before These Times I’d been reading lots of folklore about Fairies, and Changelings and the like. At the same time I’d watch all these shows with my young daughter which revolved around magic and myth: enchanted realms, unicorns, mermaids, trolls etc. That I could instantaneously conjure up these shows on various devices made them appear even more magical. In my head these two worlds began to converge; the contemporary magic of consumerism, embodied within a rainbow unicorn, and an older mindset that could transact between the mundane and the supernatural. When the lockdown began this sense of the modern and medieval co-existing grew and grew, along with the belief that all the streaming services served as a protective magic from the encroaching dark age.
Come the pestilence I had the kids, online magic and a hard drive full of stuff I’d collected for O Magic Power of Bleakness, things that I wanted to emulate, that sonically suggested the sensations I was looking for, sounds and music that evoked Childhood and Consumerism, Fairies and Trauma, Hauntings and Concrete. More than these concepts though what I really I wanted was it to sound like someone totally lost and confused with the ongoing mystification of reality. An actuality where a Great Worm could reasonably appear on my news feed app as the Moon turns to Iron.
We draw the magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make-believe there are no monsters. KARL MARX"
Mark Leckey, May 2020
As Round One for the Main Street label, Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald made one of house music’s most enduring 12”s; I’m Your Brother.
The club and edit versions are a masterclass in appropriating Chicago house with your own style, whilst Ron Trent and Chez Damier’s Chicago’s Twisted Mix brings it right home.
The Stroom xmas 45.
"Goodmorning. I wish you, a merry merry christmas. As you sit by the fire. I see your sadness on your face. You hear the funny bells inside your head. And I do look into your pretty eyes. So gray. The Funny Bells. You are my friend. Today." au
Rolling down from the heavens with a total shockout intro, Basic Replay dig deep into the vaults for another selection guaranteed entry into the front of your dancehall pile.
Legendary keyboard whizz Jackie Mittoo is on fine tinkling form, riding the Ayatollah riddim with some hazy synthetic electronical embellishments atop a heavy heavy digital subbass rhythm. Mittoo version's the alltime classic 'Mash down Babylon' on the flip, installing a lush lick of African guitars and working the rhythm up with some driving organ chords in his inimitable style.
Autechre's classic second album from 1994, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
At bleeding’ last, Warp reissue one of their rarest gems, which Autechre themselves have referred to as conceiving as their “Warp record” - written to complement the label’s early ‘90s ambient/AI catalogue.
Depending your perspective, Amber is quite possibly the most beautiful Autechre album. It’s much softer, atmospheric than the needling electro tones of Incunabula, and also much friendlier, almost innocent than the cold, rugged Tri Repetae; almost like a snapshot of the duo in post-club gouch-out mode, hugging the sofa and chewing their ears in the days before somebody might snap you doing so on their iPhone.
Basically it’s completely essential if you love electronic music.
Call Super & Parris chase their ace duo debut with shine-eyed UK electronica sidespins on up-to-the-minute Afro House and bass styles
Manchester’s Fox, of Swing Ting esteem, lights up ‘Design Of A…’ with singjay vox complemented by contoured grooves leaning between UKF and deep SA house styles, with nifty nods Irdial’s early ’90s electronica. ‘Design Of A Body Sublime’ is the main room cut, with armpit-revealing keys and upfront drums, with ‘Design Of An Eye Sublime’ twysts off on West London backroom flex, ‘Design Of A Lost Sublime’ stretches out and ups the pace for a floating steppers style recalling Karizma via Claude Young, and the radio mix is cut for party hustle and bustle.
Æthenor's Daniel O'Sullivan reclaims the library music genre with a deliciously spooky set of soundtrack-esque drones and tones that will stick in yer head far longer than you'd expect. One for Radiophonic Workshop fans and Death Waltz devotees.
The first in a series of three albums of "library music miniatures", "Electric Maya: Dream Flotsam And Astral Hinterlands" finds multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan grappling with the concept of library music. For a while now, the genre has come to mean a certain type of breaks record - one for the crate diggers to obsess over before sticking on discogs for ridiculous sums. So legendary library imprint KPM Music is working with an assembly of modern composers to breathe some life - and more importantly some variety - into the genre.
Daniel O'Sullivan's first entry does exactly what you'd expect, but does it so damn well it's hard to complain at all. There are dusty, giallo-esque sounds aplenty, but O'Sullivan's distant drones and evocative, exquisite near-orchestral compositions are so inviting we've been going back again and again for more. Tracks like 'Eagle Ears' will have u wondering exactly which Criterion-approved indie masterpiece it was snipped from, while 'Feathered Earth' sounds as if it was swept up from the cutting room floor after Brian Eno's 'On Land' sessions.
Hearing any artist rise to the challenge of working in short-form is a pleasure, and Daniel O'Sullivan appears to relish the limitations of the form. Each vignette is perfectly formed, whether it's plaintive solo piano, bizarre outerzone electronics, pastoral ambience, high-minded prog or spiritual drone. It's an odd mix but utterly enjoyable from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
One of the most revered Techno 12" of all time.
Originally released in 1992, this was a landmark moment for techno, affirmation that Detroit and Berlin would be forever linked for thousands of kids who were just starting to wake up to electronic music. Complete with a classic UR mix on the flipside, this record is just about as good as it gets. But you knew that already right??
'Balance' by Frank Bretschneider & Taylor Deupree was originally released in 2002 by Mille Plateaux on CD only. The recordings are now available for the first time on vinyl within the KeplarRev series, presented in a new updated artwork based on the original layout with photographs by Taylor Deupree.
‘Balance’ is a prime example of golden era glitch music originally released by that scene’s core label, Mille Plateaux. It starts out relatively straight in that vein of minimal house and techno, but gradually and subtly gets more and more fucked, working off and in between the beats in a way that has come to be explored nowadays with a more maximalist style by likes of Rian Treanor.
We’d recommend skipping the first few, unless you really like that sort of thing, and enrolling from where it gets interesting around the super sparse 2-step of crystalline SND beats and woozy exotica motifs in ‘vertical invader’, and the wobbling subbass pivot of ‘freeze frame’, thru to the Ae-ish hyper step of ‘auto drive’, and the rugged cone-testing frequencies of ‘concrete.’
Shocking 909 driven dancehall banger from Dug Out, the label run by Honest Jons and Hard Wax
Ruffest shot of 1988 ragga-techno from Tiger at his maddest. Nuthin' but a rattling 909 riddim topped by an incendiary, unhinged vocal and that's all you need! Seriously, we've never heard owt quite like it.
Jan Jelinek’s iconic album 'Improvisations And Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001’ is finally given a vinyl issue for the first time. It’s another deep blue mood piece full of fragmented Jazz loops which will be essential listening for those of you enamoured not only with 'Loop Finding Jazz Records’ but also his quiet masterpiece 'Personal Rock’, released under ther Gramm alias. If you’re as obsessed with that album as we are, this reissue is a must.
"For the original 2002 CD on Soup-Disk and Sub Rosa (Audiosphere), Jan Jelinek and the Japanese trio Computer Soup (Satoru Hori – trumpet, Osamu Okubo - toys & electronics, Kei Ikeda - toys & electronics) presented eight tracks all recorded one afternoon in the trio’s living room in Tokyo. They are excerpts from a joint group improvisation that subsequently underwent rudimentary editing, on which Jelinek and Computer Soup worked separately.
Jelinek met the three musicians at his first concert in Japan in 2001, at Tokyo’s Yellow club, where Computer Soup performed as the support act. Delighted by their free improvisation on pocket-sized electronic toys, trumpet and oscillators, he arranged to meet Hori, Okubo and Ikeda a few days later for a session at their apartment. The resulting three-hour recording, made on their living room floor, formed the basis for Improvisations and Edits. A few days later, Jelinek returned to Berlin. Over the following months, they separately chose passages from the recording that were then edited and assembled into an album.
Formed in Tokyo in 1996 as a quintet (including Shusaku Hariya and Daisuke Oishi), Computer Soup began by performing with acoustic instruments on the streets of Shibuya. Ikeda und Okubo soon switched instruments, and from then on the group’s minimalistic but densely woven sound was defined by electronic toys, oscillators and Satoru Hori’s trumpet. Their first album was released in 1997 on the Japanese label Soup Disk. Eight further releases followed."
Finally the missing piece of the puzzle arrives, the early and absolute classic slice of genre-defining techno from Basic Channel under their Quadrant guise.
Infinition was originally licensed to Carl Craig's Planet E imprint in 1993, and also Renaat's now sadly defunct R & S label, and became an instant sell out on both slightly differing versions and has been sought after ever since. Here Moritz re-masters the two cut's Infinition and Hyperprism onto a loud and crisp 45rpm press. The demand for Basic Channel records has been hyped of late due to the 10th anniversary re-press of the original 9 releases, this further 12" completes the early evolution of their sound, and the bare 909 drums and classic washy synth's show the early leaning's toward the Phylyps Trak style cuts, and their first foray in to the annals of techno history.
Hyperprism has a more acidic feel, and a definite Planet E/Detroit sound with the lush strings backing the modulating acid line, while the subtle drum programming makes the groove sit superbly under the music, a lush and deep as you like vintage cut from Basic Channel finally available. An unmissable re-issue of a bona-fide classic, and remember kids - we've been waiting for far too long for a record to land with a new Basic Channel catalogue number - here it is. Legendary.
Grönland present the definitive Harmonia boxset collecting their groundbreaking debut, 'Musik Von Harmonia' (1974), along with 'Deluxe' (1975), 'Live 1974', their Harmonia & Eno '76 album 'Tracks and Traces', and the previously unreleased 'Documents 1975' collection of early live performances.
The short-lived syzygy, extant from 1973 to 1976 and revolving three members - Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius of Cluster with Neu!'s Michael Rother - were responsible for a gentle but pivotal phase shift in German experimental music, and also on a wider scale within the world of new pop, rock and electronic music, thanks to the praise of David Bowie and Brian Eno - the latter of whom would join them for 'Tracks and Traces' as Harmonia & Eno '76.
Their history remains one of the most storied of electronic music; a group of imaginative, innovative German composers seeking to make a new music guided by nature and the stars, accompanied by one of the greatest producers of his generation, Conny Plank, and all at an idyllic location in the countryside of Forst, Lower Saxony, next to the Weser River.
From these lush conditions they vibed out, working with an arsenal of "mobile" recording gear (depicted in the accompanying booklet) to realise some of the most beautiful and influential records of the '70s, from the shimmering ambience of 'Musik Von…' thru the "pop" tone of 'Deluxe', along the motorik trajectories of their 'Documents 1975' recordings, and back to space music with Eno in '76.
An incredible set, grab one while you can.
Now entering its 3rd decade of circulation, Maurizio’s ‘M6’  remains one of the greatest 12”s of the ‘90s
How a modulated dub chord, slinky hi-hat and bassline can move us to tears and freeze our spines for 9 minutes quite like the A and B-sides of M6 is a mystery that we’ll never fully work out, and kinda don’t want to anyway. Mix it with Main Street’s Acting Crazy to extend the hypnosis as long as you like.
Magnum opus-weight album from organist and electro-acoustic composer Anna von Hausswolff, the entire record consists of just one instrument - the pipe organ, and represents absolute liberation of the imagination. It's a masterwork of gothic classical beauty - a must check for fans of Kali Malone, Kara-Lis Coverdale.
‘All Thoughts Fly’ was recorded at Gothenburg’s Örgryte New Church and is heavily infused with the space’s atmospheric nuance, which renders the theatric richness of Anna’s compositions at their most billowing and melodramatic. As her 6th album, it’s also her most confident and strikingly original, following the slow steady procession of her sides for Kning Disk, Touch and City Slang with her most sepulchral and steepled refinement of black metal atmospheres and sacred dirges pronounced with an apocalyptic classical grandeur and iconoclastic experimental daring.
“Notes on the recording process: The organ on All Thoughts Fly is situated in Gothenburg and is a Swedish replica of the Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. It is the largest organ tuned in Quarter-comma meantone temperament in the world. With it’s four manuals, one pedal and 54 stops, it was built as part of a ten-year research project reconstructing 17th Century North German organ building craft. The tuning temperament is an important detail to note here, as it deeply affects the sound and tuning, and thus radically changed the process of creating this album. Anna speaks of a pleasant surprise during recording, the organ's ability to create beautiful "pitching" notes through its stops and air supply system. She remarks “We took advantage of this so most of the pitching sounds and notes that you hear on the album comes from the mechanics of this organ, effects made entirely acoustically." The organ was recorded with two room mics for atmosphere and two pairs of close mics placed inside the organ to capture nuances and detail for further organ sound processing by Filip Leyman in his studio.”
This one was pressed up in such a small run back at the start of the year that barely anybody caught sight of it, which is a shame cos it’s a deadly little thing. It starts off in the vicinity of Carl Craig’s Psyche/BFC classics and ends on a sorta woozy sea-shanty somewhere between Laurie Anderson's ‘O Superman’ and This Mortal Coil’s Song To The Siren. Basically, the best all-over-the-place vibes.
‘Lowlands’ thrills with a broad and fully formed mix of styles that’s impossible to pin down. ‘Arctic Eden’ initiates with a warm flush of ‘90s synth pads and breakbeat house grooves that sounds like a graft between 69's 'Jam The Box' and 'Desire', while ‘Don’t F*ck With The Dragon’ feels out a canny ambient techno space that morphs into a gnarly distorted drive, and the pacier ‘Buildbase’ evokes a strange, glyding headiness that will work a treat in the club.
On the other side of his style, we find cranky cinematic scenes in the sombre, rustling and quietly unpredictable design of ‘Storegga Slide’, and washed-out, screwed trip hop recalling Yo Yo Express Dieting in ‘High Tide’, before he wraps it all up with the Breadwoman-like alien folk of ‘Lowlands’.
Pretty f*cking special this one…Tipped!
Heather Leigh is a musical polymath in the truest sense of the word; primarily known as an influential practitioner of pedal steel guitar, her work is impossible to pigeonhole - all-over-the-place in the best way, from collaborations with Peter Brötzmann and Shackleton to a properly mind-bending duo of albums for Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ and Editions Mego - hers is a sound that’s both highly sensual and aesthetically aggressive, beautiful and fearless. Her ‘Glory Days' album for Documenting Sound has now been remastered and pressed on vinyl - and is, for our money - one of the most intangible yet open-hearted pop records of the year.
Composed, performed & mixed by Heather Leigh "at home with the window open” in Glasgow, ‘Glory Days’ contains a shocking half hour of music; a 13 track opus that is, by any measure, nothing short of a modernist folk masterpiece. Recorded quickly and instinctively in April this year and described by David Keenan as sounding like "a cross between Meredith Monk, DOME and A Guy Called Gerald", it continues to reveal new dimensions with every listen.
Played on pedal steel guitar, synthesiser and cuatro, and featuring Heather Leigh’s voice throughout, the songs here capture a sense of physical longing wrapped in a boundless creative energy. What started out as hours of diaristic recordings quickly became honed and crafted into powerful and highly memorable songs - vast in scope and depth of feeling. It’s hard to fathom that these 13 songs were made on the hoof, they capture that most elusive of artistic qualities - an urge to continuously evolve.
Chestplate-rattling steppers meditations from Junior Loves for new age dub guru John T. Gast’s 5 Gate Temple
The UK producer chases up shots for Tabernacle and 1080p over the years with four tracks of big soundsystem music powered by pounding subs and mystic pipes. Version for version it’s a heavyweight selection, recalling Mala via Iration Steppers in the grimy darkside tonnage of ‘Yantlet’, and its FX-heavy mix, before ‘Grain’ trades in tuff trodders bass and militant snares haunted by choral pads that properly throw us back to those end-of-night dread steppers competitions at SubDub in the Windy.
Bawling bawl fwd.
Breathtaking new studio album from The Necks, saddling up for a glorious route taking in fast flowing polyrhythms and revelatory soundscapes - really one of their strongest in a flawless catalogue that now spans 30 years and with a closing track that once again taps into that Talk Talk thing they do so well...
The now legendary trio have always charted their own path thru the backwoods and wilds of jazz, krautrock and avant terrain, but ‘Three’ sees them head off across topographies that were previously only glimpsed on the horizon. In proper beginning, middle and end sections, they thrillingly cultivate and hack thru dense, lush new worlds of psychedelic sound before arriving at a third-eye dilating interzone, and relieving the psychic tension in a tranquil, bucolic final passage, leaving its participants ravished and refreshed.
Effectively 30 years in the making, if we take in their entire run from 1989’s classic ‘Sex’, via 1994’s ‘Aquatic’ and the singular roil of 2018’s ‘Body’, the triad of finely sculpted works in ‘Three’ are the ultimate combination of the instrumental intuition that binds Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, and Lloyd Swanton, perfectly accentuated by studio processing from Tim Whitten (engineer) and Doug Henderson (master) that portrays their efforts in the best possible, impossible light and studio magick with frankly astonishing, practically psilocybic results.
It’s genuinely difficult to think of another band who could come up this sort of album after three decades together and for it not to sound like they were playing to hoary fans or trying to recapture something. From the barefoot scramble and cascading rush of ‘Bloom’ to the cavernous wonder of ‘Lovelock’ and bluesy resolution in the marshy delta sprawl of ‘Further’ The Necks effortlessly keep their sound flowing into oceanic, hypnotic grace.
Hybrids of grimy machine wonk and plangent ambient pads from NYC’s Ephemera, going on like the rudest/sensitive ends of Filter Dread or Tom Boogizm
Arriving on Fixed Rhythms in the wake of Russell Butler and Hypervigilance, Ephemera’s debut shot fuses southern rap hi-hats with swooning synths and roving kicks in six amorphous parts. ‘Another Roach’ sets out his stall in rambunctious ambient-tek country, and follows thru with variations on stepping grime in ’SNL Tears’ and ‘Worms’, beside the sighing sino-choral motifs of ‘Vocal Interlude’, and more soft focus far eastern fetishism on ‘Preserves’, before rounding off with the smushed seasonal harmonics of ‘Jet Fuel.’
Anz, Surgeon, Shanti Celeste, AYA, Kush Jones, and Facta & K-Lone remix Hodge’s ’Shadows In Blue’ album in rolling and swanging UK rave styles
Surgeon follows the mode of his superb ‘Europa Code’ 12” with plush harmonic developments in his supple but bristling take on th title track, and Anz supplies another highlight with her Shed-like brickbat twyst on ‘Lanes.’ AYA also impresses with a stringently minimalist but playful tweak of ‘Ghist Of Akina’ recalling Autonomic D&B explorations, and the only non-UK artist on board, Kush Jones flips ‘The World Is New Again’ into a needlepoint footwork joint with breathless ambient pads. Shanti Celeste plays it straightest with a percolated take on ‘Lanacut’, and K-Lone & Facta screw ‘Sense Inversion’ with proper UK swing beats.
Dâm Funk switches it up in Garrett mode for a 3rd helping of Californian synth goodness on MFM
The astral ambient soul is positively oozing from ‘Private Life III’, shimmering with nods to everyone from Herbie Hancock to Paddy McAloon and a constellation of classic synth soul, but always with Damon G. Riddick’s judicious application of the funk.
Hitting it on the downstroke and along deep space tangents, he turns up some real pearlers in this set, coming off like some Electrifying Mojo special in ‘Watching The Skies’, and going full wingspan on ‘Hang Glyde’ and ‘Memories’, with some absolutely killer electro-jazz sequencer magick tucked away in ‘Timeless’ and ‘Pushin.’’