There’s something up with stroom, we tell u, and we're not at all sure how to feel about it. A lot of the records on the label - not all of them - but a lot of them - sound like some forgotten pearl we were once really into and which we've since completely forgotten about, like a recurring dream that no longer registers in the mind as fantasy. This record is completely that. A foggy earworm. A relic, a memento. 2 perfectly weird and beautifully smudged pop memories that we’re not 100% sure actually exist, even now as we sit here listening to them.
"As a young woman Sacha Vingerhoeds was part of a vibrant creative community in Rotterdam that organized itself under the name of ARTS. There was a primitively created studio situated in the basement of the building where spontaneous recording sessions took place.
Since the house functioned as a communal space, sometimes travelers and unexpected visitors (both from Holland and abroad) passed by and contributed for a shorter or longer period to the creative output of the community. Within this context a highly intimate cassette was recorded by Sacha and friends that combined the elements of improvisation, a free creative spirit and inner spirituality. The title "Eeuwig Op Reis" is hard to translate perfectly but means something like "Endlessly In Transit" or "Perpetual Travel", in the sense of being on an endless journey or travel. No more than 10 copies of the cassette were made and given to loved ones and family in 1983."
NYC don J Albert hashes a batch of dead blunted ambient dub-tech primitivism on Hank Jackson’s Anno label.
This lot feels like the loosest culmination of his killer work over the past few years for The Trilogy Tapes and his Exotic Dance Records, essentially regressing into sort of pre-linguistic hypnagogic states of ambient garage and breaks that works perfectly perpendicular to the likes of Actress, Ghostride The Drift and Ben Bondy.
To point out highlights, run check the cranky spannered breakstep of ‘Sahara Desert Dating App’ and let him treat you like a marionette with the 8 minutes of sloshing syncopation and hovering jazz chords in ‘Atabey’ or the irresistible, hair-kiss thizz of ’Skitter’ and scudding dub noise of ‘Dub on a Windy Day’ and you’ll know what to do.
Into The Light unearth a previously unheard EP of material from the late Petros Skoutaris, occasional collaborator with George Theodorakis. This one’s on a sun-bleached Tropicalia vibe, recommended if yr into Bill Laswell’s Material project or CNN’s weather ident music.
"Last year Into The Light delved deep into the unreleased archives of Free Level, a collaborative project between Greek composers George Theodorakis and the late Petros Skoutaris. Now the label presents a blissfully sunny and gorgeously life-affirming EP of rare solo tracks from Skoutaris that were recently discovered on a forgotten CD-R.
"Petros Skoutaris first rose to prominence in 1981 when the band he formed, new wave and ska fusionists Sharp Ties, sold 50,000 copies of their debut album “Get That Beat” on the back of the title track becoming a hit single all over Europe. A year later he quit the band, re-emerging in 1984 as the co-owner of now legendary Athens nightclub “Graffiti’’. Up until his unexpected death in 2004, Skoutaris appeared as a guest guitarist on a wide range of records – Pavlos Sidiropoulos’ classic album “Zorba The Freak” included, while also pursuing collaborative projects such as 667, Dubient and Free Level.
The tracks featured on this posthumous solo release were recorded in 2000 and were originally intended to appear on an album that never materialized. They offer a neat snapshot of Skoutaris’ chameleon-like musical nature and the layered melodic intricacy of his trademark guitar playing. This latter feature is particularly evident on “Tropika”, a dreamy but up-tempo affair that sits somewhere between Pat Metheny’s breeziest moments and mid-1980s alternative synth-pop, and the becalmed, Flamenco-influenced sunset bliss of “Attica”.
Skoutaris’ life-long love affair with reggae culture comes to the fore on the two-part “Yusurum”, a wonderfully intoxicating, NYC dub-funk influenced affair that was written, arranged and co-performed by his friend and fellow Athens synth-wave scene survivor Manos Skaramagkas. Like Bill Laswell’s work as Material, both versions of “Yusurum” incorporate extensive use of Indian style percussion and instrumentation, as well as hallucinatory effects and some of the warmest, weightiest bass known to humankind. It’s a mind-altering trip from an overlooked, little-known Greek master and his equally talented mate."
Nervously electric Berlin dance trax by Rhyw, alias of Alex Tsiridis on the Fever AM label he runs with Mor Elian
Locked in with for late, immersive sessions he dices with gibber-jawed techno recalling Szare on ‘It Was All Happening’, and pugilistic electro a la Gábor Lázár in ‘Geomest’, while following straighter electro-techno impulses on ’Stare Me Down’ and shifty Monolake-like IDM on ‘Loom High’, all finessed in the watertight mastering by Second Woman/Telefon Tel Aviv’s Josh Eustis.
V good this.
Musing on the heavy stuff in a soothing and stealthily effective suite for Buchla 200 modular synth, Canadian electro-acoustic composer France Jobin presents an absorbingly womb-like side with a jagged coda primed for fans of Mika Vainio, Eliane Radigue’s ’Trilogie De La Mort’ or Deathprod.
“The last two years have seen me maintaining an association with an unusual bedfellow, death. The loss of Mika Vainio, as well as three members of my own family, has had a profound effect on me and spurred a lengthy reflection on life, death, and everything in between. Parallelly, while studying the philosophy of science, I came across shadow photons: “Tangible photons are the ones we can see or detect with instruments whereas shadow photons are intangible (invisible) detectable only indirectly through the interference effects on the tangible photons.
There is no intrinsic difference between tangible and shadow photons: each photon is tangible in one universe and intangible in all the other parallel universes. They travel at the speed of light, bounce off mirrors, are refracted by lenses, and are stopped by opaque barriers or filters of the wrong colour. Yet, they do not trigger even the most sensitive detectors. The only thing in the universe that a shadow photon can be observed to affect is the tangible photon that it accompanies. This is the phenomenon of interference.
Shadow photons would go entirely unnoticed, were it not for this phenomenon and the strange pattern of shadows by which we observe it. Thus the existence of a seething, prodigiously complicated hidden world of shadow photons has been inferred.”* I have drawn a parallel between shadow photons and death. The interference phenomena, parallel universes, and how shadow photons affect tangible photons they accompany, offer, in my opinion, similarities, an unknown universe which is death and how we, remaining tangible human beings, are affected. This quest has led me to be more willing to accept chaos in my life and to conclude that Death is perfection, everything else is relative.
*The fabric of reality, David Deutsch, Penguin Press 1997.”
Art Feynman (aka accomplished recording artist and producer Luke Temple) stitches art pop, Nigerian highlife, worldbeat, and other lesser-known genres into a musical quilt that displays his unmistakable guile and eccentric songcraft.
"On his sophomore album Half Price at 3:30 he delivers songs that side-smile while pointing out the emotional sinkholes that whirl beneath the most overlooked, seemingly commonplace scenarios. As effortlessly as he inhabits his Art Feynman character he also slips into the lives of other personalities, both living and fictional.
Where previous entries in the Luke Temple discography-- including his well-liked former group Here We Go Magic-- have utilized organic timbres even while sailing far from the guitar-and-drums shore, Half Price sees him employing drum machines, slightly glossier production, and even autotune with a tasteful balance that suggests these tools have been in his kit all along. The result affectionately evokes guerrilla recording predecessors like Francis Bebey, Arthur Russell, and Haruomi Hosono in musicological detail, yet it's Temple's hard-won creative voice that resounds over top of it all facing Half Price forward instead of nostalgically backward."
Maria Rossi aka Cucina Povera follows-up a clutch of pearls for Night School with her debut for Editions Mego, a first collaborative album recorded with Edward Simpson, aka ELS, who wraps Maria's voice around growling and occasionally catchy modular electronics. Fear not, there’s no noodling inside - head straight for 'Marmori' for a properly blue take on pulsing electronic pop somewhere between Bjork’s ‘All Is Full Of Love’ and Art of Noise’s ‘Moments in Love’. Double love.
"A fragile interplay is at work between Maria’s drifting vocals and the ominous churn of Edward’s modular synth. Each sonic element takes a turn at leading the way. The opening track ‘Mantle’ is formed from sparse, monolithic electronics, woven gently with a thread of vocals. In the closing track ‘Eon’ Maria’s voice shepherds spontaneous bursts of sounds, almost Rave-like if order were imposed, through 15 minutes of turmoil and resplendent until the end.
Maria’s vocals make their own trails amongst the noise, bringing to mind the the exploratory language from Ursula K. Le Guin’s album ‘Music and Poetry from the Kesh’, recalling the same understated mystery. The overall effect of this collaboration is a completely unique creation albeit within a recognisable lineage of predecessors. The artwork reflects the vision of these two artists, collaged together. Both images are from a trip to Helsinki. Edward’s photograph of Tulips caught after dark are reviled by a flash. Maria’s seemingly abstract drawing is a graphite rubbing taken from a granite slab of a pavement somewhere in Kallio. Together the two images represent two different methods for capturing a city’s haptic landscape. The album moves with a feeling of transience, which is no surprise given that the idea to collaborate was formed in Helsinki, realised in London and edited together in Rotterdam.
The Oystercatcher tells a fragile tale, one that spins out into the unknown. A cold union of voice and machine, still tentative and probing, learning to co exist. A kind of fundamental shift whereby shared moments have been turned to sound. The Oystercatcher is a bird that can freely travel between the earth, sea and sky. The motif is taken from a Tove Jansson short story. A dead bird washes ashore, two different versions of events are presented to how the bird came to die. The album feels like two different stories being presented on top of one another but ultimately coming to the same tragic conclusion."
Pontiac Streator, Ulla, exael and Special Guest DJ convene as virtualdemonlaxative for this unhinged, brilliant and super fuxcking limited West Mineral.
The only info bundled with this one-off grind-trash sesh from the West Mineral crew is "cybergrind, danger music, FTP". But honestly what more do u need when the first track (thirty seconds long) is titled, 'I would like the entire police force to die'? Through hoarse coughs, toxic belches and searing digital noise we're introduced to virtualdemonlaxative - a crude effigy with one foot firmly lodged in Napalm Death's genre-defining "Scum" and a bloody stump cauterized in the smoldering ashes of John Wiese's painfully underrated "Soft Punk".
Arrhythmic blast beats collapse into digi-spliced howls, pre-COVID crowd hum echoes beneath anxious alien babbling, searing feedback wails to a disconcerting climax. If the rest of the West Mineral catalogue is simmered in psychedelic sensuality, virtualdemonlaxative is a rare antivenom; it's the disquieted sativa to Pontiac Streator, Ulla, exael and Special Guest DJ's undulating indica. We've been informed informally that 'Cruisin' (forty seconds long) was performed and recorded in a moving vehicle, almost causing a car accident. There's a metaphor here, but we're tired - listen loud and fucking riot.
Proper darkroom house sleaze from the guys behind BAT and Ovis Aurum, aka Boa, on a 2015 platter that bypassed most radars upon release
Issued as one of the earliest numbers on Seagrave, whose catalogue now spans aces by rkss, Jay Glass Dubs, Rennick Bell and many more, the sole BOA 12” feels timelessly squared for humid, red-lit club rooms at 5AM.
The A-side is just dripping with mucky suss, coming on with the dank and sensuous EBM house canter of ‘Bestial Arch’ beside the swaggering sleepwalker styles of ‘Roman Gold’ recalling vintage strains of Hypnobeat, proto-Humanoid and Beau Wanzer. Meanwhile the B-side brings the ‘floor to its knees for a sludgy crawl thru the buggered chug of ‘The Aqueduct’ and the knackered crease of ‘Lit Messenger’.
RIYL: Jensen Interceptor, Assembler Code, The Exaltics, Drexciya
"Two years after debuting on Central Processing Unit with the acclaimed Aftrmth EP, Nullptr returns to the Sheffield label for the release of new full-length album Future World. Nullptr has created a set of perpetual-motion marvels here, wind-'em-up-and-watch-'em-go electro tunes in which synth lines and 808s weave dexterously in and out of one another to form these lovely interlocking patterns.
Many of the tracks on Future World are anchored by needlegun grooves in the Drexciyan mode. The album's opening number 'Arrowhead', an eerie dystopian-electro take, sets the scene in this regard, and cuts like 'Cytron' and 'Phantom Cell' also have a rugged bump to their low-end - particularly the latter, which features a deliciously nasty bassline drop about halfway in.
While busybody drum programming persists throughout the album, Nullptr's fondness for washed-out pads means that Future World also provides the listener with space for contemplation. Third track 'Sweet Luna' may be robust enough to do damage on the dancefloor, but its deep chords and relatively muted bassline also push it in the direction of 90s electronica and IDM-techno. 'Sweet Luna' opens the door for many of the subsequent numbers to balance driving beats with wistful textures, and while electro remains Future World's core style the harsh sound of machine-funk is softened throughout by these warm synth tones.
Rather than playing it safe within the genre's familiar confines, Nullptr instead uses electro as a base from which to incorporate other sounds throughout Future World. 'Wave Cannon's bleep-bloop modulars and twittering hi-hats are pure robo-funk, but the track's jumpy bassline shows off a sense of adventure derived from braindance. There is also the ghost of a breakbeat in Nullptr's snare programming here, something which lurks in the back of 'Arvanche' later in the tracklisting. Meanwhile the uptempo 'Bit Device' pushes through to the ruminative techno of Virginia's early Ostgut Ton releases.
Nullptr throws us another curveball in Future World's home straight. The album's title-track closes the record out, and it's a cut which takes us deeper than anything that's come previously. Here Nullptr both lowers the tempo and also does away with drums, leaving the listener with little more than some hanging-garden synth pads and pregnant bassline. It proves to be a hugely atmospheric coda for this delightful album."
An album that documents and reimagines a warm summer's evening in Basel, Switzerland, in June 2018. Four musicians convened: Johannesburg composer and bow expert Cara Stacey, South African violinist and composer Galina Juritz, German harp player Antonia Ravens and Swiss guitarist and sonic explorer Beat Keller.
"Together they improvised using a graphic score titled "Luhlata njengetjani" ("Green like the grass" in the southern African Siswati language), inspired by the rivers of eSwatini, blackbirds in the parks of Basel and the evocative, red-flowered umcinci or erythrina tree. The South African umrhubhe mouthbow's dense harmonics folded around skittering, fractal violin loops; temperate swells of guitar were punctuated by agitated harp pings and the hearty thuds of Ugandan and Mozambican lamellophones.
This joyous, unfettered outpouring criss-crossed between southern Africa and Europe, forwards and backwards, for the following two years. The fruits were unpicked and rewoven into new mosaics by Cara, Galina, and two of our favourite recording artists, Object Agency and Hello Skinny. Recorded as part of Cara Stacey's studio residency in Basel, Switzerland, supported by ProHelvetia Johannesburg."
A dichotomy of old and new, equal parts nostalgia and of breaking new ground.
"‘Both Of Us’ is an upbeat throwback to the dancefloors of the past, drawing on Jayda’s love of classic, uplifting house, the kind she digs for and plays religiously in her DJ sets and during her recent year-long BBC Radio 1 Residency. “I wanted to make a happy house song” she explains, “the uplifting vocal, the slow breakdown, the release, those are a key part of so many of those classic house tracks I’ve found through digging over the years, and I really wanted to emulate the feeling I get from those”
In contrast, ‘Are U Down’ presents a new, slightly grittier and more sombre side to Jayda’s sound, something she attributes to her recent move from Berlin to London and her subsequent immersion into UK dance music culture. The lyrics and title, a reference to the feelings of uncertainty and excitement of exploring something new, could just as easily be applied to the circumstances many of us find ourselves in now."
Released initially on hand-numbered cassette on Martin's own Hidden Reality micro imprint in October 2019, Entre les chambres gets the remaster treatment by n5MD for release on vinyl in summer of 2020.
"Those familiar with Martin Haidinger's work as Gimmik might be surprised by a beatless return from Haidinger. However, those that have followed his music know that his synth work is undoubtedly his signature, and Entre les chambres' two long-form works bring his trademark to the fore, free from the confines of the grid. Entre les chambres is Haidinger's first new Gimmik music since he appeared on our MD8 compilation back in 2004."
Obeah, Trim & Rider Shafique on a three track EP for Earthtrax, including a Eusebeia rework on the flip.
This one’s on a minimal autonomic tip somewhere between digital dancehall and stripped d&b, plus a Junglist refix on the flip from Eusebeia.
Club dynamo Finn rains down two in demand VIP purlers brimming with the blend of good-time vibes he’s patented over the past half decade.
Hailed recently in DJ Mag as a catalyst of Manchester’s singular hybrid club sound, DJ/producer Finn most smartly draws a line between hearty Northern Soul stompers, US garage-house and regional club styles, and UKG bounce - with a dab of French touch house - in the winning style that’s earned him a cult and steadily growing audience in recent years. Like the Anz production reel Finn issued on his 2 B Real label last year, his recent '2020 Sampler' played thru a stack of exclusive original productions, two of which are now pressed on this whitelabel "Ride The Storm, Life Goes On" and "Touch Me, Hold Me (Close To Your Heartbeat).
Tapping into a rich vein of northern soul brio that links the North’s small town and big city club scenes of the ‘70s to their modern day equivalents, Finn works it out in timeless, anachronistic, and even Uchronic style, deftly rejigging the timeline of US/UK dance dialogue in a directly jacking, swinging and bubbling in a way that’s properly Manchester and universally appealing to the floors from Chicago to Tbilisi.
Part two in his trilogy of what seems like an aural romp through dance music’s key components, Luke Vibert follows up his ode to the ‘Amen break’ on the sumptuous ‘Luke Vibert presents Amen Andrews’, with a pretty damn thorough modelling of rave roots, in ‘Luke Vibert presents Modern Rave’.
"When it comes to bashing out creative, highly complex, yet seemingly simplistic rave bangers, Luke Vibert certainly has the chops for delivering the goods in spades. As an innovator in the field for labels like Ninja Tune, Warp and Rephlex, Vibert digs deep into his floppy disc collection for a glorious ride through familiar samples and hooks, breakbeats and funky basslines and earworm melodies for an indispensable collection of feel good modern rave."
Brooklyn-based outfit Wetware (Roxy Farman and Matt Morandi) return with the intense follow-up album to 2018’s Automatic Drawing, an electronic dirge, simply titled: Flail
"Formed in 2015 and known for their odd and unpredictable live performances, Wetware’s new album captures this disorienting confusion in a series of definitive documents that encompass a concentrated, noisier sound that pushes and pulls against electronic textures and frenetic vocals, creating a palate of wild, unhinged sonic collages.
Presented across eleven new tracks in a tightly wrapped and smartly delivered album, Flail is exemplary of Wetware’s dynamics and tension. The 42 seconds of “Car Dancer,” act as a trailer for tension, setting up the episodic blast of “Kismet,” challenging the listener to find a wall to grab. Lead single "Exaggerated Bliss" pulsates before spinning unexpectedly into a chilling spoken narrative. Bitterly terse storytelling follows the staccato map of emotion, and as sparse as “Divided In Halves” is, “Rivalries Regulars” immediately answers with a dense oration that features Farman cursing “I know the reason for it” in stoic repetition, agnostic of rhythm yet in sync with mania.
“Shiny Face” furthers the band’s ability to create space with sound, using drone layering and drilling vocals before locking into meditation. Frequency becomes potency, as the track traverses speed, rhythm, and dire sparsity. Ending with the atmospheric jaunt, “Horse Pistol,” Flail draws from the dearth of clarity that informed No Wave and early-Industrial music through a modern lens offering no deft solutions, allowing the album to circle infinitely in the fading present, fostering a window into modern paranoia."
Fluxion beautifully drifts focus from quietly cinematic scenes to signature dub house rollers in his dustily nuanced style.
‘Perspectives’ is the Greek’s 8th album following a few years from ‘Ripple Effect’ and some choice ‘Transformations’ with mutual spirits Deepchord over the interim. Now 20 years since his ‘Vibrant Forms’ placed him in the Chain Reaction calibre of dub techno producers, he describes ‘Perspectives’ as a more “personal… intimate” record that his previous, and that personality comes out stealthily thru his quiet elision of frayed dub house chords with more jazzy smoky rhythms and lonely coffee atmospheres in the album’s title track and the cooing angelic chorales of the intro ’Schism’, while the luxuriant scapes of ‘Within’ and ‘Promise’ also recall Moritz Von Oswald’s turns toward kosmiche jazz dub space.
OG Braindancer Luke Vibert revives his Amen Andrews alias for a jungle lark on his home from home at Hypercolour
The rudest of Vibert’s myriad monikers, Amen Andrews first hit the floor hard with a barrage of ragga jungle in the early ‘00s, and now turns the pressure up again with sackloads of classic samples chopped into his nifty amen edits and jump-up basslines. It’s a lot of fun, especially in the daft hardcore party skank of ‘God’, the gurn-triggering rave stabs of ‘DVC1’, and dread bass wamper ‘Big L’.
Mighty double dubplate squaring off NYC’s Blazer Sound System with Melbourne’s CS + Kreme in a heavy steppers duel for Efficient Space.
Trodding heavy after a respective s/t 10” for YOUTH and one of the albums of 2020 for The Trilogy Tapes, this plate catches two of the best out there right now in a contrasting one-two of dread pressure and deepest ambient dub lust.
Comprising Nathan Corbin (Zebrablood, Excepter) and Tony Lowe (Rainstick), Blazer Sound System chase up their debut 10” and acclaimed NTS shows with a Jah Shaka-via-John T. Gast-styled juggernaut in ‘Tanka Riddim’ for the ‘90s digickal steppers crew, while CS + Kreme have us utterly rapt with the ‘90s ambient digidub flex of ‘Crushed Cream’, with signature 808 boom-crack synched to Conrad Standish’s devilish bass work and achingly on-point pads that make for an instant addictive effect.
Bit of a no brainer this one. Choice tunes on both sides.
Soviet electronic research highly recommended if yr into Japanese Telecom, Dopplereffekt, Legowelt, Eary 0PN
"Soviet Space Research Institute (SSRI) is a musical scheme led by Vladimiros Peilivanidis under the moniker Heinz Kammler. Similar to other HK by-products such as ITPDWIP (Instant Teleportation Process Detected While In Progress), SSRI is influenced by early Soviet and Western electronix of the likes of Detroit, Bristol, Munich, and St. Petersburg.
ARPA Spatial Industries is a fictional exotic tech R&D firm operating from 2036. The SSR Institute is exploring the cosmic endeavours of ARPA S.I. as presented through a series of public commercials. In this episode, we cover three particular commercials released between April and September 2036."
VIP's from Homemade Weapons, Roho, Presha & Torn
"VIPs are becoming more common again with the fast turnover of music in our rapidly evolving musical environment. These enable the producer to continue playing their own tracks in DJ sets but have an edge with a slightly updated version from the released tune. VIPs are mostly never made available outside a select set of DJs, but for the Samurai Hannya series we had a few that were really too strong not to release, so we commissioned a few more to round out the EP.
Homemade Weapons is a long term proponent of the VIP and he shows his experience here with his updates of Omen and The Claw, transforming them into entirely different approaches that have been favourites with all DJs that have had these in advance. Roho and Torn strip back their tunes and both provide essential renovations to their initial constructions that propel them back into your crate as essential frameworks to build new blends."
After starting the decade on ECM, and dancing with Perlon in 2015, Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer hash out their most starry-eyed and jazz-frayed sound for Mana in ‘The Clouds Know’, achieving a style that lies somewhere between Rashad Becker, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, Beatrice Dillon and that ace ‘John Tchicai With Strings’ Lp for Treader
“Developing a sound that tends to drift along as otherworldly atmospheres and strange fusion, Vilod evade easy categorisation, even compared to Villalobos’ already experimental and genre-twisting solo minimal offerings. He and Loderbauer pull away the backbone inherent to the structure of that dance music, and The Clouds Know refines a deft and subtle musical noir built on ambient cues, sparks and claps of electricity, brushed drums, black voids and subterranean bass swoops. There's a twinkle in the eye and moments of deadpan levity, but the overall mood here is sober and introspective. Emotions run deep.
Through studio mastery and an enigmatic language the album forms a fascinating sonic and sensory work with few compromises. With erratic rhythms notably submerged—techno remains as an irregular pulse in the belly of the beast—fields of crisp, uncanny detail expand greatly. Humid environments appear, dense with the chatter of synthesised insects and the gentle rain of drums and whispering cymbals, enchanting the listener in focus or sublimating into layers of ambience depending on your disposition - and the quality of your stereo field.”
Exceptional slab of ambient thizz and lush, experimental club dervishes from West Mineral’s Exael and their hotly tipped Berlin pal Arad Acid.
Landing on Motion Ward in the wake of releases by uon, Ol (Serwed), and Perila, ‘Furi’ works a very fine line between dreamily spacious sound design and intimately tactile, smudged dancefloor warmth of the type that’s very much needed right now.
Scudding, washed-out choral ephemera gives a pill-belly start with the title tune, before there find their groove in nervously frayed electro on ‘Untitled’, and Arad Acid plays it down with the high tog ambience of ‘Frontmxxd’ next to Exael’s killer piece of ambient jungle abstraction ‘Dex’. Nagging, impish footwork rhythms then come out to play on Exael’s ‘Prise’, and Arad Acid shows off some vertiginous, flash-fwd sound design chops recalling Second Woman in the whirling vortices of ‘Torqued Light’, and they come together in the lushest kiss of imaginable, ‘Mt Love is an Extension of You’.
Hard to deny, this is a total beauty.
Finomehanika is Rijeka-based Robert’s first solo release in two decades since “Albumski” on pioneering avant-garde techno label Phthalo which put him on the map next to fellow artists as diverse as Dntel, Daedelus and James ‘V/Vm’ Kirby.
"Musically, the album is a 42-minute machinist journey which makes heavy use of the piano and field recordings for a layer of depth and ambience. It combines the frayed melancholia of Vladislav Delay’s Multila with the strangely real-sounding yet otherworldly mechanics of Autechre during their Confield years. All the while sounds from the natural world prevent us from drifting too far into the abstract, keeping us grounded in a fragmented, confusing but familiar environment. What makes Finomehanika all the more impressive is the fact that it was produced in the early 2000s pre-broadband-Internet, post-war Croatia with sparse equipment.
The album features the artist’s brother Miro, better known for his releases as Qwerty. They also recently collaborated on the 2019 album “Na Vrućem Krovu” by Robert’s art-pop band Marinada."
Apollo / R&S welcome back The Primitive Painter, aka the duo of Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke for a timely reissue of their 1994 lost classic self-titled album of sonorous IDM.
"Growing up in Frankfurt, in the 80s and 90s the duo met at an indie rock club in their home town of Darmstadt, bonding over their shared obsession with the first wave of acid, Chicago house and early Detroit techno as well as their patronage of now iconic Frankfurt club nights like The Omen or Dorian Gray or the infamous Delirium Record shop run by scene stalwarts Ata (Robert Johnson) and Heiko MSO (Playhouse).
Taking inspiration from the likes of The Black Dog and Transmat as well as seminal compilations such as Planet E’s Intergalactic Beats and Warp’s Artificial intelligence compilation the duo honed their inventive take on the Detroit techno blueprint under the monicker Acid Jesus, debuting on their freshly minted Klang Elektronik label. The label was started in conjunction with Ata and Heiko after Fluegel & Wuttke (regular patrons of the Delirium store) pressed a demo on them, muttering the immortal line; “Please listen to the tape, we are big Mr. Fingers fans.”
Through the mid ’90s the project flourished giving rise to a classic album and a brace of singles that number amongst the best of the era’s techno, winning them a influential fans most notably Sven Väth, David Holmes and Andrew Weatherall who invited them to play live at one of the legendary Sabresonic parties in London.
Alongside the success of the Acid Jesus project, the duo found great inspiration in outside of the club, including an ambient happening when the KLF came to play Frankfurt; “There were live sheep eating grass on stage while they played at Mark Spoon’s club XS”, as well as cinematic influence from the likes of Jim Jarmush and Wim Wenders. It was however the euphonic IDM grandeur of Apollo Recordings self titled compilation of 1993 that really got their creative juices flowing: “It was a ten track compilation with artists like David Morley, Model 500, Aphex Twin which still sounds so good today,” Jörn enthuses. “It was really the trigger to go away from the Detroit sound and more towards the big melodies of B12 etc.”
Deciding to make their tribute to this style of music the duo turned out 10 tracks of gauzy, melodious electronica in a white hot fever, one after another over the ensuing months. Settling on a name for the new project they picked ‘The Primitive Painters’ taking inspiration from the band Felt. “We are both children of the C86 movement,” explains Jörn. “this attitude of noisy art school influenced rock like Primal Scream, MBV, The Jesus & Mary Chain really inspired us to take a DIY approach to our music.”
The resulting release was bungled by an R&S mix up that attributed the album to the duo’s own Klang Elektronik label which confused both fans and distributors alike, denying the release the critical boost and attention that it so richly deserved. Accordingly the release slipped out without much fanfare, with a chastened Fluegel & Wuttke returning to their Acid Jesus activities which would eventually lead to their blockbusting success as Alter Ego.
Over the ensuing years the reputation of The Primitive Painter album has only grown, with second hand copies (only 500 vinyl were pressed) changing hands for exorbitant amounts on Discogs, leading us to this opportune moment of a richly deserved ‘first’ release on the label for which the project was started, Apollo / R&S."
About 15 years ago we had this mad idea to compile all of Machinefabriek’s self-released CDRs on vinyl. We gave up when we realised it’d probably come to about 50 LP’s. Anyway, the output has def slowed down, but everything we’ve heard in recent years has been really good - and we can’t think of many artists who fit effortlessly on both Editions Wandelweiser and Where to Now?, who once again display a smart bit of curation on this excellent new LP featuring violinist Anne Bakker. We reckon it’s as good a place as any to dip into his vast and perhaps intimidating catalogue.
"‘Oehoe’, produced in collaboration with viola / violinist Anne Bakker, a classically trained solo artist in her own right, Machinefabriek here has sown a landscape of Anne’s raw violin, viola, and vocal improvisations into a stirring body of work which merges tradition, experimentation, and whimsical curiosity to create a distinctively unique album which is both deeply moving and playfully dissonant in equal measure.
"Given that Anne’s improvised vocals are wordless throughout, it is to Rutger’s absolute credit that he has assembled and transcended these intonations to often devastating emotional effect. Anne’s vocal experiments exude a classical polyphonic antiquity, they lushly hover above her own Reichian minimalist string arrangements, and Machinefabriek’s deeply brooding, cacophonic synthesized soundscapes. Across these 10 pieces we delve into a world which seamlessly moves between a state of harmonious contentment; or a very murky calm, to moments of lively ecstasy, and deep deep down to a vast and brooding melancholy."
A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s.
"These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances.
Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably proflific and unparalleled for an island of it's size."
Sound enthusiast and percussionist Tulips is cofounder of the free-wheeling improv kraut group NASSSAU, plays together with TRJJ (of Belgium’s Stroom crew) in the duo P.VEE, and is part of Cologne’s dub-minded jam hounds Montel Palmer.
"Produced in his bedroom, the sonic palette for this EP derives from primitive key improvisations to talking percussion worlds as part of extended cosmic excursions to unknown paramós. All tracks on Matas Flores y Algo Más were jammed and recorded between late 2018 and early 2019, using an array of digital and analog synthesis, such as the Juno 106 and Yamaha DX7, and the Korg Wavedrum and Pearl SC40.
The opening track Self Similar Melodies carries itself with a certain weightlessness, as drifting keys and oscillating bleeps grasp for an unreachable climax somewhere on the horizon. As the synth layers gradually build throughout A Bird Feeder, electronic tones chirrup like chaffinches, while the distinct feeling of sunrise breaks through the music.
On the B side, Retrograde II winds on a syrupy slow garage lean with bright riffs and interlocking percussive signatures. The marimba tones and loping bass of Same Scene conjure up tropical twilights from a Ballardian dimension, and the EP closes with Matsutake , a twisting rhythm in conversation with itself amid a mirage of lurching synths and pitch-shifting modulations."
hailed as “one of the breakout stars of the past year” by Mixmag.
"“How can I” comes off the back of an incredible 18 months that have seen 박 Park (surname) 혜진 Hye Jin (first name) go from releasing her debut EP to playing shows at legendary venues such as Berlin’s Panorama Bar and Ibiza’s DC-10, with bookings at big international festivals like Primavera, Dour—a particular highlight for her, Melt, 88RISING's ‘HEAD IN THE CLOUDS’, and a personal invite to play alongside Jamie xx in London last year. With additional praise from Pitchfork who described her music as "an ocean of subtle feelings and delicately complex club music”, and with further support from the likes of Bandcamp, i-D, Hypebeast, Boiler Room, FADER, Dazed and as one of the 'Best New Artists: 2020' by OnesToWatch, 박혜진 Park Hye Jin is poised to establish herself as one of the new key players in electronic music throughout 2020 and beyond.
The six tracks on “How can I”—completed over the course of 2019, primarily in transit as she travelled for the first time across Europe, North America and Australia—showcase the multitude of styles and influences that have come to be encapsulated in her output to date. On ‘Like this’ she pairs her own vocals over dream-like pads and grainy, driving rhythms. Elsewhere, the moody techno of ‘NO’ and footwork inspired ‘How come’ demonstrate an artist who is comfortable with pushing her own boundaries and moving definitively beyond any notions of categorisation. No matter in which direction they move, the tracks on “How can I” are imbued with subtlety and emotion, “I love you, and I fucking hate you // can you be my babe?” she sings on the upbeat ‘Can you’, before lowering the tempo with title track ‘How can I’, and rounding-off the EP off with the bright synth melodies of the mostly instrumental ‘Beautiful’.
Written as it was in 2019, it would have been impossible to conceive the circumstances in which this EP would come to be released. For Hye Jin though, it was important that she release the music as soon as possible, noting, pragmatically: “who knows if I might die tomorrow, but at least if that happens, I'll die really happy.” Marking her first solo output since that 2018 debut, she was also acutely aware of the expectations of her fans, leaving them with a simple message, “Thank you for waiting. I appreciate you.”"
2-stepping forward and sidewinding onto Planet Mu, Gábor Lázár curls off a 4th album of experimental rave warp following his trio of zingers for The Death of Rave.
’Source’ arrives very much in the model of Lázár’s prized 2018 side ‘Unfold’, but adds a stealthy layer of pads and dextrous elasticity to his sound in line with incremental developments between all his records, from the super stripped down ‘ILS’ (2013) for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? to deadly experimental torque of his seminal 2015 collaboration with Mark Fell and the suppleness of ‘Crisis of Representation’ with Shelter Press in 2017.
The eight tracks of coiled garage mechanics and electroid synth calligraphy arguably catch Lázár at his most ravishing and up-for-it, yet importantly with no loss to the precisely economical aesthetic that made his sound so appealing in the first place. All the hallmarks of his style to date are presented in their latest update, working fine-combed editing and warped kerning that makes for a electrifying dancefloor dynamic accentuated by sparing chords which double down on the sound’s contoured sensuality.
The title tune is undoubtedly one of the lushest, infectiously slinky in his arsenal and sets the tone for a devilishly smart new set taking in nods to classic SND in the nipped chords of ‘Stream’, while ‘Phase’ flashes his hardcore gnashers, and the jittery parry and jaw-tremble electro leads of ‘Excite’ takes strong cues from classic Detroit and Dutch techno, and ‘Focus’ packs some surprisingly jazzy vamps. However the straight-up killer gear is reserved for the hyper-rude swivel of ‘Effort’ and ‘Route’ in stone cold classic Lázár style, with a sensitively melodic ambient kiss-off ‘Return’ perhaps hinting at new directions to come.
On her 6th album, the French electroacoustic composer BÉRANGÈRE MAXIMIN explores the idea of a kaleidoscopic world - a sonic aggregation of living creatures, plants, minerals, nature and buildings, using various sound objects, small percussions, synths, electric guitar, voice and electronics.
"Working out of her private studio since 2008, BÉRANGÈRE MAXIMIN has developed her own approach to sound art and electronic music, composing dense, immersive pieces with immediate impact. On five albums – released to critical acclaim on TZADIK, SUB ROSA , CRAMMED DISCS and CRAIG LEON's ATLAS REALISATIONS label - she has revealed a taste for mixing disparate sounds together with a sense of detail, effusive, lyrical playings with the digital material and tight nuanced writing. BÉRANGÈRE MAXIMIN's music engages the listener in consideration of space and textures, the sound ambivalence and its independence from its original source being at the center of her work.
During her career, the French composer has obtained commissions and residenciesinNational Music Research Centres such asParis' Ina-GRM, Stockholm's EMSand received a grant from the 'Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs' program in New York City (Cultures France).She has performed in notable festivals, venues and concert halls from Paris' Présences Electronique festival, London's Hayward gallery, NYC's Roulette, Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie's e-Phil series to major international festivals in Eastern Europe. Beside her solo performances, she also regularly shares the stage in duo withFRED FRITH.
"Land of Waves": three words evoking territories of plains and curves connected with each other by canals, footpaths, tunnels. The four parts of the album lead the listener into a hybrid land where the jungle meets the city ... A succession of reliefs, surfaces, textures, layers create a large mosaic as if on a concrete wall which seems solid and definitive but is in fact penetrable, alterable.
For "Land of Waves", Bérangère Maximin took inspiration from recordings she did in various city parks, abandoned properties and limits with the suburbs during her travels in Europe, the diversity of sources, the variations of events and the contrasts between day and night they offered, and reinterpreted them in the studio."
New one from Alexandra Grübler's Baal & Mortimer project following collaborations with Black Merlin, Rupert Clervaux and a stint as a mentee of Laurel Halo for the Berlin Amplify program.
"Baal & Mortimer regularly presents her material in clubs, art spaces and festivals – such as Torstrassenfestival Berlin or Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf – approaching the sound of concrete potentialities in tone, body, and performance. The 13 tracks were written, recorded, and produced in bedrooms and studios throughout Düsseldorf and Berlin. Again and again, contrast and opposition are conjured up in a moment of eternal grip – the never-arriving: Atopos.
Fragments of voices emerging from a brittle fog, icy traces of human activity and its mistakes. German, English, machine, human, male, female: corresponding to the same origin, changed, subdued and always elastic. Prostheses and The Ship of Fangs were created during the Amplify Mentoring Program, in which Laurel Halo selected Baal & Mortimer to partake in a month-long residency.
Nathanaël and H/Délires summon an elegiac echo of Düsseldorf – where it all began at Salon des Amateurs – and its legacy seeping through. Texture and mood of a city and its history, pushed forward by a granular humming, interspersed with fading voices, caryatids that hold everything together and yet fall. A non-linear time oscillating between grainy rhythms and the melancholic pull of sound scapes, eternally pushed by choral echoes, singing against themseves."
Pinch deals in strictly Bristolian vibes on his first album in 13 years, from bolshy UK bass mutations to classic downtempo and smoked-out numbers.
"‘Reality Tunnels’ is a concept that was originally introduced by Robert Anton Wilson in his 1983 book ‘Prometheus Rising’. In essence, the concept of a reality tunnel relates to an idea on how we create our own perspective – the subjective filter that we each apply to the world around us; the things we perceive and what our consciousness deems worthy of attention, IE what we see and hear is entirely relative to what we do not.
"At points angular and uncompromising with levels in the red, frequencies pushed out and EQ curves stretched into strange new shapes, Pinch mixes both low and hi fi on this boldly distinct sonic statement. It sees him flexing years of production skills – but unconventionally so – knowing well that safe predictability and rounded polish don’t get the most interesting results.
Dark trip hop Bristolia segues into blistering jungle on album opener ‘Entangled Particles’, before planet-hopping onto the spiky insidious grimestep of ‘All Man Got’, featuring the rugged rasp of OG warhorse Trim.
Beginning a triptych of future techno, ‘Accelerated Culture’ offers the album’s most relatively straightforward moment, albeit one of scorching, anthemic dancefloor heat. Delving deeper into the vortex is the synapse sparking wobbler ‘Returnity’, before ‘Finding Space’ reaches to the cosmos’ far-flung, glowing outlands.
Back to an urban reality is ‘Party’, where a subtly menacing sense of dread is ignited by Killa P’s incremental flow, which ramps-up and pairs-back the intensity in unexpected ways. Still moving freely between different realities, ‘Back To Beyond’ is beautiful gloaming ambience, executed with equal fine-tuned grace as the genre’s masters.
Jamaican vocalist Inezi lends sweet tones to the slow burning, roots-meets-modern-bass spiritual ‘Change Is A Must’, and on ‘Non-Terrestrial Forms’ an atmospheric, misty steppers intro segues stealthily into fiercely dystopian, amen-fuelled jungle tekno; marking one of several surprise attacks on the album, where a subtle-slight-of hand shoots the intensity level dynamically up.Closing as it begins, the album is bookended by a piece that recalls the dark, intricate soundscapes of Massive Attack’s ‘Mezzanine’ and Tricky’s ‘Maxinquaye’ – found here in ‘The Last One’s scorched, smoky rocker."
Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud.
"Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.
By the summer of 2019, the Houston group—bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, guitarist Mark Speer, drummer DJ Johnson—had been on tour for nearly three-and-ahalf years, playing to audiences across North and South America, Europe, and southeast Asia behind its acclaimed albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo. They returned to their farmhouse studio in Burton, Texas, ready to begin work on their third album. But they were also determined to slow down, to take their time and luxuriate in building something together.
Musically, the band’s ever-restless ear saw it pulling reference points from Pakistan, Korea, and West Africa, incorporating strains of Indian chanting boxes and Congolese syncopated guitar. But more than anything, the album became a celebration of Houston, the eclectic city that had nurtured them, and a cultural nexus where you can check out country and zydeco, trap rap, or avant-garde opera on any given night.
In those years away from home, Khruangbin’s members often felt like they were swimming underwater, unsure of where they were going, or why they were going there. But Mordechai leads them gently back to the surface, allowing them to take a breath, look around, and find itself again. It is a snapshot taken along a larger journey—a moment all the more beautiful for its impermanence. And it’s a memory to revisit again and again, speaking to us now more clearly than ever."
Hallow Ground, home to standout albums from Kali Malone, FUJI||||||||||TA, Marja Ahti, Maria W Horn and many others, return with this dense and atmospheric drone soundtrack for an eponymous installation piece by the French artist Fanny Béguély. Highly recommended if yr into Deathprod, Dead Can Dance, Jon Hassell, Deaf Center.
"First presented as part of the group exhibition »Panorama 21 - ›Les Revenants‹« at Tourcoing’s Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains in December 2019, Béguély’s chemically painted photographs focused on humankind’s propensity for self-examination and its attempts to probe the mysteries of the past, present and future. Oberland’s heavily processed electric hurdy-gurdy, the »boîte à bourdons,« provides the foundation upon which the Borghesia member Tomažin unfolds her gripping vocal magic(k).
Their dense mesh of soundscapes and singing mediate between the mystic and the modern, the natural and the all-too-unreal to further examine our persistent desire to decipher the signs we find in nature. As the first collaboration between these prolific experimental artists, “Arba, Dâk Arba is as evocative and thought-provoking as the art that has inspired it. It’s easy to see why a curious instrument like Oberland’s electric hurdy-gurdy would be well suited for the duo’s ends, and within its first few minutes the opening track »Grotta« makes it clear that the Oiseaux-Tempête co-founder is more than capable of weaving dark psychedelic sound tapestries with only limited means.
The ritualistic energy that Béguély’s “Arba, Dâk Arba draws on is channeled through abstract drones that mirror the aesthetics of the eight suspended paper rolls the artist’s audience were faced with. When the music becomes denser and Tomažin finally enters the picture with her signature glossolalic vocal performance, it seems as if the drones emanating from her musical partner’s curious instrument bleed right into her voice. Even as the sound of the boîte à bourdons becomes more visceral and Tomažin’s voice more discernible, »Grotta« remains as intangible as the mythological oracles that had informed the work of Béguély. Shorter pieces like »Amena« or the closing track »Hereafter,« though condensed, offer just as much to decipher - a whole musical world to get lost in, full of riddles and uncertainties.
»Fumes« and »Hieromancy« in the second half of the LP are the best examples of how much creative friction lies at the heart of the French experimentalist and the Slovenian singer’s collaboration. While in the former song, Tomažin first takes the lead singing uncanny, circular motives before stepping aside so Oberland can let the processed sounds of his hurdy-gurdy evolve into chilling crescendi, the latter sees both of them take turns in channeling the pervasive mysticism around them. Blurring the lines between the physical and psychic as well as the real and the hallucionary with their music, Frédéric D. Oberland and Irena Z. Tomažin’s “Arba, Dâk Arba is one of the most radical albums in recent years. An unsettling dialogue between two kindred, yet freely wandering spirits."
After years spent looking out at landscapes and loved ones and an increasingly unstable world, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have turned their gaze inward, to their individual pasts and the places that inform them, on their second full-length, Sideways to New Italy.
"Led by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, the guitar-pop five-piece returned home to Australia after the relentless touring schedule that came following their critically regarded 2018 debut Hope Downs. Feeling the literal and metaphorical ground under their feet had shifted, the band began grasping for something reliable. For Keaney, that translated into writing "pure romantic fiction" and consciously avoiding the temptation of angsty break-up songs, while Russo looked north to a "bizarre place" that captured the feeling of manufacturing a sense of home when his own had disappeared.
The New Italy of the new album’s title is a village near New South Wales’ Northern Rivers – the area drummer Marcel Tussie is from. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it pit-stop of a place with fewer than 200 residents, it was founded by Venetian immigrants in the late-1800s and now serves as something of a living monument to Italians' contribution to Australia, with replica Roman statues dotted like alien souvenirs on the otherwise rural landscape. The parallels to the way the band attempted to maintain connections and create familiarity during their disorienting time on the road was apparent to Russo. "These are the expressions of people trying to find a home somewhere alien: trying to create a utopia in a turbulent and imperfect world." The record's geographic identity emerged from the band losing their grip on their own, whether that was through the pressure of touring, the dissolution of relationships, a frustrating distance from their daily lives – or some combination of all three – that came from being slingshotted all over the world, playing sold-out headline tours and festivals including Coachella, Governors Ball, Primavera Sound, All Points East, and Pitchfork Music Festival.
The notion of crafting, in Russo’s words, “a utopia of where your heart’s from,” permeates Sideways to New Italy, in which early attempts at writing big, high-concept songs about The State of the World were abandoned in favor of love songs, and familiar voices and characters filter in and out, grounding the band's stories in their personal histories. There’s something comforting, too, in knowing the next time they’re buffeted from stage to stage around the world, they’ll be taking the voices of their loved ones with them, building a new totem of home no matter where they end up."
Public Practice reanimate the spirit of late ‘70s New York with their playfully angular brand of no wave-meets-funk and dark disco.
"While magnetic singer and lyricist Sam York and guitarist and principal sonic architect Vince McClelland (who both played together as members of the meteoric yet shortlived NYC post-punk outfit WALL) take an almost anarchic approach to songwriting, Drew Citron, on synth and bass, and drummer/producer Scott Rosenthal (both previously of Brooklyn indie-pop favourites Beverly) bring a more traditional, pop sensibility to the table. These contrasting styles challenge and complement each other, resulting in a sound that is full of spiraling and exhilarating tensions. Lyrically, York explores the complexities and contradictions of modern life overtop grooves and choruses that disarmingly open up the doors to self-reflection. “You don’t want to live a lie / But it’s easy / Your house is important / Your car is important / Your shoes are important / Dinner’s important“ she sings on “Compromised,” begging the question: how does one balance material desires with the desire to be seen as a good person?
Changing pace, the supremely groovy “My Head” is about tuning out the influx of external noise and staying true to your inner creative force. But whether they are poking holes in commonly held ideas centered around relationships, creativity, or capitalism, Public Practice never lose sight of the fact that they want to have fun, and they want you to have fun too. After all, who needs a soapbox when there’s a dark, sweaty dancefloor out there with room on it for all of us?"
The Ambient and environmental Japanese scene has flourished in recent years, thanks to reissues of work by Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima, Toshifumi Hinata and Takashi Kokubo. Continuing in this endless path, Glossy Mistakes adds Takashi Kokubo’s brilliant “Volk Von Bauhaus” to its catalogue, with the Japanese masterpiece as the third official release on the Spanish label.
"As most of 80’s Japanese ambient and environmental music, “Volk Von Bauhaus” is an audio impression designed to give a multi-sensory experience to the listener. An effort to make things audible, an exercise of understanding and soundtracking objects or situations. The main objective of this sound is to create an iconic musical landscape to accompany a specific place.
Though his name might be unfamiliar to many, Kokubo has crafted music that has impacted virtually all of Japan, from national mobile phone earthquake alerts to contactless card payment jingles. He was one of the first artists to create ambient music strictly through loops. As he mentioned when release this album, "this recording used no keyboard players, no multitrack tape recording techniques, no analog sounds”. A shift on the process of imagining sound.
“Volk Von Haus” is and ode to this ambient, new age and environmental music created in Japan throughout the 80’s. Throughout 9 cuts, Kokubo handcrafts his own sound and immerses the listener in a peaceful yet challenging adventure. The record is the first piece of his Digital Soundology series, and arguably his most interesting work due to the groundbreaking techniques he used."
The lost yearbook from Louis Wayne Moody High’s graduating class of 1967, chronicling the peaks and valleys of teenage angst, lost loves, and life after summer vacation.
Fourteen moody melodies of surf kings, guitar Bettys, talent show psychers, and pre-S.D.S. soft poppers. Walls of jangly guitars, maudlin organs, and melancholy harmonies deliver the bummer to ring in the summer."
For Numero, taking time to explore the more esoteric possibilities of our creative practice provides a deeper understanding of the resulting piece of work. This curatorial exercise, usually relegated to mix tapes and oddball DJ nights, has allowed us to see the connections between our most far reaching corners.
After years of whittling away at the art of compilation, this part of the practice came to the foreground, and an alternate view began to emerge. The outlines of a context beyond time and place, individual and scene. Threads sewn through the fabric of music history that tell a story primarily concerned with intentionality, psychic connections, and vibe.
To tell these stories an equally symbolic medium is required.
In order to create an object that can emote the value of the like minded yet distant relationships therein we looked to the world of commercial production running parallel to these musical subcultures. The treasure chest of artifacts made during the 20th century’s post-industrial free-for-all may be the only conceptually appropriate talisman for this music, the ability to bring the studio home was after all made by the same mechanism that brought on the consumer gold rush.
The consumer experience embodied by the secondary market, dog eared, footnoted, taken apart and tinkered with. The cabinet is a simulacrum of the lost and found. Our commercially nostalgic spirit-animal, redressed to be a more accurate representation of our emotional experiences with these objects. Less concerned with function than with the memories we associate with them.
The Cabinet of Curiosities is Numero’s tribute to the origin of the DIY museum, with our curatorial focus as always on the heroically home-made, the expanding fan universe, the suburban studio sublime."
Nerve-jangling indie-pop sweetness and garage-rock scuzz by the long-running US unit beloved of Spanish phycists
“"Deerhoof is a weapon loaded with the future." - Agustín Fernández Mallo, Spanish physicist and writer
Normal is never coming back. Whether by a collective dismantling or sheer collapse, our old illusions are being hollowed out. Over the past couple of years, Deerhoof has been asking themselves if there was any music they could create that expressed how the rapidly changing future might actually feel. The finished product, Future Teenage Cave Artists, finds Deerhoof in a revolutionary mood, but also haunted by memories of a lost world and every failed attempt to save it. People already cut loose from the system, already surviving with new ways of life—these hopeful heroes are Deerhoof’s inspiration. These are the Future Teenage Cave Artists.
Faithful listeners will recognize a certain alienated but transformational figure who shows up in Deerhoof songs going back to their earliest days. Take the narrator of “The Perfect Me” from 2007’s Friend Opportunity: an orphaned but eager soul attempting to entice other wounded wanderers who might lack a home, a clan, a family, a history. But on Future Teenage Cave Artists our protagonist is threatened by terror lurking around every corner. Add to that the fact that our “cast-off queen,” our “maniac,” our “terrible daughter” are watching themselves get orphaned in real time by an older generation in power that would rather see life on Earth destroyed than give up archaic systems of capital.
Like a lot of the inimitable music they have released over the last quarter-century, the Deerhoof of Future Teenage Cave Artists (Satomi Matsuzaki on bass and vocals, Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterich on guitars, and Greg Saunier on drums, vocals and piano) stitches together fragments of R&B and classic rock and transforms them into a new language of revolution, forgoing verse-chorus structures for dream logic and blind intuition. But what makes this album different is its intimacy—the blues riffs and slide guitars are joined by soft, rickety pianos and whispered three-part harmonies.”
New one from Squid, on wwwarp.
"‘Broadcaster’ is built around an arpeggiated synth sequence that was conceived during a writing session in a woodland cabin by Arthur whilst the rest of the band were out hiking. As the song develops, guitars, drum machines and delays join the fray, pushing the track into its chaotic and visceral crescendo.
All this works as the perfect foil to singer Ollie Judge’s oblique lyrics. Paired with their richly percussive and sonically evolving ‘Sludge’, the quintet not only opens up their sound, but they do so without abandoning the experimentation and playfulness that made them such an exciting prospect when they burst on the scene just over a year ago."
Sweet, sweet rare uplifting soul 45.
"Richard Brown's Sweet and Kind was originally released and distributed locally in Gary, Indiana, in the mid-west of USA on the tiny Steeltown Inc Records, a label which despite it's size was nonetheless the first ever to sign the Jackson Five (pre-Motown) in 1968, the same year as this little-known gem."
All proceeds from the sale of this record will be split equally between the UN Refugee Agency Covid-19 Appeal and The Grenfell Foundation.
Louange à l'éternité de Jésus is the fifth movement for cello and piano from Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time), adapted here for cello and organ. It was composed while Messiaen was a prisoner of war in Stalag VIII-A, Görlitz, Germany, and first performed with other detained musicians inside the Nazi camp in January 1941. Inspired by the Book of Revelation, this music invokes the composers vision of "immutable peace", in its infinitely slow, ecstatic pacing and metre, described by the pianist Steven Osborne as “seeming to touch the far edges of human experience, subverting the idea of linear time”.
Earlier this year, confronted with a multitude of shared human maladies, the idea for this record took shape as if through a fog. Performed by Lucy Railton on Cello and Andrew Marx on Organ, the recording was made a decade ago and captures an intangible human presence - a cough, a baby crying - oddly contextualising the complex existential dimensions of the music itself.
"10 years ago in spring I performed Messiaen's Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus in a concert at Buckfast Abbey in Devon. It was a normal Saturday concert, a half full audience, some friends and family were also there. It’s hard to explain why some performances stand out but for some reason I still think about that day. It’s not only that this is great music, there was something else we felt, in the heavy silence before the first note, and as the chords rose higher and higher. There was a kind of communal acknowledgement of something bigger than that moment and place, of the immense beauty of music, and of the human capacity for resilience, and transformation.” Lucy Railton, June 2020.
Since the early 90's, the Belgian duo Silk Saw has pioneered nearly unclassifiable electronic music at the forefront of experimental and avant-garde. Their 12th album is a contiguous expansion of the universe created in 'Imaginary Landscapes', the previous album published on Kotä in 2015, blending sweet and bitter in languorous and enigmatic melodies that float on intriguing pounding polyrhythms.
"With the release of 'Nothing is Finished' on Sub Rosa, Marc Medea and Gabriel Séverin are back home, since their very first trial, 'Musique du garrot et de la feraille' - under their strange 'modern dada' alias, Jardin d'Usure – was released in 1994 (followed by the first two Silk Saw albums from 1996 and 1997).
Now more than ever, without compromise, the duo makes full use of complex tools like Frequency Modulation, granular and morphing synthesis. In an array of delightful to jarring surprises, a sinuous ballad will be troubled with remote blasts, or abruptly interrupted by a collapse of the base. While the tracks resonate fundamentally with a feeling of falling, failing, decay, the sleeve picture conveys that destruction is in fact where everything starts."
When Erik Hall undertook his painstaking reconstruction of Steve Reich's 1976 masterpiece of minimalism, Music for 18 Musicians, it was as much an exercise in modesty as ambition.
"With its repetitions and complex constructions, the piece makes great demands on stamina and concentration, and Reich himself advised that these challenges meant it should probably be performed with more than eighteen musicians. Hall, however, recorded every part himself in his small home studio, playing instruments he had on hand, in live, single takes. Here, then is the ambition.
But here too is the modesty: by doing one section a day, one instrument at a time, he made his way through this monumental piece, building a faithful and loving re-creation, one sonic brick at a time. Xylophone becomes muted piano, violin becomes electric guitar and so it is that music for eighteen becomes music for one. "I didn't want the differences to be distracting, or gimmicky," says Hall, who's loved the piece for as long as he can remember. "I wanted it to be true to the timbre and spirit of the original recording," and he thought a great deal about, "how I would shape the tone of each instrument, to come across with the same impact that we know the piece to have." His methodology, as with Reich's piece itself, is workmanlike, and it's from this humble and steadfast undertaking that something honest and radiant emerges.