Utter presents Danny Wolfers' aka Legowelt's cult spywave album 'Schaduw Horizon' on vinyl for the first time. Initially released on CDR on Wolfers' Strange Life label back in 2008, this DX7-drenched soundtrack was influenced by real locations near Wolfers' coastal dune studio in The Hague.
"Set in the depths of the cold war at an abandoned zoo, it scores the imaginary story of Percival, a NATO animal parapsychologist researching the extra-sensory powers of a Siamese cat and a chess-playing chimpanzee named Albert. After the Soviets discover the project, Percival's team members are assassinated one by one, forcing him and his animal friends to escape in a small sailboat towards a mysterious island...
The album has been remastered by Wolfers then transferred and cut by Helmut Erler at D&M. It is housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve that opens to reveal detailed stories behind each track, while the entire back cover is a life-size chess board for any budding Alberts wishing to play a game. A special 'confidential documents' envelope completes the package and contains a map of the abandoned zoo, a top secret letter including coordinates of the locations featured in the story, DX7 schematics, foldable chess pieces and a 'Schaduw Horizon' sticker."
The definitive manc banger, remastered for the first time from the original tapes, bulit to last.
Having witnessed Moodymann deploying this one at the end of a delirious, super slow set with the Three Chairs in Sheffield about two decades ago, we can personally testify that - just when you think you have it sussed - Blue Monday pops up in another entirely different context to fuck with you.
It’s the biggest selling 12” single of all time in the UK, pretty much bankrupting Factory because it cost more to make than they were charging thanks to its fancy die cut sleeve and Tony Wilson's irrepresible spirit / inompetence. Classic setup; the more you sell, the more money you lose - the most manc thing ever?
Shanghai’s Hyph11e commits a debut album of brooding sound design and gnashing breaks to her home city’s Svbkvlt stronghold, following hardcore ballistics for Hakuna Kulala and a lead single prepped with a killer Kode9 refix.
Dragging UK ‘nuum dynamics into Shanghai’s impending, fast-fwd present, Tess Sun aka Hyph11e has carved out a fierce reputation with her shots found on the praised ‘Cache 01’ compilation and in DJ mixes by key players including M.E.S.H., Aïsha Devi, and Kode 9 & Burial over the past four years. On ‘Aperture’ she plays around the theme of holes, rupturing her own path thru rave spacetime with deft, barrelling breakbeats wrapped up in fluidly contoured synth schematics that probe mutant corners of the dance, somewhere between industrial breakcore tekno and junglist footwork, with bleak but sensually personalised soundcraft done in a mechanised outernational dancehall style shades away from her label mate 33EMYBW and Uganda’s Slikback.
Hyph11e sparingly lights up her music like scenes from a rave in strobing start/stop motion and with a knowing grasp of negative ecstasy - finding pleasure in the aesthetic and noumenal spaces between styles, time and space. She characterises this notion in the album’s brutalist bookends, ‘Encrust’ and the chemically overripe lushness of ‘Erosion’, while traces of electro-acoustic strings infiltrate the prowling stepper ‘Accretion’, and more traditional Chinese tonalities describe rangier Jungle Tekno landscapes in ‘Baily’s Beads’, and she summons wraithlike spirits from the fizzing industrial dancehall fissures of lead single ‘Barnacles’. At her most dextrous, proper UK hardcore is rinsed into labyrinthine warehouse variations on ‘Doppelgänger’ and ‘Get Out From Under’.
Anyone who suffers trypophobia may want to proceed with caution, but hardcore ravers of all stripes and futuristic leanings will sink deep into the ravishing style and puckered darkside discipline of this sharp, incredible album.
Pioneering synth sorcerer Suzanne Ciani celebrates over four decades of innovation with "a sonic voyage to the very heart of her beloved machine" in this utterly cosmic eight-part Buchla improvisation.
Ciani hardly needs any introduction; the influential synth pioneer has been contributing albums, soundtracks and sound effects for over forty years at this point and has shifted the global perception of electronic music multiple times. Her primary instrument has been the Buchla 200e synthesizer, and on "A Sonic Womb" she highlights her skill with a long-form improvisation split into eight parts.
Recorded in December 2019 in Barcelona, the piece was described by Ciani as ”an improvisation that I began using in the ’70s and continue to use now as raw material. Each performance based on this material has its own expression and one could liken it to jazz." We can't think of a more apt description, as Ciani contorts now-familiar sounds, exploring the farthest reaches of the instrument. There's little room for saccharine hauntology here, rather Ciani toys with pulsing rhythmic sequences, segments of tidal white noise and electric birdsong and and chiming gong-like pulses.
Required listening for anyone who's fiddled with patch cables in the last few years.
FFT gets acquainted with his ambient side in a fine debut album showcase for his clinical minimalist sound design chops after sides with TTT and his Super Hexagon Records
Leaving his beats aside but retaining the smooth contours and padded basses of his previous releases, ‘Total Self-Fulfilment’ renders an absorbingly reflective 35 mins of sferic tones and sublimated bass, luring us in with the barely-there pads of the title track and slowly revealing a tactile approach to loud/quiet dynamics between the choral swarm of ‘Six’ and the Enya down a well plunge of ‘Grey Area’, while recalling Stephan Mathieu or Akira Rabelais in the textured thizz of ‘Awaken’, and seductive ghost choir of ‘A Single Second’ with its almost visual levels of sculpted subbass pressure.
Following last year's brilliant "Trinity" mixtape and LEYA collab "Angel Lust", Alexandra Drewchin returns with her most assertive record to date, a fiery collection of modern dream-folk that blurs the lines between ambient, shoegaze and experimental pop.
Following the dusty road traced by Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Björk and Grouper, Eartheater assuredly carves out a space for herself by fusing effortlessly haunting songs with bleak orchestral elements or the kind of disintegrating electronic detritus u would more readily expect to hear on a Total Freedom mix. It's a pop record that sits on the outskirts of the contemporary wyrd club zone, but avoids any of the trappings of "hyperpop", instead choosing to languish in a sensual melancholy: isolated and maudlin but never sexless.
Drewchin composed, produced and arranged "Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin" mostly while she was on a ten-week artist residency in Zaragoza, Spain. Alone in a small Spanish town, she was able to trap the artistically freeing feeling of solitude after incessant touring and recording, tipping boundless thoughts into a suite of songs that flower and grow with each subsequent listen. Her vocals and guitar sit at the center of the album, fleshed out by contributions from close friends and collaborators Marilu Donovan (harp) and Adam Markiewicz of LEYA (violin) and whisper-soft orchestral elements from Ensemble de Cámara.
Each song manages to fizz between familiarity and passionate, alien uniqueness as Drewchin's voice resonates through words that hum over themes of love, togetherness, absence and existence. These aren't merely empty syllables, but lived experiences tied into a dreamscape of sparse instrumentation and sparser rhythm. Honestly we haven't heard many more records this year that are so accurately aimed at our hyper-specific needs - "Phoenix" is an album that muses on loss but feels unsettlingly hopeful, convinced of humanity's latent goodness even in the midst of disaster. We can't recommend this one any fucking higher.
Stroom introduce a striking new artist, Susanna Stark with her debut showcase of folk and pop-inspired songcraft set to enchanted backdrops of midnight electronics and smoky jazz notes - RIYL Susanna, Cindytalk, Teresa Winter, This Mortal Coil, Heather Leigh.
No doubt sounding like a Scottish sibling to her Norwegian namesake, Susanna, Stark makes a memorable first impression with her finely accomplished vocal range and nuanced production that perhaps betrays a life spent around this kind of music. As such there’s a rare authenticity of authorship to ‘Time Together (Hues & Intensities)’ that feels experiential, rather than pasted on or worn like some “boho” festival outfit, and likewise that rooting or immersion in folk-pop allows Susannah to best mess with the form from the inside-out, locating something new and timelessly vital in archaic styles.
Compiled by Stroom’s label shaman Ziggy Devriendt from songs written 2017-2020, the album unfurls the “Hues & Intensities” of the title between pagan paean ‘Saturn’ and more experimental urges on ‘Dear Beloved Friend’, deftly using her shapeshifting vocals as a common but elusive thread between the were-like apparitions channelling early Christian mystics in ‘Reprise’, and the plaintive beauty of ‘This Is For Us’, before taking centerstage in moonlit glade scenes that turn psychodramatic in Remind You’, and follow to probe more curiously modern sort of folkdance magick inspired by ancient Hindu scripture in ‘Can Of Worms’, and joined by what sounds like Raime and Cindytalk describing the wild Scottish landscapes in the finale ‘Unnatural Wealth’.
The pioneering electronic composer Mort Garson (Mother Earth’s Plantasia) • takes on supernatural phenomena with lush synth grooves on The Unexplained, his only release under the name Ataraxia.
"Subtitled Electronic Musical Impressions of the Occult, the album explores tarot, astral projection, seances, and more with Garson’s signature Moog synthesizer serving as the listener’s tour guide to the paranormal. The exploratory, whimsical spirit of its creator is evident throughout the release, but it also takes its subject matter seriously, making it essential for anyone interested in musical conjurations of the occult.
Morton S. “Mort” Garson was a Canadian-born composer, arranger, songwriter, and pioneer of electronic music. He is best known for his albums in the 1960s and 1970s that were among the first to feature Moog synthesizers. His bestknown album is Mother Earth’s Plantasia, a 1976 Moog album designed to be played “for plants and the people who love them.” Sacred Bones Records has undertaken the project of giving official, licensed reissues to key releases from Mort Garson’s catalog, with the intention of bringing these bold masterpieces to a 21st century audience."