Kate Carr renders a vividly sensurreal snapshot of nature coexisting with industry in a mix of microphone and hydrophone recordings made on the banks of the river Seine, next to a Nuclear power plant. This record is a one strong reason why Kate is among the most intriguing artists working with field recordings right now - make sure to check it.
“I was one of the only people to hop off the train from Paris at the tiny Nogent-sur-Seine station. Looking around for someone who looked like they might be meeting me, I spotted a very unexpected sight – a large nuclear power complex not far off in the distance. I had arrived in this part of France, about two hours by the fast train to the west of Paris, to undertake recordings of the Seine, in a tiny town called Marnay. Unknown to me the river, which at this time is icy cold, had just started to recede after bursting its banks.
Marnay is a town of just over 200 people. It is small, and its population appears to have dwindled dramatically. During the month I was there I often found myself cycling along empty streets, and the town's pub and hotel were shuttered and abandoned. There were no shops, and even the church was shut up and unused, although its electrified bell still tolled the hours. Elections took place that month, and the National Front took over the mayoralty from the sitting French Socialist Party candidate who told me on the night she lost about her memories of taking to the streets in May of '68.
I have loved the Seine since I was a child and read a book about an artist trying to paint the river, and when I arrived it was certainly doing justice to my memories of that book, swollen and mighty, perilously cold and formidable. In some places it was so flooded it was impassable. The river, and its series of tributaries and canals, some of which appeared to have been created to serve the nearby nuclear complex, had established vast marshes of bog, particularly in the area which approached the rear of the reactors, and water birds had arrived in their hundreds to enjoy this vast increase in habitat.
It was in these areas that I focused my recording.”
Infiné task Enyang Ha, Lord of the Isles, Ital Tek, and Dawan with remixing Deena Abdelwahed’s resoundingly well-received debut album
Seoul/Berlin’s Enyang Ha reworks the smoky Arabic vocal and rugged swang of ‘Rabbouni’ as a skudgy, offset techno roller with subtle, abstracted use of the vocal, while the mutant Raï rhythms of ‘5/5’ are stretched out to the horizon by Scotland’s LOTI.
The spiralling mysticism of ‘Ababab’ provides an elusive soul to Ital Tek’s tuffened-up IDM acceleration, and the enigmatic hustle of ‘Fdhiha’ is teased out into a spare, pensile stripe of broken beat acid techno by Tunisia’s Dawan.
David Murray Quartet's 1993 Japan only CD release “Ballads for Bass Clarinet” (DIW/Disk Union) is issued for the first time on vinyl by Ko Ko Music.
"Comprising a couple of waltzes, a blues, a Monk-ish suite-like piece, a free-ish drums and clarinet interlude, and finally an elegy to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer - David Murray leads on bass clarinet, managing to go both deep and soaringly high, it sometimes sounds like two different instruments are being played. But this is not a solo effort from David Murray: there is also plenty to listen from the other members of the group. The quartet is tight and the recording is superb, with a warm and intimate sound. Highly recommended.”
Dry, jacking warehouse hammers from Florian Kupfer on Simoncino’s HotMix Records
Uptown he rides a big-boned square bass-line with transfixing strings, a potent haze of hi-hats, and nagging vocals buried to the hilt in-the-mix. Trust it kicks like a stoned mule. Downtown, his ‘Final Stage’ follows thru with reticulated EBM arp strapped to deep tissue massaging bass hits and percolated rimshots primed for darkroom frolics.
Totally infectious Gnawa funk and psych-edged rock from Morocco, 1973, legit licensed and issued for the first time on any format! Yet another fuzzy peach on Habibi Funk.
Leading on from the labels plates of Afro-Cuban Jazz and the Afrobeat of ‘Muslims & Christians’, this is the first pressing of gripping, heavily soulful recordings by three generations of the same family, headed up by the distinctive cry of Attarazat Addahabia. Addahabia was schooled between Casablanca and Paris in the ’60s and brings some serious calibre to the record, commanding the mic in Arabic against female call and response vocals and a crack backing band throwing down thick electric guitar fuzz and driving blend of rhythm from Western rock and Moroccan tradition.
Running in the same circles as Moroccan legend Fadoul (star of Habibi Funk’s ‘Al Zman Saib’ reissue and ‘An Eclectic Selection of Music From The Arab World’ compilation), Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah were one of the first rock bands in the Arab-speaking world and they patently knew how to rip a cool groove. Nearly half a century later their tunes will still light up clubs from Casablanca to Paris.
Etheric excursions into new age ambient and folk underlaid with woozy drum machine rhythms and perfused with field recordings
“Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix.
"I’ve been playing around with instrumentals for a long time, and it was something I wanted to do more with after I finished Infinite Avenue,” says Carmen. “Leaving out my voice and lyrics got me out of my own head a bit, which I needed. Working with sound is to me the ultimate meditation and is a more unconscious way of expressing whatever is going on inside.”
The flute, played by Chilenean-Norwegian Johanna Scheie Orellana (formerly of Sassy 009), is a central part of this new album. Carmen got her in to the studio to both record melodies that she had written, as well as making plenty of room for impro/freeform. Prins Thomas also appears on the record, playing percussion on “I Could Sit Here All Day.”
“I made this track based on a Roland SH-101 sequence run through various processing,” says Villain. “The whole thing came together kind of like a jam, I wrote the flute in one take, and it just felt right. I wanted real flute on this, so asked Johanna if she'd like to come in, and we've been collaborating ever since.””
Romantic ambient tech-nous from 1992, dished up on vinyl and available to DL for the first time from Young Marco’s Safe Trip
Originally a CD issued by Belgium’s Buzz (now sought-after 2nd hand), ’Sublunar Oracles’ was the first of two albums released by siblings Dimitri and Stefan van Elsen as Trans-4M.
Comparable in scope and feel to early work by B12, Mappa Mundi and early projects associated to The Connection Machine, the vibe is pure, fluffy early ‘90s, marrying classic sci-fi dialogue with spaced-out synths, obligatory whale calls and ethnographic sampledelia in eight finely feathered grooves intended to cushion your come-down.
Cellular Automata is the first new Dopplereffekt album in a decade! Rudolf Klorzeiger and To-Nhan kept us waiting but the anticipation pays off with some of their most striking electro architecture to date, tangibly making good on the promise of their Tetrahymena  and Delta Wave  deliveries over the interim, which, like this one were also released by Berlin’s Leisure System.
The symbiotic duo’s last album, Calabi Yau Space  remains one of the most memorable, puristic electronic records of its decade and Cellular Automata is up there with the most distinctive of its ilk in the current sphere. To outline their intentions; “Cellular Automata approaches mathematical growth and decay as an iterative process, with each data input considered individually relative to the overall model”, which broadly translates as a lofty metaphor for refinement thru increasingly searching practice; both technical research and the fine-tuned discipline of their physical, melodic inputs.
Difficult to say really how that works out from initial listens, but in aesthetic terms at least their sound is shockingly sharp and dense yet incredibly spacious, executing that unique balance of sheer technological advance and heightened emotive response in way that’s long been key to the success of their sound, encouraging listeners to revel and marvel at both the pure sonification of their sounds and equally their near-baroque classical elegance.
If you need any prompts, check out the vast harmonic structures of Cellular Automata and the tempestuous kosmische momentum of Exponential Decay at the album’s bookends, or deeper in for the uncanny stere-imaging of Gestalt Intelligence and the nerve-biting noise of Pascal’s Reunion, or the abyssal morphosis of Mandelbrot Set for the strongest sensations, but, as you’ll understand it’s definitely best consumed as whole for the most lucid yet disorienting experience.
While the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of Grouper's signature sound remains, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill is far more resonant up front about the songs at the heart of her work.
Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue from the cloudy, amorphous Grouper output of old and this current strain of more easily deciphered writing: it's a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, with a voice cloaked in lo-fi haze somewhere at the back. Soon after, Harris' guitar and voice emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet comprehensible.
If previously you've struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, and wondered what's going on beneath that veneer of musty, degraded audio, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers you a way in. Those dense recording techniques have become a unique production signature and it's virtually impossible to separate Liz Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers, but now it feels like a conduit to her songs rather than a barrier. There are echoes of her earliest work on the album too, as on the wordless, partially acappella atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression left by this album is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that's previously been content to dwell in shadows and deflect attention with smoke and mirrors.
A real milestone release for Harris, and a definite high point for the rejuvenated Type label, we've been unable to stop listening to this incredible album for weeks - it's an absolute must.
Following a series of impossible-to-obtain releases for her own Yellowelectric imprint and a CD compilation of her gorgeous 'A I A' set, Liz Harris seems to have settled with Kranky who are re-releasing her classic Type album 'Dragging a Dead Deer..' and this new album of previously unreleased material drawn from the same period: 'The Man Who Died In His Boat'.
It's not so hard to believe but we'll say this straight away - the material on this new set is just jaw-dropping, a worthy companion piece to 'Dragging a Dead Deer' - once again finding Harris delivering material edging ever so slightly towards more traditional 'songs' but executed with so much introspection and mystery that she really sounds unlike anyone, or anything, you'll have ever heard before. The record has an interesting backstory, as Harris explains - "When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach.
The remains of the vessel weren't removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside. "I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man's presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home." The narrative somehow enhances the songs - an achingly beautiful combination of forlorn, reverb-drenched lullabies draped in a veil of isolation reminding us of a more damaged Mark Kozelek, and indeed the classic 4AD sound with which Grouper has been compared so many times in the past.
By the time you reach the closing track 'Living Room', however, you come to the realisation that despite her best efforts to obscure her songs, Harris might just be one of the most gifted songwriters of her generation. An incredible album - possibly her finest yet.
The first Grouper album in 4 years finds Liz Harris stripped of FX, pairing her vocals with skeletal piano gestures in beautifully pregnant space. For anyone familiar with the miasmic fuzz of Grouper’s previous releases, the relative clarity is quietly shocking in effect, revealing her songs and sound at their most vulnerable, and, in the process, locating a newfound strength in fragility.
Grid Of Points was recorded in Wyoming shortly after Liz finished recording Grouper’s Ruins out in Aljezur, Portugal, and on the most immediate level it seems to describe the difference in recording locations between windswept Atlantic coastline and sparse, landlocked insularity. The seven songs were written over a week and a half, with the process curtailed by a bout of what she describes as “high fever”. What remains forms some of Grouper’s most legible lyrics and intimate instrumentation, with each piece framed by stark, unprocessed space working in the same role usually occupied by her billowing sheets of harmonic distortion.
Untreated and unfiltered, Grouper's voice rings plaintively clear, sometimes layered in ephemeral harmonies or curling off with jazz-soul wise inflections shadowed by modest piano phrasing in a crepuscular style that links back to all her previous work. Yet, in places the clarity is such that it almost feels like we the listeners have just been hearing her songs with clogged ears for the past decade and longer.
Ultimately, these results perhaps most acutely resonate with the etymology of Liz’s moniker - ‘Grouper’ as in member of a Fourth Way commune, The Group, which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, whose mystic meditations surely linger in the magick of Grid Of Points.
Remastered UK rave classics, newly reissued by Luna-C’s Kniteforce powerhouse
The ‘Fun For All The Family’ EP is the debut blast of hardcore heat by Alex Banks and Danny Demierre’s Hyper On Experience. The vocal-lead belter ‘H.E. Anthem’ was produced, in Alex Banks’ own words “[as] a big piano tune like the ones we were hearing at raves.” The result is a rolling but hectic energy booster packing all the tricks of the day. It’s followed by the edge-of-darkcore ace ‘Frightener’ making great use of samples from ‘Breakers Revenge’ by Arthur Baker in a furious fashion, while ‘Another Rave’ feels like a mental acceleration of the daftest, nuttiest Belgian rave techno.
Virulent highlife-soukous party starters from the Congo via Nigeria - big on ‘70s Nigerian dancefloors and still big with the legendary Picos sound systems of Colombia’s Cartagena and Barranquilla carnivals
“Since the 60s, Congolese guitar combos and orchestras have always been popular across West and Central Africa. But the ‘natural fit’ element between East Nigerian Igbo highlife and Congolese rumba and soukous made for a unique beat: highlife-soukous.
Although eclipsed internationally by Lagos, Yoruba, Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, it was highlife- soukous that you’d hear at parties all over southern Nigeria in the late 70s and early 80s.
Outside Africa, the sound proved a special favourite with Colombia’s Carnival Champeta and Pico Sound system DJs – where, even today, you can hear super-rare Bota International original vinyls booming out over 20-foot-high speaker stacks along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the records being ‘covered up’ in the style of British Northern Soul 45s, or reggae sound system dubplates, so that competitors can’t discover the name of the tune or band.
Welcome to the mysterious world of highlife-soukous – and Bota Tabansi International.”
Remastered reissue of a super smooth gospel soul rarity brimming with exulted vibes. Unavailable since the early ‘80s, and expensive to buy 2nd hand nowadays
“Amazing private gospel modern soul/boogie LP originally released in 1981, featuring an alternate version of the dance floor killer "Spread Love".
Having grown up in rural West Virginia, Michael Orr is a marvelously talented musician and accomplished singer, songwriter, and producer. From the time he was placed on a piano bench as a toddler, Michael has been playing and composing music. In 1975 Michael Orr recorded his first full record “Spread Love” which became an international classic. In 1979 he recorded his second and much lesser known album “Love Will Rise” in Los Angeles and released it on the Birthright record label. The single “Love Will Rise” was a tribute to The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A gem of a smooth soul album – completely rare in the original, and a fully honest testament from Michael Orr. Orr's got a real talent for a song – and his commitment to strong vocals can be heard in his mix of styles that recall bits of Andy Bey, Jon Lucien, Gil Scott-Heron, and DJ Rogers.
An absolutely incredible gospel modern soul album, finally available again, fully licensed and remastered, with original artwork. Not to be missed!”
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."