Fronted by Malka Spiegel and vocalist Samy Birnbach (aka DJ Morpheus, freestyle DJ extraordinaire and compiler of the Freezone series), Minimal Compact were one of the most inspirational bands of the '80s. They blended funky rock rhythms and incisive guitars with flavours from their native Middle East.
"The band were active from 1981 to 1988, and released 6 studio albums and a live album. They had a large and fanatic following all across Europe and the USA, where some of their tracks became underground club favourites.
In 1981, having left their hometown in search for a more stimulating musical environment, four enthusiastic Israelis try forming a band in Amsterdam. They had met at the core of the then-tiny Tel Aviv scene. Rami Fortis (vocals, guitar) and Berry Sakharof (guitar) are confirmed musicians, Malka Spigel has just started learning to play the bass, and Samy Birnbach is mostly known as a poet and a songwriter, he has collaborated with Fortis on his provocative “Plonter” album, Israel’s first punk-rock opus (1978).
After several months, Fortis returns home, and the other three record a couple of tracks in their living room: “To Get Inside” and “Creation Is Perfect” (the latter based on a text by beat poet Bob Kaufman). Samy sends these demos to an old friend, Marc Hollander, who has just founded his Crammed label. Marc invites the as-yet-unnamed band to come and record these songs in a little studio out in the Belgian countryside. With the help of coproducers Marc H. and Dick Polak, what was intended to be a one-off 7” single quickly develops into a groundbreaking mini-album.
Five songs are recorded, including “Statik Dancin“, which will become a classic. The self-titled mini-album (rechristened “One” when it was later re-released on a single CD also including the “One By One” album) comes out at the end of ‘81. It draws a lot of attention from the UK, French, Belgian & Dutch press, and immediately puts Minimal Compact in their own, unique position on the musical map.”
American author Solnit inspired Parisian producer Jonathan Fitoussi's debut album for Further Records, Imaginary Lines.
"He used those words and the concept of Harmony Of The Spheres to create the six ravishing interstellar evocations on Imaginary Lines, to spin his own intriguing yarns about the cosmos. While conjuring the vastness of space, Fitoussi imbues the journey with profound feelings of awe and beauty.
“This idea that the constellations are an imaginary representation that man drew in the sky to serve as landmarks in space and on Earth is greatly appealing to me, and works very well with the story behind this album, on which each song title bears the name of a constellation,” Fitoussi says. “With Imaginary Lines, I wanted to work with this idea as its core; on one hand geometrical and linear, like the shape of the constellations, characterized by the use of repetitive sequences, and on the other hand, through sections of improvised organ to evoke the more spiritual dimension, and l’invitation au voyage.”
Imaginary Lines sounds like it was made with acute academic rigor yet it is also lavishly beautiful and sensuous. “I like having a mixture of a solid base to work from,” Fitoussi says, “which is characterized here by a repetitive sequence, that leaves room for improvisation as well. This is something that recurs often in my work: creating a stable structure which then allows me to create spaces within it. I also love architecture, with its lines and volumes, and I think this influences my work as a composer.”
To manifest Imaginary Lines, Fitoussi mainly employed an EMS Synthi AKS synthesizer and a Yamaha YC45D organ, which he processed through tape echo with two tape recorders. In addition, Fitoussi says, “many of the sounds were also fed back into a large metallic resonator (similar to the Ondes Martenot), which produced beautiful reverberations.”
Wow this is a stunner. Else Marie Pade's 'Electronic Works 1958-1995' is a truly precious survey of a lone, pioneering voice in electronic music.
Born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1924, Else created the first piece of electronic music played on Danish radio, 'Syv Cirkler (Seven Circles)', marking the early development of an (up until now) largely hidden body of work inspired by her experiences while interred at a Nazi prison camp as a teenager, and subsequent studies with Pierre Schaffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen in the following years.
To date she's mostly remained an outpost unto herself, save for Dacapo Records efforts in the '00s with the 'Et Glasperlespil' CD - and some remixed arrangements in 'Face It', plus a handful of compilation appearances, before Jakob Kirkegaard stepped up to work with her on the collaborative 'Svævninger' album and curate 'Electronic Works 1958-1995'. These are her most important works; a microcosmos of plangent bleeps and spectral tones illuminated by her inner moonlight.
The most obvious comparison is with Daphne Oram, who, at the same time was conjuring her very own electronic worlds from imagination and engineering, and also manifesting a sense of quiet wonder and trepidation towards the world in her compositions. As she explains: "The sounds outside became concrète music, and in the evening I could imagine that the stars and the moon and the sky uttered sounds and those turned into electronic music.”
This set is arguably one of the most evocative, enchanted examples of early electronic music we’ve encountered yet - another totally immersive find from Important Records
Oldham's in life-altering good form here - harmonically there's hints of the mastery he displayed acoustically over a chunky folk-rock groove, somewhere between a downhome David Crosby and sticky fingers period Stones. They're running down the ragged boogie here, and yet with an inimitable poise that is prime Oldham - shifting between quiet, loud, country, rock. Checking the short but beautiful Paul Bowles piece inserted, discussing the various merits and problems associated with alcohol and cannabis, there's an analogue for this predictably wonderful album, at once both inside and outside, recessive and outgoing, dynamic and apparently static. Looks like a keeper, we're happy to say.
Having collaborated with the likes of Jeremih, Tory Lanez, Lil Yachty, How To Dress Well and Banks in the years since ‘Bad Vibes’, these unreleased tracks recall a simpler, more intimate time in Shlohmo’s career
Recorded immediately after 1974's Rock Bottom, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard received a less favourable critical reception than its predecessor, consisting of new arrangements of other artists' material rather than entirely new, self-penned songs, as had been the case a year earlier, although 'Soup Song' proves to be of particular interest for stretching back to 'Slow Walkin' Talk', a Wyatt song that had its roots in his pre-Soft Machine songbook.
Apparently, there's a version of this recorded with Jimi Hendrix, but the reworked rendition here is strange and angular enough to fit in with its peculiar surroundings on the B-side. Actually, it's not denoted as a B-side as such: the labelling reflects the album title, and so the first half becomes 'Richard', whose content is markedly more intelligible than the often quite wild and silly 'Ruth' material on the flipside. Awesome.
Madrid’s Downbeat don Jose Rico is doing some very trippy things with beatdown/deep house grooves here on his debut platter for Jordan GCZ’s Off Minor.
Fair to say it’s maybe harder than ever to make an original house record these days, 30 years into the genre’s lifespan, but thanks to some inimitable chops Rico offers some spellbindingly unique spins on a classic sound in Dreams With The Mirror Planet, working killer clipped percussion into the salted caramel flow of Long To Nowhere and with mystic Afro-latin shuffle in the swirling depths of Community, before uncoiling the sublime, extended rhythm trip of the EP’s title track cut deep and lustrous for optimal immersion across the other side.
Limited edition split 7"
"Fathers of grindcore Napalm Death pushed the envelope of metal to new extremes of ear-splitting intensity, rejecting all notions of melody, subtlety and good taste to forge a brand of sonic assault almost frightening in its merciless brutality. Formed in Ipswich, England in 1982, they trafficked in the usual heavy metal fare for the first few years of their existence but by the middle of the decade they began to expand their horizons by incorporating elements of hardcore and thrash into the mix. Ultimately, Napalm Death’s sonic experiments evolved into a blistering mutation of metal that they dubbed grindcore, a kind of extremist noise attack characterized by incredibly brief song lengths, demonic vocals and eye-openingsociopolitical lyrical commentary.
Japanese noise rock band Melt-Banana found more success in the US and the UK than in their own country, gaining a small but dedicated fanbase among American and European punk rock fans. Although their music sounds noticeably different from any sort of traditional punk, it contains some punk elements: shrieking vocals, overdriven guitars, and one-and-ahalf- minute songs. Melt Banana’s unique style, however, comes as a result of the distinctly piercing vocals of lead singer Yasuko O., as well as the frenzied, effect-charged playing of guitarist Agata. Searing, intense, and mind-blowingly fast are perhaps the first adjectives that come to mind when listening to Melt-Banana’s music. Try to imagine an even more energetic incarnation of The Boredoms."
From 1971 to 1977, Peter Baumann was a member of the legendary Berlin band Tangerine Dream. The group were pioneers of the so called Berlin School which had such a profound impact on electronic music. He also enjoyed success as a solo artist. His first two solo works are now being reissued with extensive liner notes and rare photographs.
"Trans Harmonic Nights“, Baumann’s second solo album, sees him continue to break free from the gravitational pull of Tangerine Dream. Hans-Joachim Roedelius was recording the „Jardin au Fou“ album at the same time in his Paragon Studio and some of his carefree positivity seems to have rubbed off on Baumann, judging by the music he came up with.
The production phase for “Trans Harmonic Nights” covered 16 months or thereabouts. Having built the studio and taken care of production on albums for Cluster, Asmus Tietchens, Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, many of which came out on the French label Egg, he had neither the time nor the inclination to focus on his own compositions. Numerous tracks on the album were actually created at the end of the working day, on downtime, just for fun in the unfinished studio. Peter Baumann explains: “It was a completely different time for music, everything we did was spontaneous, in the moment.
My first two records happened when I was working in the studio, simply expressing myself as a musician, sensing which emotions, timbres, rhythms and melodies were closest to me.” This approach shines through the music, underpinning its authenticity and making the album such a delight to listen to today: carefree, playful, unbelievably euphoric. Synth lines are exhiliratingly entwined with synthetic plucks, experimental sounds crystallize into sweet melodies, building into ecstatic breaks.
Majestic Mellotron choirs and added vocoder tones lend an ethereal, surreal touch. It is virtually impossible not to get caught up in this rapture, to be swayed by the infectiously upbeat nature of the music. Hans-Joachim Roedelius was producing his Jardin au Fou album at the same time and one might be forgiven for thinking that his carefree positivity rubbed off on Baumann. Not long after releasing this album, Peter Baumann relocated to the USA where he recorded two more albums by the year 1983, dominated by wave and synth pop sounds.
In 1984 he founded his own label, Private Music. In the late 1990s he withdrew from the music business altogether, only resurfacing in May 2016 with a new solo album entitled “Machines Of Desire”.
Francesco Tristano puts a big posh donk on it for Derrick May’s Transmat, including four collaborations with the captain of Detroit’s dance music industry himself - his first new productions for 20 years.
Recorded in Barcelona, Detroit, Rome, Paris and Mauritius, Surface Tension can be broadly cleft in two halves; the good bits with Derrick May, and the bits with crap minimal house grooves.
We’ll focus on the former, better parts, where May balances Tristano’s input with a healthy amount of funk in the nervy swang of The Mentor, or underlines the delicate chords of Infinite Rise with a super slinky ride, and with epic effect in the lush roll of In Da Minor.
However, two tracks do cannily buck that trend. On Rocco’s Bounce, Tristano impresses with a nimble fusion of far-Eastern strings wrapped to a bumping Chicago house swerve, and Esoteric Thing catches the pair completely devoid of beats, just drifting along in a placid pastoral ambient scene and blowing sweets nothings at Ryuichi Sakamoto and Brian Eno.
Released in 1982, Nothing Can Stop Us was a compilation album, drawing together various songs recorded as singles and B-sides during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Only the downbeat, woozy opening track 'Born Again Cretin' is a Wyatt original, the remainder of the material is made up by covers, including a brilliant reworking of Chic's 'At Last I Am Free', Ivor Cutler's 'Grass' and Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit'. The arrangements and song selections remain eccentric and experimental throughout the collection, and although it never really feels like an album as such, it's certainly a bold and compelling set of songs - and once again comes with a massive recommendation.
The music from the motion picture ‘Run Lola Run’ (1998) released for the first time on vinyl.
"A heart pounding Möbius strip of cause and effect, ‘Run Lola Run’ (‘Lola Rennt’ in German) follows Lola (Franke Potente) on a quest through Berlin to find 100,000 Deutsche Marks in under 20 minutes to save the life of her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu). The film unfolds virtually in real time, presenting three variations of Lola’s seemingly impossible task.
Writer director Tom Tykwer’s multidimensional narrative and breakbeat soaked score encapsulate the creative energy of late 90’s Berlin perfectly, rendering this an international cult hit upon release. The film contains all the makings of a classic heist - diamonds, a lost bag of money on a train, the mobster it belongs to and the lengths one woman will go to rectify the situation in the name of true love - albeit with a postmodern twist. ‘Run Lola Run’s cinematic adrenaline rush is matched only by the accompanying soundtrack, which until now was never released on vinyl.
The film score was helmed by Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, combining their love of German new wave, classical and techno (and taking the role of auteur to new heights). The result is a sonic journey into split second decisions and sheer determination; an iconic audio counterpart inextricably intertwined with the film that still resonates to this day."
Immersive snapshots of A’dam’s Juju & Jordash jamming Live At Downbeat Night. Madrid, December, 2015, presented on vinyl for discerning DJs and duvet diving at home.
A maze of slo-mo acid woven with samples nudging and winking at highlife, 4th world ambient and electro-jazz thru the most dilated prism of house music and electronic psychedelia.
Kjartan Sveinsson, former member of Sigur Rós, releases his first solo project, a four act opera - ‘Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen’ - which translates as ‘The Explosive Sonics Of Divinity’.
"Sveinsson composed the score for his and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s opera inspired by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness’ novel ‘World Light’. ‘Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen’ premiered at Berlin’s Volksbhne theatre in February 2014 where Sveinsson was joined by The German Film Orchestra Babelsberg and the Filmchor Berlin for the 50-minute show.
The live performance sees each of the four movements set to a different theatrical tableau, with scenery changes and slight weather events sweeping in and out of the set, all of which occurs without a single actor gracing the stage. Kjartansson says that ‘Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen’ is a banally romantic opera inspired by Halldór Laxness’s cunning texts about the longing for beauty. Since 2011 Kjartan Sveinsson has collaborated with Ragnar Kjartansson on various projects including the durational performance installation ‘Take Me Here By The Dishwasher’ performed by ten troubadours and ‘S.S. Hangover’, a brass sextet for a sailing boat, as well as the globally acclaimed installation ‘The Visitors’.
These projects have been performed in museums around the world, as well as undertaking multiple film score work, also with the Icelandic director, Rúnar Rúnarsson - ‘Sparrows’, ‘Volcano’ and ‘The Last Farm’. ‘Der Klang Der Offenbarung Des Göttlichen’ is released via Bel- Air Glamour Records, a joint label between Kjartansson, artist Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir and The Vinyl Factory"
This second Galaxie 500 LP (from 1989) tends to be regarded as the band's finest, and in hindsight it sure sounds like a formidable piece of work.
Using a similarly slowed down, thinned out combination of guitar strum and plodding drums the band somehow continue to forge a unique sound that's helped terraform the subsequent indie rock landscape. Bands like Low owe a great deal to this trio's proto-slow core concoctions, and their songwriting never sounded better than on this LP, with great songs like 'Blue Thunder', 'Strange' and 'Tell Me' all helping cement the group's cosmically charged sound.
Further to the originals, towards the end of the album the band's take on a couple of covers, including Joy Division's 'Ceremony', The Red Krayola's 'Victory Garden' and best of the bunch, the George Harrison song 'Isn't It A Pity', which sounds great in this context, rendered in all its weary simplicity.
This 1990 Galaxie 500 album draws its title from the classic Ornette Coleman LP of the same name and transpired to be the group's final studio outing.
There seems to be a slight expansion of the Galaxie 500 sound on this outing, expanding upon the dream-pop building blocks of prior outings with a heavier drum sound and more textural guitars. Songs like 'Hearing Voices' and 'Spook' soar magnificently, while elsewhere, the woodwind solos of 'Way Up High' and miniature fanfares in 'King Of Spain Part 2' take the group's aesthetic into fresh directions - there's really not a single moment in Galaxie 500's discography that's not imbued with some measure of magic.
The closing cover of the Velvet Underground's 'Here She Comes Now' makes for a fitting full-stop in the band's lifespan as a recording entity, effectively bringing their sound full-circle.
Immersion is a project by Colin Newman of Wire and Malka Spigel of Minimal Compact/ Githead.
"It was shelved just before 2000 and has now been brought back on their Swim imprint. Analogue Creatures Living on An Island is glorious synthetic dream pop that lacks structure or rhythm, it nears on drone, but with an undeniable sunshine to it.”
Buttered garage-house-pop, RIYL Teresa Winter, Jessy Lanza, Junior Boys
Endearingly raw and soulful proto-house/boogiue vibes from Jayda G, who’s previously collaborated with DJ Fett Burger on a few plates for Freakout Cult and Butter Sessions.
Their 2nd solo flight dips and hustles from the juicy DX7 bassline and tickled 727 drums of Fathom Five and a dusky tropical smooch in Cascabel, to strike on something a bit special with the jazzy garage house authenticity of Heaven Could Be Lately, which sounds something like Teresa Winter meets Mad Musician, or even going for Jessy Lanza’s tiara in the sylvan dream house dimensions of Listen Closely.
Don’t sleep on this peach!
Originally issued in 2014, and now touching down again with a fine bevy of soul-fuelled, swinging heat making neat use of vox on Together, and locating a breakbeat house winner in the blown-out jag of Outside.
Re-issue of Jay Chattaway's soundtrack to the 1980 classic Maniac.
"An absolutely phenomenal, sleazy synth score from Jay Chattaway, perfectly capturing the unease and grime of Times Square in its pre-Disney clean up era. Its minimal synth lines, full to the brim with dark brooding menace, exaggerated ring modulations and discordant strings manage to echo the utter despare of Joe Spinell's character on screen.
This stands head and shoulders above similar 80's synth scores which often riffed on John Carpenter's Halloween score a little too much. Maniac sees Chattaway going wild, adding layers of noise & dialogue into the mix, giving the score an utterly claustrophobic feel that manages to be both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. This is a genuinely uncomfortable listen and it is easy to see why it has become such a classic amongst synth-heads and horror fans alike."
Strong label showcase for Nous, pulling together six gritty house and techno trax from Juniper, Moon Wheel, Anastasia Kristensen, Fetnat, Dreams, Ayln, and Antigravity.
To be honest, we only recognise two of those names, which is always a good thing. We’re familiar with Berlin’s Juniper, who turn out one of the fastest, if not most rugged, cuts in their small but well shaped arsenal with Movement From The Fade, and we’re also familiar with Moon Wheel, but are taken aback by the strong techno torque of his H.K. 185 D.r ace.
Elsewhere we’re introduced to Dreams with the latinate hustle of Spring Ballade, and to Fetnat with the industrially-reclaimed ballroom slammer, Marbrahh, whilst Ayln impresses with the slippery electro pivot of Wet Dreams and Antigravity get on the broken foot with Mauves Art.
Deep jungle, IDM and ambient offerings from Melbourne, Australia’s Dan White and Cry Baby Records.
Whilst hardly regarded for their junglist culture, White proves the spirit is still burning down under with a fine nod to LTJ Bukem, Omni Trio or Steve Gurley in the luhs, recursive amen roll out, Precognitive Dreams, before turning his attentions to crunching late ‘90s Autechre styles with VP3, and melting out into air with the creamy pastel ambient hues of Fearless Freak.
A compilation of the early EPs and singles.
It features all the tracks from Pavement’s first three EPs, ‘Slay Tracks’ (1933-1969), ‘Demolition Plot J-7’ and ‘Perfect Sound Forever’, as well as the single mix of ‘Summer Babe’, its B-sides and two compilation tracks.
Quietly alluring debut LP of post punk-tempered avant-pop songs and cinematic mise-en-scene from Fith: a canny proposition revolving filmmaker/vocalist Dalia Neis a.k.a Dice Miller, plus Lori Goldstone (Nirvana, Earth), Alex Paulick (Kreidler), and Enid Da; released on the Berlin/Manchester co-operative, Wanda, who previously issued an excellent, imagined soundtrack-cum-compilation, Wanda is not here earlier this summer.
Crepuscular, oneiric, anchronistic, Fith unfolds a spellbinding narrative guided by protagonist, Dice Miller, a poised and coolly possessed character who flits from dubbed-out glossolalia recalling Negra Branca to an icier, detached aloofness almost recalling John Balance, and even percolated choral arrangements reminding of Maya S.K. Ratkje, but always returning to a hushed delivery, mixed with uncanny presence at front and centre of the soundfield.
Besides her vocals, Dice also shares composition and production duties with Paulick and Enir Da, framing the multiple personalities of her voice against suitably varied backdrops that match her noirish yet curiously ambiguous tone scene for scene, whether anchoring her flighty contrails in rugged drop forge drums and shimmering organ on Oya, or like some spaced-out Anne Clarke in L’Echappée Belle or drily echoic, gothic downbeats of Fire In The Hole, or rent in shatterprone hyaline figures over the gamelan-like delicacy of Muddy Grimoire (which is also an excellent song title), whilst the penultimate song, Gish finds her like Kate Bush placed over impish, Coil-esque chamber melodies and spirit-sawing cello by Lori Goldstone, who also appears in the closing ether dream sequence of Speed.
RIYL Night School, ONO, Julia Holter
First ever vinyl edition of a very early Haino performance - five years before he started Fushitsusha! Reissue art design by Stephen O’Malley.
“Black Truffle present the first vinyl issue of Keiji Haino's Milky Way. Originally released as a limited CD in Japan by the short lived Mom 'N' Dad Productions in 1993, this release documents a blistering live performance recorded in Kyoto in 1973, five years before the formation of the first line-up of Fushitsusha, and eight years before Haino's first solo album. Working with a mysterious set-up including primitive electronics, homemade acoustic instruments, piano and voice, Haino lets loose a single 48-minute psychedelic maelstrom, marrying the immersive echo-fields of kosmische music to the rough and ready hands-on feel of classic 1960s live electronics à la MEV or Robert Ashley's Wolfman.
Despite the absence of guitar, this recording clearly lays the groundwork for the epic blowouts which were to make Haino's name in years to come, building up to a point of almost unbearable intensity in its final minutes as Haino's voice wails over a wall of distorted DIY electronics. At times presaging the psychedelic noise of C.C.C.C., Milky Way shows Haino's singular intensity and ritualistic performance style already in full flower at this early date in his long career. Presented in raw and immediate room fidelity (complete with dramatic tape drop-out), this is both an essential historical document and a classic performance in its own right. Presented in a deluxe heavyweight sleeve with an inner sleeve featuring Haino's poetry in Japanese, with an English translation by Alan Cummings. Original design by Keiji Haino & Yasunori Arai.”
Once a year kinda label Niche N Bump serve their 2016 beans in the of C Powers’ ‘floor-dedicated Fitness Check EP, rounding up five cuts of lean, direct techno-house built to work any ‘floor from Chicago to London or Berlin.
“C Powers was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He lives in Savannah, Georgia. He is resident DJ for performance art drag collective House Of Gunt. He has also been resident DJ at clubnights Cape Fear in Savannah, Hunger in Atlanta and No Pain In Pop in London. He works in a library and is cat dad to Peppers, Bucchi, and Baby D.
His releases include the Oysters EP for Proper Trax in 2015 and the Up Neck EP for CGI Records in 2014. He produced the single 'Crow' for the group 18+ (from their album Trust) as well as songs on their album Collect.
Fitness Check shows C Powers's experience as a DJ as well as his growth as a producer. From the drum programs to the arrangements, it's obvious that the EP was written and produced by someone who can work a dancefloor. On 'Wysh', which he says is an exit reaction to morose and morbid techno, subliminal speech and warped vocal stabs transition from centered to alert. On 'Fresco' he dices and scatters a song over loops of itself, a technique he calls a grey area between sampling and editing...I break it up into bits, resequence that shit then stuff that shit back into the track.
DJs may get even more service from the 'Wysh Key Beats' and 'Fresco Beatapella' versions, which give jacking rhythm tracks and sub-bass extra room to do their thing. The heavily dubbed 'Ask Less Kick Beats', lighter on drums but with a booming bassline, may prove useful as a set-opener or closer.
The EP has been mastered for club play by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.”
Letherette reprise that signature, dazed boogie, hip hop and house sound on a rugged 2nd LP, Last Night On The Planet, three years since their eponymous debut.
When they first arrived on Alexander Nut’s Ho Tep label in 2010, Letherette’s fetish for ruddy boogie and vintage proto-house made them a relative novelty, whereas nowadays they operate in a crowded field of producers juicing the last drops of flavour from the ‘80s soul spectrum.
Last Night On The Planet, then, forms a firm reminder of their authentically new/old, built-from-the-booty-up swerve, proving they can work with original vocals in the Dilla-esque bump of Momma feat. Rejjie Snow, and at a full fat hip hop flex with the title track feat. Pyramid Vitra, but the best best bits are arguably found in the instrumentals, with highlights in the airborne funk swang of Shanel, in the square-bassed Chicago deep house of Wootera, and the glittering flux of chiming exotica and subtle, Gold Panda-esque vocal processing in Rubu.
A very user-friendly, soulful slab.
Riveting label debut from Berlin’s Gil for Aïsha Devi and co’s Danse Noire, seeing off 2016 with a fierce session of reggateon riddims and deconstructed club shrapnel backed by remixes from fellow prism smashers, J.G. Biberkopf and Imaabs.
Grounded in “emerging post-human theories and the surreal collage culture of underground circles”, Gil’s Orchids & Wasps EP is one of the most compelling examples of current phase shifts from classically conventional structures to increasingly simulacra-like playgrounds where previously mutually exclusive styles collide, invert, and create new, syncretic forms.
On Bruxism he emerges from an unfathomable void to pitch between pelting flashcore and chest-quaking, 100bpm reggaeton kicks alloyed by way of screechy noise flux, whereas Many takes a more warped route via a kiddy’s choir into a sloshing, rabid bout of dembow drums and salty noise that sounds like Russell Haswell mud-wrestling with Florentino, and his Onset comes hardest of all with a brutal display of possessed black metal howl and wretches pinned into place by railgunning snares and claps, eventually resolving to another dutty wine and obliterating outro that sounds unnervingly close to an actual murder on the ‘floor.
The remixers were clearly picked wisely, handing over Onset to J.G. Biberkopf for an hallucinatory, psychoacoustic rush of defibrillating bass pulse and mind-warping chromatic keen, before NAAFI’s Imaabs jettisons the beat almost entirely, leaving the same elements to scare the shit out of each other in a freezing cold anti-gravity chamber.
Strong stuff. Future sickness.
Check for the Audio/Mathew Jonson-esque electro-house tweaks of Dystopian Daddy and the growling techno ride of Groundwater
“Avalon Emerson’s latest EP, Narcissus In Retrograde, explores four different styles that shape her distinct voice as a producer and songwriter, from symphonic showstoppers to broken acid. Opener "Natural Impasse" ferries massive melodic themes through a network of emotive capillaries that’s underpinned by charging drums, while "Dystopian Daddy" dons a theatrical flare with costume-changing arpeggiators and digital brass beef that command attention like a stage-hogging space alien diva lip-syncing for new wig money.
The B-side takes a more menacing turn with "Why Does It Hurt", the outright techno achievement of the record, and the snarling closer "Groundwater." Ethereal vocals on the former punctuate kicks and growls that sound like they were pulled from a pedal monster’s electric guitar, and on "Groundwater," a crucible of fucked breaks and acid cut a ravine through a bed of off-staccato hats and a sample swamp.”
The 5th album from Silver Apples was originally released in 1998 on CD only. A one track album clocking in at over 40 minutes, it features
a sound collage of oscillator noises and sounds with percussion.
At the time it was billed as 'A Voyage of pure exploration beyond the broad established horizons of electronic music.It is an adventure into perceptions of an unparallel universe all it's own'.
Seattle-based astral travellers Further Records hook up with Jimmy Billingham for a beatless soak under the HOLOVR name.
Fresh from tracing the Imaginary Lines of French composer Jonathan Fitoussi, Chloe ‘Raica’ Harris and Mark Cul’s Further label close in on another fine year of releases with a new HOLOVR album from London’s Jimmy Billingham. Wedged somewhere between vintage Namlook and Warp’s often-referenced Artificial Intelligence series, Anterior Space finds Billingham veering fully down the beatless route for the first time as HOLOVR over four billowing tracks.
By no means an ambient newcomer – see Billingham’s previous work under the Venn Rain alias – Anterior Space is a fine development for the HOLOVR sound. The grubby itch of early HOLOVR outings on Opal Tapes is long gone and instead Anterior Space breaks free from the floor-flirting Traces Realm offering for Firecracker. The drums may be dropped here but Billingham’s talent for finessing wistful waves of lysergy from his analogue and digital synths remains in place on opener Into Light, whilst Apparent Motion traces a multitude of crystalline movements.
Face down and Temporary, Autonomous is a febrile acid dreamscape whose enveloping warmth casts off neatly against the chill and blushed tingle of 11-minute finale Involution.
Lee Hazlewood spent a good part of the late 1960s traveling the globe, cutting records and inking business deals. A string of hits with Nancy Sinatra enabled Lee to build a mini media empire Lee Hazlewood Industries and afforded him nearly unlimited resources…for a time. By the end of the decade LHI Records had burned piles of cash, gone through a half dozen distributors and failed to achieve the kind of chart success “Boots" had promised.
"Fortunately for Lee there was a land where he was still on the top of the charts, a place where women flowed like Brannvin...Sweden was calling.While on an LHI promotional tour in Stockholm, Lee crossed paths with Swedish director Torbjörn Axelman. “I met Lee through my script girl, in Stockholm in 1969,” remembers Axelman. "We noticed we had very many similarities, interests, and the same backgrounds. It led to many productions during our 38 years of close partnership and friendship.” The partnership showed Lee the way forward and allowed him an easy exit strategy from the LHI house of cards that was crumbling in Los Angeles.
Light In The Attic continue its Lee Hazlewood series with this expanded reissue of Cowboy in Sweden. Released as the last LHI LP, Cowboy in Sweden was a soundtrack to the 1970 cult classic film of the same name starring Lee Hazlewood. The film was a surreal psychedelic account of Lee’s journey to his new homeland, while the soundtrack was a perfect compilation of Hazlewood’s strongest songs recorded over a prolific globe trotting three year period. The production scope of the album was the most ambitious of his career, recorded in Paris, London, Los Angeles and Stockholm with a slew of talented session musicians, producers and arrangers.
Cowboy in Sweden is quite possibly the purest distillation of the Hazlewood sound; lush melancholy country pop with a pinch of humor ("Pray Them Bars Away"), a dash of bummer ("Cold Hard Times”), some beautiful ladies to sing with (“Leather & Lace” & “Hey Cowboy”) and even a couple anti-war protest songs to be topical ("No Train to Stockholm” & “For A Day Like Today”). The David “Bitter Sweet Symphony” Whitaker arranged orchestral pop of “What’s More I Don’t Need Her” and the stone cold Hazlewood classic “The Night Before” cement the album as Lee’s peak on LHI records and ironically the label's swan song."
Mickey Pearce has always struck us as the type of producer who has a personal Top 5 Goat Memes.
The bass mongrel / wheeler dealer’s follow-up to debut album, Michael expands on that theme with four bumpy, driving bangers, building it up with the title track’s filtered disco-house thump, pushing into whacked out breakbeats with Rant Over, and casually knocking out one of the best post-UKF riddims we’ve heard in ages with the brilliant Bumpy Chuckles.
After that ace Audio Boyz 12”, Blank Mind’s 9th release exhibits the more gnarled, abstract and rugged elements of Sam Purcell a.k.a. Dance’s UK-rooted but outward-looking label.
Purcell heads up the session with a creepy, beat-less piece that sounds like The Caretaker getting lost in a miasma of classical Indian raga, before the Alan Johnson duo return tot he label with whirring micro mechanics applied to macro, smacking drums in the shark-eyed swerve of Ank.
Following up his 12” for Batu’s Timedance, L.Sae, who’s maybe best known as Merits, offers the convulsive, chaotic industrial clatter of Dices Courter on the other side, but the best is saved for dessert with Variete’s burly debut shot of stormy techno hydraulics.