Later period, post-4AD Cocteau Twins pressed on vinyl for the first time since its original release.
"Four-Calendar Café is the seventh album by Scottish band Cocteau Twins. It was originally released on 18 October 1993 on Fontana. The album distinguished itself from the rest of the Twins’ catalogue in two major areas: The sound was much more pop-oriented and less ambient than previous works, and Liz Fraser’s lyrics were much more intelligible than usual."
3rd volume in a fine series of post-punk/industrial/synth-pop compilations, packing 32 tracks from he likes of Front 242, K. Leimer, Les Vampyrettes, Bourbonese Qualk, Portion Control, The Legendary Pink Dots, E.M.A.K., Tuxedomoon. A good look for fans of the LSD or V-O-D sets
“Inspired by Dave Henderson’s legendary ‘Wild Planet’ columns, published in Sounds magazine in 1983, Close To The Noise Floor first collected together sixty of the finest examples of post-punk era electronic musical experimentation in the UK. A companion European volume, Noise Reduction System, and a North American collection, Third Noise Principle, followed. Collected here are selected highlights from all three volumes.”
From Sierra Leone via Berlin, Lamin Fofana brings his gritty twyst to Simone Trabucchi’s Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane)
Since his early releases for Dutty Artz at the start of this decade, Lamin Fofana most notably ran the NYC-based Sci-Fi & Fantasy label with Paul Lee, which was an early springboard for Lotic and Max McFerren.
On ‘Brancusi Sculpting Beyonce’ Fofana reprises the style we still recall from his Dutty Artz releases, a technoid-sidespin on West African drums nous, stepped up with tight dub chords and sharp FX.
Hard and slinky electro/techno remixes of Daniel Avery from Anastasia Kristensen, Manni Dee and Patrick Russell
Manni Dee puts the boot in on ‘Citizen’ with warehouse driving impact; Danish DJ/proudcer Anastasia Kristensen reworks ‘Glitter’ as a galloping big room techno tool; Brooklyn’s Patrick Russell provides the highlight with the rudely retuned torque and nose drip dynamics of his ‘Diminuendo’ remix.
From Michigan via Belgium, Tyler Dancer brings a rude Detroit flavour to his follow-up record for DBA, leading on from 2017’s debut 12” and strong remix of Funkadelic with Shake
Uptown he plays out the wickedly sub-heavy swagger of ‘Kármán Line’ with its hazy top line and rugged flow coming off like Shake meets Nolean Reusse, whereas ‘Shiva’s Hands’ puts the kicks down four square with frazzled handclaps and weird, piped-in lead to sound a bit New Beaty, and the pumping ‘Nyx’ lets some jazzy light trickle in to the mix for sweet contrast.
‘Dark Matter’ completes a delectable trio of releases surveying Pablo’s Eye, a multifaceted Belgian collective working between ambient electronica, cinematic synth themes and hypnotic minimal rhythms.
Drawn from some 30 years of Pablo’s Eye material, ‘Dark Matter’ oscillates between the shadowy feels found in their ‘Spring Break’ compilation, and their rhythm-driven inclinations from the stunning ‘Bardo For Pablo’ 12”.
As Stroom so beautifully put it, the sound of Pablo’s Eye “is a temporary atmosphere, like a taste or dream…”, and that ephemeral nature is poignantly key to the 12 tracks on offer’, as they drift from theatrical vignettes such as ‘Worship & Passion’ to intoxicating, noirish percussion and drones redolent of Muslimgauze in ‘Different Observers’, and onto reverberating, spacious drum and drone works such as ‘A Pagan Use’ and the trip-hop of ‘Out of the Corner of Her Eye’, via absorbing arabesques like the serene ambient blush of ‘When You Were Asleep’ and ‘L.A. Desert’.
At risk of repeating ourselves, the selection and presentation skills of Ziggy Devriendt and his team at Stroom are achingly on-point here, making for a record you’ll return to over and again.
Killer, Goa-style slugs of acid chug from Alexis Le Tan and Joakim’s Full Circle alias - a big look for fans of Vladimir Ivkovic DJ sets!
Tagged “A journey to your higher state of consciousness and back”, Full Circle’s 3rd 12” - their 1st since 2015 - comes with proper, sand-stomping squelch and tribal drums at 33 not 45rpm in the A-side’s ‘Age Of Time’, while the B-side’s ‘Pure Pose’ does the same with proggier house ingredients stretched out to a sexy slow swing and arced with bubbling 303.
A minimalist masterpiece and pinnacle of the 20th century classical canon, this boxset collects all four parts of Steve Reich’s Drumming, plus Six Pianos and Music For Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organs on vinyl for the first time in over 40 years.
Marking an important intersection of western avant-garde thought with percussive practices inspired by Ghanaian drum rituals and Balinese gamelan ceremonies, Reich’s seminal recording has inspired countless composers since it was realised in 1973 and recorded in Hamburg, 1974, casting indelible influence over successive waves of electronic dance music - from disco to techno - thru post rock, indie-pop and all integers between them over the course of a radiant, enduring lifespan.
In fact, anyone would struggle to fully sum up the impact these recordings have had on modern music, from the way in which they effectively offered a transcendent solution to the difficulties of the serialist music which preceded them through use of innovative strategies of phasing repetition and psychoacoustic effects, to their refreshing and mesmerising pairing of percussion and vocals in distinctly unique harmonic structures, which flipped staid ideas of classical convention on their head with a new democracy of frequencies.
Whilst they are most certainly the result of long, studious hours of dedication and rigorous communal practice, ultimately the beauty of all three pieces lies in their ostensible, affectively engaging simplicity; from the hypnotically infectious pulse which underpins Drumming and the way in which it naturally swoons in and out of phase, to the elegantly airborne lift of Six Pianos and the gently rapturous vocal percolations of Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ.
An essential addition to any record collection.
STROOM 〰 serve a compilation of dreamlike works by Brussels-based collective Pablo’s Eye drawn from their catalogue circa the early-mid ‘90s. There’s some lush passages to be found...
“Pablo’s Eye is the science of studio pressure, when engineer becomes artist. Appropriating left and right as well as front and back, Pablo’s Eye uses the mixing desk to examine and exhaust the possibilities of moments. Pablo’s Eye is a record of that examination and exhaustion, but it is also a record of its own inner space. By means of depth placement, psychoacoustics and spatial fug, Pablo’s Eye is experienced in the deeper reaches of the body, bypassing the conscious part of the mind entirely.
Pablo’s Eye is the turning of recorded music inside out to show its seams. It interrogates a song, stripping down the body of the song to reveal its bones. Pablo’s Eye is in the interstices of music, it plugs the gaps, fills the holes. Pablo’s Eye seeks out the concealed mechanisms, it is a song’s hidden agenda.
For this compilation, it was decided to present the softer air-beatings of Pablo’s Eye. More than anything, Pablo’s Eye is a temporary atmosphere, like a taste or a dream…”
Later period, post-4AD Cocteau Twins pressed on vinyl for the first time since its original release.
"Milk & Kisses is the eighth and final studio album by Cocteau Twins, issued by Fontana Records in March 1996. It proved to be their last. The song “”Rilkean Heart”” was a homage to Jeff Buckley, who was a lifelong lover of the work of poet Rainer Maria Rilke."
Hypnotic, heavy-lidded tech-house minimalism from Romania’s Vid on Amsterdam’s Sound of Vast
Is there a shrine to Villalobos somewhere in Romania? Clearly modelled in his beardy, long-limbed image, ‘Life of Dreams’ stretches out with endlessly rolling rhythmic permutations and subtly trippy voices on the A-side, before thickening up the subs and bringing in that patina of voices again, strongly recalling ‘Sei Es Drum’ vibes in ‘Povestea Ei’, before ‘Povestea Mea’ melts out into a wonderfully queasy sort of curdled acid dissonance and super wavy, baroque-like melodies that will sound ace after gallons of vodka and enough ket to knock out a donkey.
Punchy, bright, deep Euro house-style jackers from Dekmantel regular Palms Trax
’To Paradise’ is a strapping and supple blend of Italo arps and Chicagoan drum programming with a clinically wipe-clean Dutch finish. ‘Love In Space’ follows in a sparky dream house mode with starburst synths and tropical percussion in fruity ‘80s flex, and ‘Heron’ slopes off on a duskier, hair-kissing boogie wiggle.
Pivotal Amsterdam producers Aroy Dee and Ma Spaventi double down on a romantic house tip
Marking up their first collaboration, following a split 12” in 2012 and many solo M>O>S joint between, ‘The Way We Love’ lays down a firm groove for lovely, soft focus pads and aching vocals in the title tune, while the ‘Reprise’ shed the beat to gorgeous, late ‘90s effect.
‘The Way We Move’ cuts shades deeper on the B-side with bruised kick drum anchoring elegiac pads, sculpted square bass and choral progressions like a really moody Larry Heard joint, which Spaventi cools out with a lovely, dawning rework.
Rupa’s cult, 1982 Indian “disco” side comes back around on a fully legit pressing via Numero. Some of it is novelty, but the standout ‘Aaj Shanibar’ is a proper burner!
“Barely disco and hardly jazz, Rupa Biswas’ 1982 LP is the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic. Tracked in Calgary’s Living Room Studios with a crack team of Indian and Canadian studio rats alike, Disco Jazz is a perfect fusion of East and West. Sarod and synthesizer intricately weaving around one another for 37 transcendent minutes, culminating in the viral hit “Aaj Shanibar.” Remastered from original analogue source material and with the permission and blessing of the producers and performers.”
Jim O’Rourke goes to town on rework of Langham Research Centre’s radiophonic audities, alongside a spectral deconstruction by berlin-based Japanese band, Group A
“Langham Research Centre’s radiophonic experiments are twisted into new shapes on Tape Reworks Vol. 1, a split EP featuring remixes by renowned experimental musician Jim O’Rourke and Berlin-based industrial band group A.
On Side A, Jim O’Rourke uses ‘Quasar Melodics’ as his source material, transforming fizzing grains of sound into an oceanic swirl of noise. On the flip, group A find metallic rhythms and eerie melancholy in ‘Perpetual Motion’.”
Dome’s groundbreaking debut album ‘1’ is finally available as a standalone vinyl reissue via Editions Mego. Comprising Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, Dome formed during Wire’s 1980-84 hiatus, creating their own recording space in Eric Radcliffe’s legendary Blackwing Studios (Depeche Mode, Yazoo), where they would pursue and recombine myriad musical interests to become one of post-punk’s most definitive, influential and endlessly inventive bands.
Truly taking to the idea of studio as instrument, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis used their Dome set-up to generate some of the uncanniest music of their generation. Using the usual guitar and drums, plus synths and lots of tape manipulation, they effectively combined avant-garde experimentation with a pop nous, resulting in strikingly unique songs such as their incredible, signature ‘Cruel When Complete’ featuring the haunting vocals of Angela Conway aka. A.C. Marias, along with oblique noise sculptures such as ‘Ampnoise’ and seminal freaks like ‘Rolling Upon My Day’ which do it all in the space of one track.
‘Dome 1’ was the first of three Dome LPs released on the band’s eponymous label between 1980-81, along with other notables such as the incredible Michael O’Shea album and A.C. Marias’ ‘Drop / So’, which all bore the spooky, spacious hallmarks and air-bending tones of Dome’s studio. It catalogues the first experiments of what, to our mind, was one of the most intriguing and esoteric bodies of work from the early 80’s, combining the artschool sensibilities of Gilbert - who was in his mid '30s by this point - with a post-punk awareness shared by Lewis. They captured the ideal - shared by so many yet achieved by so few - of reaching a kind of avant-pop utopia. 40 years later, it still sounds like nothing else.
Amazing avant-garde/computer music unearthed by Unseen Worlds, who were behind Laurie Spiegel's brilliant 'The Expanding Universe' collection. This is totally blowing our tiny minds right now; a breathtaking suite of unclassified but life-affirming electronic music for Buchla, Publison, Macintosh and Turntables by American composer Carl Stone, mostly previously unpublished, this is only his 2nd vinyl release since 1983! Strongly tipped to fans of Steve Reich, Julia Holter, Robert Ashley, The Automatics Group, Pinkcourtesyphone.
A student of composition under Morton Subotnick and James Tenney at CalArts, Stone has exclusively produced electro-acoustic music since 1972, mostly issued on CD by academic-leaning labels until now, as Unseen Worlds fulfil their role in facilitating “quality editions of unheralded and revolutionary, yet accessible, avant garde music” with this truly revelatory compilation.
It lights up our pleasure centres like a quid in a fruit machine, using a palette of eastern-tuned scales, processed vocals and pop samples to conjure a majorly playful array of idiosyncratic, angular and intriguing arrangements that resonate with Robert Ashley’s mercurial cut-ups as much as The Automatics Group’s incisive dance pop detournements and the proto-glitch music of Nicolas Collins.
It’s all totally new to us and feels like somebody just opened a big skylight onto our listening lives, flooding us with new sensations between the baroque computer music of Sukhothai (1977) and the wormholing drone of Chao Praya (1973), taking in the soothingly ethereal Shing Kee (1986) and strobing structure of Don II Jang (1982), along with the haunting nocturnal transition of Kuk Il Kwan (1981) to lay out whole new worlds before your ears.
We’ll zip it now, but trust us; this is a total blinder. Not to be missed by anyone with a taste for innovative electronic music of the rarest order.
Stroom pluck out a proper peach for Valentine’s day, creaming the archive of Venice, Italy’s Ruins for a super memorable and woozy collection of stylish, emotive electro-wave circa 1981-1984, highly recommended if you're into Vazz, Antena, Maximum Joy...
Previously included on compilations from Minimal Wave and Mannequin, the four-piece Ruins ran from the turn of the ‘80s until late ’85, a golden run which resulted a trio of LPs and four 12”s, from which this compilation is sourced.
In key with New Wave pop’s experimental tendencies, Ruins make songs first and foremost, but they’re detectably porous to influence from nascent US disco-rap-funk as much as David Bowie and Japan, nailing a classic sound marbled with a playfully ambiguous idiosyncrasy.
Intensely warped electronic noise made at EMS studios by Swedish master Daniel Rozenhall; alternately dense/spacious sides looking deep into the mind of the machines...
Two blinding wormholers from Daniel Rozenhall on a super limited pressing bound to be sought-after by intrepid sound explorers. A close associate of Stockholm’s EMS studios and the Fylkingen venue at the heart of the city’s experimental music scene, Daniel Rozenhall has played a low-key but vital role in Sweden since his trio of albums for Firework Editions and Kning Disk, and the ‘Rozenhall’ compilation, between 2001-2009. Ten years later he now metes out the mind-bindingly dense and absorbing audness of ‘Den Förföljdes Gryning’, unfurling some of the most colourfully kaotic and amorphous sounds this side of Merzbow, Florian Hecker and Cam Deas - and we do not use those comparisons lightly!
Gifted with a remarkable taste or tolerance for high-strength hallucinogenic electronics, Rozenhall delivers two powerful tracts of unfathomably complex, polymetric slosh and scree riddled with amorphous, phantasmic apparitions set to trigger myriad, pareidolic perceptions. The first side is a glut of dissonant, alien squabble seemingly moving in every direction at once, somehow matching the crispness of Florian Hecker with the density of Masami Akita compositions in bewildering fashion, whereas the B-side inverts that complexity with a warped, elemental simplicity, allowing a single, oscillating synth figure to spiral out from low frequencies to high with a warped keen, recalling one of EVOL’s mentasm sculptures as much as Cam Deas in infinitely accelerating freefall or a creature that just crawled up the gullet of Organum.
No compromises. Rozenhall properly sees this one through.
Forlorn, rustic studies for strings, roll-up piano, concertina, singing bowls and more from Aaron Martin for his spiritual home at Preserved Sound
“Aaron Martin’s album "A Room Now Empty" sees him returning to the memory-based recordings of previous albums such as "Almond", "River Water" and "Chautauqua", where layered meanings in the music and titles don’t allow a single clear-cut reading of the music.
“A Room Now Empty is similar to the concept of Day Has Ended where Christoph Berg and I created music to encompass the passing of a day, but stretched out for the passing of a lifetime or at least a portion of a lifetime,” says Aaron.
Using cello, electric guitar, bass, roll up piano, banjo, concertina, acoustic guitar, voice, ukulele, singing bowls and lap steel, "A Room Now Empty" keeps the same intimacy and directness of Aaron’s previous albums, with a slightly more processed sound creating distance within the music.”
Willie Burns and L.I.E.S' Ron Morelli meld minds as Strange Birds in the ruinous ‘Bird Shit’ jam session for Willie’s Verge Of Tears label
The result of a mucky weekend in Paris at the end of 2015, ‘Bird Shit’ delivers some of the deadliest material we’ve heard from either of ‘em. A-side gives strong highlights in the unyielding techno tension of ‘Birdshit 3’ and the pulverizing rhythmic noise of ‘Birdshit 1’, while ‘Birdshit 3’ is an unmissable EBM techno girder.
DJ Nigga Fox pushes Príncipe to new conceptual limits with the remarkable 15 Barras - a four-part movement of virulent acid, screeing strings and crowd noise unfolding over a seamless 20 minute arrangement. It’s just mad on so many levels, right up there with the Afro-cubist abstractions of Jamal Moss and Nolan Reusse at their best.
Originally conceived as the soundtrack to an installation but ultimately arriving on this one-sided piece of wax, 15 Barras trades in Nigga Fox’s usual dancefloor intensity and immediacy for something more slow burning and experimental in structure and duration.
An elasticated 303, or 303 emulation, is the glue that holds the piece together, coming in sticky waves of jabbing, writhing rhythm, accreting diced chants and swells of clamouring crowd noise that eventually hinge around a splintered claps and trills of hollow, wooden blocks of percussion at ruggedest angles.
Drop this at the right point in the dance and you’ve got at least enough time for a really leisurely slash, and maybe even roll a zoot before returning to the dance and finding everyone melted in some kind of Cronenbergian amorphorgy.
'Witch Hunt' and 'Natalia's Song' sets the tone for an album that delivers unabashed emotion, narcotic drift and rudeboy grit in equal and complementary measure.
The boss 'Riding With Death' is like grime from outer space, smacked-up and dubbed-out but iterated with an almost Teutonic discipline, while 'Vortex' and 'Lucifer' team the kind of brazen synth stabs favoured by R&B overlords like The-Dream and Timbaland with a heart-catching isolationist sensibility more in keeping with vintage Ae or Source Direct. In the context of the album, the Panda Bear-vocalled 'Things Fall Apart' makes perfect sense, preparing the ground for the fetid fourth world techno of 'Salamander'.
'Digital Rain' and 'Devil Lay Here' are pure, Zomby-patented dubstep bubble-bobble, the latter knocked nicely off-kilter by ear-worming horn sounds, while the wild-pitching arpeggios of 'Mozaik' and 'Black Orchid' hark back to his game-changing Hyperdub double-pack. 'Florence' teams the most delicate, tremulous piano sequences with scuttling junglist breakbeats, prompting inevitable comparisons with classic Aphex gear; pianos are in fact all over the album, culminating in the straight-faced, unadorned solo piece 'Basquiat'. The guy has really cultivated his patch of digital flora to perfection, and we just can't fault him here; Dedication is a hugely recommended journey into the heart of soundsystem psychedelia, Zomby-style.
Holy grail German post-punk zingers reissued via Stefan Schneider’s TAL, following on the heels of their killer Konrad Kraft reissue
Originally issued as one disc on Klar! 80’s 3LP ‘Massa’ set in 1981, Roter Stern Belgrad’s 3 tracks are an amazing example of Afro inspirations worked into early industrial frameworks.
Right up there with unruly classics by CH-BB, Din A Testbild and Liaisons Dangereuses from the same era, these tracks perhaps even more feral and far out, but properly anchored in amazing rhythms, as you’ll hear between the snaking minimalism and stressed metal sounds of ‘Afars & Issas’, on the wickedly agitated drum programming and cranky electronics of ‘Wegwerfliebling’, and the transfixing mix of possessed hollers, gnashing drums and motorik bass in ‘Abend-Stern-Chant’.
A tech-house hymn to menstruation, plus garage pivots and sub-loaded house heft from NYC x Berlin’s Klein Zage, backed with remixes by DJ Python, Ariel Zetina and Local Artist.
On ‘Womanhood’ Klein riffs on “a nihilistic declaration of menstruation” in a manner recalling Jenny Hval’s house incursions, while ‘Absolutely’ demonstrates her tuffer garage tastes with killer, rubbery 2-step spring and lyrics flying the flag for the female orgasm, wheras ‘She’s Out There’ knuckles down to a rudely wired Berlin darkroom sound.
DJ Python draws out the etheric appeal of ‘Womanhood’ with a drowsy dembow refit, Ariel Zetina follows their drop for Sweat Equity with a grimy 8-bar version of ‘Absolutely’, and ’She’s Out There’ becomes a playfully dubbed stepper in the hands of Vancouver’s Local Artist.
The Books’ Nick Zammuto serves a hauntingly evocative soundtrack to Jeremiah Zagar’s Sundance Award-Winning flick ‘We The Animals’. If you remember and/or love The Books’ intricately embroidered collage pop, the colourful dimensions of James Holden, or have a fondness for blissed out American indie film scores, your attention is required
“We The Animals is the award-winning new film from Jeremiah Zagar (In A Dream). Based on the best-selling novel by Justin Torres, We The Animals is Zagar’s first narrative feature. It reunites Zagar with Nick Zammuto, the renowned composer and co-founder of beloved collage-pop pioneers, the Books. Inspired by the film’s setting in rural upstate New York – and influenced by the early ambient electronic music that galvanized the Books two decades ago – Zammuto pairs that earthen, wooded isolation with dynamic pulses of customized electronics and sparse, crystalline layers of melodic soft synths. The juxtaposition is arresting, and gives the soundtrack a unique heft befitting of its subject matter – and betraying of its minimal instrumentation. Beautifully edited and sequenced to act as both a companion to the film and a standalone album, We The Animals: An Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is as subtle as it is startling, and succeeds in making even the heaviest emotions feel momentarily weightless.”
Searing mini LP from Cophenhagen’s Code Walk for Peder Mannerfelt’s label, dashing between daring 150bpm hydraulics and rugged techno rollers - highly recommended if yr into DJ Stingray, Eomac, Anastasia Kristensen, Peder Mannerfelt...
With ‘Distance’ the Copenhagen residents showcase a diverse brief to their sound, equally prone to take in elusive 150bpm electro oddities as mutant breakbeats and bullish techno, and all with a knowing push’n pull of abstraction and function that’s always been key to the strongest techno music since day one.
In six diverse parts the pairing work on, off and around the beat with varying levels of agility. They’re most thrilling when they go fast, far-out and near-weightless, as with the mercurial flow of opener ‘Distance’, and again with the scudding ghetto-tech bounce of ‘Red’ and their smudged power ambient ace, ‘The Same As Me’. But while those cuts are all eminently danceable, the other tracks are perhaps more conventionally ‘floor-focussed, from the flinty breakbeat and noise jag of ’Touch’, to the soggy bass drum march and sci-fi synth strokes of ‘Streak’, and the squared-off, cranky, Surgeon-esque buck of ‘Monitor’.
Following Code Walk’s 2017 debut ‘Doubler’ for CPH’s Ex Local/F12 labels, ‘Distance’ unpackages bold new angles to the duo’s style certain to spark fevered interest from explorative techno DJs and dancers.
'Futuro' is Not Waving’s engrossing, highly original soundtrack to Sean Rogg’s world-renowned art/theatre project. It features Ambient, environmental and tonal works & abstractions that come highly recommended if yr into Laurie Spiegel, Steve Roach, Brian Eno, Shuttle 358...
’Futuro’ is Not Waving’s sublime synth/ambient soundtrack to one of the world’s most intense art/theatre experiences: Sean Rogg’s radically immersive ‘The Waldorf Project’ - fusing choreography, spatial design, music and performance. Drawn from more than 20 hours of material recorded between 2013-2018, it finds Alessio Natalizia exploring a style of tonal and spatial minimalism that works as a fine palette cleanser for much of what you’ve heard from him in the past.
While not a new solo album, per se, the longform, Eno-like results of ‘Futuro’ demonstrate the full wingspan of Not Waving’s obsessive knowledge and emotive feel for electronic composition, making it in some senses one of the most substantial and unusual releases in his catalogue thus far. It ranges from highly emotive, site-specific synth meditations thru to bittersweet Kosmische intuitions, and milky, Eno-esque beauties.
But if any part sums up Futuro's widescreen scope, it’s the final side’s 17 minutes of awning, gently curdled synth pads - originally used in a performance to 4000 people in Thailand laid in pitch black, with bodies formed in triangles while dancers caressed their faces. It ends the album with such memorable effect as to make it something of a modern day environmental/ambient classic - and perhaps our favourite Not Waving release in an already enviably deep catalogue.
None-more-vital East African label Nyege Nyege Tapes present Otim Alpha’s melodic electro Acholi bangers on vinyl for the 1st time, following that blazing, acclaimed Sounds of Sisso compilation!
Alpha’s debut international release Gulu City Anthems features 11 songs written and recorded between 2004 and 2015 in Northern Uganda and ranges from hi-velocity bangers to more romantic mid-tempo swagger, all serving a totally infectious showcase of his plugged-in take on traditional Larakaraka wedding music that’s bound to get a lot of listeners itching for a +1 invite to one of his ceremonial sessions (crashing is always an option, too!).
Working with producer Leo Palayeng, Otim essentially computerises Acholi wedding music, weaving its traditional, see-sawing folk fiddles and call-and-response vocals with stripped, pounding drum machine polyrhythms in a sort of hypnotic, minimalist delirium. For the most part, it’s properly uptempo, with some searing highlights in the likes of his wickedly off-kilter jig Kodi Pa Barikiya (Kwan), the jabbing clash of almost cajun-style rapidfire riffs and turbo-charged toms in Toni G, or the Detroit/Chicago ghetto-compatible bang of Too Wiye Ming-Alphazo. But there’s also one super-charming piece called Agiki Ne Tye which works at a relatively leisurely 120bpm with strolling bass and bright, joyful chord cadence, presumably intended to allow the party a sweet breather.
Following Alpha’s recent, stellar introductory live show at Unsound ’17, this collection is set to impress his sound to eager ears beyond Uganda and the East African scene, and is surely destined to be lodged in record collections somewhere between your Shangaan, Konono No.1 and Caribbean soca faves - in other words; your party-starting section...
Jessica Pratt’s exceedingly strange, seemingly sped up but ultimately completely immersive vocals are in haunting/beguiling effect on her 3rd album following an eponymous 2012 debut and ‘On Your Own Love Again’ [Drag City, 2015]. You’re either going to think the engineer is taking the piss or you’ll fall heavy under her spell - count us firnly under the latter....
“For her third album Quiet Signs, Jessica Pratt offers up nine spare, beautiful & mysterious songs that feel like the culmination of her work to date. "Fare Thee Well" and "Poly Blue" retain glimmers of On Your Own Love Again's hazy day spells, but delicate arrangements for piano, flute, organ and strings instill a lush, chamber pop vim. The record's B-side, meanwhile, glows with an arresting late-night clarity; the first single, "This Time Around," pairs the Los Angeles artist's intimate vulnerability with a newfound resolve. Ultimately, this confidence is what sets Quiet Signs apart from Pratt's previous work, the journey of an artist stepping out of the darkened wings to take her place as one of this generation's preeminent songwriters.”
One of those rare artists who gets better with each release, Susanna is joined again by partner and producer Helge Sten (Deathprod), and a new band of Norse whippersnappers - The Brotherhood of Our Lady - for a soaring suite inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. While Susanna’s vocals and song-writing channel Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Tori Amos and Diamond Galas, the musical palette is wonderfully singular, with sophisticated piano and string arrangements riddled with unconventional details. In the loveliest sense this is an album both my folk-loving mother and I could enthuse about.
"The incredible, ahead-of-its-time art of medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch bears strong comparison with the music of Norwegian artist Susanna. Visionary, disturbing, spiritual; vivid images of darkness and light, good and evil, heaven and hell and the folly of mankind. Like her songs, Bosch’s iconic images range from the panoramic to the intimate, and express bliss, torment and tortuous inner conflicts.
On Garden of Earthly Delights, her 13th album, Susanna takes a selection of Bosch’s paintings as starting points for a fervent, poetic rosary of fantastical songs and stories. Tracks like ‘Gluttony and Lust’, ‘Death and the Miser’ and ‘Ship of Fools’, reflect Bosch’s depictions of sin and human weakness, while ‘Wayfarer’, ‘Ecstasy’ and ‘Beautiful Life’ suggest the transcendent search for spiritual rewards.
Originally a commissioned work for the Vossajazz Festival 2017, Garden of Earthly Delights ranges from soul searching balladry to sonorous electronic expanses. Some listeners might catch echoes of the melodic range of Joni Mitchell, the confessional darkness of Nina Simone and the traumatised intensity of Diamanda Galas, filtered through a medieval folk and modern experimental sensibility. But there’s no mistaking the powerful, questing clarity of Susanna’s distinctive voice, and the core of symbolic imagery she draws on from ancient mythology via medieval mysticism to present-day consumer society.
Accompanying her own wanderings on vocals, piano and electronics, Susanna assembled The Brotherhood of Our Lady, a new group (named after the religious organisation that sponsored Bosch) drawn from Norway’s current dynamic, young and open minded music scene, with members of bands like Skadedyr, Stina Stjern, Listen to Girl and Propan. The album was recorded in the extraordinary Ocean Sound Studio on the Northwest coast of Norway, a fully equipped wooden hut that sits on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the sea. All programming and production was done by Susanna and regular partner Helge Sten (Supersilent, Deathprod), with mixing by Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Lana Del Rey, First Aid Kit, etc). The team and the wild location extract some of Susanna’s spookiest and richest sonic performances to date, with a vivid range of colours to match Bosch’s extravagant imagery.”
‘Wandelaar’ is a time-dilating suite of solo piano, strings and electronic ambience realised by Haron Aumaj as the first release on a promising new Dutch label, Queeste - properly gorgeous stuff.
As first introductions go, Wandelaar is a memorable one. Over the course of seven pieces, Haron extends a modest invitation to his world with the spare, Roger Eno-esque air of solo keys and floating synth tons in Lotuseater, before opening out the vast symphonic panorama of Maangerij and seamlessly segueing into the windswept arps of Caverne with in a manner recalling a more tempered TCF.
The journey reaches a hallucinatory apex with the staggering proprioceptive sound design of Selenieten evoking febrile imagery of incomprehensible scale and dynamics, and we’re swept, dreamlike, into the playfully frothy, melodic keys of Foschia, which make for a stark contrast with the fleeting blue grey notes of Sepia that lead into the lip-tingling, head-thizzing expression of his Music for Elbows, charmingly evoking comparisons to Ryuichi Sakamoto at his most deliquescent, as much as a tipsy, sun-dazed Emahoy Tsegué-Maeryam Guèbrou work.
It's an engrossing, brilliant album that comes highly recommended for those of you looking beyond Ambient-by-numbers fodder.
If Jodorwsky made an Adult Swim show, the soundtrack may well come out like Meridian Brothers and Pedro Ojeda’s lysergic cumbias as Chupame El Dedo. Frazzled, unhinged, and frankly odd sh*t, this!
“Souk’s fourth release is a daring adventure in global beats. Frequently it comes to mind the universe of Quasimoto, Madlib’s abstract hip hop that sounded delicious in the early 2000s. Chupame El Dedo lives in the same kind of power trip, fuelled by intense salsa rhythms dressed with heavy metal images.That’s where Satan comes into place. The Devil wears many clothes, but none are as multi-coloured and trendy as the ones we see in “No Te Metas Con Satan”. We are advised of that during the first side of the LP. Each song dares the listener, with a multitude of ideas, sometimes dissonant ones, that find their way to make sense. An example? The first song “No Te Metas Con Satan” sounds like a perverted version of “Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?” and when you think it’s over, it starts again, repeating ideas and leaving you extremely confused. What the fuck just happened? Chupame El Dedo happened.
And it goes on. Flip to the other side and “Alexandra Candelaria” says hi. A 7:43 minute long sinful & hilarious soup opera. No-one is ready for this. Laughter mixes with intense head banging, while we listen to what would happen if Jodorowsky made a Cartoon Network show. A damn good one. Maybe it’s a good idea to not mess around with Satan, but you’ll be in serious trouble if you don’t listen to this. Seriously.”
You’d be forgiven for missing this hyper-limited release earlier this year (only 100 copies were made) - but thankfully we now have an exclusive clear vinyl edition, pressed up in a run of 250 copies as part of our ongoing celebration of the best of 2018.
Without a doubt one of the most daring artists out there right now, Klein makes music acutely symptomatic of its era. Naturally, recklessly combining formerly mutually exclusive styles such as gospel and noise, or ambient collage and R&B, she somehow keeps a distinct aesthetic amid these dense expressions of modernity, cannily reflecting the normalisation of intensifying socio-economic anxieties and the inexorable drive of urban life within her navigations of chaotic sonic environments.
Forging sounds and styles as wild as anything from Bob Ostertag’s ‘DJ Of The Month’, or with the decentred intensity of Aaron Dilloway, Klein’s music is better distinguished by the way she effortlessly bridges dimensions and conjures whole new sensations for the listener to deal with. I mean, if you’re on this site, you’re probably familiar with both Hype Williams and Prurient, but like us, you’d probably struggle to think of another artist who sounds like both of them at the same time, and in that sense Klein’s music is neologistic, syncretic and blessed with an intuitive physics in a way that language and musical perception is only catching up with.
Yet it’s best received and deciphered with a red 3rd eye and porous 6th sense, cos any attempt to limn it in concrete, literal terms will never fully grasp its emotive chicanery and might dull its aura of outright, alien oddness.
12 extraordinary tracks from the timeless genius of the New York underground...
Following up Soul Jazz's excellent retrospective on Arthur's disco material - now things really start getting serious. Mostly the material here is derived from two unreleased albums worth, a 1985 test pressing entitled 'Corn' and a long planned album for Rough Trade, worked on between 1986 - 90 and eventually shelved when Russell became too ill to complete, or let go of his material.
Arthur's curious, optimistic vocal - lifting us away from the corporeal into true mantric territories - is just completely inimitable and life affirming. The lyrical preoccupations with american upbringing and life could perhaps be found in an imaginary midpoint somewhere between Frank O'Hara's 'Lunch poems' and Billy Collins. His beloved cello and drum machine experiments still sound vital and completely innovative. Check 'Calling All Kids' for the beautiful Walter Gibbons remix, bringing us full circle back to the disco Arthur held so dear.
Russell emerges head and shoulders above, standing on the outside looking in, but glad of the fresh air. This is a must.
The Death of Rave plates up the first ever vinyl release from NYZ; the cult, algorithmic/generative music project of award-winning artist/scientist Dave Burraston (Bryen Telko, Noyzelab), featuring one track using synths given him by Richard D. James - a peer and star of Dave’s famous ’SYROBONKERS!’ interview. ’It comes highly recommended to followers of Russell Haswell’s kaotic gnash, the mind-bending tunings of Aphex Twin, the visionary algorithmic scapes of Roland Kayn, and Eliane Radigue’s microtonal meditations.
’SHFTR FRQ’ showcases the breadth of Burraston’s experimental research into algorithmic/generative composition. The A-side revolves 14 succinct blatz ranging from cranky percussive pieces to queered microtonal dissonance and SAW II-like atmospheres - notably including one track made on a Sequentix Cirklon sequencer and PreenFM2 synth gifted him by Richard D. James - while the B-side contains a steeply immersive spectral drone tract that (never) ends in a locked groove, especially cut at D&M, Berlin. The results are wholly unique and speak to the endless, playfully experimental variation of NYZ’s art/research. They reveal visceral, alien microcosms of curdled microtonal tunings and proprioceptive chicanery bound to thrill and induce strange, new sensations in even the most hard-to-please fiend of electronic music.
In Dave’s own words: “SHFTR FRQ is a series of experimental studies into simple synth setups controlled by varying levels of generative complex systems [MANIAC cellular automata]. Recorded over the last 6 years on an ever changing hybrid of equipment encompassing the domains of modular & MIDI based microtonal sound synthesis [analogue & digital]. Setups were always ultra-minimalist, often with just the MANIAC cellular automata sequencer and 1 or 2 modules/synths to provide a consistent sensory focus. The studies range from ultra-short sequences, micro-ditties, investigatory motifs, to a full length high spectral drone meditation.
+ [Special note for track A9 - SHFTR_CA#BB1] => A huge shout of thanks to Richard D James for gifting me a Sequentix Cirklon sequencer and PreenFM2 synth during my Regional Arts Fellowship in 2017! This was the first track I made using this gear."
For more technical info on NYZ and his research in Cellular Automata, run check his Noyzelab github page.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Justin Broadrick and co’s pivotal Godflesh album is made available on vinyl for the first time in 30 years
Arguably the last word in ‘80s guitar-driven industrial rock, 1989’s ‘Streetcleaner’ is pure bonehead fuel, chock full of grinding, beastclaw riffs and with a funky drum machine in its sweaty gruds that really set it apart from the crowd.
Carrying the black country metal torch into a new decade, Broadrick, G.C. Green, Paul Neville and their trusty Alesis HR-16 drum computer coughed up 9 gristly, swaggering chunks that effectively bridged the gap between Black Sabbath’s original heavy metal and the more funked up ‘90s variants of Primus and Slipknot et al.
30 years later it would take a fool to say that this stuff doesn’t work any more. It’s patently still heavy as f*ck and deserving of it’s “classic” mantle.
Barker, Synkro, Parra For Cuva, Roly Porter, DJ Tennis + Barratt, and Robag Wruhme rework Max Cooper’s tech-house-tronica
Barker turns in a thizzingly weightless remix of ‘Phi’; Synkro works ‘Rule 110’ on a mercurial slow/fast flex; ‘Hope’ becomes mellow, gaseous, folksy at the hands of Cologne’s Parra For Cuva. Erstwhile Vex’d member Roly Porter provides a brooding highlight with his power ambient diffusion of ‘Hope’; DJ Tennis + Barratt take ‘Reflex’ to the disco, and ‘Volition’ is sprinkled with Robag Wruhme’s cute and proggy electronica sensibilities.
Delroy hitches up to L.I.E.S. again with the fizzing, melodic jack attacks of ‘Wagon Wheels’
After reprising their relationship with the ‘Aftershock’ 2LP in early 2018, the L.A. club guy plays into a signature sound in six cuts built from percolated drum machine patterns and hazy Chicagoan synthlines.
The biggest joint is a jabbing, mid ‘80s styled ace called ‘O.K. Track’ that strongly recalls Le Noiz or Chip E bangers, and we’re also really feeling the wigged-out wriggle of ‘Do Do’ (although we have an inkling those track titles may be the wrong way around), while there’s also some charming, wavy Jamal Moss styles in ‘Miss Mava’, and we’re also partial to the proper, briny Gherkin jerk of ‘Crazy Cool Beats.’
Breezy breakbeat house and downtempo ambient from ANF, otherwise known as the producers behind Dust-E-1 and Priori
Playing deep into Pacific Rhythm’s romantic aesthetic, ‘Mauna Kea’ unfolds between the title tune’s rolling breaks and lip-smacking acid line, the chill-out room special ‘Chi-Motion’, and sweetly pie-eyed moments in the swinging hustle of ‘State/Fucntion’, while ‘Mary Lynne’ heads out into pastoral, Borealis/Balearic vibes.
Free jazz classic ’Vibrations’ - aka ‘Ghosts’ - is the 2nd album by Albert Ayler’s quartet featuring Don Cherry, Gary Peacock and Sonny Murray
This is a facsimile reissue of the original Freedom label pressing, recorded in Copenhagen, September 1964. While out of print in this form for decades, the album has also been made available as free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler’s ‘Ghosts’. It’s an adventurous, charmingly challenging, 5* free jazz classic.
‘And We Are Passing Through Silently’ is the sublime first survey of reworks/remixes by cult synthesist Abul Mogard, including extended reworks of Brian Eno and Gordon Sharp (Cindytalk), Aïsha Devi, Fovea Hex, Penelope Trappes and more.
Arguably one the bigger enigmas in modern synth music, Abul Mogard has established a reputation for his singular synth works, mostly issued by Steve Moore’s VCO and Alessio Natalizia’s Ecstatic label since 2012. Prized for his slow-building, etheric and beatific style of composition, Mogard has also been in demand as a remixer over the years, and it’s in this role that Houndstooth focus upon, rounding up and presenting a handful of his strongest remixes for other artists, including many on vinyl for the first time. In each case Mogard extracts the artist or band’s essence and diffuses it into his own, billowing soundscapes with a time-dilating, meditative and romantic appeal that’s long been at the core of his synthy magick.
Where Abul’s solo work is purely instrumental, his reworks are the only place you’ll find him handling with vocals, and the best of those are found in ‘And We Are Passing Through Silently’. Perhaps understandably, he’s most impressive when working with other veteran souls. This is most clearly apparent on the 2nd disc, offering a stunning expansion of Gordon Sharp’s plaintive vocal in Massimo Pupillo/Becoming Animal’s ‘The Sky Is Ever Falling’ that surely reminds of his earliest work with This Mortal Coil, while he also deeply enchants with a glacial rendering of Fovea Hex and Brian Eno’s ‘We Dream All The Dark Away’ that sounds like it escapes a Clannad Seance in ’89.
Factor in a vertiginous spin of Aïsha Devi’s ‘O.M.A.’, the gently psychedelic rework of Nick Nicely’s ‘London South’, and a sweetly refined mix of Penelope Trappes, and it’s not hard to hear what all the fuss about, especially if you like Alessandro Cortini or Steve Moore!
"Rounding up divine renderings of songs by Aïsha Devi, Penelope Trappes (The Golden Filter) and nick nicely (heralded by luminaries of the US underground Ariel Pink and John Maus), the album culminates with Brian Eno’s collaboration with Irish avant-folk band Fovea Hex.
Also included is Abul’s brand new rework of Becoming Animal’s ‘The Sky Is Ever Falling’ featuring vocals from Cinder (This Mortal Coil/Cindytalk) and Massimo Pupillo on bass (Zu/Thurston Moore/Stephen O’Malley), exclusive to this release.
A must for fans of Alessandro Cortini, Pye Corner Audio, Fennesz, Gas.
Unmissable, cult Scottish punk zinger from 1986, returning 33 revs later via Good Energy, a new label from Jennifer Lucy Allen (Arc Light Editions) and Kevin McCarvel (Nyali Recordings). Imagine Einstürzende Neubauten in kilts, playing in a cow shed, and punking up Robbie Burns…
“Raw as hell record from the 1980s Scottish underground by Nyah Fearties, who toured Arran in kilts, who built a percussion setup from scaffolding and oil drums, who appeared on The Tube on the back of a moving lorry, and recorded this, their first album, in a cow shed in Ayrshire with just a car’s cassette deck as a monitor.
Don’t expect this to sound soft or slick because it isn’t, and therein lies its glory. Released on vinyl 1986, and later circulated under the counter as an unofficial CD-R, it’s bounced around the Glaswegian underground for decades. The master tapes went missing but with the approval of Davy Wiseman it’s been dragged kicking and screaming back into the world as a limited LP run and digital release, and contains perhaps the most chaotic detournement of a Robbie Burns folk ballad ever laid to tape.
Nyah Fearties are from the village of Lugton, and created a near-unique brand of anarchic modern folk in the 1980s and 1990s. “Simple Minds, Orange Juice and The Jesus And Mary Chain were from Scotland but Nyah Fearties are about Scotland” said one review. Their feral Celtic punk is influenced by industrial groups like Einsturzende Neubaten, who inspired a scaffolding and scrap metal percussion setup that became known as ‘the blatter cage’, making them unwelcome wherever they went. Fearties are a duo of brothers Davy and Stephen Wiseman, and this record also includes, “the Entire Company on anything they can lay their hands on” according to original sleevenotes. The brothers toured, appeared on TV, and later supported The Pogues on tour, and these successes allowed them to release better recordings under improved conditions.
Originally released in 1986 and reissued now by Good Energy, a co-production between Jennifer Lucy Allan (Arc Light Editions) and Kevin McCarvel (Nyali Recordings). Good energy thanks all involved, especially Cal Wiseman and the one with the best energy: Davy Wiseman.
To be Feart is to be scared, but you better be
because A Tasty Heidfu’ is back and it’s coming for you.”