A sought-after pinnacle of Venetian Snares’s early catalogue returns for its 16th anniversary reissue, including his flip of Billie Holiday’s take on a banned Hungarian “suicide song”
Arriving in 2005 after Snares’ had established himself among the most thrilling artists of his time, ‘Rossz Csillag Alatt Született’ saw him sampling from stacks of classical records, as well as Billie Holiday, for a concept album that imagined him as a pigeon on Budapest’s Királyi Palota (Royal Palace). In one fell swoop the album tilted his sound from pure breakcore extremity to a more “grown up” elision of breakcore and classical music, including a number of compositions where he ditched the ballistics all together. It was kind of a watershed moment for us, an undeniably impressive feat of pointillist tracker programming and lush sample rearrangement, and also the point where we thought OK, he can’t really take this aesthetic any further.
Taking sampled cues from the metric freedom and complex structures of classical works by Bartók, Stravinsky, Mahler, Paganini, Prokofiev, Elgar and Telemann, the Funk draws extraordinary links between their diametrically opposed paradigms; lending classical music a raving fire in the belly, while pushing the dynamics of jungle/D&B/breakcore to the nth degree. Paralleled in its intricacy by scant few others such as Aphex’s ‘Druqks’ album a few years prior, Snares’ efforts are arguably the last word in the original jungle formula of fast, choppy beats and sampling, and now interestingly sits equidistant to the OG sound and now for anyone making historic comparisons.
Kristin Hayter's fourth album is a death-deifying combo of baroque folk, experimental drone and sacred music that almost effortlessly succeeds in walking a dangerous creative tightrope. RIYL Moor Mother, Kali Malone, The Body or Pharmakon - she's that good!
Following February's ace "Agnus Dei", Hayter has developed that album's mix of time-locked political church-baiting and sacred music reinterpretations into one of the most ambitious rock-adjacent albums we've heard this year. Her booming words command the tone of the album, which echoes like church music written in spite of, not because of the power of American organized religion.
Hayter is a critical force, and uses the voice of Jimmy Swaggart, an evangelist preacher who was defrocked after a series of sex scandals, on the powerful 'THE SACRED LINAMENT OF JUDGMENT'. But she refuses to leave the conversation one-sided, sampling an interview with Rosemary Garcia, the sex worker who Swaggart was caught with, on 'MAN IS LIKE A SPRING FLOWER'.
These songs punctuate an album that's dense and pointed. Hayter sings over piano, pipe organ ('I WHO BEND THE TALL GRASSES'), hurdy gurdy ('THE SACRED LINAMENT OF JUDGMENT') and booming analog synth ('THE ORDER OF SPIRITUAL VIRGINS'), and creates a sound that feels hooked into her history. It's folk music, sacred music and, in some ways, classical, but Hayter's assembly of these elements is dangerous and unmistakably experimental.
"SINNER GET READY" is as powerful and as impenetrable as the gnarliest black metal, but isn't afraid to show beauty in amongst the clouded, frozen expanses. Highly recommended.
From Will Long:
"It was months ago, but it could have been weeks, days, or even hours since then. I stopped wanting to hear loops, I wanted to stop it. I added brass; trumpets, trombones, and more horns. I cut it out like words from a book, and sewed it back together. Burroughs. These movements are merely to stay alive, to stay moving.
You wake up from a truck horn passing in the early morning hours on the nearby freeway, or from a dream that you can't tell was a nightmare or a loving memory.
Someone walks by on the street wearing the same perfume. I drew out each place, each scene, and put the story there. It might have been with you, or without you. All I know is that you were there somehow the whole time, even if you weren't.
I saw rainbows from under the bridge by the river, and the sun shot up through the clouds of the golden hour. It didn't help, and there was no one around. Your chest is even with your knees, and you're sitting in the dirt. The sun keeps going down, and eventually you make your way home. It's not very much the same as it was anymore. The horns are deafening, but after, the echoes let me see the way away.
The light keeps coming, and it keeps going. Songs of surroundings, the silent, the heartbeats, the tears. We've all had them, and we'll never be rid of them."
‘Exiles’ is as close as you’ll get to a Max Richter remix album, presenting five expansive “reimaginings” of his contemporary classical anthems, plus the brand new, 33 minute title piece
As deployed everywhere from Hollywood blockbusters to a ballet about Virginia Woolf and a Fendi runway, Richter’s arrangements are prized for their capacity to swell hearts. On ‘Exiles’ he reworks some of his own highlights such as the instantly recognisable and frankly massively overused ‘On The Nature of Daylight’, and the Bowie favoured ’Sunlight’ (off ‘Songs From Before’) with renewed vigour and scope, while also expressing his feelings on the ongoing tragedy of the migrant crisis in ‘Exiles’, a hauntingly tense, widescreen and dramatic 33min work that places the record in the here and now.
The reimagined take of ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ reinforces its stately swell, while Bowie fave ’Sunlight’ lands in the shadows of his Berlin classics, and the reworked peak of ‘Infra 5’ is bound to get driving gloved hands slapping the walnut dash. But the real standout is ‘Exiles’, a compassionate elegy for migrant crisis, developed from a conversation with Dutch choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot into a soundtrack for Nederlands Dans Theater.
A rare window into Angolan musical culture. Guitarist Mário Rui Silva folds traditional Angolan and West African rhythms into European jazz forms, creating music that's subtle, beautiful and completely distinct.
'Stories from Another Time' compiles music from three of Silva's 1980s albums, "Sung’Ali", "Tunapenda Afrika" and "Koizas dum Outru Tempu". Silva was a researcher and intellectual who was motivated to find the roots of Angolan culture in spite of its centuries-long struggle with colonization. Spurred on by Angolan musical legend Liceu Vieira Dias of traditional band Ngola Ritmos, Silva wanted to understand the politics and spiritualism behind Angolan music. Dias took traditional semba and kazukuta rhythms and infused them into contemporary music in the '40s and '50s, helping Angola to find national pride as the country struggled to assert itself after years of colonial rule.
Luanda-born Silva attempted to do similar with his music - and while it sounds aesthetically similar to Brazilian music of the 1970s, this was almost accidental. Silva was in fact attempting to move away from Portugese-centered culture and its tropical fetishism, and develop a sound that was purely Angolan. The music is hard to place, it sounds almost out of time, both ancient and surprisingly contemporary, with soft pop hooks underpinned by complex polyrhythms and chiming mbira. The fusion feels fluid and considered - there's no cynicism here at all, rather Silva approaches his sounds with a deft, open-hearted charm that rings from every word and lightly-picked note. Huge recommendation.
An unusual release for Berlin minimal mainstay Stefan Goldmann. Here, the artist sidesteps the sequencing and layering of his usual output and works spontaneously to create some of his most unusual and experimental work to date.
Opening track '29.09.2019' was recorded at Nomart Gallery of Osaka in Japan, and after playing an individual set alongside improv duo .Es, the three musicians were told in front of an audience that they would be playing together. Goldmann thought on his feet and loaded up samples from his previous Tapeworm release "Haven't I Seen You Before", firing these sounds thru FX while Sara Dotes added piano and percussion and Takayuki Hashimoto played sax, shakuhachi, guitar and harmonica.
The result is surprising and unusual, an almost 20-minute improvisation that bubbles through squiggly electronics and screaming noise, stopping occasionally on angular drones and ending on ominous, rhythmic techno. 'Echoes of an Era' is more straightforward, a guitar improvisation from the "Haven't I Seen You Before" sessions, and closing track '12.07.2012' was recorded at the Tapeworm's 10th anniversary party at London's Cafe Oto.
A bumper three volume collection of 1950s/60s doo-wop and R&B that shines an important spotlight on Jamaica only moments before the rise of ska, rocksteady and reggae. It's a history lesson that's full of hope and optimism for a future we now take for granted.
London's Death Is Not The End label has done us a favor here, combing the archives to dig up and compile a huge collection of music that widens our understanding of Jamaica's influential 20th century output. The influence of the 1970s and beyond is set in stone at this stage, but before then the island was offering its own versions of American sounds and experimenting in ways that would quickly blossom into new forms.
This three disc set (complete with liner notes from the legendary David Katz) is pretty much all you need to get educated on the sounds, with music from local, obscure performers and some who would go on to have long careers, such as Alton Ellis, Derrick Morgan and Derrick Harriott. It's charming from beginning to end and seriously enlightening.
Graz is in fact the first studio album Frahm recorded for Erased Tapes back in 2009, that somehow remained unreleased until now.
"A previously unheard snapshot of a young Nils recorded at Mumuth, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, in 2009 as part of the thesis Conversations for Piano and Room produced by Thomas Geiger, Whilst at the time it was decided to keep the grand piano recordings from the Graz sessions locked away and instead focus on his close mic’ed, dampened piano explorations which would become his studio album Felt in 2011, two of the pieces — most notably Hammers — lived on as part of his live set, and were expanded on and re-recorded as part of his 2013 record Spaces."
Originally self-released back in January, Desire Marea's outstanding debut solo album gets the deluxe reissue treatment courtesy of Mute. Operatic, experimental and exceptionally outward-looking, 'Desire' is an exuberant, no-holds-barred contemporary electronic classic. Fans of Mhsya, Dreamcrusher, FAKA, Lyra Pramuk or even DJ Lag do not sleep on this!
Even before its Mute co-sign, "Desire" was one of the chase underground deployments of 2021. Desire was a founding member of Johannesburg's FAKA so is no stranger to global acclaim, but now based in Durban, they have settled comfortably into a constellation-bending solo sound that's one part concert hall and one part catwalk. Disorienting operatic wails roll around urgent flurries of kicks on 'Zibuyile Izimakade'. It's a collision of styles that feels lashed to FAKA's vivid, genre-melting club music but also pushing into new territory. Desire makes widescreen soundscapes that draw from club ideas but exist in a different space completely.
'You Think I'm Horny' is almost gospel pop, but set to a backdrop of inverted gqom and tweaky expressionist electronics. Desire uses their voice to loop words, tones and phrases against themselves as beats toss and turns alongside - it's like a sci-fi choir sent from the future to ease contemporary anxiety. 'Thokozani' meanwhile welds an almost highlife guitar jangle with sandblasted hi-BPM drums and the kind of time-bending drones you'd expect to hear on a Black To Comm album. 'The Void' heads even further into the outerzone, with guttural roars and ping-pong synths creating a spine-chillingly humid soundscape, but Desire quiets things to allow space for the epic 10-minute finale "Studies in Black Trauma".
'Desire' is a brilliantly challenging album that rolls thru good ideas with a lavish fabulousness that's impossible to ignore. It's a bold, vivid statement from an artist who has already given us so much, and promises even more.
The 3rd album "The Wind is Strong..." by Cindytalk, an evolution of Scottish artist Cinder's early 1980's Edinburgh-based punk band The Freeze.
"Cindytalk is the mercurial, expressionist outlet of Cinder. She launched the project upon moving to London, inspired by the crossroads of exploratory UK post-punk and early European industrial. Her work thrives on chance and transformation, collaging elements of noise, balladry, soundtrack, catharsis, and improvisation. After a series of celebrated albums for the Midnight Music label as well as collaborations with This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins, Cinder migrated to the United States, becoming involved with various underground techno collectives around the Midwest and West Coast. Subsequent relocations to Hong Kong and Japan further expanded Cindytalk's horizons, resulting in a fruitful partnership with Viennese experimental institution Editions Mego, for whom she released five full-lengths of swooning, granular atmosphere. 2021 finds her as engaged as ever, at the precipice of long-awaited back catalog reissues alongside multiple new works, guided by her lasting love of discovery and deviation: “new pathways always being uncovered.”
'The Wind is Strong...' began life as the soundtrack to an experimental film by English director Ivan Unnwin entitled Eclipse (The Amateur Enthusiast's Guide To Virus Deployment), and was originally slated for release via Factory Records' video division, Ikon. Inspired heavily by Alan Splet's eerily disembodied sound design in David Lynch's Eraserhead, the collection's 15 pieces seethe between field recordings, wistful piano vignettes, and lurking metallic haze – a hybrid palette Cinder characterized at the time as “ambi-dustrial.” Unfortunately Ikon collapsed on the eve of the project's completion so the film was never distributed, but the Midnight Music imprint repackaged Cindytalk's score as an LP in 1990 under the name The Wind Is Strong... (full title: The Wind Is Strong - A Sparrow Dances, Piercing Holes in Our Sky).
Long out of print, the album remains one of the most elusive and adventurous in the Cindytalk discography, a mix of musique concréte, haunted reverie, and desolate beauty. Even unaccompanied by their intended visuals, this is overtly cinematic music, conjuring forests at dusk and shadowed corridors, equal parts remote and reflective. Cinder cites a belief that “all sound is music,” which fully manifests here, utilizing tape hiss, ticking clocks, flicking flames, and distant whispers as evocative accents in tapestries of luminous negative space.
Although Cinder included the subtitle “A Cindytalk diversion” in the sleeve notes, The Wind Is Strong... is crucial to the project's canon, demonstrating the depth and versatility of her unique ear and intuition. She describes each album as a direct response to the previous one, and in that sense The Wind marks a bold break from the coiled song-oriented post-punk of 1988's In This World, venturing into unknown, unnamed terrain, and finding foreboding new futures to call her own."
Expertly engineered synthscapes and tweaky rhythmic electronics from Scottish-Irish four-piece Island People. One for fans of early Helios, Kangding Ray, Arve Henriksen or Roly Porter.
Made up of musicians Conor Dalton, David Donaldson, Graeme Reedie and Ian Maclennan, Island People make cinematic electro-acoustic soundscapes that could have fallen from an award winning documentary series or indie movie. It shouldn't be surprising that Dalton is a mastering engineer and Donaldson a Grammy-winning producer, the sounds on "II" feel too expertly sculpted to be accidental.
They combine instrumental prettiness with tight electronic elements and billowing synths with subtle fluidity, skating through textured flourishes and simple rhythms with almost Scandinavian restraint. 'Far From Shore' is almost Smalltown Supersound-esque somehow, with a creeping disco flavor juxtaposing the billowing pads, while 'Ten Green Bottles' is more like ambient post-rock.
It's music for AI-generated sunrises - there's no edge, but you know, you wouldn't wanna cut yerself.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll likely ever hear, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
A lost standout of ‘90s industrial/experimental rock, Cindytalk’s 4th album takes a timely, newly expanded reissue bow with NYC’s Dais.
Conceived and framed as a “call to arms” for Scottish independence on release in 1994, ‘Wappinschaw’ is so named after the process of weapons inspection by Scottish chieftains when readying their clans for battle. From ancient times, to the ever present ‘90s, to current cries for Scottish independence, Cindytalk’s music continues to hold its ground as a vital part of the Scottish post-punk/industrial/experimental landscape, speaking to long held urges that feed into the tensions and expressions of a singular music scene. No doubt it’s a classic by one of its most fascinating artists, whose catalogue connects This Mortal Coil in the ‘80s to hardcore techno in the ‘90s, and a series of remarkable electronic albums for Editions Mego in the past decade.
It’s unmissable for its strikingly unadorned take on Ewan MacColl’s folk classic ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ (as famously covered by Roberta Flack) as its opening shot, and goes on to take in Cindytalk classic ‘A Song of Changes,’ alongside inclusion of legendary Glaswegian writer Alasdair Gray on ‘Wheesht,’ and stirring atmospheric designs in the likes of ‘Träumlose Nachte,’ and 11’ bagpipe soundscape of ‘Hush,’ while a trio of additional works lurk at the back, bringing some anthemic gaelic rock on ‘The Moon Above Me,’ and snarling, serpentine styles on ‘In Sunshine,’ plus the kind of gothic industrial rock that begat current Regis styles in ‘Old Jack Must Die.’
The third Tangents release on Brooklyn label Temporary Residence Ltd, "Timeslips & Chimeras".
"Australian improvising ensemble Tangents return with a ‘twin’ release that sees 2020’s Timeslips complemented with a second album, Chimeras. The Timeslips tracks, which were released in digital-only form under the subdued circumstances of the first COVID wave, are remastered and reissued in the newly merged Timeslips & Chimeras package.
The two albums were created in tandem, with much of the material recorded in one day at Sydney’s Free Energy Device Studios in 2018. Timeslips leans towards more literal takes on the studio-improvised material, with Tangents’ usual blend of ambiguous post-production treatment. Chimeras expands into more constructed passages of iterated overdubs, lo-fi electric jams, additional studio takes and splintered extracts from the Timeslips sessions, offering more extreme twists, turns and stylistic variation through doomy rock and dub drones, ecstatic superjazz and abstract collages.
This landmark double release comes 3 years after the release of New Bodies, the Australian Music Prize nominated album which thrust Tangents’ peculiar blend of improvisation and precision production into the international spotlight, a record which, says Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork, “overflows with sensations — of being overpowered and delighted, of being buoyed up and washed away by Tangents’ seemingly endless ideas”.
More tension and intention pervades Timeslips & Chimeras, demonstrating a thoughtful maturation of improvisational ideas and more abstracted and purposeful production. With breathtaking, rhythmic drumming and skillful production driving the various moods, Timeslips & Chimeras emerges from an even more intense interaction between live playing and carefully constructed compositions. The brittle skittering mallets of “Exaptation”, raucous guitar of “Debris” and processed trumpet of “Vessel” add new timbres to their existing palette of jazz drums, melancholy piano, throbbing cello and swirling glitched ambiences. The tonal rumble of a 100-carriage coal train winding through New South Wales’ Bylong Valley signals the first half of the double album’s slow close, recalling Tangents’ earlier references to the Australian environment in New Bodies and Stateless, before the second half picks up on a new tack: “Lilliputian” carves an upbeat path through growling drones into an ecstatic techno-infused anthem. “Ossicles” revisits Tangents’ penchant for deep, almost dubstep, grooves. “Lost Track” is a bizarre detour into elated jazz melodics. “Timeslip” radically deconstructs the band with pitch-shifts, cut-ups and decontextualized performances, while “Chimera” further smears the live improvisations into ambient jazz and hints at acoustic dub, before “Wonder” signs out with pulsating organ, spurts of mutant cello, and empty beats."
Official reissue of Hiroshi Suzuki’s glorious jazz-fusion-funk holy grail Cat (originally released in 1976), sourced from the original masters and available on limited edition 180 gram vinyl mastered at half speed for full audiophile sound, as well as on digipack CD. Both versions come with liner notes by Teruo Isono.
"Celebrated in jazz collectors circles, in the lofi beat scene, and among music diggers around the world, Cat has become one of the most sought-after Japanese jazz albums of all time and, much like Ryo Fukui’s Scenery, has fascinated old and young generations alike.
Cat was recorded in October 1975 at Nippon Columbia Studio, while Hiroshi Suzuki was visiting his home country of Japan after moving to Las Vegas in 1971 to play with Buddy Rich and perfect his craft. Back on his old stomping grounds, the man known as Neko (Cat) immediately reunited with his dear friends for an epic two day session of groove magic. The chemistry was still intact. The skills and style had grown.
The result, Cat, is a smooth masterpiece, a deep and soulful affair where stunning trombone solos by Hiroshi Suzuki flirt with Takeru Muraoka’s heavenly saxophone and the sensual rhythm section of Hiromasa Suzuki (keyboards), Kunimitsu Inaba (bass), and Akira Ishikawa (drums)."
Tony Oxley : percussion, electronics. Alan Davie : piano, percussion, ring modulator .Recorded at Gamels Studio, Rush Green, Hertford, United Kingdom 1977 and 1978.
"Featuring never previously released recordings made by Tony Oxley and Alan Davie at Davie’s home during 1977 and 1978, Elaboration of Particulars offers us a vital insight into the development of this intriguing duo and it’s place within the history of Great British Improvised Music. Formed in 1970, by the time these sessions were made, Oxley and Davie’s duo music had metamorphosied into something totally unique and exclusively their own.
Oxley’s amplified frame conjures up oscillating currents and surging electronic shards that, together with his percussive counterpoint, play a perfect partnership with Alan Davie’s enlightened piano modulations. Listen also to Davie playing keyboard and tuned percussion simultaneously. The music presented here by Oxley and Davie echoes the electro-acoustic works of Stockhausen, Berio and Varese but it is delivered with an altogether different intent by two experienced and musically sophisticated improvisers. Elaboration of Particulars is the second release from Tony Oxley on Confront Recordings. The first, Beaming, was released in April 2020."
Impeccable, hi-res electronic pop from British-Canadian pop deconstructionist BABii. Like a radio-ready, defanged PC Music with occasional lapses into noisy punk and breakcore.
On her second solo album, BABii tears through fractured electronic pop with the help of regular collaborator Iglooghost and umru. Detailing her feelings of abandonment as she was dragged from Yorkshire to Kent and to Canada by her nomadic father, BABii ties sad songs up in a glittery bow of glitchy percussion and wheezing synths. Influenced by SOPHIE and the hyperpop set, BABii curves the glass shattering foley IDM into pleasing R&B shapes, emerging with singalong plalist pop songs that sound decidedly current.
Like a cool breeze on a humid afternoon, Megan Alice Clune's "If You Do" is fresh, unexpected and welcome turn from Lawrence English's Room40 label. It's an operatic fusion of vocals and synthy electronics that's something like Grouper and Laurie Spiegel playing simultaneously.
In the summer of 2020, Aussie composer Megan Alice Clune had a dream that she wrote an opera. She'd been struggling to lift herself out of creative stasis after a long trip to Tokyo, but the dream offered her the push she needed. She began to sing melodies (quietly, so the neighbors wouldn't hear) and eventually an album began to take shape. Clune describes the record as "an album for solo voice and an ensemble of technologies" and that feels fitting. Her voice is the central instrument, but that's only part of the story; Clune's use of synths and effects gives the album a character that helps it shift thru genre, time and space.
It's a record that's intended to inspire through about our use of technology, and after well over a year of being tied to a computer screen, it's timely. The organic, fallible nature of Clune's voice is offset by the layers of electronics, and while the mood isn't combative, it's critical. Good stuff.
First official reissue of Alice Coltrane’s gorgeous and hard to find 1982 meditation tape in its previously unheard original, unadorned organ and vocal mix, issued according to the wishes of her son, Ravi Coltrane. If you're into anything from Alice's uber-classique 'Journey in Satchidananda' to Kara-Lis Coverdale's Minimalist masterpiece 'Grafts' - this one's just utterly unmissable for what ails ya.
Perhaps the purest iteration of Alice Coltrane’s devotional music, ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ captures the modal jazz innovator at a spiritual high water mark, chanting Sanskrit over free floating organ chords in a beautifully self-contained style. Originally issued on tape by Avatar Book Institute in 1982 in a fuller mix featuring synths and strings, this is the first time it’s appeared in its more stripped down, and arguably more affective, version with thanks to Alice’s son Ravi Coltrane, who’s helped bring it it to light via the legendary Impulse! label.
As name checked by a panoply of contemporary greats, from her nephew Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder comrade Kamasi Washington, to Solange or Shackleton; Alice Coltrane’s music is a microcosmos unto itself, and, like Sun Ra’s catalogue, it can be difficult to fully grasp her scope. The relative simplicity of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ thus exists as one of the most welcoming entry portals to her sound, and is quite literally titled after her Sanskrit name, “Turiya” as in short for Turiyasangitananda, and with “Kirtan” referring to the act of “narrating, reciting, telling, describing, of an idea of story.”
Working quieter shades away from the ecstatic ‘Ocean of Love’ devotionals by Alice’s collaborator, Panduranga John Henderson (issued by Luaka Bop in 2017), the eight songs of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ speak to a richly immanent sort of pan-soul for the ages, offering mesmerising, enamouring space for meditation, or, on a more secular level, a worldly sense of serenity and peace that’s totally needed right now.
The fourth release of the thru the cosmos series, Eta/Aquariids commemorates sensational astronomical events that occur in the summer night sky.
"A sonic travelogue for the ultimate immersive experience for all stargazers and imaginative persons alike. This project consists of newfound sounds and 7:1 field recordings specific to our observation locations. In echospace, we pride ourselves on the many years of unique experiences that culminate from our deep love of astronomy. We have special plans to watch these meteorites grace our atmosphere, and not just as mere observers on Earth, but of whom believe in connecting with those from the future and the ones before us.
It is known that ancients partook in this experience, dating back as far as the Egyptians. These space particles disintegrating from Haley's comet are stunning, and simply provide us all with an exceptional human experience. It is advised that anyone watching be placed in complete darkness. And in this darkness, we are surrounded by light. This epic sound world was created to score as a soundtrack for the multitude of otherworldly cosmic events and features what we would consider some of the most engaging sound designs to date. A sonic universe all its own."
This CD features 4 never-before-heard versions culled from the original recording sessions. All tracks have been remastered for CD and also includes STL's first ever remix.
"This CD is included with the purchase of the midnight blue 12" re-issue or separately on this limited Limited CD edition, packaged with silver/chrome sticker, housed in resealable poly sleeve and hand numbered. Only 100 of these will ever exist"
NEKPΩN IAXEΣ is Andrew Liles (Current 93/Nurse With Wound) and Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ).
"Andrew has been a fan of Rotting Christ for years and Sakis Tolis is a fan of Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, so, with a mutual appreciation for each other's work, it only seemed natural for them to work together. NEKPΩN IAXEΣ was born. Lying somewhere between a menacing podcast and the rumble of the underworld, their debut album 'The Oracles' is a disquieting journey. Entirely narrated in Greek by Sakis, the voice unravels and echoes into sonic tapestries that weave unfamiliar landscapes. With all the satanic majesty of Black Metal but without guitars 'The Oracles' breaks new ground in left-field Metal and is a soundtrack to abstract lysergic nightmares."
Stunning retrospective of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s devotional works collated from the private tape archive of the Avatar Book Institute. Seriously, this one's a proper head melter...
Luaka Bop commence a new series of releases themed around the global spiritual diaspora with this superb collection of rare devotional works from Alice Coltrane. Sure, everyone knows how great ‘Universal Consciousness’ (especially after that Superior Viaduct reissue from a few years back) but ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’ hones in on a period of her life that is less widely-known.
Undoubtedly moved by the passing of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice embarked on a spiritual reawakening that took her out of the public eye and culminated with the establishment of a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram in Malibu, California in 1983. This secluded ashram gave Coltrane the freedom to explore her spirituality through music unfettered, performing countless solo bhajans, and group kirtans and experimenting with them and synthesizers using the complex structures learnt from jazz.
These would soon form a series of cassette recordings that were privately distributed throughout the ashram community on Coltrane’s own Avatar Book Institute label. After some rather iffy, illicit vinyl editions of those tapes recorded off YouTube made the rounds, it’s good to hear this music in newly-remastered form from the original masters (by engineering legend Baker Bigsby, no less) on this Luaka Bop collection.
And how vibrant it sounds! There is clearly a vast intersection of styles at play throughout, interspersing the spiritual incantations of the Vedic devotional chants with some unique song structures and uplifting synthetic experiments. You can easily foresee the likes of Flo Po, Antal and Four Tet playing Oh Rama and Rama Guru, two of the more rhythmically-bound kirtans that act as spiritual jazz precursors to Detroit techno with illuminating synths that would make Carl Craig blush with envy. At other times, it is Coltrane’s voice which acts as the guiding force, orchestrating a wonderful harmonious call on Om Shanti.
Hopefully this is the prelude to a wider LB campaign of Alice Coltrane reissues from the Avatar Book Institute era.
Domino sign my bloody valentine, with the band’s seminal catalogue being made available digitally in full for the first time ever as of today. New physical editions for each release will follow on 21st May 2021 and are available to pre-order now.
"Isn’t Anything and loveless have been mastered fully from analog for deluxe LPs and also mastered from new hi-res uncompressed digital sources for standard LPs, with each being made available widely for the first time ever. Fully analog cuts of m b v will also be available on deluxe and standard LPs globally for the first time.
my bloody valentine, the quartet of Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Deb Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig, are widely revered as one of the most ground-breaking and influential groups of the past forty years. During an era in which guitar bands denoted, at best, a retro-classicism, not only did my bloody valentine sound unlike any of their contemporaries, the band achieved the rare feat of sounding like the future.
With their debut album, Isn’t Anything (originally released in 1988), my bloody valentine revolutionised alternative music and heralded a new approach to guitar music for generations to come. The album birthed a sound which became a template for thousands of new subgenres, heralding a new approach to guitar music and studio production. Not only was it a new type of music, it paved the way for a new type of journalism; inciting comparisons to elemental phenomenon, tapping into how the music affected the psyche. Shields and Butcher frequently sang in a similar vocal range that allowed their voices to blend together. This had the effect of making their gender indistinguishable, to the point where their voices could be used as another melodic layer to complement the vertigo-inducing sounds made by Shields’ guitars.
The second my bloody valentine album, loveless, was released in 1991. Musically, it took an unexpected leap forwards, standing ahead of anything released at the time. Shields and the band moved further towards a music of pure sensation, creating textures and tones that could be felt as much as heard; with loveless the band created an album that overwhelmed the senses. loveless is widely considered a flawless whole and rightly regarded as a masterpiece; a 1990s equivalent to Pet Sounds, In A Silent Way or Innervisions, a record constructed by exploring the edges of what a recording studio is capable of. It is a record best experienced as a whole, in one sitting - a listening experience like no other and unmatchable in its sonic brevity.
ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compiles the group’s four EPs, wherein many of their devoted fans’ favourite music lies. You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss both preceded the band’s debut album in 1988 in quick succession. In the gap between Isn’t Anything and loveless, the band released two further EPs; Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991).
Finally re-emerging in 2013 after two full decades in relative hiding, their third album m b v is by turns their most experimental record but also their most melodic and immediate; proof real of their unerring desire for re-invention. Continuing to push boundaries of both music and genre, m b v is an album of astonishing music, some of which could lay claim to being of a type never been made before. Otherworldly, intimate and a visceral listen, m b v is a startling and beautiful metamorphosis of what was known of the my bloody valentine sound, pushing the boundaries of genre unlike any other band. The album’s closer, “Wonder 2” is an example of this, seeing Shields meld hypnotic guitar with drum’n’bass to astonishing result."
Piroshka’s second album ‘Love Drips And Gathers’, once again featuring former members of Lush, Moose, Elastica and Modern English.
"Piroshka emerged in 2018, four individuals with distinct musical identities but also overlapping histories - a combination that might have unsettled, or even overwhelmed, some bands. But in their case, the bond only got stronger. After ‘Brickbat’ explored social and political divisions by way of what MOJO described as “Forceful, driving garage songs and dream-pop epics,” ‘Love Drips And Gathers’ follows a more introspective line - the ties that bind us, as lovers, parents, children, friends - to a suitably subtler, more ethereal sound, whilst still revelling in energy and drama
“If ‘Brickbat’ was our Britpop album, then ‘Love Drips And Gathers’ is shoegaze!” reckons vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi, formerly of Lush, a band that effortlessly bridged the two genres like no other. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” Bassist Mick Conroy (Modern English) agrees. “‘Brickbat’ was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On ‘Love Drips And Gathers’, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”
The way ‘Love Drips And Gathers’ changes shape and dynamic is less a reprise of Nineties Brit indie than a transformation into a more shivery, Euromantic version with glistening electronic filigrees. The opening ‘Hastings’ sets the tone. Luminous drops of guitar underpin Miki’s becalmed vocal before drums, bass and a Mellotron add pace while the decorative coda features their old pal Terry Edwards on flugelhorn. ‘Love Drips And Gathers’ - named after a line in a Dylan Thomas poem - was inspired by love, family, belonging, memory. Miki and Moose split the eight lyrics, with some poignant overlaps here too. Miki’s ‘Loveable’ looks to Moose; Moose’s ‘The Knife-Thrower’s Daughter’ looks to Miki but also their daughter Stella and his sister Anna; an empathic, touching embrace of the women in his life.
Staying within the family, Moose eulogises his late mother (the idyllic childhood seaside trip of ‘Hastings 1973’) and father (the more conflicted ‘Scratching At The Lid’). On ‘V.O.’, Miki pays fond tribute to Vaughan Oliver, 4AD’s legendary in-house art director who died suddenly in December 2019 and who had a particularly close relationship with Lush during their time on the label (like ‘Brickbat’, ‘Love Drips And Gathers’’ beautiful and enigmatic artwork is by Vaughan’s former design partner Chris Bigg)."
Darkside consists of Chilean electronic musician and vocalist Nicolás Jaar and American multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington.
"Jaar and Harrington first met while studying in Providence through their common friend and saxophonist Will Epstein. In the summer of 2011 they toured Europe and Australia in support of Jaar’s breakthrough debut album ‘Space Is Only Noise’. Upon returning to Providence, they continued to write together, releasing their self-titled EP in 2012 and their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Psychic’ on Matador Records in October 2013.
The album was met with glowing reviews, including a 9.0 from Pitchfork and The New York Times calling it “the soundtrack to a lost David Lynch sci-fi movie.” In the summer of 2018, Harrington and Jaar rented a small house on Lenni-Lenape territory, which is present-day Flemington, New Jersey. The group spent a week there, making a song a day. While it would take another year and a half to complete their second album, six songs from the band’s new record, ‘Spiral’, were written and recorded during this initial session. “From the beginning, Darkside has been our jam band. Something we did on days off. When we reconvened, it was because we really couldn’t wait to jam together again,” says Jaar. Harrington echoes this, “It felt like it was time again,” he said. “We do things in this band that we would never do on our own. Darkside is the third being in the room that just kind of occurs when we make music together.”
RY X and Frank Wiedemann reunite as Howling to present ‘Colure’ the sophomore full-length record from their joint musical enterprise.
"RY X, solo alternative artist and member of The Acid, and Frank, one half of Âme, bring fans a bigger, sharper follow-up to their debut, ‘Sacred Ground.’ On ‘Colure’, the Berlin-based Wiedemann and Los Angeles-based RY X conjure transcendent creations out of their contrasting musical backgrounds and environments. The album is assuredly dualistic: electronic and acoustic sounds sit comfortably side-by-side, and big melodic hooks are laced into hypnotic club productions."
In January 2019, at the invitation of fiddler Hans Kjorstad, Alasdair Roberts travelled from his home in Glasgow, Scotland to Oslo, Norway, where the two men convened with five additional Scandinavian musicians at Riksscenen, Oslo’s centre for Norwegian traditional arts and music.
"Thus newly-formed, the group worked on arrangements of songs - self-written and traditional - from Alasdair’s back catalogue, in preparation for performances at Riksscenen as well as at ALICE in Copenhagen, Denmark and the bucolic western Danish island of Fanø. The group was named Völvur (The Seeresses), a reference to the ancient Icelandic apocalyptic text Völuspa (The Prophecy of the Seeress).
In January 2020, Völvur visited England and Scotland, to perform with Alasdair Roberts at Cecil Sharp House, London and at Platform, Glasgow, the latter as part of Celtic Connections festival. The group had new material - freshly written songs by Alasdair and several traditional Norwegian songs sung by Marthe Lea - and over a couple days at Sam and Rachel’s Studio in Hackney, laid down the music which now flows forth as ‘The Old Fabled River’. The musicians who make up Völvur - Marthe Lea, saxophone, clarinet and voice, Fredrik Rasten, guitars and voice, Andreas Hoem Røysum, clarinet, Egil Kalman, bass and electronics, Jan Martin Gismervik, drums, percussion and the aforementioned initiator of the project, Hans Kjorstad on fiddle - are a busy and artistically inquisitive group, involved in a diverse range of projects with a wide variety of musical interests, from folk and jazz to free music, modular synthesis, microtonality and beyond.
They make an ideal pairing for such voyages in the alchemical world as Alasdair pursues in his own music. On ‘The Old Fabled River’, Alasdair Roberts og Völvur meld their worlds: fiddle and vocal styles formed in the Norwegian valleys blending now with exploratory clarinet, saxophone and metallic bowed guitar drones, now fashioned into baroque folk arrangements. In one case, instrumental accompaniment is laid aside, as three voices locate a questing fullness harmonizing together."
Sultry, poised, gothic post-punk meets lilting dream-pop courtesy Anika, chasing up collabs with Shackleton and Tricky in a keenly awaited sophomore long player.
Officially the follow-up to her acclaimed, eponymous 2010 debut with Beak>, ‘Change’ arrives a decade later as a worthy counterpart brimming with the kind of melodramatic but droll delivery and classic-sounding chops that made her first LP so striking. On 'Change' Akina opts to work with Swedish producer Martin Thulin (Exploded View), who flew from Mexico to Germany during lockdown to enhance the album’s lustrous backdrops and shadowplay of styles, where Anika’s plaintive delivery variously reminds us of Nico, Trish Keenan, and Tropic of Cancer’s eerie drone-pop float.
Song to song Anika finds her shapeshifting style from the swaying post-punk stepper ‘Finger Pies’ to a meld of Julee Cruise and Nico on the mopey but positive title tune, while at the album’s apex ‘Sand Witches’ expresses her feelings as an immigrant in Germany in time honoured eldritch fashion, and ‘Freedom’ see her get down with scuzzy goth rock urges.
Utterly sublime R&B/Sade-licked late night slickness from Portuguese-Danish wunderkind Erika De Casier, deploying whisper-soft pop that's injected with the lurching club-adjacent snap of Timbaland, Neptunes, Teddy Riley, MJ Cole and Sunship > jaw on the floor, tear in the eye.
When Erika de Casier's debut album "Essentials" dropped in 2019, it felt like a hidden gem - it was only a matter of time before her silken bedroom soul was shuttled further into the mainstream. So it's hardly a surprise to see the followup on 4AD - and it's the best record the label's released in years. De Casier makes music that sounds private, lo-fi and intimate, but has the earworm-y bombast of Brandy, Destiny's Child or Amerie. Her influence comes from her early teens, submerged in MTV R&B to nourish her spirit - but as the label notes point out, she's as much influenced by Aaliyah and Janet Jackson as house, garage and techno.
This sensual escapism is the beating heart of "Sensational", as de Casier whispers over neo-retro production that sounds like early Sade instrumentals stripped to the bone and assembled into new forms by a supergroup comprised of MJ Cole, Timbaland and Sunship. There's a garage-flecked clubwise swing that speaks to de Casier's European roots, but the songs have more sugared hooks than a library of '90s MTV soul full-lengths. Trust us, leave this one on repeat for a few spins and you'll be humming songs like 'Drama', 'Someone to Chill With' and 'No Butterflies, No Nothing' for the rest of the week.
Ice cool summer special = awe-inspiring, honestly.
In 2020, 4AD turned 40. Never one to be on time for a party, the label is commemorating that landmark this year with the release of ‘Bills & Aches & Blues’. The compilation features 18 of its current artists covering a song of their choosing from 4AD’s past: a creative experiment rooted in the spirit of collaboration and a snapshot of 4AD, 41 years after its inception.
"‘Bills & Aches & Blues’ will be released on double CD and double LP. The first 12 months’ profits from ‘Bills & Aches & Blues’ will be donated to The Harmony Project, a Los Angeles-based after-school programme for children from communities and schools that lack equitable access to studying the arts or music. ‘Bills & Aches & Blues’’ 18 recordings contain fascinating connections between artist and track. The earliest song chosen (by U.S. Girls) is The Birthday Party’s ‘Junkyard’, from 1981; the most recent are the two Grimes covers (‘Genesis’ and ‘Oblivion’, respectively by Spencer. and Dry Cleaning) from 2012. Suitably, for the one band that bridges 4AD past and present, The Breeders are all over ‘Bills And Aches And Blues. They’re covered three times - ‘Cannonball’ by Tune-Yards, ‘Mountain Battles’ by Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and ‘Off You’ by Big Thief, whilst The Breeders cover ‘The Dirt Eaters’ by their ‘90s contemporaries His Name Is Alive. Landmark songs such as ‘Cannonball’, ‘Song To The Siren’ and Pixies’ ‘Where is My Mind?’ will feel comfortable to casual fans, however by contrast, much joy can be found in the album’s surprise choices, such as Air Miami’s ‘Seabird’ and the Lush B-side ‘Sunbathing’, covered respectively by new signings Maria Somerville and Jenny Hval. ‘Bills & Aches & Blues’ is named, arguably (as Elizabeth Fraser never published the lyrics), after the opening line of Cocteau Twins ‘Cherry- Coloured Funk’.
Perhaps too unique and uncoverable in their own right, their legendary take on Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, under the name This Mortal Coil (along with Buckley’s pre-Starsailor acoustic version) informs SOHN’s cover. Some tracks unearth hitherto hidden shared DNA, such as Future Islands’ and Colourbox’s ‘The Moon Is Blue’; other tracks are more akin to reinvention. Aldous Harding distils the melodic essence of Deerhunter’s ‘Revival’ and recasts it in her own uncanny image. U.S. Girls’ future-disco mn‘Junkyard’ and Bing & Ruth’s neo-classical instrumental ‘Gigantic’ are even more radical interpretations. Leading off the album, Tkay Maidza brings both her Art Rap and R&B game, but also an unexpected ‘80s synth pop template, to Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’, a perfect title for these chaotic times."
Soul Jazz Records reissue of this very rare album, first released as a private-press LP in 1978 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Baobab Record label in Washington, DC. The album has been out-of-print for 43 years and is lovingly remastered by Soul Jazz Records.
"Tori is a stunning album that blends Brazilian and Latin flavours with deep Spiritual Jazz. The album features a strong line up which includes legendary Brazilian figures such as Dom Um Romao, Nana Vasconcelos and Dom Salvador alongside jazz heavyweights such as Buster Williams, Howard Johnson, John La Barbera and more. These A-team musicians were all regulars in McNeill’s long-running and highly successful resident live group in New York, all set up to blend deep jazz, Brazilian and Latin music together.
Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C. in 1935. His multi- disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures.
Lloyd McNeill’s hypnotic ‘Washington Suite’ was originally commissioned as a piece of music for the Capital Ballet Company, in Washington DC. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris. In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US."
Hollie Kenniff makes up one half of the duo Mint Julep, and the album features performances from Keith Kenniff (aka Goldmund).
"Director David Lynch once said “I long for a kind of quiet where I can just drift and dream. I always say getting inspiration is like fishing. If you’re quiet and sitting there and you have the right bait, you’re going to catch a fish eventually. Ideas are sort of like that. You never know when they’re going to hit you.” Inspired by this quote in both name and spirit, Hollie Kenniff’s The Quiet Drift is an ambient gallery of cloudlike synths, seraphic strings, echoing guitars, and other celestial textures guided to cohesion by Hollie’s own wordless singing.
Though the album certainly creates (and originates from) the kind of space where Lynch’s proverbial “fish” can be caught, The Quiet Drift is a fitting title for Hollie’s own history, both recent and distant. During the course of the album’s creation, Hollie and her family moved cross-country from an island in Washington state, to an island in Maine before ultimately relocating to Canada. “As a child I visited Ontario year-round,” she explains in her own words. She continues “More than any other landscape, I think the lake, rivers, and woods there left the most enduring impression on me. The landscape and pace of life of these places will always stay with me.” But the reverberant spaces Hollie crafts need no physical headquarters. Instead of conjuring views of nature at the ground level, her sound more readily evokes a top-down perspective, with the distinct features of the land shrinking underfoot as the listener becomes untethered from geography altogether.
The Quiet Drift belongs more to the liminal spaces between life and afterlife, memory and fantasy, landscape and dreamscape, than any mappable locale. Describing her formative years, Hollie says “As a dual US/Canadian citizen who spent my childhood in a rural town one that I haven’t returned to in many years I have a sense of not entirely belonging anywhere. When I was a teenager my close friends were male musicians, so I was also an outsider to the degree that they were wild and anarchic in a way that I wasn’t. I was a quiet book reader and avid music listener who enjoyed being around a creative group. I was also a radio DJ for alternative and punk music throughout high school.”
In this light, The Quiet Drift attests that creativity is placeless, and calls into question the stereotype of artists as scene-centric city dwellers. Having come of age in the absence of metropolitan sensory overload, Hollie learned to spot the muse in nature, and within herself, instead of the echo chamber of a frenzied peer group. On The Quiet Drift Hollie Kenniff wholly escapes from such pop-culture feedback loops into transcendent, shimmering realms, and she brings the listener along with her. In this age in which we have all been called to reevaluate our relationship to indoor spaces, and seek refuge in the great outdoors, The Quiet Drift provides an apt soundtrack for such rebalancing."
Compiled by longtime Groove editor, onetime Sonic Subjunkie and now Beatport A&R Heiko Hoffmann, 'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' traces the history of Berlin techno, with classic tracks from MMM, Alec Empire, Monolake, Sleeparchive, Basic Channel, Ellen Allien, Barker, and everyone else you can think of. If you've been paying attention, you'll have most of these, if not - check in.
'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' was an art exhibition at the end of 2019 that illustrated Berlin's techno history. With works from Wolfgang Tillmans, Romual Karmakar, Sven Marquardt and Camille Blake, it detailed Berlin's club culture since the fall of the wall. This compilation attempts to do the same with music, charting the most important moments in Berlin techno that impacted the evolution of the sound, from early '90s pioneers like Thomas Fehlmann, Moritz Von Oswald, Mark Ernestus and Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire, through minimal innovators like Sleeparchive and Marcel Dettmann to contemporary heroes Avalon Emerson and Barker.
While many of the tracks will be familiar - some are gems that never received anywhere near enough attention. Substance's crushing mix of Monolake's 'Alaska' for example, or Errorsmith and Fiedel's 1997 banger 'Donna'. A history lesson.
After an absence of 13 years Stephen Fretwell announces his long-awaited third album, ‘Busy Guy’, released via Speedy Wunderground.
"Described by Fretwell as “a song cycle of sorts,” the album examines the seasons of a life, exploring fatherhood, grief and rebirth, with Fretwell’s trademark eloquence and wit. ‘Busy Guy’ was produced by Fretwell’s close friend and Speedy Wunderground label boss, Dan Carey. They recorded the whole thing one hot July afternoon in just two hours. “I was so fired up, I just rattled off the songs,” Fretwell says. “I assumed it was the run-through, but Dan said he thought we’d got it.” The next day, Carey assembled “a palate of sound” involving keyboards and an electric guitar. “Dan said, ‘I’m just going to react to the songs over the next few hours’, and that’s the finished record, besides some cello.”
The album title was also Carey’s idea. Fretwell explains: “Years ago, Dan asked why I always carried a copy of The Guardian, a notebook and a pen when all I did was go to the pub. I said: if you go to the pub at 11am with a newspaper, a notebook and pen, you look like a busy guy rather than a pisshead. It became a joke between us. The joke too is that I didn’t do any music for years.” The album was recorded at Dean Street Studios in Soho, not far from where Fretwell now lives, and London looms large on the record, in titles like ‘Oval’ and ‘Embankment’: stops on the Tube and urban images shimmer as Fretwell captures a city full of pride and secrets. He wrote most of the lyrics for ‘Busy Guy’ sitting in the British Library, “taking the songs to pieces and reassembling them, refining the words, thinking about the stories.”
There are moments of visceral delight, of ripeness and fullness in nature - blood, milk and honey, peaches and almonds - all set against the backdrop of the slowburn of long-term love. Fretwell is a true poet with his imagery - taking us on a tour of the universe as he tries to conflate the experience of loss and love on a major scale, yet never wanting to assume grandeur, always dancing that fine line between statement and question. He takes us right up into the cosmos, to “moon craters” and “crazed constellations” (‘Green’), to religion’s saints and angels, and right back slap-down down to earth again - in the grotesque detail of horseflies twitching in last night’s wine glasses, and the fridge-cold lagers the narrator of ‘Pink’ has brought for the beach: a peace offering but also an opt-out. ‘Busy Guy’ is a record that dips into darkness but ultimately shines in its own light. A record that symbolises a waking up. A fresh start. A newness that bears the weight of the past but uses it to great effect."
Big room tekkers from siblings Ed (Tessela) and Tom (Truss) Russell aka Overmono for the neverending Fabric mix series
The 22 track mix slickly spans their big room remit and tastes rooted in the last 25 years of UK raving, racking up a mix of classic garage, techno, and electronica to D&B with milimeter tight transitions and a few surprises strewn across the path. It’s very much built with pedantically neat southern bro’s cutting loose in mind, and primed to soundtrack weekend trade deals.
Expect some beaky Reese-driven garage-techno from them, plus Artwork, dubstep electronica from Milanese and Vex’d, ‘90s anthems by Antonio and Holy Ghost, with contemporary nods to Actress, Anz and Sockethead, plus a run of D&B.
In 1996 Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s resoundingly influential debut Porter Ricks album arguably altered the shape of techno as we know it. Now on its 25th anniversary, Mille Plateaux serve a timely reminder of its oceanic might, nearly a decade since it was last reissued by Type
Arriving in the wake of early deep techno explorations by Basic Channel on that duo’s Chain Reaction label, ‘Biokinetics’ made techno’s grid even more fluid and elusive, and in the process brought techno as a concept closer to the unquantifiable clinamen of communal drumming as much as abstract early electronics. The all important, driving slosh of their sound would ripple thru myriad strains of experimental techno ever since, and can be heard echoed in the seasick structures and submerged ambient plangency of everyone from later Richie Hawtin and Rrose to Cam Deas or Helm.
Sluicing material from three 12”s issued between 1995-1996, the album was practically unprecedented in its scope. This can be attributed to the visionary sound design skills of its navigators, combining Thomas Köner’s arctic isolationist sensibilities with Andy Mellwig’s fine-tuned tech-nous, as applied to earlier Async Sense 12” with Gerhard Behles (co-founder of Monolake and Ableton Live) and in his 1995-1998 day job as mastering engineer at Berlin’s D&M. This confluence of hardware knowledge and wetware intuition lead them to a remarkable synthesis of styles defined as ‘Biokinetics’.
Bookended by a pair of pulsating, 12 minute ambient masterpieces in ‘Port Gentil’ and ‘Nautical Zone’, the set also touches on something like a form of gamelan noise with ‘Biokinetics 1’, and the purest systolic whale heart throbs in ‘Biokinetics 2’, while containing some of the heaviest dub techno for clubs in the hypnotic writhe of ‘Port Of Call’ and the salinated steppers special ‘Port of Nuba.’
In the age of rote business techno played by freshly inked, black clad bores, it’s records like ‘Biokinetics’ that remind us of what techno was and can be - music to make you shut your eyes and move.
Long-in-the-making sequel to 2005's unsurpassed "Superwolf" is more "Godfather 2" than "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties". Basically, way way better than it has any right to be.
At the beginning of lockdown last year, Matt Sweeney and Will Oldham shared a new song - their first since 2005 - promising a full-length in the works. They weren't kidding, after 15 years we're presented with "Superwolves", another collection of tangled jangle-rawk songs penned by Sweeney with lyrics from Oldham. Shockingly, it not only captures the rare, magical mood of the original album but surpasses it, adding a world-worn ease to everything without losing spark. Each song glistens and burns with an energy that's only really captured by artists confident enough in what they're doing that they no longer give a fuck what anyone thinks. Rather than just going through the motions, they play with form and expectation.
Songs are touching and melancholy ('Good to My Girls'), sugary sweet and unashamed ('My Popsicle), explosive ('Hall of Death') and stripped down to a whisper ('My Body Is My Own') and yet from beginning to end there's a coherence that allows you to read "Superwolves" like a good book. It's a timely reminder of the quality of Oldham's back catalogue, but he and Sweeney aren't looking back in time, they're offering us their own take on the state of the world right now, not just wallowing in doom and gloom.
Koreless returns with keenly awaited debut album ‘Agor,’ fine-tuning inspirations ranging from Benjamin Britton to UK rave within distinctive electro-acoustic sound designs.
Prizing the futureshock and enigma of electronic music as much as the immediacy of dance-pop and finesse of ambient classical composition, Koreless achieves a high watermarkwith ‘Agor.’ Arriving a decade since they debuted on Peckham’s Picture Music, which ultimately led to their appearance at Young Turk’s clubnight, and a small but promising clutch of singles for the label between 2012-2015; the album finally unveils a bold new sound at its fullest, calibrating instrumental flourishes with generative vocals and sheer computer music tekkers in plush, spacious designs that benefit from immaculate mixing and mastering.
The ten tracks of ‘Agor’ makes their 33’ run time feel even shorter thanks to the artist’s mercurial grasp of refractive harmonic colour and diffractive pacing. Synth-pop in effect, but soundtrack-like in scope, they cascade from the pendulous metric freedom of widescreen opener ‘Yonder’ to the valley sweeping choral majesty of ‘Strangers’ in measured turns that coalesce into a dramatic description of landscape, both external, hyperreal; and inner.
Previous single ‘Black Rainbow’ plucks the heartstrings with a piquant sort of hiraeth, bringing to light a remarkably precise, bespoke sound design that underlies its windswept highlights, from the Barker-esque weightless flight and choral dramaturgy of ‘White Picket Fence’ and digitized chamber music of ‘Act(s),’ thru to standout darkside bouts of droogy electro in ‘Joy Squad,’ crystalline AI R&B in ‘Frozen,’ and scalp-tingling elision of trance-pop arps and classical pastoral elegance in ‘Shellshock.’
Since their early singles, Koreless has been busy producing for FKA Twigs and Rita Ora, but ‘Agor’ sees them step from behind the scenes into the light of the uncanny valley.
Collection of unreleased demos written for the seventh PJ Harvey studio album White Chalk
"Including demos of ‘When Under Ether’, ‘The Piano’ and ‘The Devil’. Features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz. Artwork is overseen by Maria with Rob Crane. Mastering by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering, under the guidance of long time PJ Harvey producer John Parish."
Winding and mesmerizing vocal/guitar jams that fuse two of Niger's distinct regional musical traditions. Emotionally devastating and kinetic stuff.
'At Pioneer Works' documents a 2019 performance from Tuareg band Les Filles De Illighadad (the daughters of Illighadad). Their music is a smart blend of Tuareg's desert guitar sound that originated from young men in exile in Libya and Algeria in the 1970s, and tende, a form of folk music that was traditionally dominated by women.
The band was founded in Illighadad, a commune in Niger, by vocalist and performer Fatou Seidi Ghali, one of the only Tuareg women who plays guitar, and vocalist Alamnou Akrouni. A year later in 2017 they were joined by Agadez guitarist Amaria Hamadalher and Abdoulaye Madassane, a rhythm guitarist and also a son of Illighadad. They recorded "At Pioneer Works" after finishing a long tour of their debut album "Eghass Malan", celebrating with two sold-out Brooklyn sessions.
The recording captures the band's rare energy, as they bounce vocal call and response, mirroring this interplay with twisted thickets of electrified guitar. The blues-esque looping jangle of desert guitar sounds perfectly matched with Ghali and Akrouni's inviting vocal duets, and the music they create is original, hypnotic and packed with an unmatched groove.
Strut present the definitive edition of Patrice Rushen’s landmark album from 1982, ‘Straight From The Heart’.
"Recorded during Elektra’s drive for ‘sophisticated dance music’ as many jazz artists created their own arrangements of disco and boogie, the sessions marked a progression for Patrice as she began exploring sonics as much as songwriting. “I was looking at different ways to experiment with the sounds on my records. Synths widened the palette available to us.”
Singles from the album included ‘Breakout!’, ‘Number One’ and the global hit ‘Forget Me Nots’. “Bassist Freddie Washington played the bassline during a jam at my family’s house. I caught it, we kept messing around with the groove, then I developed the lyrics and chorus. It was just about recognising that moment when it came up.”
“When I delivered the album to the label, the A&R said, ‘we don’t like anything on here.’ I realised quickly that they would give us no support so producer Charles Mims, myself and Freddie decided to engage a promotion company ourselves to start working the single. Although it took a while to pick up support, it paid off.” The single hit no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1982 and the album became Patrice’s best seller globally from her time with Elektra / Asylum, securing a Grammy nomination. In more recent years, the album has become a regular source for samples in the world of hip hop and R&B. Most famously, Will Smith’s theme for the film ‘Men In Black’ and George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’ were both based, to varying degrees, on ‘Forget Me Nots’.
Strut’s new reissue of ‘Straight From The Heart’ is released on 9th April 2021. LP and CD are presented in their full original artwork and feature bonus 12” versions of the album’s singles including a previously unreleased extended mix of ‘Tired Of Being Alone’. Package includes rare photos by Bobby Holland and a new interview with Patrice Rushen."
Very canny french label, Dawn Records (Ronce, dodo) vertically integrate trap/rap with ambient, house, and dream-pop via 20 diverse cuts from frenz and fam including Bianca Scout, ZULI, Qoso and more.
Ahead of an ace new Ronce album following their release of her shocking debut 7”, Dawn’s Florent Hadjinazarian aka Hajj thematically arranges 20 cuts by the likes of Zuli, Xiao Quan & DJ Loser, Qoso, Bianca Scout and DivPro that demonstrate their slant on the trap/rap trends which are percolating thru the Parisian and wider french underground. From deadly crafty spins on the real thing to totally impressionistic takes, the artists explore the style at its most mutable, lending itself to headphone mooches as much as club play and hot-boxing car smoke outs.
The bossman Hajj turns up a big highlight on ‘Défonce Civile,’ a dank, drill-tipped ace with Jonquera, who also pushes the envelope weirder, EBM-like and spliced with jungle breaks on ‘Refluxus,’ while Brazil’s Xiao Quan & greek producer DJ Loser play it rude and rugged on ‘Trap Melee Rush,’ and Zuli skews it with an Arabic futurism in his remix of Haykal’s ‘Sot Ramallah,’ and Modern Collapse test out a killer mutant drill style in ‘Promesses Tenues (Ft. Jeune LXT),’ with Motherlurk hitting hard on the icy blast of ‘Broken Jaw.’ For the set’s deepest cuts, check for the deliciously brooding ‘Plafond’ from dodo and 737, the faded DJ Lostboi-esque atmosphere of ‘Siblings’ from Betty Hamerschlag.
Foodman spells out his adroit take on Chicago footwork mixed with Japanese environmental music in a curiously bass-less wonder for Hyperdub after establishing a nonpareil reputation over the past decade
Despite the lack of bass, ‘Yasuragi Land’ sweetly resonates with Hyperdub’s rhythm-driven fixations in each part, dispensing 17 bite-sized morsels that add up to a very satisfied belly. As one might be able to tell from the cover, if not his name, Foodman likes his grub and his music is deftly flavoured like a multi-course taster menu, keeping everything lightly fried and rhythmelodically harmonised for a sort of spirited musical nourishment.
While the rhythmic focus of his music can be attributed to the inspiration of late ‘00s, early ‘10s juke and footwork from Chicago, the atmospheres of his music specifically, metaphorically references eating at “Michinoeki”, the Japanese motorway service stations, and the ambience of local “Sento”, or Japanese bathhouses, places he goes to “enjoy the atmosphere” and which imbue the album a sense of peace and certainty in unsteady times.
Under lockdown like everyone else, Foodman also revived the spirit of his teenage days as a busker in ‘Yasuragi Land’ by effectively multi-tracking his guitar and drums to resemble the ping pong playfulness of band action. The results are charmingly breezy and light-footed, like a sort of midi jazz-fusion that echoes original footwork, but doesn’t demand your energy, rather it appears to dance off the walls and lend itself to be devoured in one sitting; it’s gently engaging, not engorging, stuff.
The icon MF DOOM unleashes his wizardry and wordplay throughout the record, while CZARFACE (bolstered by the legendary Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and Esoteric) slash through each of the Czar-Keys' produced tracks as the team raises the bar on their previous LP, Czarface meets Metalface (2018).
"Featuring golden-age superhero DMC (of RUN-DMC) and Hieroglyphics' leader Del The Funky Homosapien, with art by longtime CZARFACE co-creator Lamour Supreme, this album will bring all the thrills of a cosmic summer blockbuster. Recorded and slated for an early 2020 release, and paused while COVID raged, this collaboration of masked men is finally finding its way to you on all formats."
Detroit visionary Terrence Dixon scans stellar new horizons on the awe-inspiring 3rd chapter of his most cherished, foundational and inspiring album series.
Roughly once a decade since 2000 the pioneering Afrofuturist has offered a new landmark of deep, electronic music, and ‘From the Far Future, Pt. 3’ stakes one of 2020’s - and probably the next decade’s - leading examples of Detroit techno at its furthest, most experimental limits. This series of albums has consistently been the place to go for Dixon, and by extension the 313’s, most unruly but truest works, dashing between broken drums, dissonant alien synth tones, and the deepest recesses of the warehouse mind in a rudely distinguished calibration of Motor City mechanics. For us he’s right up there with the city’s deepest heads like Jeff Mills, Drexciya, Mad Mike, or Howard Thomas for producing some of that sound’s most vital, uniquely expressive machine music.
Dixon’s latest landmark sees him double down on the proprioceptive depth with acres of abstract, spatialised synth work while fine-tuning and ruggedly fucking with rhythmic conventions. From the black hole sensations of the album opener to abandoned space station ambience of ‘Found In Space’ and ‘Remarkable Wanderer,’ and the uncharted planet atmospheres of ‘By Land’ or ‘Rotation (Delay Mix),’ he has that side absolutely on lock, and in a way that lends proper cinematic cadence to the album’s flow of raggo muscle car drive between ‘Don’t Panic,’ the warehouse donuts of ’Spectrum of Light,’ a strobing deep technohouse centrepiece ‘Unconditional Love,’ and the widescreen warehouse-in-space scope of ‘Out of Darkness.’
Soul-slapping deep jazz hearticals from a key player in the Chicago and IARC cosmos, joined by Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay who help make up his 11-part Black Monument Ensemble - So on-point, this one!!! RIYL KDJ, Theo Parrish, Prefuse 73
Revolving Damon Locks’ sampler chops and electronics at its core and periphery, it’s abundantly clear to hear the band are in-the-zone on ‘Now’, which is practically the epitome of how to do forward facing music jazz with a deep appreciation of tradition. In their seamless and jagged elision of electronic and organic sources a real magick bleeds thru that’s got us standing up to give it some proper appreciation, and we imagine it will have the same effect everywhere else.
The bookending works with clarinetist Angel Bat Dawit are, perhaps predictably, the highlights, with her spirited freeness lighting up Locks’ patchwork of samples and a sextet of vocalists driven by dual percussionists, Dana Hall and Arif Smith on the swingeing West African styled downstroke of ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ from start to the spine-chilling end and final exhortations of “Whew!”, and again in the rug-shredding wriggle of ‘The Body Is Electric.’ They’re both serious dancefloor cuts in the right hands, and perfectly characterise the album’s grooving nature that snakes thru the Theo-esque bustling metrics and hip-shot sampler stabs of ‘The People vs The Rest Of Us’ and lip-biting swing and parry of ‘Keep Your Mind Free.’
Use your ears, trust your body, you’ll know what to do next. No brainer!
Acclaimed UK shoegaze revivalists Sennen celebrate two decades of existence with an expanded reissue of their debut album "Widows".
Shoegaze really is the sound that can never die. A couple of decades ago, really not long after first wave shoegaze had petered out, Sennen jumped on the next wave train (pre Slowdive's reunion and MBV's return to center stage) and released 'Widows' in 2005. Now it's back with a few extra tracks, remastered by Slowdive's very own Simon Scott. It sounds decent too, and if you're into the Ride/MBV axis of dreamy shimmer you'll probably find plenty to hang onto here.