Following hard on the heels of BBE delving into the archives of Detroit’s Strata Records and delivering their widely acclaimed and hugely in-demand exploration of J-Jazz, comes another crate digger’s delight- Ralph Thomas’ ‘Eastern Standard Time’, which dropped the USA back in in 1980, on the obscure Zebra Jazz imprint.
"This is the is the kind of “spiritual’ jazz gem that appears on You Tube and upon checking it out on Discogs reveals a price well in excess of £150.00. To have it widely available in its original vinyl format, as well as digitally and on CD, is a real treat. So, who is Ralph Thomas?
The self-produced ‘Eastern Standard Time’ features Thomas on baritone, alto and tenor saxophones as well as flute and percussion. He describes himself as a practicing ethnomusicologist whose musical vision evolved during the Sixties and it’s Thomas’ multifaceted, global approach that gives the music on Eastern Standard Time’ an engaging and distinct flavour.
"My music has always been open to different cultures and sounds Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Mexican, Peruvian, American, Hebrew, Turkish, African, Indian and Japanese,” declares the Chicago born musician. While attending the Chicago conservatory of music in 1969 he became a member of the Chicago A.A.C.M, studying with master musicians Phil Cohran and Richard Muhal Abrams. He also recorded with well-known blues legends, Howlin' Wolf and Mighty Joe Young for the Cadet imprint of Chess records.
In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles and was employed as a session player with both 20th Century Fox and Motown – where he recorded with Marvin Gaye, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Rick James. In the early Eighties he was working for Quincy Jones Productions appearing on the soundtrack of Roots and The Color Purple but a passion for reggae music led him to Jamaica where he recorded with producer Jack Ruby and artists like Augustus Pablo and Gregory Isaacs.
In ’86 he moved to NYC where he collaborated with Boogaloo legend Johnny Colon and played with like-minded musical explorers Sun Ra, Don Cherry and Olatunji. However, by 1993 his restless spirit carried him to Paris where studied Ethnomusicology and performed with trumpeter Mra Oma and film-maker Ranaivo-Rajaona Hery. There were also gigs with percussionist Trilok Gurtu as well as drummer Sunny Murray and saxophone legend Archie Shepp. Upon moving to the South of France Thomas ran an art gallery and initiated his MusArt project – which has since toured in the US, Canada and Japan
After a productive stint in Chiang Mai, Thailand – where he immersed himself in Issan culture – Ralph Thomas recently relocated back to the US to live and work. Though creating a huge amount of music over the years ‘Eastern Standard Time’ remains Ralph Thomas' only album."
Marcel Dettmann experiments with a spectrum of styles from broken, abstract to crunching techno functions for Ostgut-Ton
Three of them are really worth closer attention, namely the roiling, Autechrian fizz of ‘Test-File’ showing the kids how to do it weird but driving, also the T++ or Dynamo-esque lurch of ’Torch’, and a Drexciya-infected slice of EBM-techno hydrolixx called ‘Metalloid’.
The final performance of Throbbing Gristle before their initial breakup, at the Kezar Pavillion, San Francisco on 29 May 1981.
‘Mission of Dead Souls’ documents the notorious final performance of Throbbing Gristle in their original incarnation (1975-1981). Recorded at Kezar Pavillion, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco on 29th May, 1981 and unavailable on vinyl since the early ‘90s, it’s now back on wax with a new inner sleeve including photos and a passage of text by Jon Savage
Recorded by Monte Cazzaza, long a satellite member of the band, ‘Mission of Souls’ captures the band in a period of broken relationships and internecine collapse, which definitely only adds to its historical weight as a document of the late 20th C’s most important band in its death throes.
Counting Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Peter "Sleazy” Christopherson on stage, the infamous four generate a dense black energy in ten parts, culminating in killer and now classic takes on ‘Spirits Flying’, a possessed version of ‘Persuasion U.S.A.’, and a trampling curtain call with ‘Discipline (Reprise)’.
Capital Punishment’s 1982 sole LP Roadkill, reissues. For a band of high school weirdos who actually got their shit together enough to make a completely uncommercial album with no means to sell it shows a lot of determination, persistence and perhaps insanity. But it’s always those kinds of weirdos who go on to do great things – just ask Judge Peter Swann, Professor Peter Zusi, Kriss Roebling and Ben Stiller...
"If I were to tell you that a band of NYC teenagers who met in 1979 decided to form a band influenced by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Eno, Chrome and released a privately pressed record, it would be enough to pique your interest. When you find out the band consisted of a future Supreme Court Justice for Arizona, a Professor of Slavic Studies, a Musician/Documentarian whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge, and an A-list world-famous actor the story goes from being about another rare, privately pressed recording that’s been re-discovered, into something that’s pretty incredible."
In Sudan, the political and cultural are inseparable. In 1989, a coup brought a hardline religious government to power. Music was violently condemned. Many musicians and artists were persecuted, tortured, forced to flee into exile — and even murdered, ending one of the most beloved music eras in all of Africa and largely denying Sudan's gifted instrumentalists, singers, and poets, from strutting their creative heritage on the global stage.
"What came before in a special era that protected and promoted the arts was one of the richest music scenes anywhere in the world. Although Sudanese styles are endlessly diverse, this compilation celebrates the golden sound of the capital, Khartoum. Each chapter of the cosmopolitan city's tumultuous musical story is covered through 16 tracks: from the hypnotic violin and accordion-driven orchestral music of the 1970s that captured the ears and hearts of Africa and the Arabic-speaking world, to the synthesizer and drum machine music of the 1980s, and the music produced in exile in the 1990s. The deep kicks of tum tum and Nubian rhythms keep the sound infectious.
Sudan of old had music everywhere: roving sound systems and ubiquitous bands and orchestras kept Khartoum's sharply dressed youth on their feet. Live music was integral to cultural life, producing a catalog of concert recordings. In small arenas and large outdoor venues, musical royalty of the day built Khartoum's reputation as ground zero for innovation and technique that inspired a continent.
Musicians in Ethiopia and Somalia frequently point to Sudan's biggest golden era stars as idols. Mention Mohammed Wardi — a legendary Sudanese singer and activist akin to Fela Kuti in stature and impact in his music and politics — and they often look to the heavens. A popular story is of one man from Mali who walked for three months across the Sahel to Sudan because the father of the woman he wanted to marry would only allow it if he got him a signed cassette from Wardi himself. Saied Khalifa is said to be the one of the few singers to make Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie smile.
Such is the stature of Sudanese singers and the reputation of Sudanese music, particularly in the "Sudanic Belt," a cultural zone that stretches from Djibouti all the way west to Mauritania, covering much of the Sahara and the Sahel, lands where Sudanese artists are household names and Sudanese poems are regularly used as lyrics until today to produce the latest hits. Sudanese cassettes often sold more in Cameroon and Nigeria than at home.
But years of anti-music sentiment have made recordings in Sudan difficult to source. Ostinato's team traveled to Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Egypt in search of the timeless cultural artifacts that hold the story of one of Africa's most mesmerizing cultures. That these cassette tape and vinyl recordings were mainly found in Sudan's neighbors is a testament to Sudanese music's widespread appeal."
This triple LP reissue of the band’s first two albums - the first installment in a three-part series dedicated to Dur-Dur Band - represents the first fruit of Analog Africa’s long labours to bring this extraordinary music to the wider world...
"Some thirty years after they first made such a splash in the Mogadishu scene, they have been freed from the wobble and tape-hiss of second and third generation cassette dubs, to reveal a glorious mix of polychromatic organs, nightclub-ready rhythms and hauntingly soulful vocals. In addition to two previously unreleased tracks, the music is accompanied by extensive liner notes, featuring interviews with original band members, documenting a forgotten chapter of Somalia’s cultural history.
Before the upheaval in the 1990s that turned Somalia into a war-zone, Mogadishu, the white pearl of the Indian Ocean, had been one of the jewels of eastern Africa, a modern paradise of culture and commerce. In the music of the Dur-Dur band - now widely navailable outside of Somalia - we can still catch a fleeting glimpse of that golden age. When Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Mogadishu in November of 2016, he was informed by his host that he would have to be accompanied at all times by an armed escort while in the country.
The next morning, a neighbour and former security guard put on a military uniform, borrowed an AK-47 from somewhere and escorted him to Via Roma, an historical street in the heart of Hamar-Weyne, the city’s oldest district. Although previous Analog Africa releases have demonstrated a willingness to go more than the extra air-mile to track down the stories behind the music, the trip to Mogadishu was a musical journey of a different kind. It was the culmination of an odyssey that had started many years earlier. In 2007 John Beadle, a Milwaukee-based musicologist and owner of the much loved Likembe blog, uploaded a cassette he had been handed twenty years earlier by a Somalian student.
The post was titled ‘Mystery Somali Funk’ and it was, in Samy’s own words, “some of the deepest funk ever recorded.” The cassette seemed to credit these dense, sonorous tunes to the legendary Iftin Band. But initial contact with Iftin’s lead singer suggested that the ‘mystery funk’ may have actually been the work of their chief rival, Dur-Dur, a young band from the 80s. Back then, Mogadishu had been a very different place. On the bustling Via Roma, people from all corners of society would gather at the Bar Novecento and Cafe Cappucino, watch movies at the famous Supercinema, and eat at the numerous pasta hang-outs or the traditional restaurants that served Bariis Maraq, a somali Beef Stew mixed with delicious spiced rice. The same street was also home to Iftinphone and Shankarphone, two of the city’s best known music shop. Located opposite each other, they were the centre of Somalia’s burgeoning cassette distribution network. Both shops, run by members of the legendary Iftin Band, would become first-hand witnesses to the meteoric rise of Dur- Dur, a rise that climaxed in April of 1987 with the release of Volume 2, their second album."
Porridgy breaks and skudgy techno from The Maghreban, backed with an ace, meter-messing remix by Batu running at c. 160bpm
‘Monster VIP’ is a slompy shot of breakbeat hardcore from the echoplex, whereas ‘Carpet Bombing’ traces undulating techno with zig-zagging psych-funk synth squirms.
Batu’s remix is the best thing on offer, making a rare foray into higher tempi with an initially tentative, but ultimately roguish joyride consolidating ghetto-tech, footwork and rolling UK bass styles with inimitable style.
Shalt binds emosh post-rock/‘tronica and zeitgeist-surfing club music on ‘Seraphim’.
Check for the sweeping, crushing melodramatic sound design of ‘Preserved In Amber’, the bestial torsion of ‘Fleeting’, and the schizzy switch between cooled-out, in-the-pocket dembow bumps and post-rock angst in ‘Charred, Cleansed’.
A 2018 funk odyssey by keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer and astral traveller Brandon Coleman.
"A regular fixture in the Kamasi Washington band, Brandon Coleman is introduced onstage at gigs as ‘Professor Boogie’ by his longtime friend and collaborator. ‘Resistance’ represents a new chapter in the funk dynasty that spans Parliament, Funkadelic and Zapp through to Dr. Dre and Dâm-Funk as Coleman salutes his musical heroes - Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton, Roger Troutman - and honours their ethos of freedom and experimentation in his search for funk’s future. For fans of Kamasi Washington, Dâm-Funk, BadBadNotGood, Yussef Kamaal..."
Co La renders a morphing, 20 minute tapestry of fresh, abstract sound design on Ohio’s Orange Milk Records
The most significant release from Matt Papich a.k.a. Co La since his ‘No No’ LP for 0PN’s Software label and his work on the Lifted LP for PAN in 2015 (discounting a wicked track on 12” for 369 Us), ‘Sensory Dub Example’ captures Papich stretching out over a single, 20 minute canvas in four loose fitting parts.
The 1st Q is spent establishing ambient electro-acoustic dimensions somewhere between Visible Cloaks and Sugai Ken, with a canny voice intoning “this stuff smells so good but it doesn’t taste like anything”, like a more genteel, less in-your-face SOPHIE or PC Music piece, before the 2nd Q unfolds along more cartoonish lines of inquiry into precisely blunted and then floral baroque figures. In the 3rd Q it becomes more inward looking, gruffly textured and discordant, ultimately shifting into more melting, soured sounds and synthetically windswept dynamics by the piece’s close.
If Jungle’s first album was their imaginary soundtrack to the places they had never been, For Ever is inspired by real life experiences of the places they’d dreamed of for so long.
"Swapping Shepherds Bush for the Hollywood Hills, J and T set up camp in Los Angeles to write and record the album. Over time however, their romanticization of The Californian Dream clashed with the reality of actually living it, the feeling of being adrift on the West Coast compounded by the collapse of long-term relationships. Returning home to London, they teamed up with highly regarded young producer Inflo where they sought to create a "post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs”, whittling down loads of ideas this concept spawned into the core 13 tracks you have before you. That station and those songs and that journey are the sound of Jungle’s second album For Ever. They had to go away to come home. And what J and T lost in love, they gained in music. For Ever is for real, deeper and higher, more intimate and more expansive, feelgood and, just occasionally, feelbad. It is, then, a proper second album."
Rarely has an album owed so much to production... Low return with their most daring, experimental release in years, co-produced by James Blake's man at the controls B.J. Burton, at times verging on a layered, pulsing electronic sound you'd associate with the likes of Andy Stott. Doused in distortion, throbbing electronics, submerged vocals, side-chain effects - this could easily have been a nauseating exercise in modernisation; but instead the strength of the songwriting shines through for one of Low's best = a standout full-length for 2018.
"In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.
Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fightsfor the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?"
For its fourth full-length, A-Sun Amissa plunges deeper than before. Guitars come to the fore. Heavy, distorted chords are present from the off, complemented by desolate ambient passages of sound.
"The claustrophobic atmospheres remain but combine with a new density and sonic experimentation to present a huge leap forward in structure and composition. Ceremony in the Stillness hints at themes from the previous three outings while very much pushing the project into new territories. The intricate nuances and lulling melodies from Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep (2012) reappear while the billowing guitars of You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood up For Less (2013) are referenced throughout. In comparison to 2017’s The Gatherer it’s clear there is a firmer direction in the song-writing as the album weaves through elements of doom, dark ambient and post-rock, placing its very own unique mark firmly into the ears of the listener.
A-Sun Amissa is the project of Richard Knox (founder of Gizeh Records and member of The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns and Glissando) and while Knox takes the central role on Ceremony in the Stillness , again we see several collaborators contributing to the record. As album opener The Black Path unfurls, the cello of Jo Quail creeps through the thick wall of guitar to offer a moment of calm before the song comes to life with the introduction of drums (from Archelon’s TJ Fairfax) for the first time on a A-Sun Amissa record. Alongside a dense and hypnotically repetitive riff, it’s A-Sun Amissa’s heaviest moment to date as the song collapses under its own weight to leave a crumbling and uneasy passage of cello and guitar drone. Intertwining guitars take centre stage on the melancholic With Wearied Eyes as the atmosphere harks back to the debut album, before the hefty guitar riffs return on To the Ashes. The Skulk eminisces on The Gatherer as David McLean’s saxophone unravels around the ondes Martenot of Christine Ott amongst a shifting tide of oscillators and drones. The record then takes a turn as No Perception of Light ’s soporific opening gives way to a mesmerising beat and bassline, developing into a wall of crunching guitars and electronics. The closer, Remembrancer , features chiming guitars, conversing over bowed strings, the melancholy returning again as an enveloping, haunting orchestral outro brings the record to a conclusion.
Whether Ceremony in the Stillness represents a permanent shift in direction for A-Sun Amissa remains to be seen. What’s clear is that Knox is comfortable being on the outside looking in, and on expanding A-Sun Amissa’s palette of sounds even further it only adds to the intrigue of what comes next."
Highly touted producer Hiro Kone follows her Drew McDowell link-up with a crackshot 2nd solo LP of jagged, physical rhythms and kinetic synth structures rent in acres of noumenal space on ‘Pure Expenditure’
Working intently at the point where EBM and avant-garde electronics collide, Nicky Mao a.k.a. Hiro Kone has opened up a vivid new space for phantasmic expressions of aerobic mysticism and techgnosis. Whether bending into Wetware with Roxy Farman, or taking cues from Equiknoxxx’s mutant dancehall instrumentals on ‘The Ghost of George Bataille’, Kone has consistently warped the fringes of modern, obscurantist electronica with a singular, gauntleted tactility.
On ‘Pure Expenditure’ she pursues that mix of EBM, fwd dancehall-dub and biting point electronics down ever darker lines of enquiry, uniquely probing a formerly, mutually exclusive juncture of emotively gothic themes, rudely rooted rhythms, and sheer, original sound design.
There’s almost too many highlights to mention, but if you need a jump off point, the percolated blend of Little Annie and angular modular shards in ‘Outside The Axiom’ is right up there along with the Byetone-meets-Coil pressure of her title track, and the exceptional play of sliding, bulbous shapes within sheer, hyaline dimensions in ‘Scotch Yoke, Pt. I & II’ and the pranging, sloshing designs of ‘Poortgebouw’.
From the start of Shabazz Palaces - the groundbreaking project launched in 2009 by former-Digable Planets leader Ishmael Butler - confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself.
"As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe.
Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: ‘1 Time Mirage’, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. ‘1 Time Mirage’ represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project.
Recorded in three fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, ‘1 Time Mirage’ is a profound fulfilment of the partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination. In the decade since Butler launched Shabazz Palaces and first christened his partnership with Blood as Knife Knights, much of the external mystery has, of course, fallen away. The early sense of secrecy has given way to a spirit of friendship and creative candor, to the doors of experimentation being thrown open by old pals thrilled by the prospect of testing new ideas.
Still, these eleven songs retain a core of intrigue and, indeed, mystery; each listen reveals yet another connection between infinite and interlocking pieces. To wit, Robert Beatty’s brilliant cover for ‘1 Time Mirage’ depicts a futuristic vehicle, being coolly steered with one hand into some great, mildly ominous unknown. That’s how these songs feel, too - confident conquests of the dark that unlock sounds and spaces you have yet to imagine."
London’s J. Tijn cuts loose on a banging 20 track debut solo LP following 5 years of 12” drops for Untold’s Pennyroyal, Bedouin Records, and many more...
Trust he hasn’t “gone ambient” for the longer format, sticking to what he does best with thistly mutations of electro/techno/breaks n bass music, resulting some proper, lamping gear in the distorted overdrive of ‘Beedub’, on the 2-step techno of ‘Every Likkle Mek a Mukkle’, the recoiling electro of ‘Yoshi’, and the mesmerising swang of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.
Feeding strings through an array of modular synthesisers, Ben Chatwin remoulds his recent ‘Staccato Signals’ album into new microscopic electronic textures. ‘Drone Signals’, a companion piece to the original album.
"With all of the ‘Staccato’ material on hand, the task became dismantling the tracks - stripping them apart to see what was left, letting certain sounds or instruments become the focus and then rebuilding the arrangements around them. This allowed elements to breathe yet also to become more static. The less chaotic and more ambient nature of these pieces suggested a related album of versions, a conceptual sibling.
‘Drone Signals’ might best be understood as the aftermath of ‘Staccato Signals’, retaining much that made the latter such a rewarding album - its mournful beauty, the tense,ambiguous relationship between electronic and acoustic elements and a delicate if not volatile balance between elegance and intensity. ‘Drone Signals’ will no doubt appeal to fans of the experimental world-building of recording artists and soundtrack composers such as Ben Frost, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Max Richter, Johann Johannsson and Ryuichi Sakamoto."
Analog synthesizers give tangible life to the works of Guerilla Toss. Whether it be the sound of a rocket ship, a kitten-with-a-wah, distorted dolphins, or a clavichord made of honey-baked ham, the band consistently find new ways to bring together the many ideas that combine to shape each new batch of art-rock puzzle pieces.
"‘Twisted Crystal’, Guerilla Toss’ new album, feels more personal than ever for the band. Angular yet irresistibly catchy, this collection of pop songs pulls influence from powerful groups like The Slits, ESG, Gina X and early Madonna, with sing-speak vocals from Kassie Carlson nodding to legendary artists like Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux - combining this all into a twisted, crystalline concoction.
Oracles and enigmatic egos are common lyrical themes but charismatic instrumentality springs the listener back to extraterrestrial comfort. Old favourite sounds ring true from the trusty Sequential Circuits Six Track Synthesizer and Clavia Drum Machine. New, more refined sounds are moulded and polished by drummer/producer Peter Negroponte, whose passion for perfection and creation goes far beyond an all-consuming Tetris effect. Peter has truly excelled on this new recording, creating a complex network of beats and sound that become easily intertwined with the rhythmic fabric of life.
In albums past, vocalist Kassie Carlson’s performances resembled more of a manic, possessed high priestess; humming at the gates of hell, hacking telepathy and tugging the strings of every audience member. ‘Twisted Crystal’ goes beyond this familiar darkness, leading us into a rhythmically calming charm with deep wisdom, serenity, and understanding.
At times the listener wanders through mazes of dizzying, alternatelyf pulsing time signatures, but the roads always bounce, meet and magically snap back together. That meditative groove, both live and in the studio, has become signature for Guerilla Toss, drawing deep influence from 70s krautrock and experimental rock music like Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Neu!, Cluster, Todd Rundgren and La Dusseldorf."
Downwards return with an EP of Hardcore techno ballistics and mutant metal alloys from Kerridge, featuring vocals by Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Mammifer). RIYL Nkisi, The Sprawl, Fret, ’80s EBM, late ‘90s tech-step...
The I Is Nothing marks five years of Samuel Kerridge releases on Regis’ Downwards with a dread-fuelled, nerve-stepping procession from the steaming rollige of The Silence Between Us .
Balancing blank-eyed industrial torpor and dancefloor lust in four forceful designs, Kerridge firmly pushes forward with a style that owes as much to ‘90s tech-step and current minimal D&B as the Brummie deviations of Mick Harris and Karl O’Connor, or the original underground ‘80s movements of Nocturnal Emissions, Bourbonese Qualk and Muslimgauze.
The A-side wrestles with a serpentine stinger called Silent Notes, a roiling combo of EBM drums and divebombing Reese bass perhaps imagining the bastard offspring of DJ Trace and Drew McDowell’s modular synth, while Fascination Sustain strips down to a scudding sort of electro-techno IDM pressure recalling Oberman Knocks or Bitstream’s Adapta gear.
On the B-side, Isis frontman Aaron Turner infects Propagates of Desire with masochistic lyrics buried deep in Kerridge’s matrix of recoiling EBM kicks and Stuka synth drones, then Actuality Repeats stretches out in a hollowed sphere of 150bpm electro and spectralist gloom.
Sleaford Mods' first new music since last year’s ‘English Tapas’ album.
"The mini album was recorded in Spring 2018 in Nottingham and features five new tracks including lead track ‘Stick In A Five And Go’. Jason Williamson says about the new songs: “The lead tracks are mostly full of violent tendencies that only transpire through imagination. People are powerless under the political monster and the intense anger and frustration morphs into illusions of attacking each other through the bravado of social media, depression and paranoia.”
Recorded as a piece of art for Italian National Radio RAI in Rome March 1981. On the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, RAI originally commissioned Cosey Fanni Tutti to create a sound work based on the theme of ‘A Journey Through The Body’. It became a Throbbing Gristle project which was later broadcast by RAI.
‘Journey Through A Body’  was the final Throbbing Gristle recording made at RAI Studios, Rome during their pivotal first phase of action, prior to reforming (and eventually disbanding again) in 2004. It’s long been a bugger or simply expensive to get hold of, and now reissued in the wake of a 40th anniversary edition of ‘The Second Annual Report’ and new editions of ’20 Jazz Funk Greats’ and ‘The Taste of TG: A Beginner’s Guide to Throbbing Gristle’.
Originally a Cosey Fanni Tutti commission from RAI Rome at the recommendation of Robert Wyatt, ‘Journey Through A Body’ became a full-blown TG project with all four members recording for five days at the legendary Roman studio in March 1981. Improvised recording sessions focussed around sections of the body were mixed down to tape immediately afterwards, with no re-recording allowed. In effect, the results land somewhere between “live” and ”studio” sessions, coughing up an uncannily acoustic-sounding portrait of the group at the end of their hugely influential early run.
The group’s response to the theme ‘A Journey Through The Body’ is typically variegated, forming a fascinating push and pull between industrial noise, Denny-esque exotica and a marvel of prepared piano abstraction in a way that doesn’t easily fit with any other period of their recordings. Making fine use of the esteemed facilities at RAI, Italy’s National Broadcaster, TG come off like a gnarled echo of Gruppo Di Improvvisazzione Di Nuova Consonanza or a prototype of Wolf Eyes’ trip metal in the 15 minute dosage of ‘Medicine’, before Cosey pulls out her wonky cornet on the gristlized electro slop of ‘Catholic Sex’, starring a blunted poem recited by Genesis P-Orridge.
Their core inspiration from Martin Denny meanwhile comes through patently in the unsettling exotica simulacra of ‘Exotic Functions’, before the prepared piano prangs into play along with rancid guitars and concrète cut-ups in ‘Violencia (The Bullet)’, and a wickedly refined sting in the tail with the warped, chamber-like piano abstraction of ‘Oltre Morte, Birth and Death’.
Swingeing, pounding dark techno treks from Swiss producer Isolated Lines and Colombia’s Gotshell
In duo they dish up the intricately woven but brutal Afro-latinate charge of ‘Particules’ and the darkside clonq of ‘Dual’, before Isolated Lines takes the reins for the whirligig trance techno of ‘Trivium’ and the wicked tribalist aerobics of ‘Tetrad’.
Following that eye-opening box set on Vinyl On Demand and the crucial I Don't Remember Now / I Don't Want To Talk About It and Plaster Falling reissues, Superior Viaduct give life to John Bender’s third and final album Pop Surgery, recorded in 1982 and once again demonstrating Bender as one of the most inspiring discoveries of 1980’s sprawling wave scene.
"While all of Bender’s work draws from intimate home recordings—featuring the artist alone with various keyboards, analogue sequencers and tape delays—Pop Surgery remains the one that perhaps best distills his arrant deconstruction of the “pop” concept. These twelve frenetic tracks, meticulously stitched together with dubbed-out vocals and disjointed drum machines, stretch the boundaries of bedroom electronics.
Bender would forgo the handmade LP sleeves typical of his Record Sluts imprint. The cover depicts an imposing scrapyard crane, ready to pick up discarded objects with its bright red electromagnet, while the center labels détourn Columbia’s classic ’70s style.
“I pressed a single run of 500 copies,” Bender recounts. “The only review I remember railed at the poor production quality. The DIY era had clearly come to an end.”
A new collection from Soul Jazz / Studio One focussing on the intense period in the second half of the 1960s when Studio One’s vast and unbeatable output of ska, soul, rock steady and reggae made it literally one of the hottest musical empires in the world.
"During this highly successful period, Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd released hundreds and hundreds of superlative singles seemingly on an almost daily basis, in the process making huge stars out of Jamaican singers such as Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, The Wailers, Slim Smith, Jackie Opel and many more. Powered by the finest in-house musicians working in Jamaica, whether it was The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo’s Soul Brothers, The Sounds Dimension or The Soul Vendors, Studio One functioned as hit factory on the scale of Motown in the USA, shaping and defining reggae music for decades to come. Singlehandedly Studio One’s founder Clement Dodd was able to create the most successful vertically-integrated record company that Jamaica had ever known with pressing plant, printers, studio, shops and sound systems all running at once, with over 50 employees and hundreds of artists working with Studio One during this time. "
Canada’s modern day answer to Arthur Russell and Paul Simon; Sandro Perri unfurls a wonderful new album of syncretic disco, country, and ambient-pop in his ever-charming style following recent avant escapades with his Off World group
The teasing edit of lead single ‘In Another Life’ is rolled out to a full and immersive 25 minutes of giddily uplifting electronics and softest blue eyed soul vocals inside, firmly set to soundtrack balmy evenings everywhere, while ‘Everybody’s France’ is a gently psychedelic three-part tapestry lilting from folk-soul sung by Sandro in the first part, to bring the huskier tone of Andre Ethier on board for the Leonard Cohen-like kitchen sink observations and shimmering meld of lap steel guitar and lapping congas in Part II, with Dan Bejar of Destroyer joining in for the 3rd part of woozy psychedelic country.
“Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” (Boomkat) and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.”
Bossman Aphex Twin coughs up a full gob of brainsmarts after teasing with some ace promo over the past few weeks
Fronted by the preceding ’T69 collapse’ sidewinder, the rest of the EP is actually stronger than that cut hinted at. ‘1st 44’ is the kind of darkside, slow/fast electro-dub workout we’ve craved to hear him make for time, while ‘MT1 t29r2’ also explores a sort of mutant electro-dub momentum, but spliced with a breakbeat hardcore fluidity riddled with proper gremlin synth voices.
Like we said, it only gets better, though, especially in the way he juggles complexity with a sort of rarified dance-pop elegance in the frenetic poise of ‘abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]’, and the fine tuned tangggggggg and mouth-watering pads of his jelly-limbed drill ’n bass exercise, ‘pthex’.
The follow-up to DJ Innes’ ‘The T&J Project’ with Traxman also features the Chicago don on a number of cuts
The nutters need to check it for the raucous ‘Cyberthreat’ - Footwork noise, anyone? - while all other ‘workers need to check it for the jungle juke tension of ‘With U’ starring Boylan, the debonaire bounce of ‘It’s Magic’ feat. Traxman, and the ratchet hi-tech funk of ‘Spirit’ starring DJ Phil.
BVDUB does Vladimir Ivkovic-style slow trance in four epic cuts for Apollo...
“Apollo welcomes ambient legend bvdub AKA San Franciscan Brock Van Wey for a new album 'Drowning in Daylight'.
Van Wey debuts on Apollo with his stunning new album‘ Drowning in Daylight , exploring cavernous soundscapes on a grand canvas that throb with a delicate intimacy. A stalwart DJ and promoter of the halcyon 90s San Francisco rave scene, Van Wey fled to China in the early 2000s to escape the curdling of his musical dreams as the scene became more commercial.
Since his return he’s been incredibly prolific in his creation, etching out peerless ambient works that have captivated listeners with their delicate melody and fascinating textures through releases for the likes of Echospace, Kompakt and Styrax - 2018's A Different Definition of Love marks his 30th bvdub album to date.
Classically trained in piano and violin as a child, Van Wey’s symphonic approach to ambience is truly remarkable,
Epic in its scale with each of it’s 4 tracks clocking in around the 20 minute mark, Drowning In Daylight envelops the listener in swathes of nostalgic pads and nested layers of distortion, strings and haunted voices.
‘Drowning In Daylight’ could well be Van Wey’s crowning achievement to date and a testament to the power of instrumental abstract music to emotionally engulf the listener.”
Sublime, string-laden soundscaping, the full-length debut for Kranky by Julie Carpenter’s Less Bells, a must for fans of Stars of The Lid, A Winged Victory for the Sullen...
"She cites certain compositions as being “specifically inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry nights.” Utilizing an array of electronic and acoustic instruments, including cello, Optigan, violin, voice, and modular synth, Solifuge conflates not only the solitude and refuge of its title but also intimacy and grandeur, fragility and force, “building from austerity to wild overgrowth.”
She speaks of a creative process involving cut-ups and rearranging, mapping a melody for strings only to transpose it to synth, or refashioning a rigid classical piece as stream of consciousness soundscape. Carpenter’s versatility and embrace of flux fills these songs with a living, breathing quality, restrained but responsive, adapting to shifting conditions and emotions beneath the surface."
DJ Innes on a juke hustle for his eponymous label
Styles are wild and hard on the highly strung ‘Self Titled’, whereas ‘Let Go’ is more true to soul-flowing footwork, and DJ Elmoe aids in making ‘Lightspeed’ a seriously nutty, even psychedelic footwork banger.
Future Times deliver a freakish fresh spin on Washington, DC Go-Go styles with Nappy Nappa’s heavily autotuned vox set to frayed grooves by Dolo Percussion, a.k.a. Andrew Field-Pickering (Maxmillion Dunbar/Lifted/Beautiful Swimmers)...
‘BANG ET ON EM’ is a mad mix of pitched-down, tumbling and bumping breaks with Nappa’s wildly autotuned cadence, and in a way that’s certain to baffle some of Future Times’ more conservative followers, while ‘SLIME’S NEV’R END’NG PARTY / SHIN-DIG’ takes that sound one step farther with properly sloshing electro drums helming and matching Nappa’s freeform expressions.
Who do we become when we live our dreams? It’s all here—the high hairdos, the dreams and schemes, the tender camp, the wedding bell fantasias and chaste tragedies.
"Sister acts, studio receptionists, classmates, angelic voices of the 1960s; some legendary, many hidden in the basement of expired rainbows. Gathered on this deluxe double LP (or CD) are 28 (56 on the compact disc!) foiled escape attempts, now free to soar in girl group heaven."
Róisín Murphy meets Maurice Fulton for the 3rd of four singles to emerge throughout summer 2018
On Jacuzzi Rollercoaster Róisín sounds like a curious mix of Kate Bush and Jacko, filtering from whispers to reverb-vaulted phrases in a slippery slice of midsummer disco greaze.
With Can’t Hang On they hinge around a deeper house sound percolated with squirmy acid, keyboard and dancing hi-hats, with Róisín coming on much cooler, breezier.
Otik snakes around up-to-the-minute UK bass and warehouse styles on a reticulated debut with Blackdown’s Keysound, including the bossman’s own, stripped down refit
The originals are dead strong, rolling out from the scaly, iridescent top line and gritty slosh of ‘Top Ten’ into a sort of pop ’n lock industrial-electro motion on ‘Latex’, before relieving the rugged tension thru radiant pads and slowed-down, stepping jungle breaks in ‘Notion’, and a deep blue, swampy trotter named ‘True Level’.
On the refit, Blackdown slips the 130bpm rolige of ‘Top Ten’ down the rabbithole with dextrous, non-linear dynamics and a nimbly psychedelic appeal.
Chicago’s Traxman meets DJ Innes on a breathless footwork and juke session.
DJs and dancers should listen up for their jazzwise throw downs ‘Hot On 27th’ and ‘Open Up Tha Hornz’, and also for Traxman’s killer contributions in the frenetic ‘Numbers and Levels’ and the perfectly titled ‘Air Dance’...
Filter Dread transmogrifies grime, jungle, 2-step and ambient tropes for his Corrupt Data label
Some killer bits for the dextrous DJ and restless listeners inside the ride, most notably the fractious hardship of ’SP 85’, the John T. Gast-compatible technoid plasma of ‘New Energy’, and the floating sci-fi grime of ‘Faces in the Sky’.
Bristolian swagger from Lurka for Batu’s Timedance
‘Heat Mover’ starts off acoustic sounding with clunky live drums and nuff eerie space that’s soon enough invaded by dive bombing synths and salty digital noise in a classic Bristol balance of bass function and experimentation.
It was 10 years ago, in a house on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, that Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra started playing music together, and The Holydrug Couple was effectively born. A decade later, they’ve made ‘Hyper Super Mega’, an album that represents the culmination of everything they’ve learned in their years as a band.
"Following the release and surrounding tours of their second album, 2015’s ‘Moonlust’ (Sacred Bones), the duo found themselves back at home, feeling directionless and listless. “The over-riding feeling was one of exhaustion,” Sepúlveda recalls, “exhaustion of the planet and of culture, the overuse of references and information that you see everywhere, in fashion, literature, tourism, music, technology and so on.”
Amidst this feeling of weariness, the words “Hyper”, “Super” and “Mega” struck a chord – these terms with origins so steeped in history and mythology, which have come to represent stark superlatives of consumerism. Hypercapitalism, hypermarket, hyperspace, hyperactive, hyperlink, megabyte, megabuck, megalomania, megastorm, megaplex, superhighway, superhero, supermodel, supersize… “It seemed that the scale of everything over-exaggerates human capacity and time” he notes.
So, the duo immersed themselves in these feelings and started to build the foundations of their new record. Amidst eleven tracks of perfectly-formed, heady psych-pop, ‘Hyper Super Mega’ speaks of immediacy, internet and social media, consumption, love and a comfortable despair at the state of the planet. It tells of a world over-connected through cell phones and information, whilst hinting at the place of occult language and imagery in an attempt to convene different and unknown places, or places that are open to interpretation.
Sonically, if ‘Hyper Super Mega’ feels, in places, like a classic pop record, that’s because Sepúlveda and Parra spent much of the recording process thinking, too, about the classic pop records of the ’60s and ’70s. Masterpieces by bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Fleetwood Mac were all reference points, not always explicitly in sound, but certainly in spirit. The duo approached the mythos of the “classic album” from their own inimitable perspective, hoping to make a record that felt authentically like The Holydrug Couple that might fit into the same canon.
Overall, ‘Hyper Super Mega’ is a capsule history of The Holydrug Couple, incorporating a decade of experience recording, touring the world, and absorbing the sights and sounds of their native Chile. It marks the 10th anniversary of a band whose next 10 years look even brighter than the last."
Luke Slater on rugged manoeuvres as L.B. Dub Corp for Stroboscopic Artefacts
Built for the long run and big rooms, ‘Roar’ gives a strident, bass-swollen start to the session which also takes in the sidewinding electro-acid-dub torque of ‘Hard Wax’ and the serpentine swerve of ‘Sure Step Dub’ with its killer, pinging woodblock percussion.