Charred electronic drone, field recordings and wrecking ball knocks for fans of Mick Harris/Scorn, Bedouin Records, Cut Hands.
“Following last year‘s “Şeb-i Yelda” EP under the R.A.N. moniker, HÜMA UTKU delivers her debut full-length album under her own name „Gnosis“: a blend of abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats with field recordings and ambience, available as LP and DL.
With “Şeb-i Yelda” (2018) HÜMA UTKU introduced her musical style to a broader audience - storytelling through elements of industrial, techno and abstract electronics, blending in field recordings and traditional instruments from the middle east. A sonic journey that now continues on „Gnosis“ that owns the signature sounds of the Istanbul born / Berlin based electronic artist and pushes them further. The Greek word „Gnosis“ meaning „knowledge reached through intuition and individual experience“ has been used throughout history by various schools of esotericism and thought, to signify gaining insight on workings of the universe. Coherently the album follows the hermit-like, truth-seeking traveller on a path through various times and geographies, through different forms of human experience. Merging field recordings that UTKU did in Greece, Egypt and Turkey with ambient soundscapes, abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats, „Gnosis“ is an intense sonic travelogue where the storyline exceeds the borders any specific musical genre.”
Piquant mutations of grime, R&B, footwork and all things sweet ’n road from Banshee, marking up his solo debut proper after a self-released 12” and guest spot on Zomby’s ‘Ultra’ album in 2016
Revolving some of the freshest gear from the UK in years, the ‘Thought Bubbles’ EP comes with a wickedly freehand approach to meter, space and pitch that’s bound to cause some confused 33 or 45 toggling. It’s actually cut at 33rpm, but the way he uses footwork and R&G tropes is just brilliantly beguiling and readied to play over and again.
On the front he starts up like a vintage DJ Nate cut with the melting percolations and R&B dream sequence pads of ’Thought Bubble 1’, before settling into a Dancehall/reggaeton-compatible swang with the deliciously deferred, hair-kissing gratification of ‘Ecstasy Baby’ and its darkside denouement. Backside, the floating structure of ‘Heart Container’ conjures aching weightless sensations with the slightest brushstrokes, and ‘Thought Bubble 2’ boosts back into footwork with tilted dreams and ohrwurming R&B samples that will stick long after the record has stopped turning.
Etheric excursions into new age ambient and folk underlaid with woozy drum machine rhythms and perfused with field recordings
“Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix.
"I’ve been playing around with instrumentals for a long time, and it was something I wanted to do more with after I finished Infinite Avenue,” says Carmen. “Leaving out my voice and lyrics got me out of my own head a bit, which I needed. Working with sound is to me the ultimate meditation and is a more unconscious way of expressing whatever is going on inside.”
The flute, played by Chilenean-Norwegian Johanna Scheie Orellana (formerly of Sassy 009), is a central part of this new album. Carmen got her in to the studio to both record melodies that she had written, as well as making plenty of room for impro/freeform. Prins Thomas also appears on the record, playing percussion on “I Could Sit Here All Day.”
“I made this track based on a Roland SH-101 sequence run through various processing,” says Villain. “The whole thing came together kind of like a jam, I wrote the flute in one take, and it just felt right. I wanted real flute on this, so asked Johanna if she'd like to come in, and we've been collaborating ever since.””
French beat maker Debruit meets Kinshasa, DRC’s Kokomo! for an energetic sound compatible with Kuduro but leaning towards dance-pop influenced song structures. Issued by the same label behind SOPHIE’s debut album
“You can trace the seeds of Fongola back to so many different places. It began in Kinshasa, in the Ngwaka neighbourhood where DIY experimental musical instruments are made, and the Lingwala neighbourhood where Makara Bianko sings every night on electronic loops with his dancers and where the band first met. We spent our tours across Europe dreaming about what we wanted to tell the world. It was recorded in makeshift studios we built out of ping pong tables and mattresses in Kinshasa and Brussels. Finally, I spent months putting it all together in Abattoir, Anderlecht like a giant electronic puzzle with pieces that don’t fit and no blueprint.” - Débruit
Signed with independent label Transgressive (Flume, SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma), KOKOKO!’s distorted polyrhythms and spontaneous lo-fi sounds provide a chaotic soundtrack to their home country. When most people think of culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s The Rumble in The Jungle fight of Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman and the accompanying Soul Power concert with James Brown in the 70s, Mobutu in his abacost and leopard print hat, les sapeurs in their elegant tailoring, and the king of Congolese rumba Papa Wemba. A faded vintage postcard. KOKOKO! represent the antithesis of tradition, and their debut album Fongola - which translates to “the key” - is a torrid, anarchic, youthful journey smashing a new path through modern life in Africa’s third most populous city.”
Features production by Catnapp, Modeselektor, El Plvybxy, and Doxxed.
“Break follows last year’s EP Fear and No Cover single and sees Catnapp capturing the jaw-dropping energy of her live shows as well as further refining her characteristic blend of rap and heavyweight electronic beats. She challenged herself with exploring more complex emotions and subjects for this album, which is more than a collection of love songs, as she explains: „With so much happening in our world today, I feel incomplete telling only love stories. I want to give people inspirational tools that work like fuel. Songs that can make one hop out of a bad and complicated situation in order to move on and up with confidence.“
Catnapp is the guise of Argentinian artist Amparo Battaglia. Long before signing to Monkeytown in 2018, the Berlin based producer, singer/rapper and striking performer already (self-)released a couple of records full of boundless creativity and originality, taking whatever she needed from every electronic genre as well as pop and rap music. Amparo cites classic influences like The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, OutKast or Beyoncé, while her productions also draw from today’s post-internet and post-rap sounds. Break combines these diverse influences in a very distinct sound.
The album’s opening track „Down In The Basement“ is an ode to the underground, dealing with how to grow as an artist whilst staying true to your roots. You can take the artist out of the underground, but you cannot take the underground out of the artist. As she is playing big stages more frequently than gritty basement clubs, Catnapp tackles the beautiful contradictions of going her own way. Next up is „The Mover“ featuring Modeselektor, a slow burning, bass-heavy song about standing up for yourself and showing strength. It opens with the line „Don’t you tell me what to do“, an eternal credo for both Catnapp and Modeselektor, two generations of maverick electronic artists. „Fight For A Fight“ is inspired by the repression the LGBTQ community is facing all around the world. It came about when Amparo was invited to perform at the Pride March in Buenos Aires in 2018, its lyrics are aimed at supporting the ongoing fight against patriarchy: „My knife is sharp, my mind is bright, you’ll never stop my will to fight.“
Still, love and heartbreak are essential elements of Catnapp’s songwriting and thus appear in songs like „Thunder“, „Lengua“ and „Give It Back“. The latter is about leaving a toxic relationship behind and regaining control about one’s life. Musically, these tracks show Catnapp alternating fierce raps and booming beats with liquid R&B vocals and melancholic, dreamlike electronica.
Catnapp has been compared to electroclash artists like Peaches, her blend of modern rap and electronics may also evoke likeminded artist Tommy Genesis. There’s leaders and there’s followers – you already know which this girl belongs to. Break is no less than her most accomplished musical statement to date.”
Cold, unyielding, monotone techno from Shifted, knocking out his first release since 2017
Reading directly from the book of Regis & Surgeon 19:97, and with a touch of Rrose’s mystic method, ‘The Light Touch’ is a tight study in techno purism that shows up the business techno school as middle management fluff.
‘The Light Touch’ gets into it with swingeing, hollow bass and trottin’ groove keened with wind-tunnel pressure, while ‘Seel’ knuckles down to percolated woodblocks and brain-drilling drones, and ‘Mixen’ follows in its slipstream with nagging belltones and drone dissonance to set your teeth on edge.
"Montréal’s Humidex label launches with three technoid tracks from its founders S. Chioini, Absurde and softcoresoft.
S. Chioini brings in the humidity with his broken percussive number +4 Degrees, a bass driven track built upon crystalline sound design, sweeping envelopes and moody pads. Its precise structure, micro-edited cuts and syncopated drums relate to the composer’s electroacoustic background as much as to roots in contemporary music and a dedicated taste for experimental sounds.
Absurde’s Buckle Up! is a motor of unfurling, rotary loops and galloping percussion. The alarm-like cowbells cut through the groove while hypnotic synth arpeggios enter halfway through, forming a call and response of rhythmic elements.
softcoresoft closes this EP with an acid banger that is at once joyous and introspective. Its odd clap patterns create a push and pull of energetic internal rhythms. A trancey synth enters towards the end to anchor the entheogenic journey of the track. Generating the Divine Within makes you want to close your eyes on the dancefloor."
Poetic kosmiche synths with bittersweet Yorkshirian sentimentality, somehow tying the Orbit in 1992, to Vienna, and Lower Manhattan, 1966. Don’t ask how.
“Nunroyd Works is the third release by Craven Faults. We’ve picked up speed since we passed Netherfield and Springhead Works. It’s more built up here, as we enter the outskirts of the city. The former mills and cinemas are alive. A kick drum carries though the walls. Every so often the doors open and the sound spills onto the street. The destination was unintentional. An experiment.
Who plotted this course? As ever, it isn’t always what you expected, but the journey is key. Detroit via The Orbit in Morley, 1992. Istanbul, 1967. We travelled by rail with old friends. Vienna, late night café, straight connection. Lower Manhattan, 1966. New Year’s Day in Filey, making mental note of the patterns played out by the church bells. 1991. Revisited several times over. Mutated by the passage of time.
Those memories that stay with us and influence our decisions many years later. Taking time to make new ones. Do you always need to travel with a purpose? Could you follow your instincts from time to time?
A trilogy complete. The end of a journey?”
Class debut from Philly’s DJ Haram - fusing Arabic percussion and instrumentation with bass pressure for Hyperdub.
Like a spartan echo of Mutamassik’s early ‘00s meeting of Egyptian breaks and rugged hip hop, DJ Haram finds a wickedly gritty friction and traction from a mixtures of sharp electronics and a dead canny sample palette that distinguishes her music from the crowd.
The EP kicks off with ‘No Idol’, which comes off like an imagined Timbaland and Equiknoxx hook-up, while the brooding ‘Interlude’ gives way to a killer bouts of martial drums swept into a rugged Jersey bounce on ‘Gemini Rising’ and again with grimier, bittersweet impetus in ‘Body Count’, that also comes out in more psychedelic, low-lit geometries on ‘Candle Light’, which receives an impending vocal-lead remix by Haram’s regular Philly spar and Moor Mother collaborator, 700 Bliss. Factor in the virulent puppy dance of ‘Grace’ and the club-tightened remix of ‘No Idols’ and you have yet another stellar debut on the untouchable Hyperdub.
Ben Chasny's last ultra-indie label release before moving onto greener pastures with Drag City, now available in this newly remastered guise.
Originally released in 2004 on the fabulous Time Lag label, we are now safe to bask in it's psych-folk sunlight again and let me assure you it's worth it. Ditching the voice almost altogether (save for a few wails), 'For Octavio Paz' sees Chasny focussing on his primary skill - the guitar. This is a collection of some of his best solo guitar work, and keeps that haunting tape-recorded lo-fi quality which has (quite obviously) left his more recent work. In fact at times you think you could actually be listening to a classic Takoma record, all the spirituality and virtuoso skill Chasny evokes is worthy of the genre's absolute finest. Yet he never manages to come off as obviously aping one person's style - there are of course elements of John Fahey, but I wouldn't say any particular track sounds exactly like Fahey, the same with Robbie Basho. This selection of deeply moving home-recorded tracks is a sublime indication of why Chasny is at the top of his game right now and is another essential part of his back catalogue.
Caspar Brötzmann is one of the most unique and innovative guitarists of the last 40 years. With his Berlin-based trio Massaker, he evolved a whole new autonomous approach to writing rock songs, starting from sounds that were widely considered ornamental if not detrimental ‘sonic waste’, such as shrieking feedback and droning overtones. This plethora of sounds were arranged into tracks to sound like breaking concrete, grinding metal, or bursting glass, at once monumental and threatening, impenetrable and hermetic, yet also archaically tender and loving.
"Even today, as the art of noise has reached a level of sophistication that no one could have imagined 30 years ago, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker’s music is resoundingly singular. Ultra heavy riffs and beats, ominous tribal chants and a raw physical force is conjured up by these three sinister and proud minds of their era. Their unhinged, unified stream of energy is captured on these remastered reissues and the results are thrilling.
Originally released in 1992, Der Abend der schwarzen Folklore is the third Massaker album, released by Rough Trade Germany. According to Caspar Brötzmann, the title track and “Bass Totem“ are the band’s most accomplished songs. It’s certainly the most sonicly refined of their albums, recorded during a residency over several weeks at the pastoral site of Conny Plank’s studio near Cologne, and produced by Ingo Krauss and Bruno Gebhard, who had worked with the famed Krautrock producer until his death in 1987.
Not least, ...Schwarzen Folklore also features their new drummer Danny Lommen, whom Caspar and bassist Eduardo Delgado had headhunted at a concert with Lommen’s Dutch prog-core band Gore. Lommen shared their tastes in sheer volume and presence, and “has a completely unique sound to his drumming“, as Caspar marvels, “he plays ultrahard and clear, with authority and no compromise, nothing, not even the most turbulent and speedy beats, sound fuzzy - a statement.“ This, he adds with a smile, would sometimes lead to intense moods during rehearsals, when he overpowered - no small feat - competing with the sounds of Caspar’s guitar.
The Tribe and Black Axis were still if very loosely rooted in some kind of heavy rock. Der Abend der Schwarzen Folklore erases these residues from their genetic make-up - evolving into a free-form noise, strangely motionless like an earthquake rumble, that sounded like nothing else at the time. The opening title song gives the best example with its densely shifting chunk of howling and screaming guitar shreds and grimly determined rumbles from the bass, accented by heavy single beats or massively rattling, yet transparent outbursts from the drums. An impenetrable sense of threat fills the sound, interrupted only by breaks of skinny brooding, giving way to Caspar’s throaty growl evoking a lonely march through hostile wastelands under flaming sunsets. Culminating in an archaic choir chanting about black walls rising - a monstrous cloud of thick high-voltage tension.
Caspar speaks of the heavy nature of the lyrics, inspired by 19th century artist Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Das Eismeer“ (“The Sea of Ice“) which depicts a shipwreck the icy shores of Antarctica. It deals, of course, with ideas of the sublime in nature - but also “the end of hope“, as the painting was known until the sixties. And indeed, Caspar credits his dark and brooding sounds to the uneasy times. With the wall down, the Eastern block broken, East and West Germany were politically united but emotionally didn’t share much more than a certain angst and uneasiness with respect to the future - which erupted in ugly right-wing riots and violence. Caspar felt the rise of a black folklore that he wanted to address, though he never admitted to it at the time because, he said, he didn’t want to sound like “some naive romantic“. Not underestimating the music‘s gothic values - a weird idea, once you’ve listened to “Schwarze Folklore“.
Swirling, exotic Aussie psych nugget presented in two mixes on 7” for the first time
“Accompanying the premiere release of the lost soundtrack to the 1971 film Walkabout, The Roundtable offer a further lost piece of music associated with Nicolas Roeg’s seminal New Wave masterpiece. In addition to John Barry’s spellbinding original score, several pieces of popular music can be heard throughout the film transmitting from a portable radio, an obvious symbol of western civilization as the protagonists wander disorientated in the ancient tribal Australian wilderness.
Here we have documented one of these tracks on limited edition 7” vinyl, a forgotten slice of late 60s lysergic studio-psych from the New York singer-songwriter Billy Mitchel. Produced by Brooks Arthur (Holy Mountain Soundtrack), Electronic Dance is a whirling mix of Indian raga, heavy jazz drums, buzzing electronics and tape collage melding into blue-eyed soul folk from the Woodstock scene. The perfect psychedelic supplement to John Barry’s hallucinogenic orchestral score.”
Jordan GCZ, upsammy, Suzanne Kraft, and Parrish Smith rework the soundtracks to short animated films dating back to 1921 as part of the RE:VIVE initiative for The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
“Unsurprisingly, each artist imparted their unique styles onto the films that they previously had no relation with. From Suzanne Kraft's sparse atmospherics that have become more apparent in his new SK U KNO project to Jordan GCZ’s free flowing hardware jams. Parrish Smith showed his contemplative side and sparse orchestrations that he demonstrated on his RE:VIVE release, Genesis Black, a sonic departure from his bombastic releases and DJ-sets while upsammy showed yet again her deft hand for melody and texture, a style that dominates all her releases to date.
These four scores can live apart from their films, fitting seamlessly into each artists' growing catalogs of work. But when combined, it’s as if the films and music were made simultaneously with the artist and filmmaker together in the same room. Dekmantel and RE:VIVE are proud to present these new works as the electronic music scene in The Netherlands continues to show its multifaceted talent that continues to expand far beyond the dance floor.”
The Mannequin boss and The Hacker gel forces in a brittle and sticky mix of synth-pop, EBM, and coldwave themes delivered under their own names
’Présence Du Futur’ is a solid example of when projects amount to beyond the sum of their parts. Packing decades of experience between them, Amato & Adriani apply razor sharp editing to muscular drum machine rhythms, steely synths and cranky FX in four parts actually worthy of comparison with the templates they draw from, as opposed to yet another formulaic EBM colouring book.
The restless arps, fanged hi-hats and roving bass of ’Falling Inside’ triggers a kilelr session that takes in tendon-tightening EBM/electro torque in ‘The Language of Numbers’, before Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder sets off the cantering ‘Liar’ with a darkroom ready vocal, and ‘Power & Persuasion’ heats the blood with slow burning, lurking bassline yoked to death stare jack.