Anther heavyweight haul of slow techno mutations from Mike Jefford’s Positive Centre, coming quick on the heels of ‘The Leaf Switch’ album for Opal Tapes with a stark, grungy, grumbling batch for Horo
“After making his initial mark with a grinding fog of slowed Techno on Sigha’s Our Circula Sound label, Michael Jefford aka Positive Centre has traversed the electronic BPM scale with a sonic signature of ghostly synthetics that make the switch between industrial aesthetics and illusory soundscaping.
Within this nucleus, Jefford’s recorded history as a Live Performing Artist, DJ and Producer has always reflected what at once can be microscopic whilst still being the largest object in view. Each track on Forever Optimum sets a different location and perspective on an active set of mechanics - like watching fragments in motion, reacting to different forces.
Having previously released for a range of Techno’s more adventurous labels includingSNTS, Stroboscopic Artefacts, Opal Tapes and not forgetting his own In Silent Series label. Positive Centre’s 3rd Album ‘Forever Optimum’ stands as a beautiful anomaly in the 2018 HORO catalogue. Continuing the point of the HORO label: being open to the beguiling musical arcs that keep us redefining our sound.”
With a CV that includes vocals for Timo Maas and doomcore for Invada, Anthony Tombling Jr. returns to Village Green as CUTS with a cinematic hat on.
“Summoning 11 widescreen, electronic compositions in response to global political and environmental breakdown, ‘A Gradual Decline’ addresses the planet’s current fragility using actual field recordings of ice collapsing from glaciers. Weaving these momentary, dramatic events directly into the DNA of the music, CUTS has sculpted rhythmic elements out of geological transformation.
A stark sense of urgency permeates ‘A Gradual Decline’. At times chaotic and alarming, the album’s siren-like tones and volatile, stuttered beats converge with synthetic gales of melody and glacial percussion. Elsewhere, the sense of precariousness is subtler, enveloped in gaseous chords that swell and evaporate, ethereal and dense guitars and distant vocals – all hallmarks of previous CUTS material - here honed into a concise, conceptual set.
“I have tried to make a record that feels like it’s all come from one place," explains Tombling Jr. “My only musical influence on this was William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’. Not the music, but the process. The idea of a decline in sound really suited the concept of this record. All this music and instrumentation trapped in this declining digital signal. I wanted it to sound brittle and precarious. I also wanted to avoid doing overly dark material, opting instead for something that was more fragile, melancholic and even hopeful in moments.“
Weighty wanz from Drone on Coyote
Cold shifting weight from the natty grime instrumental ‘Narroways’ to dubbed-out sinogrime in ‘Light Speed’, moody blue grime in ‘Probiscus’, and the flickering, skeletal drums and swollen bass of ‘Fangz’.
Hypnotic grey area incursions from ASC, the master of this sound
Taking all the time he needs to take us there, he unfurls some of the longest, most epic tracks in his catalogue across ‘The Outer Limits’.
All reaching over the 11 minute mark, at least, the 4 tracks are exquisite showcases of ASC at his most expansive, emotive, and rhythmically complex, ranging from swirling deep space polymetrics and vast drone shapes of ‘Arrival’ and the sloshing rolige and vaulted pads of ‘Redshift’, to 17 minute breadth of ‘Blueshift’ with its uniquely tucked percussive permutations and tumutuous synth arrangement, and the waning beauty of ‘Departure’.
One for the techno/bass dreamers.
Scorching, sprawling, lysergic psych and free jazz jams from Jibóia, a new artist from the fertile Portuguese undergrowth, picked up and presented on the ever-searching Discrepant label. Make sure to check the wild combo of sustained sax peal and pounding drums in ‘Diatessaron’, and the full-blown 15 minute Sufi whirligig styles of ’Topos’ if you like imagining yourself as a character in a frenzied Alejandro Jodorowsky scene...
“Earlier this decade, when Óscar Silva chose his alias Jibóia, he was already thinking of the variations his music would take on in each record. Jibóia is Portuguese for Boa constrictor and at his fourth record we got used to his instincts and ability to change over his sound and search for different collaborators to reach his intentions. After collaborating with the likes of Makoto Yagyu, Sequin, Xinobi, Ricardo Martins and Jonathan Saldanha in his previous records, in OOOO he goes deep into interconnecting his music with other musicians/past collaborators.
Joined by Ricardo Martins (Lobster, Pop Dell’Arte, BRUXAS/COBRAS, among other projects) and Mestre André (aka O Morto, Alacrau and Notwan), Óscar intended to create a record that sounded like Jibóia with the direct collaboration of the musicians that accepted the invitation. And what does it mean to sound like Jibóia? A fluent and rich dialogue between outer-world sounds mixed with a free jazz approach to rock, living in the limbo between what is fiction and reality. Meaning, it’s music that’s doing soul searching without any space or time barriers.
It flows as it should and in OOOO it’s no different. Inspired by the philosophy of Pythagoras and his concept Musica Universalis, that speaks about an inter spatial harmony created by the movement of the planets and the sound frequency it creates. It’s a poetic theory that imagines the sound produced by the movement of the planets and what we can listen to when we listen to the universe. The first three tracks are a reference to those frequencies and the last one, Topos, references an idea of accomplishment, of arrival and the sum of the experience.
So, yes, OOOO it’s a bit of a trip. A voyage of imagined sounds produced by three musicians in a constant dialogue and with a different focus in each track. Each of the first three tracks (Diapason, Diapente and Diatessaron) are developed with the focused on the instruments of one of the musicians, while the other two expand and enriches the range of the initial movement. First track focusses on Óscar’s instruments, the second one on Ricardo’s and the third on Mestre André’s. On the fourth and last one they explore the flux of ideas each one delivered to OOOO.
Topos doesn’t sum up the experience. It’s not intended to be a conclusion or an end to OOOO, it’s an open circuit of ideas that reinforces the free-minded rock that the three musicians explore, creating a new place where their music finds new routines. It just makes you want to go back to the beginning, again and again, reinforcing the feeling that Jibóia’s music belongs to this world without sounding like anything from this world.”
After moonlighting on Planet Mu, Mr. Mitch comes home to Gobstopper with a wistfully romantic suite of UK-style electronic soul.
These are some of his most reserved, cooled-out and tender productions to date, moving from the nEurogenous synth strokes and talkbox riffs of ‘Restart’, thru the low-key electro R&B bumps of ‘Settle’, to the exquisite electro dembow tang of ‘Phantom Dance’ at the EP’s core, before introducing his own vocals in a way recalling Palmistry on ‘Show Me’, and catching a deep ambient house breeze with ‘Closure’.
Weapons grade remixes of The Soft Moon from a likely bunch of EBM, noise and industrial techno figures
Fresh from running amok with Ewa Justka and Manni Dee’s ‘London Isn’t England’, Ansome goes bare knuckle on ‘Burn’ with hospitalising results. Craow turns ‘Choke’ to rubble with unrepentant glee; ‘90s EBM producers Clément Perez and Daniel Myer a.k.a. Rendered remodel ‘It Kills’ as a whooping, galloping warhorse for taps aff in the dark room times; and The Horrorist does his grim NYC techno thing with ‘The Pain’.
In the pantheon of electronic music Terry Riley's 'A Rainbow In Curved Air' adorns a pedestal front and centre.
Taking inspiration from Hindustani classical music and the jazz techniques of Bill Evans and John Coltrane before him, Riley's minimalist psychedelic masterpiece can claim a direct influence on generations of musicians ever since, from the likes of Brian Eno at one end of the scale, right through to Oneohtrix Point Never or Emeralds at the other.
This "definitive remastered edition" portrays his pioneering tape delay techniques and virtuoso keyboard flurries in optimised glory, exposing the base root of so much Ambient, Techno, Electronic Pop and improvised experimentalism for oth first time listeners and those who who heard it first time around (anyone in between, too!). Includes both 'A Rainbow In Curved Air' and 'Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band'.
Debut drop of peaktime rave sizzlers from Chontane and joeFarr on London’s THEM label
Arriving in the glowing wake of 12”s by Gaunt and Borai, the ‘Red Island’ EP is the first showcase of Chontane’s sound, impressively rushing up with the boisterous but tempered breakbeat rave rudeness and trancing lead of ‘Cluch’, along with the slathering slammer ’Swet’, and the Reece bass-fuelled stepper ‘Nedelia’, while joeFarr round out with a rabid industrial techno remix of ‘Cluch’.
Dense, seething dread dub biz from Japan’s G36 for Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug’s Pressure label
Backing up G36’s solid instrumental for the last Pressure release, Nazamba’s ‘Vex’, the seismic original instrumental appears here in bad company along with the deadeye trample of ‘’Militant’, a grumbling beast named ‘Them Vs Us’, and the ten tonne steppers momentum imposed by ‘Mass Surveillance’.
Played by Kahn, Don Letts, JK Flesh, Ossia!
Natty, dubbed-out action from Sydney, Australia’s OTIS Records
Check for highlights in Ghosts of Bookar’s electroid steppers dub ‘Rings Around Saturn’, abnd the stuttering and spooling dub techno stepper ‘Connexion Dub’ by Sleep D.
Erstwhile Coil guy Drew McDowell puts 50p in the meter for a 3rd batch of voluminous modular synth misshapes with NYC’s Dais Records
After testing out a mutant dancehall sound with Hiro Kone on ‘The Ghost Of Georges Bataille’, McDowell picks up where he left us with ‘Unnatural Channel’ , plumbing deep into the guts of his modular array to extract the most effluent and ungodly electronic prangs and machine gremlin voices.
A product of ritual, conceptual immersion, ‘The Third Helix’ projects 8 eight hallucinatory visions conceived for ritual immersion on the listener’s behalf, unravelling relatively simple units of sound into 3D webs of entrancing complexity along unfathomable spatial coordinates.
Depending your tolerance for vivid nightmares and psychotropic substances, the effect of ‘The Third Helix’ will vary from user to user, but in ideal conditions - dark room, inebriated, at night - it’s likely to induce the rarest sensations and push the most intent ears to the brink.
Off-centre dance music full of liquified percussion and breezy electronics
“Tech Startup founder Rafael and Timothy Crombie, aka A Psychic Yes, fortuitously met on a Berlin dance floor in late 2017. A long digital correspondence between Berlin and Seattle culminated in the inaugural release of the Seattle-based Tech Startup label: TS000001. The project is comprised of 5 tracks built up from initial recordings of percussion, trumpet, and synthesizers honed into drum-focused dance pieces in the melancholy Berlin winter of 2018. Split in function between the two sides, Side A features dancefloor-ready tracks, while Side B contains introspective songs geared towards a home-listening environment.
Field recordings of Scottish stone slates accent the opening track Stone Sound, a tribal-leaning dancefloor cut highlighted by syncopated, pounding percussion and discreet melodies. The organic, sparse breakbeat track, Spacemaker, is cloaked in bright, hazy melodies. In Delicated, a series of melodic characters move around one another in a foggy electronic atmosphere. Aldhini Theme emerges as the standout track on Side B, with undulating modulated noise that slowly builds into
a hypnotic slow-burner resolving on a melody. Capping off the project is 12059, an unedited, meditative bliss of drones and trumpet.”
C93’s David Tibet confesses his recent night traumas in a deeply absorbing tapestry of serene chorales, spectralist classicism and half-heard oneiric narrations in ‘The Stars on Their Horsies’; a seamless, single 39 minute piece he describes as “Textually based around two NightMares I nightmared recently..."
Tibet also informs that this CD version will differ from the LP, which was issued at his Stockholm ‘Channelling’ in April, 2018, although we’re not sure how, other than that the CD is logically better to experience the work as an unbroken spell, and let the alchemy of his tonal juxtapositions and hallucinatory mixing work its magick, only occasionally revealing glimpses of Tibet’s dream from below the surface,
Posthuman present their first vinyl album since 2010’s ’Syn Emergence’ with ‘Mutant City Acid’ on their Balkan Vinyl label
On ’Mutant City Acid’ they tweak out Roland’s little grey box in 10 parts roving from the seamless acid house excursion of ‘Into Gestalt’ into ‘Nightride To New Reno’, before gradually diversifying their patterns with the slow electro-acid of ‘Gods of Technology’, and the canny transition from slow acid into purring 808 dreamscape with side C’s ‘junk Bonds’, ‘Raid On Kyoto Quarter’, and ’Shellworld Industries’, and again hoping from knackered acid to ruddy acid techno and jacked up pressure on side D’s ‘Abaskan Control’ into ‘Transit System Error’ and ‘Wishmountain’.
Dazzling debut from Kahn, re-pressed.
'Like We Used To' is a powerfully built 130bpm swinger, stroking fragrant female vocal into orgiastic glossolalia over clipped 2-step and seasick subs copulating like Zomby and SBTRKT. 'Helter Skelter' is more exothermic, radiating stereo spirals of cascading lazer synths on a halfstep bump and grind akin to the recent Objekt 12".
Another highly enjoyable blast of Kiwi crud-rock, sounding like a gang of pals and their dog entertaining each other in the mid ‘90s. Which is exactly what it is. One minute it’s balls to the wall drum machines, the next its a detuned indie-pop ditty, and the next they’re sloping into drone rock hypnosis. Music from another time and place entirely. Ace!
“A dogroll is a cheap giant sausage of bad meat to feed your pets. Teen-X-Ray came from Hamilton, New Zealand, which is known for agricultural innovation, frosts, fog and Taniwha in the Waikato river. Live cows with windows permanently inserted into their bodies for research live on the edge of town. As Stefan "Smetal" Neville recalls: "Glen Frenzy asked me to join his new 'rock n roll' band Teen-X-Ray at a ska concert at the Hillcrest Tavern in Hamilton in 1993. He had probably already recorded most of the first cassette The Ballad Of Vince Neil using the karaoke sound on sound function of his flat-mates stereo. Then and now I would do anything Glen asked of me so I've been in X-Ray ever since."
Glen also recruited Dusk, his girlfriend's German Shepard who howled when she heard sirens. She would bite and claw at Casio keyboards. She didn't share her dogroll. Teen-X-Ray recorded their music on cassette decks, performed on top of kitchen tables and released many tapes on the Plop, M60 and Stabbies And The Rocket labels. Glen and Dusk got a reel-to-reel tape machine, moved to Upper Hutt, making noise long into the night. Dusk got into Neil Young and killing mice while Glen got into home brewing beer and computers. Stefan Neville moved to Dunedin but Upper Hutt became his favorite holiday destination and each visit would result in new albums. Upper Hutt is known for its pig hunting and for producing New Zealand's first hip hop group. Spirits Dogroll was compiled from recordings from 1994-1996. Teen-X-Ray is still active today.”
Charmingly raw as heck Kiwi Rock from mid ‘90s Dunedin - the crucible of Antipodean audness. Originally a tape edition of only 3 copies, the febrile drums, wickedly rudimentary guitars and sozzled vocals of ‘Leisure & The Elderly’ is a triumph of expression over technique
“As reported by Stefan Neville: "Clayton 'CJA' Noone and Jon 'Sugar Jon' Arcus are some of my oldest and dearest friends. I've been listening to their band Armpit pouring out infinite sweat and toe jams for 20+ years and I still can't work out what Armpit even is. They are the wrongest band I've ever heard. We were all part of the same gang in early 1990s Hamilton, New Zealand. Armpit would always happen in rooms next door. They would keep me awake with the eternal strumming of bad guitars through bad equipment, bottles falling over, people falling over, things catching fire and always lots of giggling. I saw them play at a party once where they were too wasted to plug in their guitar pedals. They wrestled with them giggling for about ten minutes and then gave up. They didn't make a sound but it's one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. Their recordings are always confusing. They display their deepest awful humanity and their sweet, sweet hearts, all in the same mouthful. Scorched hateful noise, incompetent absurdity, smoochy crooning folk songs with poignant words and brutal sausage fingered editing to highlight the horror and hilarity. Leisure & The Elderly was recorded in Dunedin in the mid-1990s. Jon was doing a nursing foundation course and learned to simulate giving a skinhead a sponge bath. A classmate gave him some of her tortured poetry so Armpit blended it with a nursing textbook and disappeared into the room next door to record the album in one go, ping-ponging recordings with two tape decks."
Grade A, Kiwi crud smeared on wax for Italy’s intrepid Planam. Three parts outsider gunk hacked up and weathered to a nub. Not for the half-hearted or casual listener.
“Soibiast Anti-Culler was recorded in 1995 by the winterless north of New Zealand's Witcyst. Another monolithic skid mark serving of crackers plucked from the man's vast lifetime archive of sound making and beard. Witcyst makes his music with oceans of constant daily mutation. Machines get used upside down and back to front and inside out. Layers of string, tin foil and expired medicine are saved up to dazzle the eye. Parcels in the post come and go full of nostril hair and pamphlets and wool. What would that sound like through a funnel and a heavy metal pedal? Is the room shrinking? One knock for yes. Two for no. This audio is severely distressed and swollen. It is particularly buried and murky and howling here. Are they voices or organs? Meat or musical instruments? Is that a drum solo or decades of tape degradation? Are the hums musical or malfunctioning? It starts to sound like it was recorded inside your brain and has always been there. Who knows if it means any harm? And then it starts to sound like a basket full of wise puppies. Soibiast Anti-Culler is one of the most relevant works among at least a thousand albums Witcyst has originally released on cassettes and CDR's on his own Extemporaneous and Lifespace labels since the early 1990s.”
Housed in some of the maddest packaging we’ve seen in years, Little Skull’s ‘Ubique’ drifts and drones with an effortless, natural quality that gently colours the air around you. There’s a rich New Zealander soul at work in this one...
“One more top mysterious trace from the Little Skull legacy: Dean Brown's album Ubique (i.e. "everywhere" in Latin) marks the passing of time and people. This sense of loss is very present through the whole record; not getting around to saying the things we meant to say and making sense of the leftovers. Screaming calmly, Dean Brown's Little Skull has shrunk, even more, until his head is almost just sore meat - this music sounds like it was made to soothe that inflammation. Currently living in the UK, Little Skull is Dean's long running solo project. He plays all of instruments, even if it sounds like he is barely touching them and yet, his obscure personal fingerprints are all over the place.
His instinctive spontaneous playing finds ways to make them glow and fizz and ripple. The very complicated hand-made cover is astonishing. It incorporates religious imagery and patron saints expanding in space and creating a three-dimensional architecture filled with mysterious presences. Dean Brown is a New Zealander from Hamilton. A joke city to much of the rest of New Zealand, but its feral mongrel out-of-it-ness is well known to those that have lived there. Dean coped with Hamilton through his bands Negative Eh and Nova Scotia and then buggered off to other cities and other countries.”
Despite the break, this album can be seen as a direct follow-on from his previous Drag City albums - most closely resembling 1997's Bad Timing given its lack of vocals and the continuous passages of steel-strung acoustic guitar-led arrangements.
This all adds up to a seriously exciting release; Jim's cycle of Drag City albums (this being the first not to take its name from successive Nicolas Roeg films - following that logic this one should have been called Castaway) is one of the most revered bodies of work in American alternative rock. As this latest addition to that canon starts up, one of the very first things to strike you is that the production and mixing are undertaken in a fashion that is (to say the least) highly unusual by today's standards.
Seldom do you hear so much dynamic breadth in a contemporary record; this is not one of those releases that's had every ounce of life compressed out of it, instead O'Rourke leaves the quiet parts quiet and the loud parts... marginally less quiet. This is an album that's made according to old-fashioned principles, presented with vintage levels of clarity and warmth that benefit from being turned up for full appreciation. A decent amount of cranking will reveal countless layers of instrumental threads, and according to the great man himself there are around two hundred tracks used up in the recording of The Visitor - and that's two hundred tracks he's played himself. Given the long break, it's easy to forget just how brilliant a musician O'Rourke is; his production skills (as demonstrated on records by Wilco, Sonic Youth, John Fahey and Joanna Newsom among many others) are well documented, but since 2001 it'd be all too easy to think of O'Rourke's musical output as being restricted to occasional drone pieces, or the odd film soundtrack here and there for pals like Werner Herzog and Olivier Assayas.
The Visitor is a comeback of heroic proportions however - an auditory feast featuring acres of guitars, immaculately pieced together percussion elements, and all kinds of subtle yet elaborate arrangements for strings, horns and keyboard instruments. John Mulvey really hit the nail on the head when he recently described this as "a kind of folk symphony, a heavenly realisation of modern composition rescored for Laurel Canyon habitués", and it certainly feels every bit as substantial and gratifying as that assessment alludes. Don't leave it so long next time, please Mr O'Rourke.
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
Maverick producer Jim O’Rourke’s ‘Insignificance’ sees him in more ‘rawk’ mode.
The opener, ‘All Downhill from Here’ alone pops a hilarious pie into the face of your average O’Rourke follower’s expectations. It’s a red herring too, of course, because in Jim’s hands the screaming love of rock n’roll is still not just “only rock n’roll.” Instead, ‘Insignificance’ consists of rock plus: multiple musical allusions, layers of discreet noises, great playing from all the players and, to top it all off, funny pop-rock tunes laced with lyric arsenic.
‘Insignificance’ widens the screen of the O’Rourke sound, along the way you'll find a riff or two that one can truly ride. There’s more than one classic invitation for the lead vocalist to sneer and shout over it all - but of course, our Jim prefers instead more to murmur and moan quite melodically, to most sensual effect. There’s a spacious ballad to cool you down, then another one of those sick love songs in the mold of ‘Halfway to a Threeway,’ as well. Cut quickly with a skeleton crew after two years of indecision, ‘Insignificance’ brims with a newfound ‘immaturity’.
Peverelist re-presses the mighty "Roll With The Punches" after Drake sampled it...
The track is essentially quite downcast, but the elongated synth that comes in, flailing and oscillating with no set agenda halfway through the track, elevates it into the company of the most treasured tunes in your box - tracks that don't entirely make sense on first listen but which eventually plaster themselves to your mind with stubborn determination.
"Die Brucke" clings to a 4/4 template straight out of Berlin and employing cushioned pads and lilting Sino melodies, it's a soft breeze of a track that once again achieves so much with the barest ingredients.
“A musing on popular standards and an all-instrumental down mainstreet, USA. Come for the history lesson, stay for the coming of age statement! Jim's pop epic is a personal message, personally from Jim to you.”
Jim O’Rourke’s much loved country rock album Bad Timing  is now repressed on vinyl for the first time following its 20th anniversary of release. Recorded at Steamroll, the same site as his more explicitly avant-garde conceptions, this album is a subtler exploration of acoustic country rock proper, where O’Rourke only occasionally flashes his experimental teeth, gently ruffling the feathers of America’s sincerely loved down-home style in four breezy, extended works of lyrical guitar playing.
After a series of increasingly inward-looking, conservative LPs since her stunning debut, Julia Holter finally unleashes her imagination in technicolour once again on ‘Aviary’, an expansive observation of the ratchet madness that makes up the world today.
“Aviary is an epic journey through what Julia Holter describes as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Out on October 26th via Domino, it’s the Los Angeles composer’s most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements.
The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a 2009 short story by writer Etel Adnan: "I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds." It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also a pretty good metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void
Aviary, executive produced by Cole MGN and produced by Holter and Kenny Gilmore, combines Holter's slyly theatrical vocals and Blade Runner-inspired synth work with an enveloping palette of strings and percussion that reveals itself, and the boundless scope of her vision, over the course of fifteen songs. Holter was joined by Corey Fogel (percussion), Devin Hoff (bass), Dina Maccabee (violin, viola, vocals), Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet), Andrew Tholl (violin), and Tashi Wada (synth, bagpipes).”
Alga Marghen present this new edition - a vinyl-only first release of Eliane Radigue's pivotal, previously unreleased 'Opus17' - her last work made with feedback material.
It's one of the strongest, if not definitive, examples of Radigue's tactile and meditative approach to composition, an engrossing, intuitive refinement of the techniques and practice she honed over prior years at RTF's Studio d'essai under the guidance of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry's Studio Apsome, and later at the New York University School of the Arts. Created at the Fête en blanc - White Festival - in Verderonne on May 23, 1970, 'Opus17' breaks down to five pieces making up a voyage to the heart of the drone. Using various early tape techniques, Radigue meticulously peels the source samples in a discreet microcosmos of morphing, moebius-like loops and shimmering overtones, rendering their vibrational energy and unique accents with a poetic, dreamlike quality.
It opens with a shock on the 19 minute self-portrait of 'Etude', where she gradually transforms a looped passage of Frederick Chopin into an opiated, howling ghost of itself using practically identical microphone and tape feedback procedures to those on Alvin Lucier's 'I Am Sitting In A Room' (although it should be noted that she wasn't aware of this at the time), whilst 'the shorter 'Maquette' applies the same technique using a part of Wagner's 'Parsifal', but this time with the sample subtracted leaving only a spectral trace of grandeur.
Following this, we're floored by the roiling pulsations of 'Epure' - a sort of rudimentary pre-cognition of industrial and minimal techno building palpitating throbs into a dense yet delicate and ferric-rich flux, sharing rhythmic similarities with the aptly titled trip of 'Safari', where elliptic bass patterns melt and congeal in morphing shapes and curdled overtones with an alien, otherworldly quality presaging the like of Rashad Becker. Yet, the ultimate exposition of Eliane's time-dilating technique is found in the 22 and a half minute panoramic excursion 'Number 17', examining her sonic phenomena at microscopic level, homing in and expanding on its globular bass shapes and radiant harmonics.
Even by Radigue's standards, this is a breathtaking body of work, opening up whole worlds of sound from so little.
Properly Entrancing recordings of Eliane Radigue’s ferric alchemy come to light again on vinyl, this time on a better vinyl pressing with calmer surface noise allowing for a finer grasp of her pulsing, filigree microtones and pealing timbral partials. Also, that new cover art is....!!!
Stunning Alga Marghen issue of two previously unreleased masterworks by Eliane Radigue recorded at Pierre Henry's studio between 1967-68. At this time she was working for Henry at his studio, given the enviable task of organising his vast sound library according to different criteria for use in his future compositions and also helping edit his masterpiece 'L'Apocalypse de Jean'. During downtime she had access to an unrivaled array of equipment and created these two compositions. Jouet Electronique' (1967) or 'Feedback on magnetic tape' features two Studer and two Tolana reel tape machines - Radigue would set one to record another and manipulate the discrepancies of phasing feedback loops, or "larsens" with delicate, fine-tuned pitching, "slightly caressing certain potentiometers" to elicit a range of low pulsations and very high pitched sounds as though she were playing a rather unwieldy instrument. The results are ethereal and often alien, yet conducted with an uncannily restrained and human sleight of hand.
Even more visceral is 'Elemental I' (1968) or 'Feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape' comprises four movements associated with the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thanks to her former employer, the artist, Arman, she now had a small, portable Stella Vox which she used to record sounds in open air during walks around her home in Nice, capturing the sea, the wind, the rain and fire to form a small sound library. The sources in each section are discernable, but transformed into breathtaking abstractions at her home studiio.
Astonishing archival works by Eliane Radigue, originally released along with Vice-Versa as a double pack, and now available as standalone LP. Listening to Radigue's music is a transformative, humbling experience. Her singular sound is best described by Michel Chion as "infinitely discreet... next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one's sleeve for attention."
Working since the late '50s under the tutelage of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry at RTF's Studio d'essai - the birthplace of musique concrète - Radigue created a body of work whose profound simplicity has only begun to be widely appreciated over the last decade or so. Preferring to work at night - once her children were asleep - her compositions were created using tones derived from an ARP 2500 synthesizer and manipulated on multiple tape machines, creating feedback loops and altering their pitch and duration to coax out quavering microtonal harmonics and ultrasound frequencies not usually perceived at their normal setting.
As practically anyone who knows her music will testify, there's really very little else out there that compares to the elemental tranquility and hallucinatory effect of her works. This album rescues three pieces from original tapes which have lined the walls of her flat in Paris for over 40 years: proposed for the 1970 Osaka Fair, 'Stress-Osaka' (1969) is beautiful and terrifying at once, sounding either like a 1000 strong squadron of B-52's heard from miles away, or a mouth-bound choir humming in unison, somehow subliminally joined by shrill gull-like hi-end repetition; the spectral beauty 'Usral' (1969) was employed for a kinetic sculpture by Marc Halpern, it's title "...a phonetic compression of ultrasounds slowed-down (ultra-sons ralentis in French)" reflecting the use of slowed-down Larsen effects from overlapping tapes to obtain her signature "progressive a-synchronized shifting"; the systolic suspension of 'Omnht' (1970) (one more night) is twenty minutes of slowly encroaching black bass mass and isolated, glassy highs, originally played from behind false dividing walls at a gallery instal and now leaving us for six.
An absolute masterpiece.
Re-press of the third single from Bristol's Punch Drunk imprint.
Heading away from the 4/4 crossover of "Erstwhile Rhythm", RSD comes to us from Bristol luminary Rob Smith (Smith & Mighty) here operating under the suitably abridged RSD moniker.
The Rootsy vibe has been retained, with A-Side cut "Corner Dub" shuffling into a steppas vibe with traditional stabs and echo-chamber vocals, although the bass and snare have definately been borrowed from the dubstep template circa 2007. "Pretty Bright Light" on the flip is much more robust and menacing, there's a breakbeat somewhere in the mix but it's obscured by enough bassweight and wobblestep to make it more or less unoticeable.
Sully’s golden streak continues unabated with two flash forward steppers for Rupture LDN
Rolling off the back of zingers for Uncertain Hour and Foxy Jangle and a remix of 2 Bad Mice, he synchs piquant arps with slow/fast footwork/halfstep patterns, virulent mentasms and achingly well-timed shockout breakbeat in the lethal ‘Dream Sequence’, whereas ‘Epoch’ commits to a proper ’96 techstep style with lip-bitingly strong vibes practically as good as anything from that original era, if not better - sacrilege to say, we know, but seriously this is breathtaking stuff!
Efficient Space offer an unprecedented survey of Australian dance music from the 1990s. Some real juicy peaches to be found inside.
“3AM Spares is a new compilation of Australian Electronic Dance Music selected by Andras and Instant Peterson, encompassing the darker sounds and later nights of the 1990s and beyond. Following on from forerunner compilation Midnite Spares, this double LP draws from local 12” releases, CDRs and the archives of community radio station 3RRR FM to make a diverse and pumping scene audible once more. No longer confined to beer barns and back rooms, this generation of producers, DJs, clubbers and ravers spilled out into pavilions, warehouses and paddocks, embracing a new culture of machine-metaphor and chemical love.
Future Sound of Melbourne’s warehouse triptych Resist The Beat embodies a time when the country’s youth united with juggernaut stamina, partying beyond the long arm of the law. Restored from the ARIA award-winning trio’s original DATs, this debut 12” incited label offers from Jeff Mills, Frank De Wulf and Carl Cox.
Released by the likes of Clan Analogue, Creative Vibes, Volition, DanceNet, Juice and Psy-Harmonics, this era’s material has evaded sufficient digital documentation until now, some lost in the decommission of Angelfire, Tripod and Geocities websites. Often these bedroom experiments and one-off collaborations existed solely for compilation inclusions, a plausible scenario for the mysterious Inner Harmony. In the case of Tetrphnm, graphic artist Jeremy Dower’s glacial sub-bass was digitised from the only known CD-R copy, preserved by the 3RRR FM library.
Many key figures of this narrative have deep roots in the DIY/post-punk family tree. Third Eye, the impressive evolution of Whirlywirld founder and industrial legend Ollie Olsen, finds common ground with I Will Go, a hypnotic concoction by Adrenalentil and Poets of the Machine associate Jandy Rainbow, a transgender artist whose liberated electronics trace back to 1978.
The most unique take on this new wave of dance music comes from Turrbal-Gubbi Gubbi woman and Stolen Generations survivor Maroochy Barambah. Recorded in New York, Mongungi incorporates two lines of a traditional Gubbi Gubbi song Gurri Nina Nami with the sound palette of tribal house, highlighting the broadening ways that identity and culture were being negotiated and manifested within club music.
A lesson in intelligent appropriation, Artificial’s Sobriquet remix bends one of the most looped samples of all time to fit a wired new generation’s interrogation of that thing called disco. Artificial’s ingenuity was vital impact to the scene, releasing three influential albums as one half of B(if)tek and establishing the WINK Awards - a music prize that recognised and encouraged subversive electronics. Her playfulness is mirrored in Blimp’s frisky garage house, recalling Paul Johnson, while Ian Eccles-Smith’s borrowing is comparatively more discrete on the chillout sampledelic collage The Slaughtering Eye.
Andy Rantzen returns to Efficient Space in two incarnations - as one half of Itch-E + Scratch-E ambient alias Screensaver, and in collaboration with General Electrik on Leather Lover, a cocked and loaded glimpse at the bottom end of Oxford street, originally recorded for the Club Kooky compilation Gay In The Life: Adventures in the Queer Underground. Reinventing himself as Hypnoblob, fellow Sydney Oz Wave artist Ian Andrews also gives us his pneumatic-drill-step Deep Down.”
Séance Centre serve an astonishing 2LP by L.A. composer and voice-over artist MJ Lallo, making good on the promise of her ‘Star Child’ 12” with a stellar showcase of wonderfully expressive glossolalia and bobbling drum machine patterns embedded in vast synth backdrops. What a find?! Big tip to fans of Jon Hassell, Laurie Anderson, Ramzi, Breadwoman, The Art Of Noise!!!
“Take Me With You is a revelatory voyage through the captivating universe of voice artist and poet MJ Lallo. The works on this 2LP compilation were all recorded in her home studio between 1982 and 1997, primarily using drum computer, synth and her own voice processed through a Yamaha SPX 90 digital effects unit. They range from wordless harmonizer mantras and primitive drum computer meditations, to psychedelic latin dance-floor anthems and synth-drenched end-of-the-nighters.
Lallo has created her own inimitable galaxy of sound where the human voice, liberated from the constraints of language and abstracted using digital technology, is able to explore the outer realms of human expression, like Joan La Barbara with an Eventide and a new-age sensibility. Although Lallo’s flight path is distinctly her own, her journey converges with other travellers as diverse as Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Stereolab, William Aura, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Gertrude Stein and even Terry Gilliam (whose film Brazil was a big influence on Lallo). Like something beamed in from another planet, Lallo’s work is both fascinatingly strange and strangely familiar, and will leave a lasting impression for lightyears to come.”
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
David Tibet pairs his apocalyptic prognostications with plush pastoral backdrops ranging from unsettlingly rose-tinted to beautifully melancholic, supplied by Andrew Liles, Ben Chasny, and various, nefarious associates of Coil, including bagpiper Michael J. York and Ossian Brown (Cyclobe)
““The Light Is Leaving Us All” is the new album from Current 93, everyone’s favourite Hallucinatory Cuneiform SuperGroup.
Three years in Her Making and Shaping, “The Light Is Leaving Us All” Spells WithIn Her 11 tracks.”
Highly anticipated official reissue of this album from Midori Takada’s MKWAJU ensemble, sourced from the original masters and available in two versions: a vinyl LP cut at Emil Berliner Studios (formerly the in-house recording department of Deutsche Grammophon) and a digipack CD.
"Originally recorded in February and March 1981 and released by fabled Japanese avant-garde label Better Days (home of Ryuichi Sakamato’s debut album, Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi, Colored Music self-titled LP and many more) MKWAJU is the fruit of the collaboration between Takada’s crew and world-famous composer/musical director Joe Hisaishi, the man behind most of of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli anime soundtracks and over 100 other films scores, including Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine, Hana-Bi, and Kikujiro. The ensemble’s transcendental wonder is, in fact, the first-ever Midori Takada album and the first-ever Joe Hisaishi-produced album.
Historic. Led by Midori Takada on marimba, gong, vibraphone, and tom tom, MKWAJU is an inventive and riveting take on Eastern and Western minimalist traditions, African rhythms, and early electronica. Drawing from its jazz-rooted polyrhythmic improvisations in the most inventive ways, the album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from colorful dance floor-ready percussion pieces that stand somewhere between proto-techno and experimental synth-pop, to cinematic ambient landscapes and ethereal drone delicacies. The feverishly sought-after full-length is a stepping-stone in Midori Takada’s career and an all-around pioneering album. Alongside Takada and Hisaishi (who not only produced the album but also played synthesizers), personnel on MKWAJU includes famed Japanese musicians Yoji Sadanari and Hideki Mats."
‘5 Klavierstücke’ was recorded and produced by Gareth Jones in the South of France on Irmin Schmidt's two grand pianos. Schmidt partly prepared his Pleyel piano (in the way he was taught by John Cage himself) and the other piano - Irmin Schmidt’s 100-year-old Steinway - remained unprepared.
"Several pieces were recorded in one session on the prepared piano only, others contain recordings from both pianos. All ambient sounds were recorded on site - around Irmin Schmidt's studio - and there are no other instruments or electronics of any kind.
As a composer and one of Can’s founding members, Irmin Schmidt has scored more than one hundred soundtracks. Outside of his work with Can, he has released over a dozen solo albums and written an opera, ‘Gormenghast’, based on the novels of Mervyn Peake. In 2015, he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to art and culture, one of France’s highest honours."
Austin, TX’s Samantha Glass collapses hardcore techno, Carpenter-esque sci-fi themes and darkwave EBM dirge into a strong 2nd album for local label, HOLODECK
“Enigmatic Austin based producer/starlet Samantha Glass untangles their serpentine mind on the ambitious new full length Nine Memories Between Impression and Imprint. Since 2010, Beau Devereaux has chronicled their romantic and turbulent process of self-identification as Samantha Glass through the use of electronics, field recordings and a seductive, baritone voice. Abstract soundscapes rise and fall around addictively brooding ballads and introspective monologues as Glass deconstructs themself beneath the weight of their poetry and lyrics. Nine Memories Between Impression and Imprint unveils an allure through vulnerability, elegantly depicting the endless audition of becoming Samantha Glass.
Devereaux came from rural beginnings in the countryside of Wisconsin before spending most of their adult life engrossed in Madison’s noise, power violence and punk DIY scenes. They sought to create a balanced form of art representative of their ever fluid sexuality and gender identity while incorporating elements of dark wave, musique concrète and New Age music. Samantha Glass evolved into an outlet for drag-based performance art coupled with drum machines, cassette loops and down-tempo crooning. Through years of touring and a prolific discography, Glass came to be known beyond the Midwest as one of the most dense and multi-layered projects amongst experimental music spheres. This exploratory essence gives Glass a broad crossover appeal as they dive into new territory with each successive release. Narrating a uniquely nuanced perspective on life and art, Glass richly crafts each composition around deeply rooted biographical and contemporary themes, encapsulating a haunting and captivating portrayal of an elaborately creative mind.”
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore refine and expand their neon lit blend of midnight jazz and dark ambience, finding romance and a sort of redemption in the heart of the abyss.
Musically, the key reference point remains Angelo Badalamenti's scores for David Lynch; a combination of plaintive sax, ominous synth drones and electronic piano situated at the interzone between dream and nightmare. ‘Zombies Never Die (Blues)’ - the first of the three long, immersive pieces that make up the LP - is apt for midnight revelation at the Roadhouse or Club Silencio; but as well as Badalamenti we think also of Tom Waits at his most unhinged and atmospheric, and of The Caretaker's sweeping, serotonin-depleted excavations of memory.
‘Catch My Heart', an unrecognisable cover of German metal outfit Warlock, evokes the decadence and submerged anxiety of 30s Weimar cabaret; vocals come from the band’s longtime cheerleader Mike Patton, channelling Tuxedomoon, Bowie and even the Brinkmann of When Horses Die into a louche but tortured croon. The title track brings the suite to a close, unbearable tension wrought out of a sparse, repeated Rhodes motif and brushed drums, recalling early Tortoise, For Carnation and the desert-dried doom of Earth. For all these comparisons, Bohren really are like no one else around, and Beileid is the kind of otherworldly, out of body listening experience we live for.
Airhead comes off like PC Music doing jazzed tribal house and jungle with these two pearls for James Blake and Dan Foat’s 1-800 Dinosaur label
Stepping on from his ‘Kazzt’  ace for Different Circles, Airhead returns to site of his ‘Believe’ release with a cheeky glint in his eye and a wonky swagger on ‘Clatter’, winding up a carbonated and freaky sort of slosh-jack foe the A-side, before ‘Droplit’ straightens up yuh backbone on the AA-side for a wicked spot of tail-chasing jungle breakbeat chicanery.
Hinosch is a probing, minimalist collaboration between Koshiro Hino ov the amazing Goat group and YPY project, with Düsseldorf’s Stefan Schneider. Mazy rhythms and electronic chicanery in very curious and nimble effect...
“They first met and began their collaborative work of musical interaction and exploring contrasting possibilities in 2017. After a number of concerts in the EU and in Japan, they released their self-titled debut EP (TAL 005EP, 2017). Fully instrumental, their first full-length album Hands offers a more steeply focused approach than its largely improvised predecessor. Encouraged by the momentum generated during a number of on-the-spot recordings in Osaka, where Schneider had held a residency in April 2017, the overall sound of the album has been honed down through meticulous studio engineering.
One of the outstanding qualities of Hands certainly is an unprejudiced approach of sound and song structures. The instrumentation is confidently reduced to a small range of analog and digital machines. Snatches of tape-loops deliver lower-pitched vocal and drum machine samples. This characteristic technical set up soon proved ideal in order to define a tactile vocabulary of fully unsynchronized rhythm patterns. The word tactile perfectly conjures that quality which is the very essence of Hands. It is the result of the manner in which interdependent threads of rhythm units are deliberately disconnected to form a cohesive, soulful and flexible whole.
Most tracks on Hands are devoid of a central motif and examine an unpredictable dialogue. A fantasy of constant change and a search for musical suggestions is the most vital ingredient in this abstract environment. The album title Hands refers to physical aspects of electronic music production. Every live concert of Hinosch usually starts out with a hand shake between Hino and Schneider. The general process of collective music making, programming, button pushing, playing, recording, decision making, all-demand utmost concentration.
The image on the front of the album sleeve -- designed by Takashi Makabe -- reflects the general approach of Hands: layers of tucked fabrics confronting one another to articulate a form for themselves to no other end than their own orchestration. Koshiro Hino's solo activities as YPY and his involvement with the band Goat have already garnered him a favorable international reception. Stefan Schneider has over the years produced and collaborated with, amongst others, Joachim Roedelius, Arto Lindsay, Klaus Dinger, Dieter Moebius, Alexander Balanescu, John McEntire, Katharina Grosse, Bill Wells, and St.Etienne.
Optimo’s JD Twitch cherry-picks classics, rarities and percies from Germany’s original independent post-punk scene from 1979-1985, including necessary oddball grooves and songs ranging from Malaria!’s snotty ohrwurm ‘Your Turn to Run’ to Andreas Dorau’s NDW rocket ‘Fred Vom Jupiter’, an edit of Christiane F’s sleazy ace ‘Wunderbar’, and the killer disko mission of ‘Veb Heimat’ by Weltklang
“This was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany; emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. Bands consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, our first band Mania D., Malaria!... we organised gigs ourselves, hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or UK back then.”
This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch: “The compilation is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era; it is more an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”
The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Mania D.) Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E, ExKurs) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang).”
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
After a fancy flight with Arcola, Jamal Moss comes home to Mathematics for ‘The Language of Strings’, a 14 track collection of, in his own words; “Cerebral sonics sketched out in the form of body music for the home listener”
As always with the prolific Chicagoan, you may feel like you heard this one before, but pay closer attention and he still manages to keep us absorbed into his grooves with unique, natty sleights-of-hand applied to rhythmic variations and chromatic vamps that pop off across the record, serving to only draw listeners ever closer into Jamal’s parallel universe.
If anything, Jamal has only gotten more prolific in recent years, but his off-the-cuff tekkers feel more efficient with it, here giving 1:1 representations of the encrypted images and instinctive calculations that scroll thru his head, mutating from brittle, bare-boned jackers to louchely hypnotic house swingers and a haul of grubbing, brukken rufige, always with those glorious chromatic arp signatures, and keeping one spicy uptempo rocket tucked away at the end.
Brian Eno’s pioneering ambient cornerstone is available on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years!‘Discreet Music’ (available as a single LP or half-speed mastered 2LP), is here available on this facsimile reproduction affording a whole new generation the chance to bathe in some of Eno's most pivotal and important work.
Context is always key with historic releases, and could hardly be more so than with ‘Discreet Music’. Famously, Eno was hospitalised following a car accident in 1975, and while laid up, his friend Judy Nylon brought him a record player and an LP of harp music. The music only came out of one speaker, and at low volume, and the incapacitated Eno struggled to do anything about it, so he accepted this as a new mode of hearing music as embedded in the ambience of the environment. While Eno had previously arrived at similar conclusions with Robert Fripp on ‘No Pussyfooting’, here the idea ironically became more firm, yet diffused in the classic style he would develop on ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports’ and over his next 40 years of recordings.
The two pieces on ‘Discreet Music’ beautifully play with this idea of a background music. To make the title piece, Eno established a near autonomous system of synth and tape loop feedback which rendered his simple melodic motifs, input via synthesiser, as 30 minutes of calmingly serene wilt and decay whose simple, plaintive elegance patently endures now, over 40 years later. The other piece finds Eno’s ideas applied directly to classical music with a much slowed-down take on ‘Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel’ performed by The Cockpit Ensemble, conducted by Gavin Bryars.
A dead faithful go-to for vintage wave compilations in recent years, Color Tapes’ Cold Waves Of Color Volume 5 extends the cherry-picked selections of minimal and new wave with 11 more aces from the likes of Beserk In A Hayfield, Modern Art (Gary Ramon), Lives of Angels and Silicon Valley, and including a natty rarity by The Good Missionaries, post Alternative TV. All material this time spans 1981-1985 and all makes first appearance on vinyl.
As with previous instalments, Volume 5 impresses with its depth and quality of variety, sequencing crisp electronic dance tracks on the same page as grainy, melodic synth-pop and hard-working dubs in a way that makes total sense as both a historic education as well as a heavily satisfying, play-it-again record.
On the front they add up Void’s punchy, bittersweet minimal wave jabber Isotope beside the soaring, romantic ‘tronics of Silent Sky by Echophase and the supple swang of Beserk In A Hayfield, leading up to some real gems in The Lord’s warped chromatic wormhole Production Line, and especially The Good Missionaries brooding beauty Bending A Border  which is pretty unmissable for fans of PiL or Officer!.
Flip over for more treats in the fluidly Chris Carter-esque electro dynamics of Continental Shift by Echophase, a New Order-y turn from Lives of Angels, and the dubbed-out NRG-disco deviation of Gary Ramon’s own Modern Art ace, Colliding World.
Piping hot from her knockout ‘Throne’ album, Heather Leigh joins the bellows-lunged Peter Brötzmann for a nerve-biting, romantic, and heavily arresting set of duets improvised on woodwind, brass and lap steel guitar .
“There is complexity in simplicity, and Sparrow Nights is Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh's most enduring record to date, and their first studio album. A series of emotionally rich and boldly elucidated tonal and timbral exchanges played like compositions on pedal steel and reeds, the tracks (released as a 6 track LP and 10 track CD) are cold-forged minimalist blues motifs dragged from instrumental laments.
After three years playing together Brötzmann/Leigh's connection and understanding is by now both cerebral and deeply invested in the physical and sensory possibilities of their combined sound, while retaining a melancholic distance. Within this duo there is fluidity – neither is the anchor – and these recordings sound with as much variety as the sea. At times Sparrow Nights carries the clarity and poeticism of still water and open horizon ("This Word Love"), and at others it contains the elemental and ferocious roar of white water breakers on black rocks ("This Time Around").
On their previous three live albums (Ears Are Filled With Wonder, Sex Tape, Crowmoon) the duo have developed an intimate and intense language that manifests here as a focus on power and control, where figures blasted of unnecessary decoration are drawn from the shadows and smoke of collapse. The studio setting also allows Brötzmann to bring a broader range of reeds than in live scenarios: where previously he has played primarily tenor, clarinet and tarogato with Leigh, here he delivers the heat of alto and the low pressure of bass saxophone and clarinet.
Brötzmann’s duo with Leigh continues to trace a fresh new arc in his trajectory, and this release also falls at a time when Leigh releases Throne, her most song-based record to date. Here as a studio duo they play a new-old blues for times of complexity, noise and chaos, continuing to redefine and re-sound possibilities for improvised music.”
Boy Harsher sate demand for their early gear with a new edit of Pain, backed with a mean remix by The Soft Moon in deadly EBM post punk mood.
The wickedly gaunt title cut from Boy Harsher’s sought-after 2nd EP is here nipped and tucked with classy back alley surgery for optimal drive and bite in the darkroom.
On the remix, The Soft Moon ratchet the intensity with stealthy force, giving the bassline more gnash and bite while bringing the drums forward with additional Linn cracks and a power surge of dissonant distortion that sends it stratospheric.
Epic 32 Track comp of exclusive tracks curated and compiled by Mumdance (also available as a limited edition 5-track vinyl sampler, and a mixed cassette) featuring a colossal haul of tracks from Space Afrika, Caterina Barbieri, Chevel, JK Flesh, Abyss X, Sleeparchive, Mumdance & Logos, Peder Mannerfelt, Nkisi, ZULI and many others...
Shared Meanings comprises 32 exclusive tracks, drawn from a panorama of contemporary electronic music—pioneers, emerging talents, brand new producers—brought together by Adams’ curatorial ear. It’s the natural next step from Radio Mumdance, the far-reaching radio project that saw Adams play back-to-back with some of his favourite artists: Nina Kraviz, DJ Stingray, DJ Storm, Surgeon, Ben UFO, Josey Rebelle and many others. Across a 97-minute session, Shared Meanings draws from the ideas and inspirations Adams’ gained across those 40 weekly shows.
The sampler 12” includes Mumdance & Logos’ massive ‘Teachers’ alongside zingers from Nkisi, Peder Mannerfelt, Caterina Barbieri and Space Afrika. On a dance tip, Mumdance & Logos pay tribute to a Chicago convention on ‘Teachers’, listing a roll-call of influential UK artists, DJs, labels and clubs in a style most famously deployed by Daft Punk, while Nkisi comes fiercely correct with the swingeing Congolese techno rolige of ‘Kinega’, and Peder Mannerfelt does his inimitable, mutant rave thing on ‘Over My Face’. But they’re only one aspect of the mix, leaving the plonging modular navigation of ‘Molecular Illusion’ by Caterina Barbieri, and the golden ambient deliquescence of Space Afrika’s piece to speak to the contrasts and breath of Mumdance’s mix and his lushly dark vision of modern dance music.