A totally haunting song about and for a dead horse, performed at the site of sacrifice, as protest against the Vietnam war.
“On January 30, 1970 Henning Christiansen and Bjørn Nørgaard - a figure nearly radical as Christiansen himself - hit the Danish national consciousness when a large portion of the Danish population watched a TV broadcast performance piece in protest to the Vietnam War. Hesteofringen (The Horse Sacrifice) features the work Min døde hest (My Dead Horse, 1970) OPUS 55 for piano, voice and violin (green), a beautiful haunting fragile song featuring a poem written by Bjørn Nørgaard and performed by Lene Adler Pedersen, accompanied by Nørgaard and Christiansen on piano and (green) violin. Laden with metaphor, this beautiful, sad lullaby, is as simple and unusual as anything in Christiansen’s output. Previously unreleased.”
Richard D James' classic album from 1992, re-pressed countless times but still sounding as vital and impoirtant as it did way back when. Still probably the most uplifting and nostalgic thing in the AFX catalogue...
Arriving in the wake of his superb Transformations hookup with DeepChord, K. Soublis aka Fluxion rolls solo with a subtly diverse trio of deep dub house variants.
The powerful kicks and warm, storm-brewing chords of En Route make up the straightest and perhaps most effective track for dancefloor play, but to be honest we’re more attracted to the others, following him off road in a mix of glancing, SND-style swingers minimalism and trickling marimbas on The Place, and right down into the shuddering subs + smudged chords formula of Flick.
Death Is Not The End, following their cassette reissue of Harry Smith's Anthology, present a collection of recordings of Sacred Harp singing (a traditional sacred choral music with origins in the American South) taken from the late 1920s through to the late 1930s.
Necessary vinyl edition of Death is Not Final’s I’m On My Journey Home, Sacred Harp Singing, 1928-1934, a collection of recordings of Sacred Harp singing (a traditional sacred choral music with origins in the American South) taken from the late 1920s through to the late 1930s.
New to the BEB fold, тпсб premieres a rugged deviation of his techno sound on Sekundenschlaf, leaving 4/4 in the rear-view to focus on earthier, grubbing percussion warped into jungle and footwork styles, clad in fetid atmospheres. RIYL Rezzett, Ossia, Buttechno
“Sleep-deprived, breakbeat-driven vignettes of unclear authorship, from somewhere west of Lake Lagoda, near the Russia-Finland border.
Sekundenschlaf has significant points of correspondence with contemporary European electronic music, as well as the golden age of (early) jungle and ambient techno. But its response to tradition, and to the zeitgeist, is idiosyncratic to say the least – with an atmosphere and psychogeography rooted in the tranquility and majesty of Western Russian nature, and the anxiety and distress of the country’s post-Soviet working class.
Pastoral calm meets dissonance and unease. The music has a loose, improvised feel, but its arrangements are intricate, its melodies iridescent: cascading arpeggios that stir a sense of optimism and renewal, sighing string-pads that evoke the deepest melancholy. Rhythms simultaneously hyped-up and burned-out, collapsing in on themselves as they race to destinations unknown. All bound together with field recordings of eavesdropped conversations, blurred into abstraction, a droning subliminal menace.”
Another Japanese ambient holy grail is ticked off the wants-list with a first ever vinyl pressing of Midori Takada & Masahiko Satoh’s Lunar Cruise following the widely celebrated reissue of Takada’s Through The Looking Glass earlier in 2017.
Flanked by YMO’s Haruomi Hosono and jazz player Kazutoki Umezu, Takada & Satoh’s original recordings of Lunar Cruise richly resonate with the preceding ten years of digitized 4th world innovation as well as traces of Badalamenti and Lynch’s synth parts from Twin Peaks of the same year, all while clearly pre-echoing the reverberant synthetic spaces of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST. Even 2nd hand CD copies of Lunar Cruise are trading for a pretty penny, so this vinyl edition could hardly be more welcome right now.
Working deep into the modern ambient zeitgeist, Lunar Cruise’s charms sound as appealing now as ever, catching up with Takada’s sound seven years after her debut percussive masterpiece, Through The Looking Glass to find her working with a broader, worldly instrumental palette inspired by her 1989 tour with Satoh thru Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The pieces alternate super sparse and enchantingly cybersensuous states of mind with more urgent, pealing jazz and free experimentation that breaks far out of the ambient mould into sufi-esque dervishes and rippling dance studies recalling Steve Reich in full flight.
The effect is overall more crisply urbane, angular than the pastoral tranquility perceived in Takada’s better known precedent. From the names of its bookending pieces of Iron Paradise, also reflected in their tensile nature and construction, thru to the ten minutes of stoic tonal experimentation in Chang-Dra, and driving dervish of A Vanished Illusion, a sense of urgency and control is paramount to Lunar Cruise in a way that wasn’t there in its forerunner, pointing to a tightening and vivification of Takada’s ideas that perhaps reflected the increasingly cybersensual world around her and Satoh, as opposed her earlier new age influences.
Highlights belong to In D’s precise, vivid percolations of woodblock percussion and the wistful temperament of Madorone, underlined by Hosono’s quizzical fretless bass probes, but if there’s any one definitive moment, it comes in the gently pealing gamelan and breathy synth voices of Ancient Palace, which really freezes that cusp-of-the-’90s ambient shiver somewhere between new age optimism and the numbness of cybernetic sensuality.
Jon Hassell’s entrancing Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) - the follow-up to his seminal Fourth World Vol.1 Possible Musics featuring Brian Eno - sees a much needed reissue, now expanded with a bonus track and available on any format for the first time since the early ‘90s.
Recorded at Bob and Daniel Lanois’s Toronto studio in 1981, Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) was titled after and inspired by a paper from visionary anthropologist Kilton Stewart, whose visits to a remote tribe, the Senoi of the Malay highlands, revealed a connection between their happiness and well-being and the tribe’s morning ritual practice of family dream-telling; sharing with each other and discussing the events of their previous night’s dreams, which they would also relay to other tribes in a process of mutual education and enlightenment.
Using this knowledge, plus samples of water-drumming by a tribe from the same region, the Semelai, and his patented, processed trumpet and electronics, Hassell created a definitively solo follow-up to his work with Eno, although as he points out in the liner notes, other personnel such as the Velvet Underground’s 1st drummer, Walter DeMaria also feature.
It all revolves around the central, 10 minute Malay, where a choir of his signature, warbling harmonics scat and flit over the sound of sloshing water drumming, cut-up and processed with soft gong hits in the kind of rhythms which Autechre would reprise algorithmically many years later. Either side of Malay is a series of lush postcards which come alive in your hands, ears, from the agitated fanfare of Chor Moiré to the lissom, plasmic regaling of Dream Theory’s bowl gongs and diffused hoots, thru mind-melting display of hypercoloured harmonic plumage in Datu Bintung At Jelong.
The only, beautiful, difference between the original pressing and this is the ending. Instead of passing out with the deftly genteel romance of Gift Of Fire, it’s now extended by inclusion of bonus track Ordinary Mind, relaying 3 minutes of windswept chants and glinting, liquid drumming that perfectly animates and articulates Hassell’s dream.
Devotional Songs marks a necessary and refreshing change of direction by Shackleton; collaborating with London-based Italian castrato-style singer Ernesto Tomasini to sound like some lost Coil recordings.
The whirligig drawbar organs of Shackleton’s releases since 2012 are still in effect, but tempered in balance with Tomasini’s remarkable vocal range and some really lush, almost Detroit-style synth harmonies and ritual atmospheres whilst his signature palette of bass and drums hints at some Far and South East Asian influence in the vein of Sleazy’s Threshold HouseBoys Choir recordings.
It’s a beautifully self-contained project covering a broad range of esoteric topography from the detoxing vibrations of Rinse out All Contaminants to the sweepingly epic resolution of Father, Yiou Have Left Me, whilst unmistakably referencing some of Coil or Current 93’s most haunting moments in the chiming harmonic haze, swelling chorales and operatic drama of You Are The One, and the spirit-rousing string arrangements in Twelve Shared Addictions.
Bubbling up from the archive, a brilliantly warped, acidic and intoxicating décollage of soundsystem shrapnel rinsed thru the echo chamber. RIYL Tapes, Raymond Scott, Ennio Morricone, Horsepower Productions
“Shimmering hologram oases belie the bone-dry heat inna this ya ghost-bloodcl@$t-town; When tumbleweed beliefs pose as the only sign of life, it's time to step into Death's saloon; Bust down the dusty double-swinging doors even the Preacher-man dares not enter!
The Bartender has run out of liquor and listening; Sullied Doves have danced their last number; Lawmen, levelled and long-gone, litter the dance floor; Bodied outlaws doubled and draped over the bar. When the only exit is a horse-drawn hearse; Face to face with Death, who will shoot first!?!
Step into this rattlesnake-ridden realm! Dancehall Showdown is a crazy non-place world where 60’s Spaghetti Westerns, 70’s Library Synth Records and 90’s Golden Era Dancehall come together for a death-defying communion inna Yard! The old posse of SKRS and MX7 ride once again under the banner of their co-run label, ICS Library Records, off into the fringes of sound-based reality.
SKRS' OG Papa Coolbreeze reinforces their select palette, "This album is our reiteration of influences ranging from Spaghetti Western era Upsetters to Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research Inc. to early Horsepower Productions. Now the soundtrack we paint, however, is something entirely unique on its own". Simply put: there's NOTHING like it out there!
Full disclosure: this LP has been shelved for well over 3 years now with the sudden disappearance of Oklahoma's now-mythical Digitalis Recordings, who were set to release it hot on the heels of their 2012 SKRS debut LP, TheCallFromBelow. Since then, we've laboured to break more ground and lay several more keystones in the growing SKRS/ICS groundation-foundation in order to withstand its intensifying expanse and weight. Now that the ground has been prepared, we've decided to take Dancehall Showdown back into our own hands and give it the proper love and nurturing we had always intended for it.”
Shackleton curves back to Woe To The Septic Heart! with British-German singer-songwriter Anika as his new vocal muse, who lends a refreshing new spirit to his sound following collaborations with Ernesto Tomasini and Vengeance Tenfold in recent years.
Perhaps knowingly timed for release with UK summertime, Behind The Glass is a decidedly mid-summery album full of semi-pastoral psychedelic themes and production in Shackleton’s signature style, equal parts Wickerman soundtrack and Jarman-esque uncanniness with a dash of worcester sauce sourness dosed direct to the pineal gland.
Think ritual dogging sites, lost Spiral Tribe members attempting to find their way out of a nuclear bunker for 20 years, or pagan aliens descending at full moon over Welsh glades. The production, as ever, is incredible.
Berlin’s Don’t DJ does gamelan techno for Berceuse Heroique, backed with Dreesvn’s seductive Italo/Detroit-house remix and arriving weeks after his excellent Authentic Exoticism with SEXES.
Gamelan techno is a concept we can totally get behind and Don’t DJ nails it here, working with a glancing moire of interlocking, chiming tessellations and roving bass shapes to sound something like a syncopated Sleeparchive or Charlemagne Palestine doing tribal minimalism. It’s a proper, leftfield club jam.
On the remix buttons, Dreesvn makes it slightly more centre-aligned, juggling a fine mix of Afro-cuban shuffle and sublime, slyding harmonic pitches to sound like some lost Transmat or Red Planet number.
Brilliant reissue of Maria Monti's Il Bestiario, originally released in 1974 and a prime example of the avant-garde art-song of the 1970s.
"Known for her renderings of Italian popular songs, Maria Monti is an Italian singer and actress with a noteworthy career: cabaret singer in the '60s, ambitious avant-garde folk artist in the '70s, and starring in films by directors as such as Sergio Leone's Fistful Of Dynamite (1971) and Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976).
Il Bestiario is a near perfect emblem of the fascinating territory gained through collaboration. It enlisted the radical poet Aldo Braibanti as its lyricist, features arrangements and synthesizer from Alvin Curran (Musica Elettronica Viva), the baritone saxophone of Roberto Laneri (Prima Materia), as well as the soprano saxophone of jazz legend Steve Lacy.
The result is absolutely stunning, musically unique within the respective outputs of its participants' long and noted careers. Unquestionably one of the most beautiful and neglected albums of its decade."
Hilja is the sublimely half-there debut of dream pop from Glasgow-based Finnish artist Maria Rossi a.k.a. Cucina Povera. Taking her name from the southern Italian method of making-do in the kitchen, Cucina Povera works just as well to describe Rossi’s unusual, off-kilter mix of avant-garde abstraction, medieval-sounding folk and synthesised nocturnal atmospheres, which sounds to our lugs like one of the Fonal label’s folk sprites gone rogue in a parallel 4th world.
Strung out somewhere between Julia Holter’s enigmatic early work, the possessed vibes of Ectoplasm Girls, and a deeply strange episode of the Moomins, Rossi’s first release finds a fine balance of naif imagination and modestly confident vision, shaping a quietly hallucinatory and often ephemeral sound world where it’s dead easy to lose yourself within its maze of alternating physical and mental states.
Glasgow’s Night School, behind the release, aptly compare Maria’s style with magic realism, which offers a hand catch-all explanation for wtf is going on between the sylvan synths and lullaby-like glossolalia of Demetra and the worm holing in-conclusion of Totean, with results that recall Phew’s esoteric Japanese songcrasf in the multi-tracked vox of Kuparirumpu, or like one of the enchanted cuts from Felicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand LP on Avainsana, whilst Huhuilu is a dance anthem from alternate, lushly inverse dimensions.
Gorgeous music - RIYL Phew, Julia Holter, Islaja, Tongues of Light, Félicia Atkinson
Avery goes slower, lower and moodier on Slow Fade for Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound.
The booming, 100bpm 808s and slunking acid of Slow Fade comes off like Alessandro Cortini reworking Plastikman’s Korridor; After Dark is a bittersweet tract of blurry shoegaze; Radius leans on a sort of early AI vibe reminiscent of B12 and Æ with wicked percolated hi-hats and breathy choral sync voices; Fever Dream finishes strongly on a commanding deep and dark techno trajectory.
Er, yeh. The best music we’ve ever heard from him, as it goes.
‘Brasil’ was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 1994 with a host of legendary Brazilian musicians including Sivuca, Raul de Souza and singer Joyce Moreno and has remained one of the key defining early releases from the Soul Jazz record label. Out-of-print for over 20 years, the album has now been fully digitally re-mastered for this new 2018 edition.
"The album was recorded at the height of the first wave of interest in Brazilian music in London in the 1990s. Joyce and a group led by husband, drummer Tutty Moreno, had just been Davis (and future head of Far Out Records) to perform in front f over 2,000 new young fans. Singer-songwriter Joyce had been a living legend in her native Brazil ever since the Bossa Nova movement of the 1960s and had made her first record when she was just 20 and she was described by Antonio Carlos Jobim as “one of the greatest singers of all time.”
Joyce Moreno agreed to be involved in the project to record an album in Brazil produced with a UK sensibility and Tutty Moreno’s group signed up as the house band for the project. Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records) and Joe Davis then flew to Rio de Janeiro, searching out studios and rehearsal spaces.
During this time in Brazil more artists signed up for the project, including legendary figureheads of the Brazilian music Sivuca (who brought his own group) and trombonist Raul de Souza. Other key figures included singer / guitarist Celia Vaz, who worked extensively as arranger with the legendary Quarteto Em Cy and drummer Dom Um Romao; Wanda Sá, who played in Sergio Mendes’ original seminal bossa nova group Brasil 65 (during which time she married the artist Edu Lobo) and legendary saxophone / flautist Teco Cardoso, whose bio reads like a who’s who of Brazilian music and includes work with Edu Lobo, Dori Caymmi, Baden Powell, Joao Donato, Carlos Lyra and others.
The final piece to this Brazilian jigsaw was the addition of percussionist Pirulito, whose magically create the massive sound of Rio’s Samba Schools live inside the studio. The album was recorded over one hot summer, mixed in London and then released at the end of 1994.
Over 20 years on and Soul Jazz Records’ ‘Brasil’ album manages to capture both an important cross-cultural musical moment in time between Brazil and London while at the same time sounding as fresh as if it was recorded today. Following the original success of this album Soul Jazz Records’ continued its love affair with Brazil and went on to release a host of Brazilian albums including classics such as ‘Tropicalia’, ‘Brazil 70’, ‘Bossa Nova’, a Bossa Nova cover art deluxe book with Gilles Peterson and releases by Sergio Mendes, Baden Powell, Edu Lobo and more."
Lord of the disco diggers and editors, Chicago’s Mark Grusane shares his celebrated secret stash of personal edits with BBE, and you, after compiling the peach-packed sets ‘The Real Sound of Chicago’ and ‘The Real Sound of Chicago and Beyond’ in recent years
“A highly personal selection of modern soul, disco and a little touch of boogie, these rare tracks have all been respectfully edited, chopped up or extended by Mark himself. Apart from the odd private vinyl pressing, or occasionally handing an edit over to close friends and DJs such as fellow BBE artist Sadar Bahar, Mark has never before made these tracks available (despite the throng of people waiting around to ask each time he finishes a set).
Mark Grusane first came to the attention of BBE Music back in 2010 when he was running specialist Chicago record shop Mr Peabody. He and his partner went on to create two of the label’s most sought-after soul compilations, thanks to the unmatched combination of rarity and quality expressed in the duo’s selections. Still living in Chicago, still buying and selling records, Mark has also built up a sizable discography of edits and original productions on various labels, now finding his prodigious DJ skills in high demand across the globe.
Each track on ‘The Real Sound Of Mark Grusane’ has a tale to tell, precious treasures unearthed by one of the hardest working and dedicated crate diggers in the game. From an edit he made at the age of 21 to a record he discovered last year whilst in London for a gig at The BBE Store, this collection is testament to a life spent completely immersed in music.”
Warp original, George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax, brings up the label’s Yorkshire roots with his 8th LP Shape The Future. Currently stationed in Ibiza, the sunniest corner of Yorkshire, N.O.W. hells as close as ever to his roots in soul, hip hop and dub with a lush downbeat suite riddled by his subtle but delightful production tics and signature, “Eaze-y” vibe.
Again, N.O.W. proves himself something of a J Dilla or King Britt of UK downbeats - ok let’s just call it trip hop - with a timeless, gently offbeat style of his own, equally adept at bringing in live players as he is chopping out patterns on the sampler and blooming them to life the studio.
You can trust it’s all laid-back as usual on this one, but if you’re looking for highlights keep ‘em pealed for the deliciously slompy beat and soul aura on Tell My Vision featuring Andrew Ashong, or likewise for the dusky string orchestration and swaggering groove of Shape The Future at the LP’s core; an excellent a cappella aside, entitled and presumably starring Tenor Fly; and the Francis Bebey-like Afrobeat-electronic charms of Gotta Smile.
Ostgut Ton cough up the customary accompaniment to Fiedel’s 120 minute Berghain 08 mix - the club and label’s first mix since Function’s Berghain 07 in 2015 - with four exclusive tracks by Electric Indigo, Stefan Rein, rRoxymore, and Boris with Fiedel.
Berlin mainstay Electric Indigo indulges a severely dark techno sound with Registers, which sounds like the dry clank of the till in the toll booth at Berghain taking a night off to dance and scowl with the rest of the punters. Stefan Rein contributes the furtively hypnotic dub techno of Panther, rRoxymore joins in with the pendulous bass and animalistic prowl of Tropicalcore, while Boris and Fiedel go twos up on the spunky acid wriggle ’n jak ov Div’hain.
Dommengang, the LA-based power trio of guitarist Dan ‘Sig’ Wilson, bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem, return with the desert cruiser’s dream album ‘Love Jail’.
"Dommengang have adapted to the arid climates and imbued their particular brand of rock with a heavy dose of the best of 1970’s rock aesthetics.
The album was produced by The Fucking Champs guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newson, Wolves In The Throne Room, Fresh & Onlys, Earthless), who perfectly captured the band’s sound while creating the space of older analogue recordings.
‘Love Jail’ includes Dommengang’s most melodic and lyric-heavy songs to date - a great road trip record and a dynamic listen that is of the moment, organic and earthy with a heavy nod to the clear, lean recordings of a time long before any of its members were born."
DAF’s Conny Plank-produced 5th LP, Für Immer is the darker, stripped down follow-up to their better known early sides, Alles Ist Gut and Gold Und Liebe.
Like those LPs, it probes a fine, ambiguous line along fascistic imagery and lyrics with tracks such Kebab Träume reflecting on Germany’s relationships with Turkish immigrants, and EBM obsessions with health and beauty manifest in the title of Die Götter Sind Weiß. It’s possibly hard to think of how an act could deal with these topics in the modern day without an avalanche of social media pain.
Things were different back then, though. Or were they? Either way, check out the likes of Im Dschungel der Liebe or Verlieb Dich in mich for some proper danefloor rockets.
Heat-seeking tech-house-trance missiles from Brazil via Barcelona producer Anna.
A-side she rolls out the rutting Italo bass arpeggios and spongiform acid lines to a soaring breakdown and sawtooth-led reprise in no-nonsense, functional fashion.
B-side she cuts layers deeper with the stealthy darkside build of The Dansant, tempering hard-edged electro-trance lines into a nervy beast of a big room show stealer.
Both collaborative albums from The Body and Thou are finally available together on vinyl for the first time. Raging, boundary-testing heavy metal alloy from the American South. Rip your face off and spit in the abyss business...
"The Body and Thou are bands with Southern roots that have been pushing the boundaries of heavy metal for over a decade. Both have maintained relentless touring schedules, a dedication to DIY ethics and aesthetics, and a commitment to push their respective brands of extreme music into previously unexplored territories. You, Whom I Have Always Hated is a new collaborative release that showcases both bands’ unique abilities to create music that is emotionally effecting and unrelenting.
On You, Whom I Have Always Hated, each band’s distinctive elements shine through and combine to create something more visceral than the sum of their parts. While the groups have different approaches to live performance and stylistic nuances, they share general creative ideas and have a history subsumed in themes of alienation, melancholy, and despair. They describe the new collaboration as “a twilight dungeon crawl exploring the winding, ruined halls of Mad King Duro’s Castle, best friends at your side, enemies crushed beneath your heels, mysteries solved, and treasures found.”
‘Freedom’s Goblin’ is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight - but first, the process will make your head spin.
"Back in the ‘Twins’ days, there was talk about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. We’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity. The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed but ‘Freedom’s Goblin’ is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities - each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing.
‘Freedom’s Goblin’ wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from LA to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F Bermudez, Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell and of course, Ty himself. The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins R&B electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape and one about his dog too."
Nexx Yorkshireman Rian Treanor galvanises Warp’s Arcola sub-label back to action with a deadly twyst on hyper electro and displaced dancehall in signature, deviant style.
The Contraposition EP marks Warp Records’ timely return to its SoYo roots in a concerted refresh of bleep techno and soundsystem ballistics, rendering the original template as a corrupted 3D geometry of slippery chromatic contours and polyrhythmic chronics that feel lightyears removed from their early ‘90s and early ‘00s antecedents, yet patently in key with their stripped down design and rave-wrecking purpose.
A-side, Rian focusses a wickedly nervous 2-step energy into the pointillist shadow-boxing tekkers of Contra_A1, strongly recalling his work on two preceding EPs for The Death of Rave, before then testing out something new and dynamically different with the punchy recoil and canny use of echoic negative space on Contra_A2, which all leads to a deadly acid switch-up in the 2nd half.
On the B-side he reconfigures your swang schauung with a mad meld of skittish micro rhythms and cold as f**k Euro-techno motifs on Position_B1, then like Errorsmith describing Equinknoxx swatting a nano-drone with the incisive, anticipatory bait and slap of Position_B2.
Fans of Forgemasters, Mark Fell, Jamie Duggan, Beatrice Dillon will know exactly what to to with this one.
Johnny Jewel ov Chromatics returns with the picture postcard-perfect scenes of Digital Rain, his first new album proper since Windswept , which included his work for the recent Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack.
In the most classic sense, Johnny evokes his themes with beautiful subtlety and clarity throughout the entirely instrumental suite of Digital Rain, using filigree synthesis and a rarely paralleled feel for narrative to convey the sensation of rain on skin or hail on a roof, precisely evoking all the feelings of nostalgia you’d arguably associate with electronic music’s cinematic representations of rain, romance, and enigmatic intrigue.
It’s an ideal album for creating your own movie on the fly, acting as a sort of soundtrack to your life, likely to turn late night drives for a pint of milk into the most dramatic scenarios, or maybe turn your next commute into a Love on a Real Train (Risky Business) situation. Might want to be careful with that 2nd one, though.
One for the lovers.
The debut album from Inga Copeland, formerly of Hype WIlliams, featuring additional production from Actress
After teasing the internet with one-offs and mixtapes for the last 2 years, (Inga) Copeland (ov Hype Williams) drops a satisfyingly challenging and incisive solo debut LP proper, 'Because I'm Worth It'. Against a backdrop of forward, phantasmic dub and electronic production by herself and Actress, Copeland's vocals are a typically mercurial presence flitting between half-heard bars and spectral, detached verse such as the brilliant "with my mind over money and the other way around, cash moves everything around me/significant of what we do, say, feel, everything is just by numbers". It contains eight songs, alternating between almost-instrumental numbers and deconstructed pop.
Arriving with the prickling sonic extremes of 'Faith OG X', she posits the empowered narrative of 'Advice To Young Girls' set to Actress' oblique production, and it's not until 'Insult 2 Injury' that you're offered some sort of more conventional structure, and even then it's a flinty, bare-boned dub salved with lush Detroit chords. The furtive dub-pop collage 'Fit 1.' is the album's centrepiece, both literally and figuratively, melting Eastern accordion, Diwali-riddim claps and Burial-esque atmosphere with woozy slow techno and her most enigmatic pop vocal beside the dissolved dub meditation 'DILIGENCE', whilst 'Inga' feels like a darker parallel to fellow Estonian ex-pat Maria Minerva, and the splashing, metallic dub tang of 'l'oreal' imparts an abstract sense of urgency, numbed poise and feminine sorta dread that neatly sums up the album's paradoxes.
It's a startling, hugely enjoyable debut.
Aksak Maboul is the long-abandoned project of Konono No.1 producer Vincent Kenis and Crammed Records label head Marc Hollander.
Back in 1977 they made a fantastic album called 'Onze Danses Pour Combattre La Migraine', a strange delicacy full of keen young ideas that would even foreshadow Detroit techno and much modern electronica, with a widely scoped "world music" twist. Seriously, check it out! 'Un Peu De Lame Des Bandits' was their follow up, originally released in 1980 and infused with a far more avant garde jazz element next to the typical international influences, from African to Balkan and whatever else they fancied.
Originally intended as a companion piece to 2011’s ‘The Moonlight Butterfly’, during the writing process Sam Prekop realized this record was going to go somewhere totally new.
Those of you who heard Prekop’s incredible ‘Old Punch Card’ LP last year will already know his surprising aptitude with modular synthesizers, but it’s still surprising to hear that he used those techniques to form the basis of ‘Runner’. Synthesizer sequences became guitar parts, and even though many of the original synthesizer tracks are long removed, the fingerprint is still there in ghostly elegance. Take ‘Harps’ for example, while this still has a buzzing synth part taking centre stage, it’s easy to hear how these kind of patterns informed the growth of the other tracks, from the joyous opener ‘On & On’ to the near post-punk grit of ‘Pacific’. While the songs themselves might not be too stylistically different from any in the band’s catalogue, ‘Runner’ is a classic case of reshuffling, where by doing a couple of things differently they’ve given an adrenaline shot to their sound, and it might be our favourite record from them in a while. Well good.
Super canny return from techno minimalist Akiko Kiyama, who makes a considered change of direction toward fractured, jazzy electronic funk as Aalko for her Tokyo-based label, Kebko Music.
Perhaps best known for her inclusion on Richie Hawtin’s DE9: Transitions mix, Akiko’s new output as Aalko bears some relation to her early work in terms of precision and minimalism, but that’s where the comparison ends.
No Man Is An Island is far fruitier and off-centre than her formative work, placing quarky sounds in unconventional time signatures with a bendy, off-centre appeal maybe best compared with the likes of FAY, Burnt Friedmann or even Foodman. Gilles Peterson is a fan, but don’t let that put you off.
Ricardo Villalobos, Max Loderbauer and Burnt Friedman dismantle Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer in bendy new ways for the ’floor and afterparty
Burnt Friedman takes the brief of Microcosmoism and runs its microtonal electronics and squirming groove to the nonplace, feeds it special gasses and returns a loose, slompy groove in patented style.
On the other hand, Villalobos strips the same elements right down to bare essentials for nearly ten minutes of swivelling drum hits wrapped up in sticky syncopation with glutinous subs and ricocheting electro-dub-steppers dynamics.
Villalobos and Loderbauer then combine as VILOD for an 11 minute reshuffle of Uncertain Grace hingeing on pendulous metallic claps and a worm farm’s worth of wriggling bass, then Villalobos goes it alone with Lenina, turning in a tangle of sloshing, splayed rhythms that sounds like a jazz band playing underwater and offers pluralised possibilities for the dancers who dare to actually express themselves, rather than just do the usual line dance and finger point. You know, that Solomun move?! Fuck that and dance to this instead.
What better time for No Age?
"Remember, they’re the ones who first brought you the hospital-bed feel good anthem ‘Get Hurt’ (2007). They know how to ecstatically rage and power on through pain, because what else are you going do?
‘Snares Like A Haircut’ sounds like the good stuff and smells like the buzzy burning off of an aura, the marine layer suddenly vanished, leaving a thin layer of smog over the songs, simmering sock gazing tunes, revved and displacing enormous amounts of sound soil. This is pure driving music, for the bus racer and the car driver, with too many signs, bells and little lights flashing away.
Recorded in a few days and mixed forever, ‘Snares Like A Haircut’ finds No Age in full on mode, because there was nothing else to do but go full on. In the songs inside the songs, the drums, the desperately voiced paens to determination, the churning and the stinging-but-shiny built into the structure, a promise from the 1980s echoes once again across today, for the undetermined in-between generation reality seekers.
With ‘Snares Like A Haircut’, No Age scrub the itch in the little moments, engage actively with the process and carve / plaster / shave something in an album shape that’ll last. You don’t have to drive but you can’t stay here. Let No Age do all the driving for you."
Optimo's home brewed label really comes of age with a reissue of six tracks from Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter, recorded between 1974 and 1978 and remastered for their 1st ever vinyl pressing by the man himself.
Label co-owner JD Twitch is a notoriously avid TG fan and has hand-picked these tracks from a cassette originally released on Industrial Records in 1980 (and subsequently on CD by Mute in 1991). The work of Chris Carter will be known by many of you, but for those who don't, Carter was the musical and technical inspiration behind one of the UKs most important bands of all time, bringing art and rock music into the future with his mastery and early adoption of basic equipment like the 303 (he was the among the first in the world to use one on record), and the 808, which also makes one of its 1st recorded appearance here on bonus track 'Climbing'.
So, it's safe to say that this man has serious credentials. With this in mind, these tracks really occupy a seminal space in the history of electronic music, deeply imbued with the twin spirits of darkest misanthropy and experimental endeavour, and most importantly - they sound f*cking amazing! As JD Twitch himself says "There is a beauty, an emotion and an imagination present here that is lacking in a lot of modern machine music. This music is as vital and wondrous today as it was four decades ago". Amazing music.
Northern UK-based artist Rian Treanor re-imagines the intersection of club culture, experimental art and computer music with a super smart debut for The Death of Rave.
Galvanising and accelerating garage and techno with cuttingly crisp tonal diction and pointillist percussive palette, ‘A Rational Tangle’ demonstrates Treanor’s adroit and finely-nurtured rhythmelodic instincts through a quicksilver syntax of kerned, polychromatic 2-step patterns and whipsmart, emotive jit music.
The EP’s four tracks vacillate ping-pong ballistics and recursive melodic motifs constructed in Max/MSP, dancing from pendulous, aerobic minimalism to taut, synthetic tabla grooves with grid melting nous, whilst also taking in gamelan-esque hypeR&B through wormholes of smeared and curdled harmonics, plus one dead lush section of Detroit-via-Yorkshire styled hi-tech funk.
The production is stainlessly dry and future-proof whilst Rian’s arrangements are considerately efficient, yet it’s all blessed with a pop or ’floor-ready turn of phrase that reveals new kinks, fills and twysts with each return listen.
Whichever angle you view it from ‘A Rational Tangle’ forms a rewarding introduction to the work of a very promising and distinct new voice in electronic music.
Sam Prekop, John McEntire,Eric Claridge and Archer Prewitt reconvene for another fine album together as The Sea And Cake, the band's seventh since 1993.
'Aerial' opens up the album with a blast of energy, which only seems to gather more steam as it reaches a rousing, almost epic finale. Its anthemic scale seems all very at odds with Prekop's understated, aloof whisper, yet the two elements conspire to establish a mightily effective paradox, and however big their sound gets The Sea And Cake always seem to be maintaining a low profile cool. After the typically complex, skittery rhythms of 'A Fuller Moon' (one of the most archetypally Thrill Jockey-esque moments on the album) and the sparkling guitar jangle of 'On A Letter' comes a brief synth experiment: 'CMS Sequence' shows that the band can still plunge into the avant-garde when they want to; the electronics that colour 'Weekend', and the echoic steel drum routines of 'Mirrors' helpfully divert Car Alarm away from its guitar band mainframe. Highly Recommended.
A carefully curated journey through almost 20 years of Shawn's music productions.
"The tracks collected here--the majority of which have not been heard outside of Shawn's studio--showcase a producer with seldom matched knowledge of studio techniques, while also hinting at his world renowned live performances. Having access to a vault of hundreds of unreleased compositions, we believe this is an important step in documenting Shawn's contribution to Pittsburgh and American dance music."
Optimo Music serve a proper peach with reissue of three Ted Milton / Blurt aces from lesser-known nooks of UK jazz/post-punk/electronics on a fresh new double-AA side.
Ted Milton is a ground-breaking saxophonist and frontman of Blurt since their inception. This 12” documents his work under both names, giving up the killer swerve and Hammer-esque vocals of Love Is Like A Violence, and his frothy freakbeat It’s Only Recently That Stalins Have Begun To Roost (what a title!) both from 1984, on top, then a dose of Blurt on the B-side, namely the unmissable charms of The Ruminant Plinth , featuring wickedly off-the-cuff vocals woven into what sounds like Afrobeat skronk played in a massive silo.
This one’s bound to set a lot of heads on a Ted Milton tangent!
The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity.
"In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings-not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber-and dubbed "The Phantom Ship" by the band-the grandiose house and its edgeof-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs.
The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality is mirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more grit than ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico's confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band..."
First ever vinyl reissue of Kebab Und Andere Träume 
A mad cross-pollination of new wave, punk-funk, Oriental rock and hip hop, organised by social worker Winifred Nacke, and played by students of the Weisbadener Jugendwerkstatt - a group of Turkish, German, Iranian, Polish, Moroccan musicians. Very obscure, now fetches fancy triple figure sums on 2nd hand market.
Mark Broom, Drvg Cvltvre and Mike Dred gets to grips with EVOL’s rave slime in slamming acid techno remixes of Presto!?’s Do These release for Alku.
With a combined age of well over 100, the three remixers bring some proper rave experience to the plate in a visceral, disciplined style that shows the whippersnappers how it’s done.
Up top Mark Broom teases out a burning gob of EVOL’s acid into a proper, tracky peak time slammer with percolated chords and bucking claps, leading to a pair of brain-swilling locked grooves by UK hero Mike Dred.
Down below, Drvg Cvltvre gets to work with a slompier sort of jack attack riddled with iridescent glissandi, again leading to some superb loops by Rephlex’s Mike Dred that we could happily listen to for ages.
Preston’s Stephen James Buckley wears a distant kosmiche look in his eye on The Impossibility, his 5th album as Polypores since A Shunned Place , and following a technoid turn as Tulketh in 2017.
In his own words: “The Impossibility was inspired by the destruction of the planet Earth by the human race, the early works of JG Ballard, Tarkovsky's Stalker, conspiracy theories, and places where the rules of time and space are brought into question.”
So, credible references in place, Buckley hurtles out an impending and often frenetic album that doesn’t really live up to its inspirations, but rather uses them as vague signifiers of mysticism propping up his rudimentary longs and arps. which are simply distracting from any sort of hypnotic vibe because of their rote homage conventionality.
Big, druggy club wobblers and Afro chug from a North London/Berlin cooperative; Jono Ma (Jagwar Ma) and Angus Gruzman (of Dreams, Die Orangen) a.k.a. “The Dreemas”.
The A-side’s A Love Trance Mission From Nk To 7s sprawls out with woozy, LFO-blown bassline and shoegazy guitars strokes opening with wide-eyed style for the duration. It’s one of those surefire Kompakt shots that will melt a room at the right moment.
Ruddy, off-kilter house wonk from Italian duo, The Barking Dogs.
Up top they rub out the strange barnyard disco sleaze of SWB, then tighten up a bit for the saddlesore electro swagger of Liquid Strategies, joined by a scatting loon and someone jamming out on a Farfisa.
Retro-vintage krautische drums meet EMS Synthi VCS3, Minimoog and Buchla Music Easel and Cristal Baschet synth drones and languid guitars from Frenchman Alexandre Bazin.
Think Silver Apples Of The Moon, Cavern Of Anti-Matter…
Two classic nyabinghi albums Rastafari and Kibir-Am-Lak onto one record
Squaring off the best Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus recorded with producer Tommy Cowan in the ‘70s, featuring heavyweight line-up of Peter Tosh, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Robbie Shakespeare, Robbie Lyn, Tommy McCook, Carlton “Santa” Davis.
Dat Laurence Guy leans on Mule Musiq with three dusty deep tech house plays
Unfurling the languorous jazz-house-breaks of All I See Is Her with some unfortunately pasted-on breaks, backed with the blue keys and nipped swing of Belong, and the effervescent jazz-house dancer Then Again, Maybe Not.
The crown prince of Japanese indie-prog-pop yields his Mellow Waves LP on vinyl, his first albumin over a decade, arriving some two years since his Ghost In The Shell Arise O.S.T.
"For the uninitiated, Cornelius is the brainchild of Japanese multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada. A performing musician since his teens, Oyamada created his creative alter-ego (the name is an homage to the Planet of the Apes), in the early 1990s from the ashes of his previous project, Flipper's Guitar.
With the 1997 release of Fantasma, Cornelius gained international recognition for his cut and paste style reminiscent of American counterparts Beck and The Beastie Boys and was released internationally by Matador Records. Being called a "modern day Brian Wilson" for his orchestral-style arrangements and production techniques, Cornelius subsequently became one of the most sought after producer/remixers in the world, working with a wide range of artists including Blur, Beck, Bloc Party, MGMT, and James Brown.
With 2002's Point, Cornelius' music took a quantum shift, going from sampling "found sounds" to looping organic elements and creating lush soundscapes. Using water drops as the rhythmic backbone of "Drop" on his vocoder-infused cover of "Brazil", the album dazed and amazed fans and set the path for the next phase of his career.
2007 brought this philosophy to an even higher level with the release of Sensuous. Cornelius' live shows are known around the world for spectacular visuals (all perfectly synchronized to the performance), custom lighting that doesn't simply augment the performance, but becomes another instrument within it, and a full band of equally talented and diverse players.
The companion piece to the album Sensurround + B Sides, earned the nomination for "Best Surround Sound Album" at the 2009 GRAMMY Awards.
The summer of 2016 saw the release of Fantasma Remastered, on Lefse Records. The package, a 2LP reissue of his classic album, also included 4 additional outtakes and earned Pitchfork's "Best New Reissue".
Cornelius has recorded music for Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, scored the anime mega-film Ghost in the Shell Arise, performed as the backbone of Yoko Ono's reformed Plastic Ono Band, played the Hollywood Bowl with Yellow Magic Orchestra, and co-wrote and produced the Japanese artist salyu x salyu."