Nina Kraviz gives Mount Kimbie a thorough booting for the benefit of the ‘floor
Turning Love What Survives into an effortlessly rolling techno glyder peppered with dubbed-out vocal idents and pumped by a killer Italo bass arp on the front’s Main Mix, then strippibn it all back for a murkily subaquatic Tool 1, and the lean gym-bunny hop of Tool 2.
Italian duo t.e.s.o. convulse 9 fearsome, crunching electronic sound designs for Andrea Parker’s Aperture, landing squarely between the most oblique D’Arcangelo output, the harsh terrain of Somatic Responses, and the algorithmic asymmetries of Dalglish
“After a period of hibernation, aperture records awakens with a bang and a compelling program in the pipeline. Following their first album released on aperture at the tail end of 2015 'no.3.obliate', the Italian duo t.e.s.o. bring us their second full-length album 'costruzione 04'.
As the title suggests, the album centres around an underlying theme of construction, inspired by radical architecture, brutalism and collages from Superstudio. The concept and title evolved from the nature of the album and the process of building up tracks from a number of separate samples, much like the singular elemental materials used to assemble a structure.
Alongside their music production, the duo have previously created a multimedia installation that investigated the geometric studies of Le Corbusier in parallel to the musical production of Erik Saite and Matteo Castiglioni continues to create impressive audiovisual installations such as the recent 'Freddo Flusso' and 'neon(i)', as well as a collaboration with Danilo Randazzo. t.e.s.o. also continue to perform absorbing live sets of their own inimitable range of musical perspective and vision.
Intense, visual and structured, 'costruzione 04' again showcases t.e.s.o.'s complex, obscure and dominant beats and their oblique and sometimes challenging style.”
Much needed reissue of the second and final Stasis album following his Inspiration  LP and the Redcell : Stasis  hook-up with B12.
On this first vinyl reissue of Fromtheoldtothenew we’re reminded of the importance Steve Pickton a.k.a. Stasis played in bridging between the Artificial Intelligence scene in the UK and second wave Detroit Techno.
It's a sound that oscillates between nimbly loose salsa and breezy new age pads in Utopia Planetia and deep but rugged pressure on Behind The Smile, thru to tribal business on Beating Skins and the kind of downbeat, hip hop-leaning instrumentals that also saw him signed to Mo Wax.
Followers of classic Carl Craig, Kenny Larkin, Dan Curtin, early The Black Dog, Plaid, the Likemind label, B12 etc should dip in.
Krust gets on a wavy good-foot for Doc Scott's 31 with a stripped-down blend of hot-stepping ‘80s synth-pop groove and minimalist D&B in The Portal, and some prime, natty hi-tech rolige in Concealing Treachery.
Dekmantel crack the deeply rugged garage-house of Leo/Mirjam off Betonkust & Palmbomen II’s Centre Parcs EP, and repackage it with a high-velocity Legowelt remix riddled with virulent acid lines and snappy electro drums at 140bpm.
UK techno legend Steve Bicknell pulls the interstellar overdrive lever on Mind Patterns
Firstly hitting serious G-force with the face mangling dis-torque of Vein Injection, then on cruise control in the acidic quadrants of Patterns Of Suppression, and with planet-colliding force on the Preset Minds face melter.
Uncertainty Principle kicks off with five tracks of needling bleeps and bass jitters from FFT.
A smart first move, the fifth 12” keeps establishes loose but specific coordinates between the scratchy SoYo bleep ’n bass of sensory_hyperlinkfft_3abstract1, the Aleksi Perälä style tekkers of 8.7, and the pinched hyaline structures of sensory_unlinked up top, before twisting off into Alva Noto-esque glitch angularity with abstract5, and the skittish bleep flux of collective_disconnected.
Suspiciously reminds of that Distorto 12” on SCSI-AV.
Strong survey of the current Italian crop, including highlights in Alessandro Adriani’s Drexciyan trip, the tentative ambient ephemera of Chevel, and the mercurial beauty of Catarina Barbieri
“Flowers from the Ashes is the latest multi-artist project to bear the acclaimed Stroposcopic Artefacts imprimatur. There is a sensibility of decadence and corroded grandeur etched within its four album sides, reminding us that historically "decadent" times have nonetheless resulted in some of the boldest acts of individual and collective creativity. Like the 'floral' theme that has remained a consistent feature of S.A.'s graphic presentation, the music here equally presents fragility and intensity in a way that really drives home this visual metaphor for good, while still holding out the promise that similar creations will be seeded in the near future, Though many of the artists involved have set of residence outside of their native Italy, all contribute here to make a captivating portrait of a shared spirit and cultural memory.
The album opens with “Errori,” deceptively fragile sonic ornaments crafted and suspended in space by Blackest Ever Black artist Silvia Kastel. This is followed closely by the mellifluous, warming glow of percussionist Andrea Belfi’s “Spitting & Skytouching,” and then by the resolute electric bass patterns and luminous fog of “Lux et Sonus,” from Eeri label head Marco Shuttle. Hospital Productions alumnus Ninos du Brasil open the B-side with a similarly dense, amorphous construction built from tribalistic chants and rhythmic patterns, to be followed by Mannequin label boss Alessandro Adriani’s “You Will Not Be There For The End,” showcasing his distinctive take on the ‘paranoiac breakdance’ aesthetic of classic EBM. S.A. veteran Chevel rounds out the first record in the program by interlacing several percolating synth lines together into a richly conversational piece.
The journey continues with “Starving The Mind,” an undulating mini-epic from S.A. founder Lucy that is animated by his signature balance of seductiveness and concentration. The bright, biting acid synth tones of “PRV-HH3-X”, by Lory D, then takes a sharp right turn into an invisible metropolis ruled by reflective high fashion and hidden intrigue. The imposing architecture of “Virgo Rebellion,” designed by modular synth futurist Caterina Barbieri, acts as an excellent companion piece, and sets up the closing “4G” from Spazio Disponibile co-founder Neel - a crepuscular serenade that accurately sums up much of the foregoing activity.”
Deadbeat does dub poetry alongside Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann and Mike Shannon, with results ripe for fans of the Jay Glass Dubs & Leslie Winer LP, or downbeat moments from Strategy, Andreas Tilliander or The Bug
“On his latest studio album, Scott Monteith, aka Deadbeat, ruminates with hard-earned wisdom and confidence upon the notion of carrying on in the face of worldwide nonsense. Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve began with the simple idea of asking friends from across the globe for messages of hope. No musical input was provided beforehand, and each participant was free to interpret the request as they saw fit. Though some of the names involved will be familiar to electronic music listeners (Gudrun Gut, Thomas Fehlmann, Mike Shannon), the common thread linking all of them is their friendship with Monteith and the many hours he has spent enjoying their company over the years. As so often happens when good conversation is shared among good friends, the results are as surprising as they are inspiring, spanning original prose, dialectic word games, and timeless quotations in six languages. Each song on the album was then composed around the content received, and named after the people who did the speaking.
Ranging from the overtly political to the tenderly inspirational and many points in between, Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve provides verbal expressions of hope as diverse and rich as the experiences of the people who so generously delivered them. Musically the album sees Monteith taking his well-honed sound design abilities and widescreen arrangements to new heights, and exploring a deep interest in traditional analog recording methods to mesmerizing effect. Every sound on the record, whether generated from his tried-and-tested array of software-based tools, or from the enormous collection of guitars, organs, pianos, and percussion instruments found in the Berlin-based studio he now calls home, was recorded via microphone. Even as the very first track slowly fades into existence, it's clear that the smoke filled atmosphere of the place has penetrated the recordings to their very core. Indeed, it is no understatement to suggest that without the physical confines of the magical studio Chez Cherie, and the countless late night conversations and musical contributions of all the other beautiful souls who occupy it (T. Raumschmiere, Ben Laubner, Tilman Hopf, PC Christensen, and of course Cherie herself), this latest Deadbeat album would have been an impossibility. Wax Poetic For This Our Great Resolve is a document of collective action, and the power of community.”
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."
Absolutely killer set of mutant futurism from the bassbins of Brittany, France featuring 8 slow Dancehall jammmmz from Low Jack.
Editions Gravats kick off the club-ready Les Disques de la Bretagne series with exclusive re-workings of tracks from Low Jack’s half of the Glacial Dancehall tape with Equiknoxx, all making their first appearance on vinyl.
Arriving 4 years since Philippe Hallais a.k.a. Low Jack started up the Gravats label with his îlot 7”, Hallais returns to his roots with these ruddy dancehall bangers, each nipped and tweaked from the OG tape for optimal, freaky impact inna dance.
Dubwise and direct but laced with strange details that light up on repeated listens, the plate turns up some massive highlights with the loping Linn drum cracks and digickal synth torque of Partei and the rogue bogle of Brass up top, then with some killer sino-flavour on the rugged ’90s rub ’n tug of Raid Leader and the Flex Dance Music-compatible knocks and horns of Light.
You can take it on trust: this one is properly top-loaded with the heaviest gear...
Tony Allen and MCDE help wrap up Dekmantel’s year long celebration of their 10th Anniversary with a funky back-and-forth of Afrobeat and dubbed-out disco.
Afrobeat rhythmatician Tony Allen contributes Asiko, an absorbingly stark yet sumptuous workout of brittle drums and wide, sloshing bass funked up with chicken scratch guitar and featuring an almost ghostly, slightly tired or half-cut vocal dubbed out into the mix.
On the remix, MCDE evens the keel with more rolling bass heft to keep the crowd moving in the same direction, resulting something akin to something from Moritz Von Oswald or Mark Ernestus.
Another collection of handpicked, anonymous and mostly impossible to ID archival treasures selected and compied by Light Sounds Dark.
This one wades through Radiophonic detritus via some derelict industrial wastelands and what sounds like cybepunk electro played on cardboard boxes. Later on, Ambient transitions steer us deeper into a darkened space where 4th world tribalism and pagan rituals spool themselves to tape at some point over the last 50 years. Good luck shazzaming this lot...
“November 2016, 10 years of OTPMD. Vincent Bertholet, still resolute, finally realises his old dream of a ‘real’ orchestra. And thus was born the project to expand the known horizon. The orchestra became XXL by assembling accomplices from the first hour, who had never really disappeared from view, and an English string section met along the way.
From now on, they will be 14 on stage. An anniversary tour, prestigious stages and makeshift squats, unrestrained agitation as in the first days, and a larger chorus, more percussive than ever. The multi-headed Hydra gives voice in concert and the frail stages that host it groan under its weight. Nevertheless, it is in the studio that the foundation of a new adventure is forged. Back to England, in the imposing and magnificent building that houses Real World Studios. After Rotorotor (2014), John Parish is again at the controls.
It’s called Sauvage Formes, a shrewd title, because everything here is as geometric as it is organic. The incisive rhythms, doubled in XXL, trademark of the pack, mingle with the unusually melancholy brass. The guitar riffs express themselves in minimalistic cascades, and since the number of strings has tripled, they allowt hemselves the luxury of entwining with each other, like a carnal embrace without epilogue. The voices, more numerous than usual, recite, chant, lead the dance and poeticise, sometimes in French, sometimes in English, and, in the same spirit, the chorus takes the opportunity to shape the pediment of hymns to elsewhere.
Non crossing these 8 songs as beautiful as they are adventurous, it seems to be a story of a voyage, a torn logbook. On the horizon however, neither boat, nor rickety plane, neither map nor compass. Is it because the continent that is mentioned in these texts and melodies is not a known place, but rather a dream world, a land of asylum for rebels and the insubordinate, for the daring and the benevolent?
The fourth Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp album is like a road, a purpose, an ideal of shared and shareable lives. And the writing of this music is like the defences of an imaginary seafront, like an act witnessing an intertwined destiny, an extraordinary adventure. The story of a chamberless orchestra, a sensitive battalion of unlimited generosity, a wild form that never needed a master to tame its imagination and determination.”
KIller shots of spiky rock with Algerian style, Arabic vocals and tight traces of reggae, dug out from France ’77 and delivered in 2018 by Geneva’s Bongo Joe
“The 45s series goes on and presents for the first time music from the past. This fifth single focus on legendary algerian kabyle rock band Abranis founded in 1967. The band pioneered the fusion of chaabi (traditional) music with 60s-70s western rock, proudly singing in their own berber kabyle language while wearing hippy rockers outfits. Their shows - in deeply influenced by Pan-Arabism conservative Algeria - where often cancelled by governors and the band once was arrested by the police, generating riots. The band kept on playing and recording until mid 90s. This 45t presents two majors tracks from the band:
A Side: Chenar Le Blues released in 1977 have been a big hit on algerian national radio. The band response to The Doors.
B Side: Avehri released in 1983 shows the band’s obsession to merge different music styles with the North African traditional airs. This one goes strangely reggae.”
There are two previous The Best Of Fra Lippo Lippi releases on CD (1995 and 2003), but this is the first on vinyl.
"Only having limited playing time on vinyl, we had to make some tough decisions, but in the end the song selection very much gave itself. The dark horse here is "Stitches and Burns", an overlooked gem of a song from the final studio album "Dreams" that didn´t make the previous 15 track collection, but has in mysterious ways gained new life through organic streaming, with over 20 million YouTube views. Included is also "Angel" featuring the late, great Walter Becker on guitar and production duties."
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
New full-length from the New York City-based art pop ensemble Erica Eso.
"Operating within a radical conceptual framework, but channeled through the voice of modern pop music, Erica Eso bridges aesthetic and musical gesture in a way that could only be found in our contemporary post-everything information age. While the band's 2015 debut album '2019' had a more "bedroom pop" essence in its recording and execution, '129 Dreamless GMG' refines, expands, and evolves the Erica Eso sound from home studio experimentation to a full-fledged band format, with live drums (Rhonda Lowry), bass (Nathanial Morgan), back-up vocals (Ellen O, Angelica Bess), and collaboration more central to the arrangements. Under the leadership and compositional vision of Weston Minissali (Cloud Becomes Your Hand; VaVatican), Erica Eso delivers the newness of microtonality fused with enough melody and harmony to satisfy the ears of listeners from all different inclinations."
Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles presents his new album ‘Persona’.
"Recorded at his studio in south-east London, ‘Persona’ benefits from Ryan’s exploration of a dynamic production process that combines analogue-heavy synthesisers, acoustic and electric instruments with a shoegaze-level obsession with effect pedals. A greater depth of emotion and confidence can be heard across the album. From the deconstructed movements on ‘Unfolding’ that starts the album with a snap of delayed snares, the apocalyptic drones of the title track and thundering drums in ‘Phantom Grip’ to more restrained ambient feels of ‘Dreamer’s Wake’, ‘Rest’ and ‘Untravel’.
The latter transverses six beatless minutes of undulating melodies representing “a limbo space, a feeling of ennui, of not really ever being known to others and others not ever really being known to you”. ‘Be Kind’ reveals a musical connection with fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils Frahm, with its minimal approach and improvisational nature. On the more complex sounding ‘I Think So’ Ryan aims to replicate a colour collage with sound. Like a musical kaleidoscope, a flashing and convoluted mass. Written after he saw Slowdive perform live last year, ‘Hidden’ builds from whispers to landscapes of controlled noise. In an interview with XLR8R magazine, Ryan explains: “once you start trying to make a sound loud, then you turn your back on thousands and thousands of sonic possibilities. One of the best things to do is to start a track with a really quiet, weak sound.” T
aking this idea to its ultimate conclusion, ‘Fragment’ closes the album as an innocent sounding ambient piece, almost nursery rhyme like, yielding time for reflection on how the persona has changed. ‘Persona’ follows the success of a series of releases — the ‘Odyssey’ and ‘Sonne’ EPs, long player ‘Howl’, and 2016’s mini album ‘Night Melody’ — that saw Ryan mature into what Pitchfork has called a “forward-thinking electronic musician with his own ideas about sound”. Atypical of instrumental-electronic music, Ryan has achieved a signature sound that’s unmistakably identifiable as Rival Consoles. Going beyond typical electronic music production, Ryan defines it as “songwriting with an electronic palette of sounds”.
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
After a long gap the legendary British dadaist group Hastings of Malawi have finally released their second album.
"Another musique concrète jewel created with the same peculiar, disjointed, uncommercial and totally original Hastings of Malawi aesthetic. 35 years after the release of their critically acclaimed album Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth the British dadaist group Hastings of Malawi have released a new album - an epic sound poem entitled Visceral Underskinnings.
It is a 40 minute film without light that reflects on the human condition, on modern society, on the nature of telephony and electricity and an attempt to make sense of the world in which we live that provides no answers. It is a sound collage of diverse elements including the voices of George Washington Johnson ('the whistling coon' 1846-1914) and Dr Hastings Banda - the first president of Malawi. It includes randomly generated computer music, voice synthesis, recordings of cold war number stations, American military sound weaponry and recordings of the some of the many sound sculptures produced by Hastings of Malawi over the last 30 years. Hastings of Malawi produce sounds that sit in that grey area where sound art and music meet but they reject both labels and cannot be comfortably placed in either camp. This is not an easy album to listen to but persevere and you may or may not be able to decipher its meaning."
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
'London Is The Place For Me 3' is a fantastic collection of African music originally recorded as 78's on the Melodisc label.
The product of Ambrosa Campbell and his West African Rhythm Brothers/Stars, tracks like 'Lagos Mambo' and 'We Have It In Africa' combine a keen jazz aesthetic with gorgeous chiming guitar and Caribbean rhythms. Capable of evoking summer sunshine in slate-grey February, the impact of this music in post-war Britain must have been astonishing - a situation which is vividly documented in the extensive liner notes.
The only authorised reissue of all time classic dub album originally released by Starlight Records on 1981 Now matched with a second disc of original vocal versions...
Includes previously unreleased tracks from Junior Reid and Ranking Dread Roots Radics at Channel One, produced by Linval Thompson and mixed by Scientis. This newly created 2LP combines the classic 1981 album with vocal hits on the same rhythm tracks...
The only authorised reissue of all time classic dub album originally released by Starlight Records on 1982 Now matched with a second disc of original vocal versions...
"Includes previously unreleased tracks from Hell & Fire, Sister Nancy and Papa Tullo Roots Radics at Channel One, produced by Linval Thompson and mixed by Scientist & Prince Jammy New cover art by Tony McDermott
More classic dub sides from Roots Radics band, paired with the vocal versions on the rhythms."
E-Unity pursues the astral coordinates of last year’s debut 12” for Oscilla Sound on this first one for another french label, Intramuros. A strong look for fans of Batu, Lanark Artefax or Cheval.
Up top he works out a meter-messing formula of slowed jungle drums and floating pads in CD-ROM-1, then knots up his drums and bass in a sort of weightless 2-step swivel.
Down below, the French producer keeps it low key and shifty with the pendulous house abstraction GDN, and returns to a slow and spectral ambient jungle style on Unknown Graffito.
Boy Harsher’s début EP Lesser Man returns for a fresh pressing on Nude Club, who are also behind a new reissue of B.H.’s Yr Body Is Nothing album.
Thanks to an achingly tight blend of rictus grooves and perfectly gaunt vocals, Boy Harsher have steadily caught the attention of listeners worldwide, leading to the dispatch of their resoundingly acclaimed EP with Ascetic House in 2017.
This one packs some proper heat, tracing the pair’s metamorphosis from Teen Dreamz into the Boy Harsher of today thru the gothic darkwave elan of Lust and the infectious canter of Modulations, to the hypnotic engine of Pain, and taking in Hi-NRG zingers such as Run beside the drone descent Crimea, and the sore, sludgy synth-pop romance of Love.
RIYL Tropic of Cancer, Xeno & Oaklander, The Soft Moon
Pye Corner Audio brings his wood-fired analogue sound to Lapsus Records after touring the houses of Mondo Tees, Polytechnic Youth, Analogical Force and More Than Human already in a productive 2017 cycle.
In a smart play of contrasts, we hear much-loved and lesser-heard sides of PCA’s sound in Where Things Are Hollow. The supple, rolling arpeggios and acid tweaks of Resist, and his wobbly, chromatic cosmic chugger Northern Safety Route both bear the hallmarks of Martin Jenkins’ signature dancefloor romance.
However, fans should be very intrigued to hear him go beat-less and weightless in the other two parts. With Mainframe he conducts a stellar display of piquant bleep motifs and arcing choral pads converging into a gently distorted and dissonant harmonic smudge at the track’s peak, and Continental Drift seemingly operates on the opposite side of that wave with a sullen stir of low end swells and light pollution aurora reflecting the scale of the track title.
Moscow’s Buttechno reverts to his birth name for this tranced-out doozy on his own RASSVET Records, who previously dispatched his 1984  12”.
Coolly adapting Lorenzo Senni’s PointilisticT tekkers to his own ends, Milyakov riffs on virulent, beatless trance arps in four ways on the front, including one perfect locked groove, while the B-side renders a more ragged and unpredictable rogue rhythm called B A D which obstinately bears practically no stylistic relation to the other tracks.
The trance bits are the big reason you need this one, though. DJs, dancers, trancers and MDMA romancers - your time!
Kings is a 2018 crime drama film directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang). Scoring duties for Kings fall to Nick Cave & Warren Ellis of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds fame.
"In recent years, they have become a force to be reckoned with in the world of soundtracks, thanks to their impressive work on films like Hell or High Water, Wind River, and the National Geographic series Mars. Cave and Ellis, the later a repeat Ergüven collaborator, pull from their rich history in the music world to deliver an unexpected score that immediately transports the listener to a specific place in time – the hot, angry streets of Los Angeles in the summer of 1992"
Osiris have the rare honour of hosting a typically sublime Burial remix on the B-side to Deep Summer, Simon Shreeve (Kryptic Minds) aka Mønic’s melancholic and dusky industrialullaby.
Perfectly measured for the pensive atmosphere of summer 2017 in a Brexiting UK, Mønic’s Deep Summer courses ghostly R&B/folk vocals thru an arid scene of knackered, worn-down drums and keening harmonic pads, barely but stoically keeping its head up against its impending conclusion in a cannily metaphorical narrative arrangement.
Trust Burial, then, to extract and amplify some sense of beauty from the reserved anguish of Deep Summer on the B-side, opening with a filigree collage of seagulls, windchimes and pads recalling the “better days” of ‘90s summers, before lone voices sardonically echoes the sentiments of Nigel Farage (say it like garage) in the recurring phrase ‘we don’t need noone else’ against a rhythmelodic moire of maribas, pealing sax and queasy subbass squirms, perfectly capturing the lucid sleepwalking momentum and frayed socio-cultural fabric of Britain right now in the gauziest, impressionistic terms, replete with an updraft of balearic guitar in the closing stages perhaps predicting our mass exodus to a Ballardian super-city along the mediterranean coast.
Benidorm, you’ve been warned.
Fred Welton Walmsley III (Lee Bannon) completes his esoteric ambient metamorphosis with Dedekind Cut’s melancholic Tahoe album for arch American electronic drifters, Kranky Records - home to some of the some of the finest atmospheric ambient works of recent decades by Stars of The Lid, Loscil, Tim Hecker.
In key with Kranky’s heritage, Dedekind Cut very neatly plays to the label aesthetic on Tahoe with a widescreen suite of slow, windswept synths layered into expansive harmonics evoking cinematic and psychedelic sensations. They range from pop-ambient pockets of bittersweetness to more brooding tracts of durational immersion, with each connected by an overarching feeling of sadness or unresolved strife.
It’s all very much what you’d expect from a Kranky release, until you start paying closer attention. Where Kranky’s chorus of ambient angels have often spent decades on their craft, developing personalised timbral sensitivities and sound identities, the shapeshifting Dedekind Cut’s newness to this particular field is betrayed by the more elusive reach of his soundsphere, but the artist makes up for a lack of tonal richness by conveying his intent more directly thru the arrangement and overall feeling, or soul connoted by his compositions.
One of the most sensitive sets of ears in Paris, GRM affiliate Jonathan Fitoussi meets Clemens Hourriére for a beautiful 2nd orbit of planet Versatile in Espaces Timbrés. As the sibling shuttle to their acclaimed Five Steps  side, it finds Fitoussi & Hourriére tethered again to the classic Buchla modular synthesiser, but this time with Versatile staple I:Cube on board to lend a fresh set of ears in-the-mix and pon-the-desk with subtly majestic, widescreen results.
It’s worth properly mentioning Fitoussi’s credentials at this point. Beside a string of solo and collaborative releases in the last decade, he’s been pivotal in digitising and transferring from tape the legendary INA GRM catalogue for anthologies of Luc Ferrari, François Bayle and Pierre Schaeffer, not to mention the majority of those invaluable Recollection GRM editions, which is no pedigree to be sniffed at.
On Espaces Timbrés he brings that sound sensitivity to the table opposite longtime spar Clemens Hourriére in a lush, wide-eyed suite of synth music elevated from the norm by the infinitely layered and lucid clarity of their constructions, each underlined by a crafty rhythmic suss. The results thusly and semi-naturally oscillate the club and behind-closed-doors headspaces, scaling from evocative sci-fi panoramas such as White Sands and the very Limerence-like flutter of Labyrinth to pulsating dancefloor bewts like Basalt Columns and the creamy glyde of Cymatics, before really coming into their own within the DMT breath glitter of Euclidean Space and the Pye Corner Audio-like propulsion of Lunar Leap, leading to the glassy helix f Oeil at it’s finale.
This is near immaculate stuff, treading the finest line between classic cliché and genuine wide eyed wonder with trustingly high fidelity production.
Martin Jenkins aka Pye Corner Audio aka Head Technician returns with this new album of immersive slow acid enigmas inspired by Brutalist architecture, Detroit house and UK bleep ’n bass.
Taking inspiration from his fascination with Brutalist construction, Jenkins exclusively uses Roland TR-606, MC-202 and TB-303 boxes plus the Roland System 100 modular synth to sketch out a slow, murky sound with results that are even darker and more obscure than his previous work.
Echoes of early Detroit and UK bleep & bass infiltrate the stark corridors of Profane Architecture as much as the hauntological spirits of BoC, combining to make a sound that revels in nostalgia yet yearns for the future. It’s not a new idea, but it is one that Jenkins executes with such classic style and unique character that can only lead to comparisons with acid maestros such as early Plastikman or the Analord, Richard J. James.
For moody dancers, Profane Architecture is perfect; from the oozing elan of opener First Pour thru the spheric momentum of Béton Brut and the mind-weaving acid of Formwork he establishes a slickly hypnotic sound that works its magick with more funk on the flipped, generating the tactile form of Second Pour and the ruggedly hewn groove of The New Brutalism, then closing out with the exquisite darkness of Demolition - a real highlight in his extensive and highly collectible catalogue.
The first Grouper album in 4 years finds Liz Harris stripped of FX, pairing her vocals with skeletal piano gestures in beautifully pregnant space. For anyone familiar with the miasmic fuzz of Grouper’s previous releases, the relative clarity is quietly shocking in effect, revealing her songs and sound at their most vulnerable, and, in the process, locating a newfound strength in fragility.
Grid Of Points was recorded in Wyoming shortly after Liz finished recording Grouper’s Ruins out in Aljezur, Portugal, and on the most immediate level it seems to describe the difference in recording locations between windswept Atlantic coastline and sparse, landlocked insularity. The seven songs were written over a week and a half, with the process curtailed by a bout of what she describes as “high fever”. What remains forms some of Grouper’s most legible lyrics and intimate instrumentation, with each piece framed by stark, unprocessed space working in the same role usually occupied by her billowing sheets of harmonic distortion.
Untreated and unfiltered, Grouper's voice rings plaintively clear, sometimes layered in ephemeral harmonies or curling off with jazz-soul wise inflections shadowed by modest piano phrasing in a crepuscular style that links back to all her previous work. Yet, in places the clarity is such that it almost feels like we the listeners have just been hearing her songs with clogged ears for the past decade and longer.
Ultimately, these results perhaps most acutely resonate with the etymology of Liz’s moniker - ‘Grouper’ as in member of a Fourth Way commune, The Group, which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, whose mystic meditations surely linger in the magick of Grid Of Points.
Master of minimalist ambient house subtlety, Matt Karmil pivots his 4th album on Smalltown Supersound, which feels like an appropriate stable for the ambient-pop-wise turns of phrase and frayed feels in Will. Where Karmil’s preceding album and 12” with Idle Hands found him at the edge of the ‘floor, this album’s drowsy zig-zag between rustling ambient textures and purring minimal house is for the walk home from the club, or the morning after...
“Karmil’s fourth album, Will, is released on the Norwegian Smalltown Supersound label – the home of Lindstrøm among others. Even more than before Matt has managed to combine his love of the graceful forward motion of minimal techno beats with the deeply granular textures and meditative chambers of reverb and delay. Mastered by the careful hand of Rashad Becker at the legendary Dubplates & Mastering plant, this driverless vehicle takes bumps and curves with ease, but passes through enough scuzzy neighbourhoods to make the journey more memorable.
Before you get to the long ambient closing track, ‘Maffé’, Will contains its share of muted bangers like ‘Morals’ and ‘Can’t Find It (The House Sound)’. While these would vibrate well on the dancefloor, the experience for Matt is primarily a private domestic one. ‘I like to try to create a room to visit, and while it's nice to have details and look out the window occasionally, the fundamental is the room/environment itself – my personal enjoyment of music away from the club is often centred around long form and ambient works.’”
Discrepant delve into the rich history of Crète with Tasos Stamou’s hypnagogically impressionistic mesh of field recordings with processed samples of old records and tapes he picked up over three years of research and visits to the Greek island. The results feel ancient yet somehow modern, accreting (pardon the pun) a texturally fascinating deep topographical reading of local history and tradition
“About the artist: Tasos Stamou is an electroacoustic music composer, performer, alternative music technologist and tutor. During a decade of sound performances and recordings Tasos Stamou developed a unique style of live electroacoustic composition. Long and continuous pieces are created live using a “portable electroacoustic music studio”. His gear consists of acoustic (prepared strings, reeds, objects) and electronic instruments (handmade electronics, modular synthesizer systems soft synths). Based on sustained tonal textures and free improvised instrumental solos, his live compositions create a particular and unique atmosphere of ritual noise. He has collaborated in recording and performing projects with a wide range of free improvisers and sound experimentalists (Adam Bohman, Steve Beresford, Sharon Gal, Alan Wilkinson, London Improvisers Orchestra, Mike Cooper, Andrea Parkins, Kuupuu & Lau Nau, Terry Day, Adachi Tomomi, Ignaz Schick, Magda Mayas, Arma Agharta, Thodoris Ziarkas, etc.).”
Jonny Greenwood presents an elegantly poised OST for Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Phantom Thread’, performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Contemporary Orchestra, and an ensemble including himself and Oliver Coates, among others
“With Phantom Thread, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis. The film’s soundtrack includes eighteen compositions by Greenwood. It was recorded in London with a sixty-member string orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler and is featured more prominently in the film than any of Greenwood’s scores have been before. In addition to the Academy Award nomination, the Phantom Thread soundtrack is up for a BAFTA and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Its many other accolades to date include Best Score prizes from film critics’ associations in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis.;
The composer spoke to Variety about the process of creating a score that reflected the film’s romance and glamour: “We talked a lot about ’50s music, what was popularly heard then as well as what was being written and recorded. Nelson Riddle and Glenn Gould’s Bach recordings were the main references. I was interested in the kind of jazz records that toyed with incorporating big string sections; Ben Webster made some good ones.” Greenwood continues, “The smaller groups, and solo players, work like close-ups [and] not necessarily to accompany [a] visual, but rather, to focus your attention on and make you feel directly engaged with the characters. The bigger orchestral things often worked best for drawing you back to see the bigger situation.”
Anderson and Greenwood’s previous collaborations include the soundtrack for Academy Award–winning There Will Be Blood (2007), The Master (2012), and Inherent Vice (2014), all released by Nonesuch. Indiewire says of their collaboration: “Paul Thomas Anderson fans are well accustomed to how instrumental Jonny Greenwood’s music is to the auteur’s body of work. Whether it’s the foreboding strings in There Will Be Blood or the discordant percussion in The Master, Greenwood’s original scores expertly capture Anderson’s tones. This fact is especially true in Phantom Thread, which marks the fourth collaboration between Anderson and Greenwood.”