Sasu Ripatti's monumental hour-long prog-jazz masterpiece is finally available again in a newly remastered edition and a first vinyl pressing in over two decades. When it was originally released in 2001, it arrived as a culmination of Ripatti's many divergent musical threads, weaving deep house, dub techno and fried textures into a sprawling pseudo-soundtrack to drugged-out excess. It still pretty much sounds like nothing else.
Ripatti was obsessed with Anthony Drazan's 1998 Sean Penn-starrer 'Hurlyburly' when he wrote 'Anima', using it for stylistic inspiration and famously jamming along to a truncated hour-long version as he recorded. "I was in the movie; almost like an extra character playing music," he says in the accompanying press release. Influenced by recreational drug use, the album follows the movie's cycle of cocaine-fuelled repetition, disorientation and paranoia, playing with a sloppy mélange of plastique electronic elements that dip in-and-out of view.
A casual flick through the album's single track doesn't reveal much, but listening from beginning to end mirrors its dream-like merry-go-round, enabled through the use of a DAW - which Ripatti used for the first time on these sessions. Using a MIDI controller to trigger and play sounds, Ripatti mixed the music while watching the film, burying voices in muffled dub echoes and Michael Mann-esque LA synth textures in concrete noodles, attempting to create a longform piece of music that evolved constantly, but barely noticably. If you're familiar with Luomo's timeless 'Vocalcity' or his previous Vladislav Delay album 'Entain', 'Anima' fits somewhere between the two; borrowing the smudged house of 'Vocalcity', but never allowing it to overwhelm its abstracted atmosphere. Instead, he freezes sounds in glacial repetition, maintaining a groove that barely moves from a single melodic refrain.
Corroded bass twangs and psychedelic echoes give the album its relentless motion, but - like an ouroboros - it eats itself continuously, feeding on established formulae to sustain them in perpetuity. As such, 'Anima' is perhaps the dub techno answer to the addictively excessive yacht rock of the '70s and '80s - an album about the drug experience that's rooted in lidless ambition, aesthetic knowledge, Hollywood surreality and literary smarts. When it ends with a splash, it feels like being doused in a bucket of cold water.
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.
A quietly mesmerising work of filigree ambient-folk-pop, the debut album by Slovak-Hunagrian musician Adela Mede is a compelling addition to the energies convened by Glasgow’s Night School, recommended to anyone intrigued by the intersection of early music and contemporary exploration, or into the atmospheric blur of Cucina Povera, Antonina Nowacka, Lucy Dunscombe and Dialect.
Sung in three tongues and set to a backdrop of field recordings laced with phosphorescent details, ‘Szabadság’ was self-released on tape last year and has now been remastered for vinyl by Rupert Clervaux to best represent Adela’s meditations on personal, familial, cultural-folkloric and deep topographic inspirations. Sprouting in the cracks between diaristic DIY collage and early vocal music, it depicts Adela as the central presence with co-production by Andrew PM Hunt (Dialect), and Mark Leckey collaborator Lung Dart infusing a gently nervous electronic mode to the music’s crackling fissures and play of light, while Daša Bulíkova’s harmonious vocals and cello by Hoda Jahanpour compound the music’s captivating qualities.
In certain respects recalling Cucina Povera’s plaintive hymns as much as the poetic quality of Lucy Dunscombe’s visits to the uncanny valley, Mede’s music nevertheless exists in its own dreamlike space governed by weightless physics and atmospheric sensualities. No mistake, there are songs within, but their tentative nature and sometimes unresolved, metaphoric and metamorphic qualities lend to a sand-shifting experience refracting between electro and acoustic dimensions, between songcraft and heady interludes.
We hear all this unravel and diffuse on scene-setter ‘Háromszorra Jövök Össze’, before ’Spolu’ works a fine line of crooked rhythms reminding us of Mira Calix, and ‘Gyöngyvirág’ gets beautifully lost to micro-dosed pastoral whims. ’Sloboda’ features Adela’s voice subtly stressed until it fractures like ceramic, and the final couplet of stark then stately vocal harmonies and hyperreal electronic processing leave us dazed, and enchanted.
Award-winning Cornish bard/film director/screenwriter/cinematographer Mark Jenkin follows his soundtrack to 2019’s brilliant ‘Bait’ with a haunting new accompaniment to ‘Enys Men’ uncannily recalling the crepuscular tone of ’Selected Ambient Works II’ by fellow Cornish legend, AFX
Truly living up to his multi-hyphenate status, Jenkin swaps director’s stool for sound studio to naturally colour the imagery and story of his new film ‘Enys Mens’ with a faithfully eyrie palette of gloaming ambient pads, field recordings and colder industrial tones that inarguably, whether implied or not, strongly compare with AFX’s classic album ‘SAW II’. Maybe it’s down to their roughly shared age or geographic roots, or similar cultural references hailing to ‘70s/‘80s soundtracks, or a mutual sense of whatever the Cornish is for hiraeth, but the uncanny resemblance is certainly remarkable, and even admirable as we don’t use the comparison to one of AFX’s greatest works lightly.
Enter The Temple by Tempo Temple (Caravan & Lord Safari).
"A heavy 12” of elevated machine jams and dance-floor ready heaters.
The A side starts things off with high intrigue initialised through the exotica laden, midtempo weapon Spell. Steezy title track Enter The Temple (Outstanding Invoice Mix) splices together a forward facing arrangement with early Belgian New Beat DNA to create a downtempo track for the ages. On the flip the energy gets boosted up to the maximum.
The heaving Days of Chandra is a pure, non-stop body mover primed to raise a dancer's heart rate. Its companion piece Nights of Chandra raises the pressure and enhances the euphoria. Closing off with the two steppin’ Spell (Transit State Remix), flipping the records opener into the garage and finishing things off in style."
Oh my days, it actually happened; Drexciya’s one-off as Abstract Thought joins Clone’s Aqualung reissue series in its entirety on a 20th anniversary edition, including some all-time classics and girder-strength Detroit electro-techno
Originally presented by The Advent’s Kombination Research label in 2003, ‘Hypothetical Situations’ has achieved near-mythical status thru a combination of the music’s muscular sci-fi thrust and its scarcity on 2nd-hand markets. Despite many Drexciya heads having their own theory, it would be a punt for anyone to attribute the album’s production to either James Stinson or Gerald Donald, and it’s better to regard it as a total classic among their LP “Storms”; one studded with hallmarks of their sound, from lithe improvised keyboard tekkerz to its finely calibrated rhythm programming, but with a viscous quality and shark-eyed focus that distinguishes the six tracks from their kin.
To our ears, it’s vital for the real oddity ‘Me Want Woman’s Punani’, which holds more explicitly to the sort of lascivious track tilting of Dopplereffekt than anything in the Drexciyan canon, and with a loping skank that sounds quite unlike anything else they’ve done, thanks to its subbass depth charges and a face-freezing melodic synth coda to die for. Along with another all-timer in the cascading arps of ‘Bermuda Triangle’ - named for an area of North Atlantic sadly crucial to the Drexciyan mythos - plus the more Laptop Cafe style of ‘Consequences of Cloning’, and the meat-motor club torque of ‘Galactic Rotation’, it’s 100% prime Drexciya that will make many heads bang the walls with glee at its vinyl and digital re-arrival.
Smiling C yield a string of pearls put together with Charles Bal - compiler of teenaged dreams from the Côte D’Azur - now pivoting to forgotten American strains of lo-fi drumcomputer folk, disco-pop-lounge and haunting ballads sourced from obscure vanity pressings
Compiled by Henry Jones and Charles Bals (Club Meduse), ‘America Dream Reserve’ builds on their respective reputations for plucking nuggets with a deep dive into dusty stateside gems from a coterie of names little-known or effectively unknown beyond the most ardent diggers. Tune-for-tune it’s a flawless selection served with a lemon slice and a wink of trust that you can rest very easy for the duration. Sharing the same, deep, effusive spirit as Smiling C’s run of gems hailing from Paris to Middlesbrough via Czechoslovakia, and equally the sun-kissed charm as Bals’ sets of Balearic confectionary on the ‘Club Meduse’ comps, expect a new favourite suite for late night soirées and times when you need to trust the tunes will perfectly colour your background.
Melting on the mind with Micksun’s pastel-toned, Latinate romance in ‘Pagliocca (Sad Clown)’, it flows effortlessly from the pleading lo-fi ballads of ‘Vision’ and ‘Believe’ by Dunn, to dusky soul patter from Stan Barber’s ‘I Saw the Light in Your Eyes’, silky AOR strokes by Bill Welsh, to an unmissable countrified flip of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Perry & Lisa. There’s what sounds like Lewis recorded inside a wet cardboard box in Mark & Suzann Farmer’s husband/wife duet ‘Waiting for the Dawn’ or David Marr’s ‘This Time’, plus gorgeous synth-funk grog in ’Things Are Not What They Seem’ and the pastoral keyboard minimalism of Don Armstrong & Victoria Garvey, and Bourbon-infused country folk by Ed & Pat Gibson to ensure the smoothest night ride.
You almost wonder who to tip at the end. Bravo.
One of the most revered Techno 12" of all time.
Originally released in 1992, this was a landmark moment for techno, affirmation that Detroit and Berlin would be forever linked for thousands of kids who were just starting to wake up to electronic music. Complete with a classic UR mix on the flipside, this record is just about as good as it gets. But you knew that already right??
Tehran-born, NYC-based experimental duo Saint Abdullah follow up last year's astonishing 'Inshallahlaland' with another exploration of Iranian cosmic futures, this time teaming up with Anteloper percussionist Jason Nazary.
Mohammad and Mehdi Mehrabani-Yeganeh have always skated the fringes of jazz. It might be too much to label them as a jazz duo - their recent run of records is far too exploratory for that - but the duo's music has long attempted to reconcile the musical freedom and virtuosic qualities of jazz with electronic production techniques and a vast knowledge of contemporary experimental music. 'Evicted in the Morning' is the closest the brothers have come to a purer form of jazz yet, and while there are echoes of their previous work - '4000 Rat Patrol Posters' from "Insahllahlaland" sounds like a blueprint - it plays like a further step into the abyss. Nazary is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer who's best known for innovative hybridization of electronic and acoustic forms; well suited to Mohammad and Mehdi's sonic architectures, he's able to root their stargazing electric piano improvisations and smoked-out electronics, providing a rhythmic backbone that's weighty but viscous.
On the title track, the brothers mark out their territory with familiar damaged electronic gestures: submerged, rubberized notes bounce unpredictably underneath painterly high pitched squeals. Nazary's pattering, dusted drums are a welcome addition to the palette, splitting the difference between illbient obscurity, jazz reactiveness and hip-hop grit. The trio's music nudges into a space just outside of time, it's sound that suggests a location - a corrupted, repurposed commercial dystopia maybe? - but perpetually reminds you of its incongruousness. The tonality is always slightly disorienting, and the rhythms are propulsive, but unstable. 'The Stub of a Cucumber' has Nazary launching percussive fireworks, exploding in tight rhythmic clusters next to Mohammad and Mehdi's eerie synthetic blips. 'Insistently, Mystically' meanwhile is drafty and fluid, sounding like a dark carnival band reduced to its basest elements: deranged rhythm and manic, heaving melody.
DC rapper NAPPYNAPPA adds freewheeling bars to 'Mirror of Infinity', bouncing words around Nazary's ultra-subtle ping-ponging electronic rhythms and Saint Abdullah's sublime cinematics. This isn't exactly hip-hop and it's not quite spoken word; the four performers react to each others' sounds seemingly in real time, swerving the obvious and driving deep into unclassifiable abstraction. NAPPYNAPPA gives us a narrative to chew on, but it's little we've tasted before. Petter Eldh adds bass guitar to 'Divine Timing Is Intuitive' and 'The Butchers’ Shop', and the latter sounds like a spartan reaction to Tortoise's Chicago-pilled take on post-rock. Typically, it's Mohammad and Mehdi's fragmented synthwork that unmoors us from ur-post rock most jarringly, but Nazary's drumming is also not what it seems, it's more ornate and dissociated than it initially appears on the surface and rarely slips into repetition.
When experimental singer Emelie Weibel joins with dissociated ASMR vocalizations that the trio weave into their subdued glitches and floating world chords, it's an apt conclusion to a voyage that's gonna stay with us for a minute.
Carmen Villain turns out a career best with her fourth album, a confidently conspicuous co-mingling of dub, fourth world jazz, ambient and kosmische modes. Brilliantly eroded, soft-focus music that's wide-ranging thematically, but completely coherent, landing somewhere between Jon Hassell and Rhythm and Sound.
It's fitting that Norwegian trumpet player and vocalist Arve Henriksen appears on 'Gestures', the album's chilly introductory track. It provides an ideal scene-setter for an album that makes us feel like Carmen Hillestad has finally found her groove after years experimenting in alt-folk, shoegaze, bass music and ambient electronic modes. Her music's always been intriguing, but here sounds completely intentional - a unified thought, able to absorb her wild imagination and wide scope of influence, while retaining key elements that provide a lantern lit path thru her mind's garden.
Henriksen's muted trumpet soars like angelic vocals over Hillestad's gamelan-esque rhythm and restrained electronic sound palette, and when he disappears, the mood remains. The stark and mysterious 'Future Memory' recalls Supersilent with its synth and sub-aquatic rhythm; 'Only Love From Now On' lifts Joanna Scheie Orellana's flute high above throbbing subs and granular pads, curating a mood as cloud-busting as Henriksen's career-best 'Opening Image'. But Hillestad is careful to disrupt the mood periodically, providing lucid dubwise interludes like the brief, ketamine-brained 'Liminal Space' and Rhythm and Sound-influenced 'Subtle Bodies'.
These choices add movement without losing clarity, and provide context to anyone paying close attention. Her obsession with dub sonics has been evident since her earliest material, and Hillestad's progression into cosmic jazz sounds as if it's birthed from the same inclinations. She's found a sweet spot between dub's blunt rhythmic lilt and fourth world ambient music's psilocybin ballet, hitting a note that's eminently re-playable.
Basic Channel present a full 14 minute version of 'Q-Loop' backed with first ever vinyl cuts of 'Q 1.2' and 'Mutism' - previously found on the 'BCD' (1995) and Scion's 'Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks' releases.
The ‘Q Loop’ 12” was a very late addition to Basic Channel’s sacred vinyl catalogue in 2014, some 20 years since the seminal series had appeared to cease. To the relief of many BC and dub techno fiends, the 12” finally presented a full 14 minute version of the title tune ‘Q Loop’, which was previously only found in a truncated 5 min form on 1995’s ‘BCD’ release, and backed with two other formerly CD exclusives; the sublime, scudding chords of ‘Q1.2’, and iridescent greyscale ambient thizz of ‘Mutism’ - arguably one of the most beautiful, enigmatic, abstract dub works of all time.
All three cuts of ‘Q Loop’ were surely adored by anyone who owned the ‘BCD’ compilation, or loved the way Scion manipulated them into the unparalleled mix ‘Arrange & Process Basic Channel Tracks’, and, like many others, we can recall getting a right chuff-on when they landed. Now just shy of 30 years since their creation, all three parts are still untouchable works of genius; planting a flag in the space between kosmiche, Detroit techno, and dub, proper, that’s never been snatched, no matter how many producers attempt to.
100% essential - some of the greatest techno, dub and ambient experiments ever made.
Originally released in 1996, Neutral Milk Hotel's 'On Avery Island'.
"Fire Records re-press Neutral Milk Hotel’s explosive 1996 debut ‘On Avery Island’. Jeff Mangum's songs are cryptic and crazed, his ideas fast and furious, and together they force the home-recording concept out of the basement and into a brave new world, a fuzzy masterpiece of experimental lo-fi recording. Full of rapid-fire wordplay with true and heartfelt experimentation, both ambitious and eclectic, it's not hard to see why this has been such an influential album. Part of the fabled Elephant 6 collective, Neutral Milk Hotel won over many a music critic with this cult classic.
The band are recognized as one of the most influential alternative acts to come out of the mid-90s and sowed the seeds for everything from anti-folk to the likes of Arcade Fire, Caribou and even Franz Ferdinand."
cktrl coolly defines a sound in the space between pre-electric modal jazz, avant-R&B, and ambient classical with grandly staged, yet introspective, instrumental orchestrations.
‘Yield’ follows from the London-based clarinetist/saxophonist’s standout EP ‘Zero’ (2022) with a more concerted focus on stripping it all back to author an original sound. Placing the clarinet in acres of widescreen space against sweeping strings, keys and the wordless vocals of Ophie, he colours his canvas with a palette of richly nocturnal blues and purple instrumental tones that recall the most sublime Don Cherry works which would in turn inspire Jon Hassell and summon Bohren und Der Club of Gore’s duskiest gear.
Stemming from a period of grief and heartbreak that prompted him to reevaluate his music, and galvanised by a desire to change the narrative around contemporary British Black music, cktrl reordered his sound from the ground up with luxurious yet self-contained results, swaying back and forth between purely instrumental expression and two standout vignettes with Ophie, whose aching cadence matches the music most beautifully, reminding of serpentwithfeet on the heart-in-mouth suspense of ‘Lucidly’, and cradled in bluest ambient jazz soul space on ‘Love + War’.
But cktrl is the star of the show throughout, from the opening shimmer of keys and lonesome sax on ‘Yield’, opening up to unspoken emotions in centrepiece ‘Night I Pine’ with a psychedelic soul shades away from certain Klein works, before tying it off with a ribbon in the programmatic 9 minute closing sequence ‘Marcescent’, seamlessly eliding Alice Coltrane like symphonic strings and operatic soul vocals with his pealing sax in a unique form of baroque jazz soul.
Transfixing, Rastafarian roots reggae mysticism from Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks & Count Ossie’s force of nature unit, returning to orbit on its 50th anniversary edition - 100% essential for fans of Nyabinghi drumming, Dadawah, The Congos, Sun Ra, John Coltrane
Out of sight for too long, save for its 2016 Japanese pressing, ‘Grounation’ rightfully takes its mantle as a foundational expression of Afro-rooted, soul-jazz spiritual consciousness heard thru the prism of Jamaican music. Led by master Nyabinghi drummer Count Ossie (and his African Drums ensemble of crack Rasta players), coloured with the joyful, quietly lamenting, and powerful sax of Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks, and voiced by the poetic declarations of Brother Samuel Cayton; the sprawling body of work is a landmark of Jamaican music that Soul-Jazz respectfully compare with Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ in terms of its historic impact and a cultural statement of that time, when a rising African diasporic consciousness was emerging and disseminated in the early ‘70s via its most vitally transcendent medium; music. Just jaw-dropping, hauntingly life-affirming stuff from any angle. Deserves a place on every self-respecting music lover’s shelf.
“The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari group came into existence at the start of 1970s, the union of two artists of equal repute – Count Ossie and his African Drums and saxophonist Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks’ and his group, The Mystics. Both Ossie and Brooks were alumni from the great Studio One Records.
Master drummer Count Ossie and his collective of Rastafarian drummers performed for Haile Selassie on his momentous visit to Jamaica in 1966. Cedric Brooks came out of the Alpha Boys School – the fertile breeding ground of musicians who dominated the Jamaican music scene from the 1960s onwards; Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Johnny Moore, Headley Bennett, Johnny Osbourne, Yellowman, Leroy Smart, Bobby Ellis, Joe Harriott, Eddie Thornton, Vin Gordon, Rico Rodriguez, Owen Gray, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace and more.
The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari’s ‘Grounation’ is a massive opus, a work of profound musical genius that tells the story of Jamaica through music and words. The album is a cornerstone in the history of reggae, a unique and other-worldly album the like of which has never been made since.”
Over a decade since he began ripping/restitching post-punk/industrial/EBM templates, Powell turns to contemporary avant-classical with his multi-channel commission for an LCO sextet, recorded at a 24-hour concert in 2022 and here reduced to stereo and mastered by Russell Haswell
“Diagonal return after a two year break for babies and growing up with a stunning multi-channel recording of a performance by Powell and London Contemporary Orchestra at Barbican Centre in January, 2022. Spanning 37 minutes, Twenty-Six Lives accelerates Powell’s recent line of escape to who-knows-where via a sound with rare conceptual and emotional power. Presented here in special edition PMS 910c sleeve, the music traverses hi-def electronics, extreme computer music and cloud composition, and was performed as part of LCO’s seminal 24-hour concert in 2022 that featured electro-acoustic works by John Cage, Éliane Radigue, Mica Levi, Alvin Lucier, Morton Feldman, Michael Gordon, and James Tenney.
Twenty-Six Lives is not an album of electronics and orchestra, but one where the fusion of soundworlds is complete, with no clear demarcations between the two, and where it’s unclear whether sounds are produced acoustically or digitally, creating a living dance between synthetic and real-world instrumentation. The ‘lives’ have been liberated from the original three-hour performance, dutifully recorded in multi-channel, edited into a single flow, and lovingly mastered by Russell Haswell. They only have beginnings, middles and ends in so far as the actors started or stopped playing. The artwork by Guy Featherstone contains parts of the instrumental score written by LCO founder and director Robert Ames, the structure of which is reminiscent of those from core minimalist compositions, operating as a sequence of short transcribed objects which will never be played the same twice. The instruments include double bass, cello, viola, clarinet, flute and percussion, all exploited for their timbres and acoustic envelopes.
There are gossamer shimmers, strings soaring, wild spatial movements, light beams, frothing clouds and occasional outpourings of acid rain; splintered rhythms somehow recall Powell’s earliest bone-dry mechanisations on Diagonal. A text-to-speech rendering of a written object from his ever-inflating a folder idea [afolder.studio] also rears its head. Twenty-Six Lives marks a wildly conceptual and musically ambitious new phase in the life of a fully revitalised artist who continues to challenge the constructions and conventions of how we make and listen to sound.”
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."
The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel box set from Merge Records.
"The two full-length records that Jeff Mangum made as Neutral Milk Hotel sound both in and out of time. Like translations of a shared subconscious, 1996’s On Avery Island and 1998’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea give voice to the perennial spirit of youthful epiphany, of beginning to see the world clearly, to process and express it—no matter when you encounter them. With lo-fi indie rock, accordion, singing saw, tape collages, the so-called “zanzithophone” and beyond, Neutral Milk Hotel created an eternal entry into their Elephant 6 scene and an enduring feeling of possibility.
Mangum was born in the small city of Ruston, Louisiana, coming of age within the ’80s and ’90s indie and punk undergrounds, a movement of teenagers recording in their bedrooms, sharing zines and trading tapes, listening to hardcore and experimental music on college radio. For all the mythology Mangum’s elusive persona has accrued, it’s the beguiling songs themselves that have resonated so deeply for generations. In 2011, Mangum collected nearly all of the band’s recorded output in a limited-edition box set (self-released under Neutral Milk Hotel Records, a small operation helmed by Mangum and his mother) which is now being updated for wide reissue by the band’s longtime label Merge Records."
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea LP is 11 tracks pressed 33RPM to black vinyl in a gatefold jacket + printed insert for full album download.
On Avery Island 2LP is 12 tracks pressed to double black vinyl in a gatefold jacket + 11 x 11 printed insert + printed insert for full album download. Sides A, B and C pressed 45RPM. Side D pressed 33RPM.
Live at Jittery Joe’s 12” picture disc is 11 tracks pressed 33RPM to a full color picture disc in a heavyweight poly jacket + printed insert for full album download.
Ferris Wheel on Fire 10” is 8 tracks pressed 45RPM to black vinyl in a printed jacket + postcard insert + printed insert for full album download.
Everything Is 10” is 7 tracks pressed 45RPM to black vinyl in a printed jacket + postcard insert + printed insert for full album download.
“Little Birds” 7” is 2 tracks pressed 45RPM to black vinyl in a printed jacket + printed insert for full album download. 7” housed in a heavyweight poly jacket.
“You’ve Passed” 7” is 2 tracks pressed 45RPM to black vinyl in a printed jacket + printed insert for full album download. 7” housed in a heavyweight poly jacket.
“Holland” 7” is 2 tracks pressed 45RPM to black vinyl in a printed jacket + printed insert for full album download. 7” housed in a heavyweight poly jacket.
2 folded posters, each printed one side and each 24” x 24” when flat.
1 postcard, printed front and back with box set information and sized 3.75” x 5”.
All of above assembled in a 12" two-piece telescoping case-wrapped box.
"On Avery Island" 2LP
Side A (45 RPM)
1 Song Against Sex
2 You've Passed
3 Someone Is Waiting
Side B (45 RPM)
4 A Baby For Pree
5 Marching Theme
6 Where You'll Find Me Now
Side C (45 RPM)
7 Avery Island/April 1st
8 Garden Head/Leave Me Alone
9 Three Peaches
Side D (33 RPM)
11 April 8th
12 Pree-Sisters Swallowing A Donkey's Eye
"In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" LP
Side A (33 RPM)
1 The King Of The Carrot Flowers Part One
2 The King Of The Carrot Flowers Parts Two & Three
3 In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
4 Two-Headed Boy
5 The Fool
6 Holland, 1945
7 Communist Daughter
Side B (33 RPM)
8 Oh Comely
11 Two-Headed Boy Part Two
"Ferris Wheel On Fire" 10"
Side A (45 RPM)
1 Oh Sister
2 Ferris Wheel On Fire
4 April 8th
Side B (45 RPM)
5 I Will Bury You In Time
7 A Baby For Pree/Glow Into You
8 My Dream Girl Don't Exist
"Everything Is" 10"
Side A (45 RPM)
1 Everything Is
2 Here We Are (For W. Cullen Hart)
Side B (45 RPM)
4 Tuesday Moon
5 Ruby Bulbs
6 Snow Song
7 Aunt Eggma Blow Torch
"Little Birds" 7"
Side A (45 RPM)
1 Little Birds
Side B (45 RPM)
2 Little Birds (Studio Version)
"You've Passed" 7"
Side A (45 RPM)
1 You've Passed
Side B (45 RPM)
2 Where You'll Find Me Now
Side A (45 RPM)
1 Holland, 1945
Side B (45 RPM)
"Live At Jittery Joe's" 12" Picture Disk
Side A (33 RPM)
1 A Baby For Pree
2 Two-Headed Boy
3 I Will Bury You In Time
4 Garden Head/Leave Me Alone
5 Two-Headed Boy Part Two
6 I Love How You Love Me
Side B (33 RPM)
9 King Of Carrot Flowers Part Two
10 King Of Carrot Flowers Part Three
11 Oh Comely
The album where it all started getting properly weirdo. Trust we were scratching our heads for a long while on the day this landed at the shop all the way back in 2001. The opening Gamelan piece was easy enough on the ears, but after that it took a bit of spatial re-adjustment to spot and ride the groove.
Before Confield, Ae had followed up the divisive but deeply listenable 'LP5' with the more algorithmically-informed 'EP7', and while the Max/MSP software Sean Booth and Rob Brown were beginning to center their workflow around had helped shape that record, there were still traces of the OG DNA in the foundations. On 'Confield', gone were the melancholy pads and breakdance pulses, replaced by serpentine computer-aided melodies, radical sound design flexes and rhythms that sounded as if they would reset as soon as they got trapped in a groove.
Always eager to confuse, Confield opens with 'VI Scose Poise', a track that's loaded with the frustrating momentum of a kettle that never boils. Made up of frozen tones that suggest rhythms without evolving into a discernible beat, it plays with expectations, introducing a weightless synth melody that sounds almost like vintage Autechre, but not quite. 'Cfern' doubles down, splicing zig-zagging non-melodies with unstable boom bap lurches; if critics thought "Tri Repetae" was the sound of a washing machine winding down from a spin cycle, now there were bricks in the drum. Fan favorite 'Pen Expers' edges closest to the stuttering delirium of 'LP5', but by 'Parhelic Triangle' we've been dragged to the duo's furthest perimeters, subjected to cybernetic gamelan tones and a beat that sounds like rubber bands pinging off petrified furniture.
Listening two decades later, ideas that felt knotty and loaded in an age when algorithmic art was still in its infancy sound shockingly prophetic. In 2023, algorithmic integration isn't an experimental concept, it's made its way to dubstep, pop, techno and beyond; it commands and manipulates our consumption of cultural information as a society in ways we've stopped perceiving. With 'Confield' Autechre were showing us not just a vision of their creative future, but of our collective destiny. It was a line in the sand that splits their catalog neatly, and while they'd continue to make nods to the BC era (er, "before Confield"), their sound forever shifted. The fact that so many purveyors of so-called IDM are still stuck trying to figure out how to re-write 'Flutter' should be all the evidence you need as why that stylistic progression was completely necessary, whether we were ready or not.
With Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986 we dig deeper into those sounds of bubble-era Japan. From the proto-City Pop funk of Bread & Butter and Eiichi Ohtaki to the crate-digger favorites Eri Ohno and Piper, the latest entry in Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series brings another set of sought-after tunes, most of which have never before been available outside of Japan.
"When Light In The Attic released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in 2019, it was the first collection of its kind to be released outside Japan. It proved to be just what music fans had been waiting for—a compilation of sought-after tracks that had been nearly impossible to obtain unless you were well-connected with dealers and collectors, or traveled regularly to the countless record stores in Japan. Pacific Breeze included Minako Yoshida, Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and Haruomi Hosono among other key players of ‘70s-’80s Japanese City Pop, the nebulous genre that encompassed an “amalgam of AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie and disco, all a touch dizzy with tropical euphoria,” as we described it the first time around.
Tomoko Aran and Anri, also included in this compilation, are just a few of the artists who have gained popularity in recent years thanks to Vaporwave, the meme-genre that heavily samples Japanese City Pop to create its particular aesthetic.
Pacific Breeze 2 once again feature the artwork of renowned Tokyo-based illustrator Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have become synonymous with City Pop. Nagai’s urban tropical imagery is a perfect match for the expertly curated tunes, evoking a certain sense of nostalgia for the leisure lifestyles of ‘70s-’80s Tokyo, while simultaneously being perfectly in tune with the current zeitgeist."
A House Of My Own by Mark Grusane via Disctechno.
"Mark Grusane's latest offering, A House of My Own is a testament to his long-standing discipleship to the craft of producing hard-hitting house tracks with authenticity and depth.
The title-bearing opener on A1 strongly demonstrates this notion with a slew of raw bass stabs and emotive pads leading through a battery of driven percussion in a manner that calls to mind those early 90's Mr. Fingers records. While A2's Essence of Life (Afterhours Mix) takes us further into the darkness with a spiraling timber of percussions lain over distorted vocal arrangements, the "Daytime Mix" of A3 builds on the momentum of its predecessor with a robust uplifting synth lead and sounds of atmospheric ambiance added to the mixture, effectively taking the composition to an entirely new level.
B1 kicks off punching and swinging with the track Knock knock, Who's there?, a ferocious gut-puncher of a track that sees classic Chicago "beat-track" style 909 arrangements lay over an intense saturated 303 bassline that relentlessly worms its way throughout the mix with a booming urgency. B2 sees a turn for the naughty on the track Love And Lust with a xxx-rated vocal line slithering its way through the track, sandwiched in between high-pitched keys and a slinky drumline. Finally, Jack Your Ass Off closes out the album and ties it all together on B3 showcasing the full-fledged insanity of the classic trademark Chicago "jack" style that sees the title of the track frantically screamed over and over though a sampler amid hard hitting drums and 303s engineered to make you dance like a freak."
Black Strobe’s Arnaud Rebotini does strapping EBM, replete with gloomy vox and a sexy French sauce
Depending your tolerance for hoary EBM vocals this one’s either a winner or nicht nicht. We can’t help but feel that the sleek canter of ‘I Drive East’ would be better without the cheesy vocal, but it mostly doesn’t spoil the sleazier grind of ‘The Spark in Her Eye’, and is relatively reserved to barked declamations in the propulsive form of ‘I Chose Hate’. Best of all is the instrumental ‘Death Rides a Horse, swapping out vox for gripping synth arrangements with a particular Lowlands/Teutonic feel.
Enchantingly oddball debut LP of psych-folksy dream cartography inspired by traditions of Brittany and beyond, from Pauline Marx (née La Fureur de Vouivre) as Le Diable Degoutant - RIYL Roxane Metayer, Oï Les Ox, Teresa Winter, Natural Snow Buildings
“Pauline Marx, formerly of the fantastic duo La Fureur de Vouivre, seems like a being from another time and place; namely, an escaped marauder lurking in the forests of a Bruegel painting and integrating the surreal flora and fauna of a Boschian creation into the scenery and lore of deep Brittany. Her invented mythology is loaded with murky rituals and contorted mantras, backed by the surprising sounds and textures of terrains so earthly and so unreal.
The Devil at the Crossroads. Where do you think you come from? Where do you think you're going? Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate: you, with the noodle to the four winds, who pass the threshold of this disc, you better leave all hope there, and glide in the poisonous footstep of the devil your guide.
Where do you think you come from? The mountain is no longer just the mountain; after your passage, it will no longer even be a mountain. Like the whole landscape, it will have been eaten, sauced by invisible leeches. Your nostalgia for the ground and your thirst to find the source will have only discovered a forest of vain words and foul water. Where do you think you're going? At the crossroads, the world is consumed in the previous future. Only the devil will know how to make you overcome the disgust of traditions, and only the love for the devil will give you enough vim to reach your goal: a village, perhaps, but which belongs to no one, a haven to your excessiveness .
The dark tradition to which this game of ternary trampling belongs, like the rhythm of a heart in tune with the inverted world, has no country and no assigned time. Rather a topology of Eve awakened after a thousand-year sleep, an idiosyncratic and possessed reading of our common humus, made up of stories composted in the limbo of the past, of songs captured in extremis vitae and rebus in the privatized antechambers of death.
What does she tell us about? Of our automobile and in love roamings, of the porosity of the membranes that separate beings and things, of the constant inversion of signs. The seventeen stages of this short journey, where intertwine the throbbing of objects, blown horns and rubbed horsehair, form the map of a country never to be found, ours, where only the voice of an old child and the disgusting devil's poisonous charm can guide us.”
On-U Sound captain Adrian Sherwood hails the unsung influence of female reggae artists with a globe-trotting showcase of Hindi, Romani, Arabic and other voices
““Dub No Frontiers is inspired by and features women vocalists we knew from the UK or had met while travelling around the world,” says Adrian Sherwood, the On-U Sound producer and the brainchild behind the project. “Many of the singers said they felt the dub/reggae arena was a male preserve and a little intimidating even, so we decided to invite artists to write and perform a song of their choice, all with non-English lyrics on our rhythm tracks.” There’s no arguing that the most famous names in reggae are those of men. Despite reggae’s reputation for calling out injustice and inequality in its rebel music, it is still very much dominated by male voices, male producers and male musicians.
And yet women have been key in shaping the music’s identity from its very inception. Back in the 40s the folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley laid the groundwork, championing the island’s native patois in her poetry; in the 50s dancer Anita ‘Margarita’ Mahfood campaigned for the public acceptance of Rastafarians, then persecuted and seen as outcasts, utilising the Rastafarian drumming troupe Count Ossie and The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari at her recitals while Patricia Chin co-founded the legendary Randy’s Record Mart (she currently helms VP Records). In the 60s Millie Small introduced ska to an international audience with her hit My Boy Lollipop and Sonia Pottinger began her producing career bringing innovation from behind the desk. Then, of course, there are those great female voices from Phyllis Dillon to Lady Saw who have pushed the music forward from rocksteady to dancehall and beyond.
Adrian Sherwood of course knows his musical herstory and has spent a lifetime working as an ally with female artists from the very beginnings of his On-U Sound label with the New Age Steppers, a supergroup he co-founded with the Slits singer Ari Up that also featured Neneh Cherry, Vivian Goldman and Vicki Aspinall in its line-up. He also released New York-no wave singer Judy Nylon’s sole album 1982’s Pal Judy, worked with Akabu, the all-female reggae band and premiered Shara Nelson of Massive Attack fame on his label issuing her 1983 debut single Aiming At Your Heart. He also put out Short And Sweet, the 1992 debut album from Annie Anxiety Bandez under the Little Annie moniker and aided his daughter Denise Sherwood’s auspicious first album 2020’s This Road on Evergreen Recordings.
For Sherwood and his On-U Sound collective there are no frontiers and yet when he started travelling around the world, he began hearing the same story repeated over and over from the female artists he came across, how they felt doors were closed to them because of their gender. The idea behind the Dub No Frontiers album then is to provide a platform for some of the great international female artists currently operating to unite and celebrate in dub. The results are spectacular: the 10 tracks, produced by Sherwood with half co-produced with the late great Lincoln ‘Style’ Scott and arranged by Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald, ring out with a vibrancy, richness and energy. From Rita Morar’s Meri Awaaz Suno (Hear My Voice), a fragile, beautiful piece sung in Hindi over the Sacred Ground Rhythm and Tunisia’s Neyssatou’s potent take on Bob Marley’s War sung in Arabic to Kerieva’s hypnotic Chavale sung in Romani, this is all crucial stuff.”
Anthony Shakir’s wild one-off with Brian & Marty Bonds and Kech Harrington (Strand) is back in circulation on a 25 year reissue with harbonder.
The ‘Techno Hustlers’ EP jacks pure Motor City grit in four cuts swung raw and direct. Originally released on Goal Line Records (a sublabel of Shake’s Frictional), it goes hard, spaced out and freaky.
There’s a heavy duty slugger slathered with messed-up vox on ‘Tehcno Hustlers’, and darkside electro with killer choral pads on ‘Pro One’, plus the typically itchy Shake edits on the writhing percolator ‘Air’, and a lick of spaced-out electro tang in the rusted circuitry of ‘Thug Futura’. Trust you aren’t going to find an original any time soon - do your thing!
Peter Gabriel’s Real World host a memorable introduction to Guadeloupe’s Polobi & The Gwo Ka Masters, showcasing the 69 y.o. vocalist singing his heart out over dubby free-jazz, psych-funk and Cuban-meets-Congolese rhythms.
"A song of the earth, deeply rooted in tradition. Its deep growling tone pierces the air, with a curious speech-song full of resonances, but resembling nothing else on the musical map. The voice is that of Moïse Polobi, 69 years old, descended from a family of former slaves. He’s been singing and sounding his djembé-like Gwo ka drums since childhood, heart-beating the memory of his ancestors in Guadeloupe. He was initiated at an early age, thanks to his dancer mother, who guided him into the intricate universe of lewoz, traditional gatherings where mind and body commune, boosted by the explosion of drums and the chants of singers.
At twelve, Polobi entered the circle of a lewoz. “And from then on, my life was music.” The dance was also important, for one who won a five-franc piece for accomplishing two or three steps during a communal festival where Guy Konket, a renowned singer for all generations, was performing. This was another revelation. Since then, Polobi has remained faithful to the one he calls his ‘master’. “I took every opportunity to listen to Konket. I learned a lot from hearing him about how to project my voice.”
Polobi progressed, establishing himself as one of the masters of toumblak, the most famous Gwo ka rhythm today, associated with love, happiness and fertility dances among the many groups that make the drums resound in Guadeloupe. Based in his hometown of Petit-Bourg, his band is called Indestawas Ka, an ensemble with whom he’s performed in France and Canada, with eight albums behind them. However, it wasn’t until past his well-deserved retirement that the farm worker and lumberjack recorded under his own name. With a cap on his head, half rebel, half joker, Polobi comes over as a natural mystic, to borrow a song title from Bob Marley.
Recorded both during sessions at home and other sessions in the studio, the raw material at the heart of this disc was then entrusted to the good care of Paris-based Doctor L, a sound explorer for thirty years and producer of Les Amazones d’Afrique and Congolese group Mbongwana Star. Taking control he adds his distinctive touches, such as Cuban rhythms in place of the ka drum on ‘Neg Africa’. Curious echoes and delays, sounds recorded directly in the surrounding nature, techniques derived from free jazz and funk, all project the gwo ka into a new dimension. It’s an unprecedented hybrid for Polobi in which he becomes something like a dub poet. “This music is moving forward,” agrees Polobi, for whom this excursion into the electronic world is a first. Although he adds: “But in the end, the spirit of gwo ka remains!”
In both form and substance, the age-old wisdom has been transformed by these sound machines in tune with a new millennium. This transformation simultaneously acts as a bridge towards the unknown and towards a younger generation. Just as the prophetic message of poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, also from Martinique, said the principle of Creolisation was to exchange with the other without getting lost or distorted. It’s a principle that’s clearly followed in this music.”
Celebrating its one hundredth release, Black Truffle presents a major archival discovery: a stunning document of the only performance by the trio of Tony Conrad, Arnold Dreyblatt and Jim O’Rourke.
The flyer for the 2001 performance at long-shuttered NYC experimental venue Tonic read "massive, ecstatic, pulsating overtones," and it's impossible to describe it better than that. David Weinstein had organized the two-night programme, and O'Rourke, Dreyblatt and Conrad performed separately before resonating together on a collaborative show both evenings. The first night's performance featured Dreyblatt's ensemble, and the second (presented here in full) was as a trio that underscored the cross-generational influence of Conrad's anti-elitist experimental minimalism. Berlin-based composer Dreyblatt was shepherded towards Conrad's music when he was an archivist for La Monte Young in the mid-1970s, while O'Rourke - ever the music nerd - had been a devotee since he was young, and had the chance to perform with Conrad many times since the 1990s. Both artists acknowledged the impact Conrad had on their work, whetherhis innovative use of tuning (particularly just intonation) or his work with dream music, later renamed drone music.
The meeting of the trio represents three waves of minimalist expression, indivisibly connected. Dreyblatt writes in the accompanying liner notes that the performers and listeners were positioned in "Tony's sonic universe" for the duration, transported by Conrad's unusual pitch combinations and accentuated amplifications. But the description only scratches the surface; while O'Rourke and Dreyblatt seem somewhat deferential as well as referential to Conrad, their collaboration isn't exactly comparable to anything else in Conrad's catalog. The transportive dissonance of the three string drones isn't a million miles from "Four Violins", but the sonics feel new, ramping from woozy spiraling to intense tonal maximalism that's as visceral as any power electronics performance. In the middle section, the separate drones seem to eat into each other's space, as if the music was slowly disintegrating.
As it oozes into the third act, there's a sense of ecstasy that simmers just beneath the surface. It's a reminder that drone music (or indeed dream music) doesn't have to be oppressive or dark. Conrad, Dreyblatt and O'Rourke's meditation on intonation, feedback and harmonic space was shockingly ahead of its time over two decades ago - in 2023, it still sounds like a transmission from an alternate future.
Early ‘80s Germany’s answer to Depeche Mode resurface on Mannequin with reissue of the duo’s revered debut, augmented by an hour of previously unheard demos
The Actor’s ’Exploded View’ is a true underground perennial of minimal synth-pop and new wave originally released by Dutch label Trumpett in 1982, and subsequently Mannequin in 2014 abreast of an explosion of interest in ‘80s machine music annals. This 2023 edition still packs the band’s sole album, studded with gems such as the slow and sleazy opener ‘Unreal Personality’, a lean precedent for Dopplereffekt in ‘Covergirl’, and the Foxxy slow dance of ‘Seit Wir Uns Kennan’, but now also backed with an hour of unreleased material spanning demos 1981-1984 certain to satisfy lovers of rustiest synth tang and synth-pop pep.
We advise one to check for the wildly overdriven bassline on ‘Wählerisch (Demo)’, the blistered tape of ‘Picture 201 (demo)’, a proper pre-echo of John Maus in ’40-50-60’, and the supremely bittersweet tone of ‘UCX-S (Demo)’ if you like licking batteries and pouting in the mirror.
Punjabi-American sitar player, vocalist and ambient musician Ami Dang returns to Leaving Records for another fractured fusion of North Indian classical music and edgy euphoric pop. Somewhere between Grimes, Björk and arushi jain.
While Ami Dang's Leaving debut "Parted Plains" showcased her experimental side with a suite of electronic ambient tracks that fused Indian elements with synthesized bleeps and textures, 2020's Galdre Visions project linked her with Diva Dompe, Nailah Hunter and Olive Ardizoni (aka Green House) and explored the outer realms of pop. "The Living World's Demands" unifies her wide range of interests, showcasing both her production skills, sitar playing, and vocals (in English and Punjabi). The songs are poppy, but never shy from their South Asian inspirations.
Dang's vocals are the key here - she studied voice and sitar in New Deli and Maryland, and her classical training gives her an edge. It's an unexpected mix of sounds, but makes sense on Leaving Records, who have been searching for the malleable and permeable membrane between global genres for years now. If you've been uninspired by Björk's recent forays into gabber and mushroom logic, this record should re-invigorate the senses.
Plucky midi funk and kerned disco tricks from Berlin’s Funkycan - a regular collaborator of Max Graef and alum of Out To Lunch - doing it with ample cuboid charm for fans of Max D, Ceephax, Christian Love Forum, Novo Line, L.G. Mair, Jr.
‘Funkycan’ is German artist Ömür Can Kilic aka Funkycan’s definitive album statement in this mode, some decade after his early work arrived on Anthony Naples’ Fact mix, and when he first stepped out on record with Murat Tepeli & Damiano von Eckert in The Ava Brothers. It is Funkycan’s ode to the art of midi-funk, and shuffling boxes on a screen, resulting chewy chunks of slap-bass, warped vox and skewed synths shaped into playfully daft bits of new jack swang and squirming offbeat jazz-funk.
There are clear precedents for this sound in the recently reissued work of L.G., Mair, Jr. - a slap funk bassist at a New York comedy club, who also made this sorta gear - and the likes of Novo Line, who laboriously works up a funk from twin Amigas, and we can now safely add Funkycan to that niche with his eponymous debut LP.
If we’re playing favourites, the pendulous, acidic new jack swang of ‘cdown’ with its cracking snares, ragtime blooz riffs and oily machine gunk is up there, as is the bendy, dubbed-out strut of ’Skylounge (Demoversion pc2 TBZ)’, and his curdled ‘Outro’ ft. Yoga Peit, or the loose charms of ‘Nite’n’d’ recalling Christian Love Forum, but it’s all likely to prod the buttons of heads that grew up with 8-bit game soundtracks and whose first fuck with computer music was midi trackers in the ‘90s/‘00s, and who will recognise his skill in chiselling out this kinda funk from scratch, and dry grids.
Oren Ambarchi gets the very best out of Ricardo Villalobos by tasking the veteran Chilean rhythmatician with emphasising the rhythmic backbone he produced for Ambarchi’s Hubris album.
In one of those every-few-year spikes of genius we see from Ricky V, he goes microscopic on the levels of insectoid, Afro-latin groove mechanics, tweaking ever bar into an organic twist and resolution of the last in an achingly tight yet loose, micro-to-macro masterstroke that sounds something like Beatrice Dillon reworking This Heat or Depeche Mode on a granular synthesis tip.
Nick León's Future Times debut slots into the label's club library like a quarter in a pinball table. Time-distorted hard-swung grooves that stir León's customary polyrhythms into house and techno architectures that point directly at the stars.
León's been on an impressive roll in the last couple of years - check the NAAFI-released 'Aguacero' if u missed it - but this tight set of febrile bouncers transposes his variant club constructions into near-sacred locales. The first three tracks play like a continuous narrative, slapping faded percussion over environmental squeaks and synths that harmonize with recent deployments from Amazondotcom and Siete Catorce. 'Blue Data' lays rhythm over rhythm, referencing pre-Hispanic South American microtonality while sliding perpetually towards a Fourth World k-hole. It's smart, fwd-thinking dance music that sits outside of obvious genre classifications - maybe it's techno? It's sci-fi, sure, but archeologically so, hinting at the kind of cultural-historical backdrop that used to be a genre staple in the Drexciyan era.
The flipside is comparatively lighter - 'Gum Tree' sounds like a 2nd wave Detroit rework of BoC's 'Geogaddi' rage, while 'Sewer System' reduces the electro formula to pinprick rattles, setting stark percussion against a lilting reggaeton-adjacent sonic boom. A collaboration with Apron/L.I.E.S. veteran Greg Beato, it shows León's range; he sounds equally limber operating within a wide spectrum of club modes, but his signature is a reliable constant. It's an alien sound from way out, grounded in Miami dancefloor literacy and algebraic rhythmic knowhow.
Epic set from Jak beat freak Jon Nicolson, riding rawest machine rhythms somewhere between Suicide and Traxx on his 2nd and most significant release to date.
Nicolson has used the S.S.P.S. (or S.S. Pyramid Snake) handle since a 2008 split with Led er Est, back when he also played in Animal Collective-affiliated psych rock group Excepter. His tunes have landed on James Holden’s DJ-Kicks mix and the likes of L.I.E.S. over the years, now leading to ‘The Life and Times of GiGi Black’ on Traxx’s cult label, Nation.
Spread over four LP's, it’s an in-depth survey behind the curtain of hi studio spanning amphetamine steppers to K-holing screwballs and harder-to-place expressions of synthy grot and noise that are best considered akin to Beau Wanzer’s brand of weirdness or the rusty EBM industrialism of Liquid G, as much as Suicide, Throbbing Gristle, and jak beat standard bearer Melvin Oliphant III (Traxx) or the crankiest Tuning Circuits.
More than anything, SSPS prizes synth hardware’s potential to produce potently acrid flavours and timbres, which he subsequently squashes and kerns into the sleaziest and hypnotic grooves. It’s a strong example of hybridising avant/alt.rock thrust into club music, and vice-versa, without chucking the baby out with the bathwater. The steep shelf price may put some off, but those willing to fork out will be privy to some of the gnarliest tackle we’ve heard for ages - be warned: it’s not getting re-pressed.
20th anniversary reissue of Æ’s particularly cranky batch, exploring avant-B-Boy steez and emulsified CPU innards against the grain of an increasingly retro-fixated electronic music field in 2003.
After flipping electronic music on its baldy bonce with ‘LP5’ (1998), and paring it back to slippery algorithmic asssymetry on ‘Confield’ (2001), Autechre found a sweetspot between the thrust and aesthetics of those albums with follow-up ‘Draft 7.30’. It’s what we could loosely call Autechre in their 3.0 phase, before its finale 2005’s ‘Untilted’ triggered a new cyborganic sound that has persistently, unpredictably mutated ever since, while keeping some semblance of their spirits in the matrix.
With benefit of hindsight ’Draft 7.30’ feels caught in flux between their ‘90s and ‘00s periods. Late ‘90s necksnap hip hop instrumentals dissolve/resolve in truncated, fractal spirals and baroque melodies are masked, smothered into acrid gunk with a quality approximating wickedly illegible freehand graffiti freed from walls and gone 4D. They properly fuck with the listener’s sense of rhythmic anticipation, with non-linear grooves that hinge around displacements of typical snares, encouraging the imaginary B-Boy dancers in their mutual like-mind to go harder, freakier, more asymmetrically angular than before.
To be honest, it’s not our favourite Æ album, but it still pisses on most other stuff from that period, sporting inimitable cuts like their opener ‘Xylin Room’, which sounds like Art of Noise doing 2-step, or the metallic jigginess of ‘V-Proc’ (which was more recently bootleg edited by Croww), and the likes of their writhing organism ‘P.:NTIL’, and the extended posthuman electro trip of ’Surripere’.
Archangels from British composer John Bence.
"Bence comes fully into his own as a composer on Archangels, deftly threading together gauzy electronic atmospheres, brooding orchestral passages and minimalist piano meditations; revealing new surprises at every twist and turn. Bence’s composing follows his daily meditation and prayer – creative and spiritual practice woven so tightly that the two became inseparable. Bence transmutes complex theological and philosophical concepts into something tangible and immediate. Rather than ascribing to any one religion or philosophical viewpoint, the composer juxtaposes myriad concepts as he does sonic elements to reveal new insights, crafting a new sonic language to articulate the inexplicable.
Bence’s entirely modern compositions are atmospheric, creating space with their creative instrument use and contemporary electronics. Following in the footsteps of pioneers who used existing ideas and equipment to establish entirely new sonics, Bence defies compositional norms and forges new pathways through philosophical composition and electronics. Archangels is a compelling addition to contemporary composition by an artist unbound by classical traditions."
Danish composer SØS Gunver Ryberg uses science fiction to help speculate on possible futures, building "SPINE" as a prospective soundtrack to connectivity, free expression and exploration.
Ryberg's debut album "Entangled" pasted her skillful production techniques into a swatchbook of varied styles and templates. Its followup "SPINE" is a deeper affair, the inaugural release on the artist's new label Arterial and a concept album that doesn't follow a story so much as it represents an alternative dimension. An award-winning sound designer who's worked extensively with video game music, Ryberg's control over her sounds is impressive. From the heaving, breezy synth work and skittering algorave drums of 'Unfolding', through the title track's delirious reconfigured trance experimentation and into 'Mirrored Madness' with its heady Chain Reaction-esque dub expressionism, there's a sense that Ryberg is building her own colorfully distinctive landscape.
Rooted in science fiction, "SPINE" is a contorted network of glossy plastic and polished metal that uses genre signifiers - from techno and ambient to IDM and dubstep - to suggest not purism but the possibility inherent in free expression. Ryberg imagines a better future for all of us, and "SPINE" is her way of laying out her philosophy in artistic terms, penning a musical story that tracks through her personal history and illuminates it with striking blue neon lights.
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis reconvene for a suitably elegiac vintage Eno-style synth-led accompaniment to Netflix's polarizing Marilyn Monroe biopic.
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's umpteenth soundtrack collaboration since 2005's remarkable score for John Hillcoat's "The Proposition", "Blonde" finds them again in collaboration with director Andrew Dominik, who only recently released the documentary "This Much I Know To Be True" about the duo's creative relationship. "Blonde" is an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel of the same name, a complex deconstruction of Marilyn Monroe's legend that required an equally obtuse musical treatment. They appear to evoke the slippery, half-cut mystery of Brian Eno's most essential early solo catalog (think "Apollo" and "Music for Airports"), drowning obscure choral sections in vintage electronic pads and muted piano motifs in beds of tape-dubbed ambience.
Cave and Ellis's treatment works well because it's so assuredly self-aware; they balance self-consciously cheap electronic elements (portamento synths and talkbox vocals) with grandiose cinematic sweeps. Even at its most brittle, "Blonde" is almost painfully beautiful; Cave and Ellis's signature wash of outback melancholia is present in each watery chord and vintage, neon-hued pad. Tracks like 'Strawberry' and clear highlight 'Gemini' are the standouts, both incorporating tremolo-damaged analog electronics and whimsical vocals. It reminds us of Air's peerless "Virgin Suicides" soundtrack, and that's no bad thing at all.
Reticulated rhythm trips from a new name to Blank Mind, kicking off their ’23 schedule with four slippery tresillo groove permutations.
Strikingly detailed with microscopic polyrhythms and insectoid electronic detail, ‘Coiled Up’ presents a keen mind at work on DJ ojo’s debut platter. Dancing in proximity to styles from Livity Sound or Nervous Horizon, they infuse each cut of rolling rhythm with a restlessly distinctive character, carefully unfurling broken beats an dub techno tropes in the nocturnal jungle humidity of ‘Coiled Up’, and squashign the groove into more delirious downbeat swang and parry around coarse textured subbass swivel in ‘Precise Device’.
‘Sprung out’ cools off on the B-side on a pendulous dembow reminding of a nervier take on DJ Python’s amazing ‘Mas Amable’ session, and ’Skip Top’ keeps it locked to the waistline with a frictional rub ’n tug of crisp percussion and percolated bass set to properly lather dancers.
Man-machine Uwe Schmidt does exceedingly arid electro with obsessively detailed results on his latest dispatch for Raster
Following the increasingly dry approach of his recordings over the past decade, ‘Nacht’ squares off four pointillist arrangements recoiling to precisely punchy pulses and the sharpest tones with typical raster production values.
The title tune works a skeletal groove of pugilist prongs and wordless vocoder work, and ’Sprechender Raum’ intensifies the effect with coarser textures like the cyberpunk offspring of Kraftwerk. The rictus pelt and strobing patterns of ‘Selbst’ comes off like a speedier Rrose work, and he finds more swang and groove in the stuttering attack of ‘Geometrische Einheit’.
Ultra classic jazz evergreen from Detroit, 1974, remixed from original ’72 studio session tape under the direction of its makers and cut by Bernie Grundman
‘Message From The Tribe’ is a deep slab of grooving, soulful jazz-funk that has long underlined the Motor City’s illustrious musical history in the latter quarter of the C.20th. Headed by he twin dynamos of band leaders Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison on horns, flute and vox, with a crack squad of players behind them including Marcus Belgrave (trumpet, flugelhorn), and Billy Turner on sticks, it is a crucial touchstone for jazzier Detroit guys aside to Detroit’s whole Motown phenomenon and the likes of ‘Rhythmatism by Motown drummer Steve Reid, and its influence can be felt on records by everyone from Theo Parrish and Kenny Dixon Jr. (Moodymann) to Amp Fiddler and Carl Craig.
This master of ‘Message From the Tribe’ comes from the boxset ‘The Story of Tribe Records’, a definitive anthology of the label initiated by Ranelin & Harrison with the original mix of this release in 1972. Like Teo Macero’s work with Miles Davis, the album was reworked to this version in 1974 with the band overseeing its remix from the original masters, seamlessly cutting and splicing the vibe for ideal presentation. Trust it’s the classiest tackle between the smoky swang of ‘What We Need’, to the vibe some hustle of ‘Anegla’s Dilemma’, the sultry hush of ‘Wife’, and a swingeing jazz-funk dancer ‘Beneficent’.
‘Cupo’ is the debut album of gothic folkways and dark jazz rituals enacted by prolific percussionist Valentina Magaletti and enigmatic spirit Laila Sakini, deploying an orchestra-sized ensemble of instruments into a 10-part movement spread over two seamless sides. Ghostly and completely transfixing material, it sounds like a pitch-black reduction of Talk Talk's ‘Spirit of Eden’ crumbling into Julee Cruise's ‘Floating into the Night’.
An ode to DIY culture and improvisation, Cupo marks a turning point and coming together of two of London’s most imaginative figures. The project sprung to life after Magaletti, versatile drummer-composer for a myriad projects including Moin, Tomaga, Holy Tongue and CZN, asked singular singer-songwriter/art explorer Sakini to contribute to an album that quickly developed into a separate project in its own right. Initiated under a title meaning ‘dark’ in Italian, Sakini plays trumpet, flute, harmonica, recorder, vocals, bass, strings and piano, while Magaletti adds acoustic guitar, spoken word, bass, and drums, pitched down to match the sunken swag of Sakini’s voice.
‘Cupo’ oozes a sense of theatrical dramaturgy that feels like two players in a staged psychodrama. The pair’s exquisite twists of light and space enhance the sensation of peering in from the dark of the stalls, scenes mysteriously changing on stage. The opening hums with nervous energy, the vast sweep of possibility - things could go in so many different directions - concrète, free jazz, doom noise, forest folk, trip hop - who fucking knows.
Magaletti's drums gain momentum, cutting into the void like a snare roll in the middle of a trapeze act, or the din from the orchestral pit in an old cinema. Staggered bass and pitched trumpet are thrown into the mix, the deep thrum of subs, a heartbeat, shapeless words, flute, lost fragments of chamber music, piano keys wafting in from outside. Just as things feel irrevocably shapeless, all the elements coalesce, Sakini’s voice and a recorder flip the mood. We’re in smokey, weird pop mode - just the thing we were hoping for.
The spirit of post-prog/proto-shoegaze hangs in the air, but the music isn't quite so specific. Pop dissolves into jazz, ambient passages cut into rickety blues, then scuffed into DIY art noise. The linking thread is always the duo's creative energy, providing a space for each to explore, without overwhelming the other.
Gentle, fierce music from two of the very best in the game right now.
Lo-slung Detroit beatdown and grungier techno flavours from a 313 cat with paws in club and ambient scenes.
Doing it for Dutch label Cape St. Francis, 2Lanes is joined by Jonah Baseball (guitar, bass, synth) and Natty G (voice) on a handful of tracks that cooly change gears to evoke a night-drive around the Motor City. ‘Diamond Rain’ gets into the groove with a murky sound and rolling mid tempo momentum, where ‘Bootcut’ stick shifts to a highway techno pace a la AceMoMa, and ‘TX Pluck’ simmers to a sound like DeepChord played with real instruments.
Standout ‘Everlast’ features Natty G’s angelic spoken word bathed in sylvan pads on a groove shades away from Stefan Ringer, with the psych-techno drive of ‘Mindprint’ calling to mind James Massiah or Oliverwho Factory grooves.
Inspired by poet Paul Celan, Finnish bassist Antti Lötjönen rattles up a deft, coherent jazz epic alongside an ensemble of some of Helsinki's best players.
We Jazz has endeavored to shine a light in Helsinki's fertile jazz scene, and its latest release reveals Lötjönen's outsized talents. The experienced player handles double bass, with Mikko Innanen and Jussi Kannaste on horns, Verneri Pohjola on trumpet, and Joonas Riippa on drums. Contemporary jazz listeners will be pleased to know that "Circus/Citadel" is more than just a showcase for Lötjönen and his friends' studied skills, it's also a highly engaging album that flows assertively from each composition to the next.
The title track is split up into three parts, and features each member of the ensemble in various formations. Drummer Riiipa is particularly gripping to listen to as he breaks down familiar post-bop constructions into rattly avant splatter without every skipping a beat. The third part is a masterclass that eventually falls away into pure percussion, using clangs, pops and thuds to punctuate a jerky skitter that might be more comparable to Supersilent.
Killer Post-chaabi/Mahraganat rockets by Cairene dynamo 3Phaz, blazing on from a turns with our Documenting Sound series in 2020 via a searing clutch of Egyptian grime/street-rave RIYL DJ Plead, Zuli, Eek & islam Chipsy, Errorsmith!
A major look for modern rhythm fiends, ‘Ends Meet’ is arguably 3Phaz’s definitive solo release and a new high water mark of hardcore dance music. Arriving on Discrepant’s discerning “weird beats” sub-label Souk Records, the seven tracks galvanise traditional Egyptian Arabic rhythms and microtonal melodies with aspects of hyper-contemporary Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American and western club music in a deadly style at each turn, capturing a fresh new energy that reflects the adventurous thrust and identity of present day Cairo youth movements.
Between the pendulous dancehall/dembow-esque ’Sharayet’ to the reckless velocity of ’Shabber’ the styles are immediately self-evident but with a finely tempered emotive quality and tonal colour palette that elevates it all and keeps our interest piqued. Cut to cut he locates an abundance of crafty variations within the theme, flinging bodies between the whipsmart stepper ‘Phlutes’ with its needlepoint tension of synthetic wind and drum trills, to bolshier downtempo swag with high-wire vamps in ‘Labash’, and the seething hardcore pressure of ’Shoulder Dance’ and ‘Pivot (Msh Shayef Version)’, with the deep forward darkside tilt of ‘3P Type Beat’ splitting the difference between Errorsmith and an Arabic Optical & Ed Rush roller.
London’s Kouslin dances in the cracks between dembow-dancehall and D&B with the sort of bare bones, slinky dexterity we’ve come to expect from Peverelist’s Livity Sound.
The ‘Patterns’ EP is Kouslin’s follow-up to an ace ‘2020 Vision EP’ that appeared at the cusp of the pandemic and best expressed this mutant motion after early 12”s with Durkle Disco and Mdnght Records. These four new tracks refine previous examples into mercurial, laminar flows of syrupy subs and piquant, syncopated percussion that can’t help but exert a very UK-styled, diffractive flex on prevailing Afro-Latin club currents - as we’ve been doing since the ‘70s.
Dembow’s signature snare on the 3rd crisply punctuates a pitching, lysergic slosh of chromatic electronics in ‘Why Don’t You Don’t’, before he doubles it up on ‘Five Four’ with a crafty calculation of dembow-driven D&B fractals. The torque of late ‘90s ragga more heavily underpins the rugged headlong tilt of ‘King’, going off like Pessimist and Digital on an acid dancehall flex, and the iridescent arps of ‘Michael’ gives more melodic relief, juxtaposed with skiller percolated subs primed for DJs to blend it double timed.
Gossamer-fine, Far East-meets-Euro electronica and rhythmelodic flutter by Tokyo’s H. Takahashi & Antwerp-based D. Edren - RIYL Visible Cloaks, Jürgen Müller, Midori Takada
“Union of Antwerp synthesist David Edren and Tokyo minimalist Hiroki Takahashi is a fit so natural as to feel preordained. Both traffic in subtle shades of contemplative electronics, marked by patience, space, and poetic restraint. And both have rich histories of curation and collaboration – Edren in the duo Spirit & Form alongside Bent Von Bent, and Takahashi as proprietor of the Kankyō record shop, as well as one fourth of cosmic ambient quartet UNKNOWN ME. Mutual fans of one another’s work, they began sharing stems in the latter half of 2020, which slowly blossomed into a collection of multi-hued compositions inspired by notions of connectivity and impermanence, translated for east and west: Flow | 流れ.
Opener “Dusk Decorum | 黄昏 礼節” maps the mood of what’s to come, elegantly pirouetting and percolating through an expanding vista of looming stars and half-light horizons. Takahashi describes Edren’s arrangements as evoking “a strange feel, something we haven't heard much of before.” The sensation is one of “in-betweenness,” a restless current whispering beneath the beauty, like seasons seen in time-lapse footage: flickering but infinite, transience turned permanent. Takahashi’s signature sculpture garden tones plot spiral patterns over which Edren cascades dazzling pointillist synthesizer coloration. The pieces veer between delicate and dilated, micro and macro, their aperture forever softly in flux.
From the oscillating orchestral lullaby of “Stalactime | 鍾乳石時計” to the sweeping, sparkling dream sequence closer, “Shift Register | シフトレジスタ,” the album achieves the elusive goal of being more than the sum of its parts. This is music of rare air, elevated and amorphous, shimmering just out of reach. Though Edren and Takahashi have yet to cohabitate the same room in person (a fact that should be rectified soon by an astute festival booker), their palettes and poise are perfectly paired, twin fragilities woven into seven radiant and regenerative vibrational states. The cover design of a beatific, beaded leaf rippling on the surface of a hidden pond aptly captures the record’s muted majesty. Takahashi’s quiet pride is justified: “We are very happy with this time-consuming and carefully crafted work.””
Following 2020's "Gold Record" comes "YTI⅃AƎЯ", a hushed set of hopeful, rousing songs for confusing times carried by Callahan's familiar gravelly tones. It's heartbreaking stuff and some of the best material Callahan's released in years - Smog fans don't sleep.
Bill Callahan teamed up with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and a ramshackle group of friends and associates to put together last year's quirky "Blind Date Party" - a set of covers made to pass the time and reflect on the past. "YTI⅃AƎЯ" is a completely different beast, an album made with sufficient distance from 2020's doom spiral that sounds like Callahan's attempt to go back to what he does best. With Jim White on drums, Matt Kinsey on guitar, Emmett Kelly on bass and Sarah Ann Phillips on piano, Callahan does what he does best, harnessing the latent power in his voice "to get out of this hypnagogic state..".
But it's the hushed touches - the kind of production elements you might only notice after a few listens - that make "YTI⅃AƎЯ" such a memorable album. Callahan explains that there are voices buried in the mix, and while his vocals are loud and center stage, listen close and you'll discover a choral vein, rooting it in American history. "I wanted multiple voices, not just mine," he says. "So there are 6 or 7 people singing on this record." This gives the album a unique signature and also a level of harmonic coherence, bringing Callahan's overarching theme - one of togetherness after a great catastrophe - into sharp, unavoidable focus.
Intended to be listened to in one sitting, YTI⅃AƎЯ is an album that's built around a pervasive mood, and its sound - from the reclining strums of opening track 'First Bird' to the organ-led psychedelia of 'Partition' and the cool, brassy 'Planets' - is hypnotic, alluring and completely absorbing. It feels like the most complete album Callahan has produced in years.
High velocity club arrows by leaders of the new skool, I. Jordan & Sherelle, for Fabric’s new no-nonsense 12” series
Their first tag team effort is built for peak times in sweaty big rooms with ‘M1, M3’ hitting quick and flighty with 150bpm kicks, sleek Reese bass and trance pads to boost your 5am glyde, before ‘GETOUTOFMYMIND’ pushes the needle to 160bpm and a sort of helter skelter jungle-tekno-hardcore momentum replete with piano vamps and softened by misty-eyed motifs.
A bearhug of chill-out room gouching gear from MFM spanning the golden era of ‘90s ambient dance music with gems from David Moufang, LFO, Global Communication, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Sun Electric and many more notables of that era.
Since the world turned into a big chill out room in early 2020, albeit with a heavy sense of anxiety, this set could hardly be better placed for downtime in the comfort of your own home, rolling out mystic highlights such as LFO’s MDMA-tingle arps and pads in ‘Helen’ and the sublime suspension systems of Global Communication’s remix of ‘Arcadian’, along with Move D’s early nugget ‘Sergio Leone’s Wet Dream’, and the lush pads of his close spar Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum, plus a strip of killer slow acid in Sideral’s ‘Mare Nostrum’, and the blissed romance of ‘Love 2 Love’ by Sun Electric.
One for the lovers and the ravers.
Featuring one of the greatest switch-ups of any techno record, ever, Maurizio’s 12 minute Domina spends precisely half the track lulling you into the deepest trance before an immense 2nd wind sets the whole thing on a kicking new course.
Doesn’t sound that special on paper but f**k me it works. Flipside is Carl Craig’s immense Mind Mix, filleting the original sample of Manuel Göttsching’s Die Dominas into the deepest Detroit dream sequence...
Crime & the City Solution's 'Shine' is among their most divisive albums, a ramshackle but soulful rage of swaggering vocals and baroque orchestration.
Formed in 1977 by Simon Bonney, Crime & the City Solution didn't really get started until Bonney relocated to London, forming a new version of the group with members of The Birthday Party. When the band recorded "Shine" they were based in Berlin and capture some of that era's griminess - Bonney sounds almost like Nick Cave when he rasps over the sparse compositions. Dark post-punk might be the best way to describe the music, and Bonney alternates between sung verses and near spoken word, spitting at the listener and refusing to welcome newcomers.
It's not gonna be for everyone, but if you're into the idea of a Doors tribute being played by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, you should at least take a peep.