The second part of William Basinski's superlative 'Water Music' series
Seemingly touching on the idea of mathematical music (ciphers, durational ratios etc.) that surfaced on his 'Disintegration Loops' work, 'Water Music II' is more overtly active than the preceding tract. Spread over a single piece that tops an hour, 'Water Music II' has an undulating predilection that Basinski then goes on to obscure through diffused soundscapes of incremental intensity.
Shanti Celeste takes her cues from Detroit, West London and Chicago to forge the smart first release on Peach Discs.
She gets all misty-eyed and feverish with the sparking, effervescent hybrid of 313 house pads and motifs rolled up with brukken drums and maybe even a dab of early Manchester rave flavour in Loop One, whereas Selector is fully synched to Windy City styles with booty-driving bass and bucking claps softened by lustrous deep house vibes.
Bright, punchy jack trax from Videopath, following in the footsteps of Ciel, Chekov and Fred onto Shanti Celeste’s excellent Peach Discs
There’s no mistaking that the good times synth vamps and rugged swang of A Cure For Melancholy lives up to its name with giddy alacrity, while And So Do Eye follows suit with proper US happy house ’n garage burn, full of organ riffs and dreamy early ‘90s style vocals.
'The Garden of Brokenness' takes a recently discovered tape loop from Basinski's piano and tape experiments (c.1979) then transforms it into a hauntingly hypnotic compisition that clocks in at 50 minutes.
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore refine and expand their neon lit blend of midnight jazz and dark ambience, finding romance and a sort of redemption in the heart of the abyss.
Musically, the key reference point remains Angelo Badalamenti's scores for David Lynch; a combination of plaintive sax, ominous synth drones and electronic piano situated at the interzone between dream and nightmare. ‘Zombies Never Die (Blues)’ - the first of the three long, immersive pieces that make up the LP - is apt for midnight revelation at the Roadhouse or Club Silencio; but as well as Badalamenti we think also of Tom Waits at his most unhinged and atmospheric, and of The Caretaker's sweeping, serotonin-depleted excavations of memory.
‘Catch My Heart', an unrecognisable cover of German metal outfit Warlock, evokes the decadence and submerged anxiety of 30s Weimar cabaret; vocals come from the band’s longtime cheerleader Mike Patton, channelling Tuxedomoon, Bowie and even the Brinkmann of When Horses Die into a louche but tortured croon. The title track brings the suite to a close, unbearable tension wrought out of a sparse, repeated Rhodes motif and brushed drums, recalling early Tortoise, For Carnation and the desert-dried doom of Earth. For all these comparisons, Bohren really are like no one else around, and Beileid is the kind of otherworldly, out of body listening experience we live for.
Airhead comes off like PC Music doing jazzed tribal house and jungle with these two pearls for James Blake and Dan Foat’s 1-800 Dinosaur label
Stepping on from his ‘Kazzt’  ace for Different Circles, Airhead returns to site of his ‘Believe’ release with a cheeky glint in his eye and a wonky swagger on ‘Clatter’, winding up a carbonated and freaky sort of slosh-jack foe the A-side, before ‘Droplit’ straightens up yuh backbone on the AA-side for a wicked spot of tail-chasing jungle breakbeat chicanery.
Hinosch is a probing, minimalist collaboration between Koshiro Hino ov the amazing Goat group and YPY project, with Düsseldorf’s Stefan Schneider. Mazy rhythms and electronic chicanery in very curious and nimble effect...
“They first met and began their collaborative work of musical interaction and exploring contrasting possibilities in 2017. After a number of concerts in the EU and in Japan, they released their self-titled debut EP (TAL 005EP, 2017). Fully instrumental, their first full-length album Hands offers a more steeply focused approach than its largely improvised predecessor. Encouraged by the momentum generated during a number of on-the-spot recordings in Osaka, where Schneider had held a residency in April 2017, the overall sound of the album has been honed down through meticulous studio engineering.
One of the outstanding qualities of Hands certainly is an unprejudiced approach of sound and song structures. The instrumentation is confidently reduced to a small range of analog and digital machines. Snatches of tape-loops deliver lower-pitched vocal and drum machine samples. This characteristic technical set up soon proved ideal in order to define a tactile vocabulary of fully unsynchronized rhythm patterns. The word tactile perfectly conjures that quality which is the very essence of Hands. It is the result of the manner in which interdependent threads of rhythm units are deliberately disconnected to form a cohesive, soulful and flexible whole.
Most tracks on Hands are devoid of a central motif and examine an unpredictable dialogue. A fantasy of constant change and a search for musical suggestions is the most vital ingredient in this abstract environment. The album title Hands refers to physical aspects of electronic music production. Every live concert of Hinosch usually starts out with a hand shake between Hino and Schneider. The general process of collective music making, programming, button pushing, playing, recording, decision making, all-demand utmost concentration.
The image on the front of the album sleeve -- designed by Takashi Makabe -- reflects the general approach of Hands: layers of tucked fabrics confronting one another to articulate a form for themselves to no other end than their own orchestration. Koshiro Hino's solo activities as YPY and his involvement with the band Goat have already garnered him a favorable international reception. Stefan Schneider has over the years produced and collaborated with, amongst others, Joachim Roedelius, Arto Lindsay, Klaus Dinger, Dieter Moebius, Alexander Balanescu, John McEntire, Katharina Grosse, Bill Wells, and St.Etienne.
Optimo’s JD Twitch cherry-picks classics, rarities and percies from Germany’s original independent post-punk scene from 1979-1985, including necessary oddball grooves and songs ranging from Malaria!’s snotty ohrwurm ‘Your Turn to Run’ to Andreas Dorau’s NDW rocket ‘Fred Vom Jupiter’, an edit of Christiane F’s sleazy ace ‘Wunderbar’, and the killer disko mission of ‘Veb Heimat’ by Weltklang
“This was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany; emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. Bands consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, our first band Mania D., Malaria!... we organised gigs ourselves, hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or UK back then.”
This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch: “The compilation is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era; it is more an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”
The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Mania D.) Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E, ExKurs) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang).”
The Jealous Gods conscript Varg for their 17th number, harnessing his esteemed Scando techno energies in four hardcore, pounding missiles under the title of I’ll Hold You Till We Die.
A-side hurts the best with a pair of robust 140bpm bangers, getting into gear with the tense electro of For Milan/AMG and dispensing a proper bollocking with the stampeding groove of Skrrt (Music made To Listen To In A RS6).
Turn over and he drops the tempos slightly to go in with a class party piece in Donatella Forever and then the soaring hard techno élan of Last dance (I’ll Hold You Till We Die).
After a fancy flight with Arcola, Jamal Moss comes home to Mathematics for ‘The Language of Strings’, a 14 track collection of, in his own words; “Cerebral sonics sketched out in the form of body music for the home listener”
As always with the prolific Chicagoan, you may feel like you heard this one before, but pay closer attention and he still manages to keep us absorbed into his grooves with unique, natty sleights-of-hand applied to rhythmic variations and chromatic vamps that pop off across the record, serving to only draw listeners ever closer into Jamal’s parallel universe.
If anything, Jamal has only gotten more prolific in recent years, but his off-the-cuff tekkers feel more efficient with it, here giving 1:1 representations of the encrypted images and instinctive calculations that scroll thru his head, mutating from brittle, bare-boned jackers to louchely hypnotic house swingers and a haul of grubbing, brukken rufige, always with those glorious chromatic arp signatures, and keeping one spicy uptempo rocket tucked away at the end.
Brian Eno’s pioneering ambient cornerstone is available on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years!‘Discreet Music’ (available as a single LP or half-speed mastered 2LP), is here available on this facsimile reproduction affording a whole new generation the chance to bathe in some of Eno's most pivotal and important work.
Context is always key with historic releases, and could hardly be more so than with ‘Discreet Music’. Famously, Eno was hospitalised following a car accident in 1975, and while laid up, his friend Judy Nylon brought him a record player and an LP of harp music. The music only came out of one speaker, and at low volume, and the incapacitated Eno struggled to do anything about it, so he accepted this as a new mode of hearing music as embedded in the ambience of the environment. While Eno had previously arrived at similar conclusions with Robert Fripp on ‘No Pussyfooting’, here the idea ironically became more firm, yet diffused in the classic style he would develop on ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports’ and over his next 40 years of recordings.
The two pieces on ‘Discreet Music’ beautifully play with this idea of a background music. To make the title piece, Eno established a near autonomous system of synth and tape loop feedback which rendered his simple melodic motifs, input via synthesiser, as 30 minutes of calmingly serene wilt and decay whose simple, plaintive elegance patently endures now, over 40 years later. The other piece finds Eno’s ideas applied directly to classical music with a much slowed-down take on ‘Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel’ performed by The Cockpit Ensemble, conducted by Gavin Bryars.
A dead faithful go-to for vintage wave compilations in recent years, Color Tapes’ Cold Waves Of Color Volume 5 extends the cherry-picked selections of minimal and new wave with 11 more aces from the likes of Beserk In A Hayfield, Modern Art (Gary Ramon), Lives of Angels and Silicon Valley, and including a natty rarity by The Good Missionaries, post Alternative TV. All material this time spans 1981-1985 and all makes first appearance on vinyl.
As with previous instalments, Volume 5 impresses with its depth and quality of variety, sequencing crisp electronic dance tracks on the same page as grainy, melodic synth-pop and hard-working dubs in a way that makes total sense as both a historic education as well as a heavily satisfying, play-it-again record.
On the front they add up Void’s punchy, bittersweet minimal wave jabber Isotope beside the soaring, romantic ‘tronics of Silent Sky by Echophase and the supple swang of Beserk In A Hayfield, leading up to some real gems in The Lord’s warped chromatic wormhole Production Line, and especially The Good Missionaries brooding beauty Bending A Border  which is pretty unmissable for fans of PiL or Officer!.
Flip over for more treats in the fluidly Chris Carter-esque electro dynamics of Continental Shift by Echophase, a New Order-y turn from Lives of Angels, and the dubbed-out NRG-disco deviation of Gary Ramon’s own Modern Art ace, Colliding World.
Piping hot from her knockout ‘Throne’ album, Heather Leigh joins the bellows-lunged Peter Brötzmann for a nerve-biting, romantic, and heavily arresting set of duets improvised on woodwind, brass and lap steel guitar .
“There is complexity in simplicity, and Sparrow Nights is Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh's most enduring record to date, and their first studio album. A series of emotionally rich and boldly elucidated tonal and timbral exchanges played like compositions on pedal steel and reeds, the tracks (released as a 6 track LP and 10 track CD) are cold-forged minimalist blues motifs dragged from instrumental laments.
After three years playing together Brötzmann/Leigh's connection and understanding is by now both cerebral and deeply invested in the physical and sensory possibilities of their combined sound, while retaining a melancholic distance. Within this duo there is fluidity – neither is the anchor – and these recordings sound with as much variety as the sea. At times Sparrow Nights carries the clarity and poeticism of still water and open horizon ("This Word Love"), and at others it contains the elemental and ferocious roar of white water breakers on black rocks ("This Time Around").
On their previous three live albums (Ears Are Filled With Wonder, Sex Tape, Crowmoon) the duo have developed an intimate and intense language that manifests here as a focus on power and control, where figures blasted of unnecessary decoration are drawn from the shadows and smoke of collapse. The studio setting also allows Brötzmann to bring a broader range of reeds than in live scenarios: where previously he has played primarily tenor, clarinet and tarogato with Leigh, here he delivers the heat of alto and the low pressure of bass saxophone and clarinet.
Brötzmann’s duo with Leigh continues to trace a fresh new arc in his trajectory, and this release also falls at a time when Leigh releases Throne, her most song-based record to date. Here as a studio duo they play a new-old blues for times of complexity, noise and chaos, continuing to redefine and re-sound possibilities for improvised music.”
21-track Reissue of Drexciya's first album proper and a milestone for Detroit and electronic music in general.
It was first released in 1999 and has since been hailed as one of the enigma's most crucial missives. Opinions will differ, but this digital version is arguably the definitive edition, containing 21 tracks to the LP's 13, and a discernibly lucid digital mastering compared with relatively smudged frequencies on the 2LP.
To put it simply, and without overstatement: this is one of the finest electronic albums ever made.
Boy Harsher sate demand for their early gear with a new edit of Pain, backed with a mean remix by The Soft Moon in deadly EBM post punk mood.
The wickedly gaunt title cut from Boy Harsher’s sought-after 2nd EP is here nipped and tucked with classy back alley surgery for optimal drive and bite in the darkroom.
On the remix, The Soft Moon ratchet the intensity with stealthy force, giving the bassline more gnash and bite while bringing the drums forward with additional Linn cracks and a power surge of dissonant distortion that sends it stratospheric.
Blinding 12” of deep, earthy Detroit house inflected with jazz and psych vibes by Todd Modes, who’s flanked by Craig Huckaby (congas), Mike Mumford (sax) and Mike Severson (guitar) on the latest Fit sureshot.
Their A-face turns to a loose, rolling tribal flex with the frisked drums and melting, lysergic patina of voices - some friendly, some ungodly - in the wonderful Ariadne, before really taking the plunge into mystic jazz-house realms with the oily undulations and pealing, plangent sax of Knossos, which is about as close as you’ll find to Peter Zummo jamming with Theo Parrish and Morphosis.
On the upside down’s Native Visions he inverts the mixing balance giving it a really trippy sort of tunnelling trajectory, guiding us headlong thru patches of fiery psyche riffage on a lean double bassline and 360º swarming congas.
Epic 32 Track comp of exclusive tracks curated and compiled by Mumdance (also available as a limited edition 5-track vinyl sampler, and a mixed cassette) featuring a colossal haul of tracks from Space Afrika, Caterina Barbieri, Chevel, JK Flesh, Abyss X, Sleeparchive, Mumdance & Logos, Peder Mannerfelt, Nkisi, ZULI and many others...
Shared Meanings comprises 32 exclusive tracks, drawn from a panorama of contemporary electronic music—pioneers, emerging talents, brand new producers—brought together by Adams’ curatorial ear. It’s the natural next step from Radio Mumdance, the far-reaching radio project that saw Adams play back-to-back with some of his favourite artists: Nina Kraviz, DJ Stingray, DJ Storm, Surgeon, Ben UFO, Josey Rebelle and many others. Across a 97-minute session, Shared Meanings draws from the ideas and inspirations Adams’ gained across those 40 weekly shows.
The sampler 12” includes Mumdance & Logos’ massive ‘Teachers’ alongside zingers from Nkisi, Peder Mannerfelt, Caterina Barbieri and Space Afrika. On a dance tip, Mumdance & Logos pay tribute to a Chicago convention on ‘Teachers’, listing a roll-call of influential UK artists, DJs, labels and clubs in a style most famously deployed by Daft Punk, while Nkisi comes fiercely correct with the swingeing Congolese techno rolige of ‘Kinega’, and Peder Mannerfelt does his inimitable, mutant rave thing on ‘Over My Face’. But they’re only one aspect of the mix, leaving the plonging modular navigation of ‘Molecular Illusion’ by Caterina Barbieri, and the golden ambient deliquescence of Space Afrika’s piece to speak to the contrasts and breath of Mumdance’s mix and his lushly dark vision of modern dance music.
Deep rave pressure from Roza Terenzi and D. Tiffany, following their inaugural Planet Euphorique session with killer electro and breakbeat rave joints, plus a soulful Jayda G remix
Melbourne’s Roza Terenzi goes down the rabbithole with a tight, chromatic electro wriggler ‘Electronique’, but the one for us is ‘Spirit Alien’ by D. Tiffany a.k.a. DJ Zozi a.k.a. Xophie Xweetland, recalling classic 4 Hero and forward UK rave styles in a way compatible with Tadd Mullinx’s X-Altera gear.
Mancunian flaneur Dan Dwayre a.k.a. Black Lodge knuckles out a 3rd volume of his ‘Kings Arms Sessions’, arriving at the dog end of the decade to his first instalments, and in the wake of his ‘MWR157’ cat# unearthed by Warp’s Arcola, and the ‘Bitter Blood’ collection for Disciples
Named after The Kings Arms pub in Salford, the gnarlier bit of Manchester which Black Lodge haunts when he’s not in the Northern Quarter, this is the 3rd and final part of triptych started by The Trilogy Tapes.
The vibe is pure grot, revolving 12 gobs of free-ranging, punkish groove soused in salty noise and prone to bouts of keening discord. In that sense, we can point to precedents for this sound ranging from Tony Conrad to Ron Morelli and Zoviet*France, but the best way to really get to grips with it is to spend 40 odd years in the belly of the Manchester beast, or at least neck some garies and a bockle of wine and spend a night rolling around the NQ.
Pivotal Detroit player Humberto Hernandez (DJ Dez, Andrés, The Rotating Assembly) continues his Drummer From Detroit series with another helping of good times latinate hustle after dropping Drum #1 in 2011, c. his much-loved New For U 12”.
The A-side packs some heavily infectious vibes with a conga-led rug-cutter in Part Three, before sidewinding into the lusher zone of tucked Afro-Cuban syncopation and Theo Parrish-like sprung synth and Rhodes in Part Four, while the B-side is reserved for a the vocal bounty of Part Five with cut-up soul vox on a broad and breezy showpiece for those who’ve got something to show.
The Higher puckers up a ravishingly rude debut for XL with ‘The Core’ - four lip-smacking love notes to the ecstasy of ‘Ardcore aerobics for fans of Mumdance & Logos, Demdike Stare, Rufige Kru, Zomby
Coming on lush out of nowhere, ‘The Core’ introduces itself arms open and dancing into the wind of the soundsystem. Rinsing out precision tooled rave tropes, Detroit taught strings and spine-tracing breaks for their purest essence and hardcore swerve.
’Stick 3’ goes on nutty in a burst of ravenous, darkside energy with bags of UK warehouse swagger, while ‘Submarine 99’ lets the sweat cool a minute, lean and gangsta with the k-dub, then coming loved-up and boisterous in ’Submarine ’95’, a deeply classy but rugged rollers vortex that twists timeless influences into inexorable, new, rave music that's keenly aware of the original ‘90s format.
Ambarchi and O’Rourke trek to distant horizons on synth and guitar, accompanied by tabla player U-Zhaan who lends a free buoyancy to the duo’s quick and slow running streams of sound...
“Hence is the third collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke, following on from 2013’s Behold. Building on the refined combination of electronics and acoustic instrumentation found on their previous releases, Hence presents two side long pieces combining synthesizers, heavily effected guitar tones, and tabla rhythms played by special guest U-zhaan. On the first side, an explosive opening chord sends out ripples of sparse, irregularly pulsing guitar and synthesizer tones, aleatorically changing in pitch and jumping around the stereo image. Combined with the tabla, which gradually builds in busyness throughout the side, the piece is like a dream collaboration between David Behrman and the Henry Kaiser of It’s a Wonderful Life, gradually overtaken in its second half by a swarm of lush live electronic sizzle.
The second side begins in a similar area, combining tabla, shimmering Leslie cabinet guitar tones, and a wandering melodic line. Undergoing a series of subtle variations, this initial area eventually builds to a climax of twittering synthesized birdsong reminiscent of Alvin Curran’s 70s work. As on the first side, Ambarchi and O’Rourke craft a piece that is both comforting and subtly strange, as the constantly shifting dynamics and changes of focus (which recall the flow of improvised music) refuse to allow the music to settle into any one moment for too long or to build in too linear a fashion. Combining influences from post-minimalism, the pioneers of live electronics, and eastern music into a unique sound world, Hence is a seductive work from two of the most singular sensibilities in contemporary music.”
Original soundtrack recording to the film Zerzura, the first ever Saharan acid Western, telling the story of a nomad’s search for a magic city of gold.
"Evoking the desert journey with free form guitar improvisations, the soundtrack is a meditation on the mysteries of the Sahara. Composed by writer and actor Ahmoudou Madassane, the instrumental score takes the familiar Tuareg guitar tradition into new directions, transforming desert blues into ambient soundscapes.
Recorded in studio while watching footage from the film, the score was recorded in live and spontaneous takes. Heavily based around the electric guitar, Madassane also plays a handful of other in-studio instrumentation (prepared piano, Moog, Timpani) and is joined by a number of collaborators, including guitarist Marisa Anderson.
A prolific and backing artist in a number of groups (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad), Madassane is well versed in Tuareg guitar folk and draws inspiration from this tradition before veering off into uncharted territory. Pieces fluctuate in timing and break free from standard rhythm, moving from melancholic serenity to blurry psychedelic fury. An experimental foray for Tuareg guitar, Zerzura is the first of its kind.”
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
Kouhei Matsunaga at his chimeric best for Diagonal, delivering two jazzy, freehand concrète collabs with Japanese sound artist and Eartaker noise maker, Masayuki Imianishi, plus two dance-offs with himself as NHK yx koyxen and Speedy K.
Gelling Kouhei’s many sonic handles for a full spectrum showcase of style and pattern, the set is riddled with a singular mischievous genius at every fold and warp. Working with Masayuki Imianishi, he terraforms paper, radio, field recordings and synths into vivid alien ecologies of shimmering electronics and spheric melody with a highly visual quality that perhaps betrays Kouhei’s talents as an illustrator.
For virulent examples of Kouhei at the rave, NHK yx koyxen and Speedy K’s Step Move #01 is quite possibly the wonkiest peaktime juggernaut of the year, and the acid wormhole of Early Mellow Darkness sounds like the bald - as in bad - acid offspring of Luke Slater and Ed Rush.
Once again Kouhei makes us go mad at the rave, but this time with something to come home and melt into as well.
‘self*care’ is the keenly awaited debut EP by Sega Bodega, a none-more-hyped producer who’s already racked up credits for Quay Dash and Shygirl, and soundtracked the new Nike Jumpman advert and Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma runway show
Cyberpunk in a similar mode to Amnesia Scanner or SOPHIE, on ‘self*care’ Sega Bodega tweaks that definition to purpose across six tracks of morphing R&B and kinetic club music laced with gremlin-like vocaloids.
The result is a razor-sharp cross section of hypermodernity, stretching from the elusive, phthalocyanine blues of ‘Cowgirl’ to the bombed-out Baile of ‘hopeless!!!’ and the flesh-grinding ‘daddy’, before dancing on your nerve ends with the piquant trap pointillism and vaulted chorale of ‘maryland’, and the shiny beast of ‘gag reflex’.
Breathless fusions of club and computer game musics from Washington, D.C.-born, Köln-based artist Swan Meat, for Kamixlo and co’s Bala Club
Big on fiddly details and drama, but sorely lacking in grooves, ‘Tame’, while borrowing from club music, is more akin to sitting down and concentrating on completing the next level of your game.
Galcher Lustwerk introduces The Fock with a brace of dark, anxious techno, electro and ambient aces backed by a killer remix from Young Male in his Flood1 guise
In raving declension, the muddles vocals and clammy atmospheres of ‘Shat Pop’ appears as a rolling dark techno version (‘Saldes Mix’) along with a more laid-back acidic electro mix and the isolationist austerity of his ‘Ambient Mix’. But if you ask us the best cut is Young Male’s Flood1 remix, where he flicks on the EBM booster switch for a powerful club screamer.
Berghain resident Norman Nodge stakes out four tuff and sexy jackers on his 2nd 12” for Ostgut Ton - his first solo 12” since 2011!
As big fans of his super dry but funky early 12”s with Marcel Dettmann Records, the return of lawyer-by-day, DJ/producer-by-night, Norman Noczinski is entirely welcome around these parts.
The opener ‘Tacit Knowing’ is a wicked piece of physics-defying club gear, knitting splintered breaks into a rugged jackers groove in a way we’ve hardly heard before, or quite like this at least, whilst ‘Discipline’ is exactly the kind of gear we’d expect to hear at Berghain at daft O’clock and off our chops - haughty, pounding, drilling techno that makes you dance 15% better.
Perhaps needless to say, we’re also smitten with the swingeing tribal percussion of ‘Gathering’, primed to turn the floor into a lather of limbs and hips, while ‘Embodiment’ lends a stroke of breezy dub techno class to his robust, shifty undertow, building to a proper Basic Channel-style head of steam.
Baron Mordant’s latest, diaristic entry commits a heady mulch of location recordings and loud, salty electronics that leaves us dazed and disoriented
“Caffeinated Xbox-related coMMuter childcare cacophony…you can’t always get what you wanton..IBM”
Fit Sound get their kicks from Moscow, Russia, with two smart bumps of Detroit-flavoured breakbeat and house hustle by Oleg Buyanov a.k.a. OI, pursuing the vibes of his Meda Fury and Faces Records aces deep into debonair, late night styles.
Judging from the nuanced guile and textured haze of the recording, you’d be forgiven for thinking this record was produced by an original Detroit player. A-side he turns out the super loose and swanging Lada Passenger with discrete layers of melted bass and strafing drums knit in a deeply infectious syncopation with breezy chords out of the Theo Parrish handbook. B-side, he simmers down to the deadly, jazzier burn and shuffle of Study Drum and a lip-smackingly sweet bit of filter-disco-house in Life Span.
Suzanne Kraft beautifully paints outside the lines on ‘SK U Kno’, offering studio-rendered snapshots of material that gradually evolved into the pieces in front of you, drawing woozy connections between wistful ambient contours and more vaporous, hypnagogic loops, into unstable House and abstracted midnight Blues. One of the loveliest/smudged listens this year, huge recommendation...
On the A-side Kraft seduces with eight minutes of wilting chords and percolated synth voices in ‘Gaze’, before ‘Vast Mute’ breezes close to the kind of DJ Screw-style magick found in 0PN’s ‘Chuck Person’s Eccojams’, but to more abstracted, hazy effect.
His B-side follows with the beautifully mellow strums of ‘To Make A Stone Weep’ probing a Jim O’Rourke-like transition from acoustic balm to digital saltiness, and then we finally get to hear the full version of ‘Accelerate Me Wildly’, which now comes with an extra 12 minutes of astral synth-scaping and GRM-like electro-acoustics before it drops into killer, airborne funk trills and levitating chords with a proper West Coast US steez.
So good this one.
Erik Griswold coaxes charmingly off-kilter, rhythmelodic ribbons of sound from his prepared piano on return to Room40 with ‘Yokohama Flowers’, his 6th release for fellow Antipodean, Lawrence English’s label. RIYL AFX’s prepared piano works, Indonesian gamelan, African thumb piano music
“For over two decades, Griswold has been crafting a particular and utterly personal language around his instrument of choice. His preparations, which are in a state of perpetual refinement, are like a kind of lens; it is through them that a certain audio reading of his instrument is made possible.
It’s understandable then that Griswold would be inspired by the work of Australian experimental film maker Louise Curham. Like Griswold, she too reveals a very personal reading of her surroundings through a range of preparations and expanded techniques. Discovering her work through a series of collaborations hosted by Room40, Other Film and other groups, the pair slowly developed a strong approach to joint performance.
In many ways, these recorded works reflect upon those performances. Similar to her filmic works, which maintain an unfamiliar, yet tangible beauty; Griswold’s compositions remind us that the piano is never truly knowable, or known. Each composition collected here reveals another detail or way of knowing the piano. The preparations release something in excess of the instrument itself.
It’s in these extensions, these ruptures of familiarity, that the language of the piano is born and reborn. It is a state of perpetual discovery and resolution, framed in composition.”
‘The Last Days of Reality’ is a broodingly enigmatic Lionel Marchetti composition performed on acoustic and electronic instruments by Decibel, a new music ensemble from Perth, Western Australia. Concrète poetry in effect...
“From Cat Hope (Decibel):
I first met Lionel Marchetti in Australia during the Liquid Architecture Festival in 2010. Decibel were touring our Alvin Lucier program, and Lionel was on the same bill performing a live performance set manipulating electro-acoustic materials with dancer Yoko Higashi. I was so taken with Lionel’s performances and the resulting music, that I asked him if he would write a piece for Decibel.
I didn’t realise that he hadn’t done something like this before. The first work was “Première étude (les ombres)”, communicated as a text score, and premiered in 2012. I was asked by Lionel to make some recordings of ocarinas, harmonicas, and folk instruments – and I sent these to him for the creation of a ‘partition concrète d'accompagnement’– a fixed media part that is featured in the live performance. For this piece, the part comes from speakers beside each performer, and a bass amplifier beneath the piano. Like his own performances I had seen the year before, the work was naturally performative – with unique speaker and performer configurations, interesting and odd additional instruments. It was such a rich work, a remarkable combination of electronic, spatial, acoustic and textural music. The performers use the partition concrete as a score.
I visited Lionel in Lyon, France in 2014, recording flute improvisations in his studio. He used these as a basis for “Une série de reflets”, again communicating via text instructions and each performer having their own dedicated speaker to interact with. “Pour un enfant qui dort”, which again requested flute sounds that were this time part of the live performance as well as the partition concrète, was also written around that time. The next work saw a more ‘compositional’ collaboration - “The Earth defeats me" began as a graphically scored work written by me and recorded by Decibel in the studio. That recording was used to make the partition concrète which is now an embedded as part of the animated score file, thanks to the software we had developed to do so.
These works exist as live performances, but also as singular concrète works, when heard without the instruments. Working with Lionel has been remarkable: he has a singular way of thinking about sound and its relationship to works and images. Music concrete is a lifestyle for him, it is a way of thinking, communicating and being. These pieces enable the acoustic instruments to be part of that – extending the ideas in the partition concrete, using them structurally and texturally, as well as being part of them.
When I first met Lionel, I didn’t realise he was in Australia because it was originally planned he would be travelling with French composer Éliane Radigue, performing some of her electroacoustic works, as her preferred diffuser. I would commission a work for Decibel from Élaine (“Occam Hexa II”) in 2014 and it was during that process I realised the link between them. Decibel performed Lionel and Eliane’s music together – it is music that concerns itself with the incredible power of sound, but from the most delicate and dream like perspective.”
Cult scene-setter 1991 returns to the fray with four heavily worn-out bangers backed by a singed Rezzett remix
Patently a less-is-more kinda guy when it comes to the release schedule - after 3 releases in 2012, nowt until 2016, and now this - 1991 makes up for lost time with this knackered but energetic session for his No More Dreams label.
The OG 1991 tracks are all “up” in the mode of his ’Skogen, Flickan Och Flaskan’ 12”, as opposed to the airy drowse of his last No More Dreams outing or the gauze of his widely adored ‘High-Tech Low-Life’ and self-titled sides.
A-side brings three jacking drum machine workouts, each decayed to a mid-rangey nub of distorted recoil and splattered drums, yet able to juice a sweat from locked-in dances. On the B-side he follows suit with a shot of kinky NYC/Brum-techno swing, before Rezzett provides an EP highlight with the nimble, skippy Chicago flair of his cracking remix for the track, ’94’.
No wallowing here - just banging dance trax.
A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s.
"These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances.
Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably proflific and unparalleled for an island of it's size."
The exceptional UNO NYC cough up a rude new one from Ian Isiah, arriving a mere 5 years since their last release, ‘The Love Champion’, and loaded with class production from Sinjin Hawke, Soda Plains, Juice Jackal and MORRIS
‘Shugga Sextape (Vol.1)’ is for the modern lovers, stirring 8 tracks of prurient R&B, dancehall and queered songs for sex in Anti-G. Fractal Fantasy’s Sinjin Hawke, a longtime collaborator with Isiah, provides the lion’s share of productions, with highlights in the bottle-popping giddyness of ‘Bedroom’ and the mutant dancehall banger ‘Killup’, while MORRIS also impresses with the early Arca-esque R&B slant of ‘Persistent’, and Wedidit Collective’s Juice Jackal makes it intimate with the beat-less strokes of ‘GOD’.
Stephen O’Malley & Peter Rehberg’s KTL find the darkest space between black metal and computer music - or presence and absence - with ‘The Pyre: versions distilled to stereo’; a score for french choreographer Gisèle Vienne.
Continuing Shelter Press’s on-going documentation of Gisèle Vienne’s work after Stephen O’Malley’s 2015 score for her ‘Éternelle Idole’ piece, ‘The Pyre’ also sees Gisèle paired with Peter Rehberg for first time since his ‘Work For GV 2004-2008’ album, serving to tie up their many, long-running and overlapping strands of practice into a mighty new KTL opus.
As almost anyone who’s heard O’Malley & Rehberg scores for Gisele’s work will surely attest, the french choreographer always brings the best out of her sonic familiars, and their work on ‘The Pyre’ is no exception. Some 6 years in the works, it has undergone multiple stages of processing since the initial seed recording made at IRCAM, Paris, 2012, with subsequent live stems overdubbed at Fennesz’s studio, and further mixing by Randall Dunn all aiding to bring the score to life as it’s own, standalone work of art.
At the service of Gisèle’s choreography - a play on the existential tension between presence and absence - KTL render some of the most pellucid and unfathomable sound designs in their considerable arsenal, layering up from near infrasonic-levels of subharmonics to filigree timbral thizz and sferic reflection, in the process creating an illusion of spatial depth and dizzy scale that beautifully spins our gauges...
Kassem Mosse and Lowtec mint their Kolorit duo for Workshop with six tracks of frayed percussion and wigged-out rhythmelody in a ruffcut cosmic house style.
Littered with surprising twists and turns, Kolorit’s ‘Workshop XXI’ catches both producers at their loosest, jazziest and rawly psychedelic, with stacks of sloshing rhythms and woozy licks that lead dancers right down the rabbtihole.
If we’re playing favourites, the jiggy jazz parry of ‘D1’ gets us dancing like boneless marionettes, and the teetering percolations of their C-side get right under the skin, but the best of the lot is their lysergically frazzled Afrobeat fuss scrawled across the A-side.
Sega Bodega lends his unique touch to Shygirl’s ‘Cruel Practice’ EP, self-released on Sega’s Nuxxe label, site of his new ‘self*care’ EP
Shygirl comes cold AF and gynoid-like on five tracks that sound like the cyberpunk cousins of PC Music. ‘Rude’ hits hard and slow with a payload of screeching string stabs and dembow bumps; ‘Nasty’ wriggles on a crumpled drill style with killer double-timed bars by Shygirl; Dinamarca jumps in for additional production on the squeaky but rugged madness of ‘Gush’; and ‘Asher Wolfe’ brings it UK on a deft, darkside 2-step.
Anthoney J Hart a.k.a. Imaginary Forces a.k.a. Basic Rhythm a.k.a. East Man pushes a scowling Hi Tek take on hardcore ‘nuum styles for his newly minted label.
It’s basically instrumental grime pushed into the red, working between the 8-bar swerve of ‘Twilight’ and the aggressive jaws of ‘Future Tek’ on the front, before the boisterous Breakstep lash of ‘Nose Bleed’, and rounding out with the dank presha of ‘Mash Head’.
‘Sfumato’ marks the long-awaited return of BLOOM to the club and instrumental grime style he was instrumental in shaping with his pivotal, early EPs, ‘Quartz’ and ‘Hydraulics’
The Belfast-based producer has been notable by his absence from the release schedule since 2015, when he notably remixed a pair of tracks from Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ LP. He now vaults back into the fray with ‘Sfumato’, which takes its name from a technique of painting where colours and tones bleed into one another - a smart metaphor for Bloom’s productions; frantic, multi-layered tessellations of cinematic FX and collaged rhythms spun with delirious dynamic.
“Sfumato is the most transportive expression of Bloom’s sound to date, and also his most extensive project, clocking in at six tracks. By far his most beautiful record, it features trademark crashes of gun-metal and nimble sample work, but juxtaposes them against romantic synths and ascendant pads, resulting in something as emotional as it is impactful.”
Fit Siegel and Sotofett galvanise their S & M Trading Co duo with Metal Surface Repair, a labyrinthine acid beauty, backed with a trackier version and a very handy beat-less version.
The A-side’s title cut is a real midnight bloom, flowering from an intro of mystic Eski flutes and layered subs into a 303-gilded masterpiece meant for deployment at the most crucial times of the dance. B-side, DJ Sotofett takes the lead on a chunkier Acid Mix emphasising the 303 and percussion, saving the floating pads for the final strokes, whereas the Synthetic Mix lets the synth and acid lines move in lush avian formation, leaving the drums aside to be dropped as a proper palette cleanser where needed.
Truly excellent work.
Shelley Parker churns up a strong mix of concrète and bass music styles in her ruffneck debut for Hessle Audio
Marking the final Hessle Audio 12” of 2018, Shelley synchs bare bones breaks with seismic subs and field recordings of Carnival and her work for choreography to serve a hyperrealistic sensation of London in flux.
From her construction site stepper ‘Red Cotton’, uncannily recalling Nomex & Scud’s ‘Piling Machine’ , thru the spectral convolutions and ricocheting echoes of Notting Hill Carnival laced into ‘Angel Oak’, and the clash of smooth pads and bagging textures in ‘Masonry Pier’, Shelley’s soundsphere is impressively unique and subtly suggestive, while the remix finds Ploy bringing the groove forward with patented percussive chops and fine-tuned dancefloor suss.
Throbbing, avant-house music by artists Sabisha Friedberg and Tyler Wilcox, aka Golden Mean for the purposes of their debut 12”, Resonance with Detroit’s Fit Sound.
A blend of droll spoken word and absorbing, pulsating subbass, Resonance is prepped in three mixes; the dry darkroom pound of the original Resonance and an unprocessed A Capella room recording of Sabisha’s stark vocal, plus a Resonance (Toxic Mix) where the elements have much more room to move, in the process recalling Jay Ahern’s slunkiest Cheap & Deep Productions.
A proper piece of post-punk history: the studio session for Bauhaus’ classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ available on vinyl for the 1st time! Includes early version of the dancefloor evergreen plus a haul of previously unreleased aces
“The Bela Session is a full release of Bauhaus' first studio session from January 26 1979, where the iconic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded. This is the first and only official reissue of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on vinyl, and the first time 3 of the 5 tracks have been released. This EP has been produced directly by the band with Leaving Records, in advance of the band's 40th anniversary.
Bauhaus are a four-piece from Northampton, England, composed of Peter Murphy (vocals, occasional instruments), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums), and David J (bass). Venerated and highly influential, the band emerged from the post-punk alternative music scene of the early 80s with a string of innovative albums and a powerfully dramatic live presentation. Their music embodies a minimalistic, disconsolate style of post-punk rock unlike any other.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was originally released by Small Wonder Records, 1979. "Harry" was originally released by Beggars Banquet, 1982. "Some Faces," "Bite My Hip," and "Boys (Original)" are previously unreleased.”
Parris pushes off on Idle Hands again with ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, a sublime follow-up to his ‘Burr’ 12”, loaded with devilishly good Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. KMOS remix.
Vibes for days and days on this one, catching London’s low-key lynchpin Parris at his very best with the air-stepping deep house shuffle of ‘Puro Rosaceaes’, and again on a lip-bitingly deep downstroke called ’Soft Touch’ that recalls Anthony Shakir’s ‘Mr. Shakir’s Beat Store’ classic.
Proving the perfect nominee for remix duties, Gunnar Wendel a.k.a. Kassem Mosse a.k.a. KMOS feathers ‘Puro Rosaceaes’ with frayed claps and laved chords insisting a slinky dip and parry from everyone within earshot when it’s playing.
London/Bristol’s Laksa leans back to Batu’s Tiemdance with pair of swaggering aces after recent turns for Ilian Tape and Whities
Ever more eazy in his own groove, he tramples into humid, sub-tropical tribal styles on ‘The Amala Trick’, sloshing his drums on a grittily fluid downstroke with heaving subs and bristling atmospheres gelled together by lush ambient pads for a hypnotic late night blues sound, Bristol style.
‘In The Middle’ is far more up for it, wielding swivelling drums and dank duppy stabs in a percolated sort of dark garage/tribal techno trouble.
STILL’s killah dancehall riddim pack gets remixed by prime producers including Kenya’s Slikback, Príncipe artist Nídia, Low Jack outta France, and Dominican Republic/LA’s dembow badboy Kelman Duran, a.o.
Simone Trabbuchi a.k.a. STILL’s original riddims from the ‘I’ album prove to be mutably fecund source material for the remixers. Kelman Duran, whose brillaint ‘1804 KIDS’ was issued by Tabucchi’s Hundebiss in 2017, serve a big highlight with their spaced-out inversion of the virulent ‘Nazenet Riddim’, while hakuna Kuala’s Kenyan rep Slikback also hugely impresses with a hot-stepping twyst on ’Shikorina’.
Nídia nimbly feathers ‘Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip’ as a hypnotic Kuduro swanger, and ake sure to also check for Low Jck’s roguish cyber-dancehall version of ‘Rough Rider’.