Floating Points drops his astral disco roller 'Peoples Potential' backed with the uptempo electro-jazz of 'Shark Chase' for all the beat fiends.
The A-side has already been deployed over the previous months by sure hands from Gilles Peterson to Four Tet but the effect of heavenly harmonised contours and simple but irrefutably funked percussion certainly hasn't worn off yet.
The flipside 'Shark Chase' concentrates on the Detroit/Jazzwise end of his ouevre, using rough padded kicks a la Theo Parrish with wandering keys and a swollen electro-etched bassline to make his own mark on the style. The effect is something like Omar-S jamming with The Tribe round at C2's pad, and just as cool as you'd imagine.
Philip Glass’ previously unreleased, 1975 performance of ‘Music In Twelve Parts’ is the latest archival excavation on Paris-based Transversales Disques, the label run by the GRM’s Jonathan Fitoussi.
Performed by Philip Glass with Jon Gibson, Dickie Landry, Michael Riesman, Joan La Barbera and Richard Peck, it's one of the earliest iterations of ‘Music In Twelve Parts’, which would be fully issued the following year, 1976, to become one of Glass’ best known and loved works. Placing the previously issued Parts 1 & 2 on side A, the never-before released parts 11, 3, and 12 are cut to sides B & C, finding the piece reeling off into breathtaking chromatic dervishes and ecstatic minimalism with a truly head-spinning lushness, especially in the stunning murmurations of Part 12.
Side D is effectively a piece in its own right. Recorded for french radio by Daniel Caux - musicologist and co-founder of Shandar Records - Glass speaks in french over recordings of the rehearsals for ‘Music In Twelve Parts’, held in his NYC loft. Together with the scream of sirens, it gives some fascinating context for the piece (even if you don’t parlez francais) as it inherently highlights link between the colours of the sirens and the music which we may not have gauged otherwise.
Patently potent, mystic invocations of pagan fertility rites and the eschaton from Riga, Latvia-based free improvisors Darja Kazimira & Dagmar Gertot, performing on chuniri, steel cello, dvojnice, double zhaleyka, horns, dung chen, gyaling, vuvuzela, barbiton, gong, metal sheet, didgeridoo, horns, whistles, frame drum, percussion instruments, alternative musical instruments. Truly ‘marish, visionary stuff RIYL Senyawa, the Akira soundtrack, Sir Richard Bishop & David Oliphant, Phurpa
“Aurora Borealis is very proud to release ‘Death Of The Bull’ by Darja Kazimira & Dagmar Gertot. Over the years we’ve released some truly strange and genre-defying albums. ‘Death Of The Bull’ is undoubtedly our most unusual, complex and challenging release to date.
Taking pagan fertility rites as a starting point, Darja Kazimira & Dagmar Gertot have constructed a narrative that witnesses the collapse of the natural order and the end of an age.
The song pouring over the devastated womb.
For those who have left it.
Premonition of renunciation of the oppressive cycle.
Tiredness of the devastation.
Wanting infertility as well as wanting a husband is equal to his death inside her — the final one.
Mother remembers the receptacle, and with it the mountain of the perished.
She will search for the firstborn among the piles of bones and, without distinguishing order, will interrupt the expulsion.
She will sew her bosom, ligate her oviduets, scrape the continuity of the rudiments, burn the belly to forget fertility.
This procession will turn the children who praised her with their voice and their sacrifice into a dead field.”
Stunning, previously unheard chapter in the saga of Igor Wakhevitch, a close peer and associate of everyone from Pierre Henry to Yves Saint-Laurent and Pink Floyd, one of the first composers of his generation to make use of Moog, Synthi AKS and ARP synthesizers. responsible for some of the most remarkable synth music known to humankind.
Among the key, pioneering ‘70s artists who brought an epic sense of poetry to the language of avant-garde synth and concrete music which emerged in the ‘60s, Wakhevitch is hailed as a cult figure for his string of classic albums including ‘Logos’, ‘Docteur Faust’, and ‘Let’s Start’ between 1970-1979, as well as production for Terry Riley, and on Salvador Dalí’s opera, ‘Être Dieu’ (‘To Be God’). Most beautifully, he opened up synth music’s 3rd eye to heavy inspiration from Hindu classical music and schools of thought, leading him to spend 30 years in India prior to the construction of this, a masterful chapter in his visionary canon.
‘Kshatyra [The Eye of the Bird]’ is a remarkable, much later work, recorded in the late 90’s on Wakhevitch’s custom Mysterious Island 88 system, and later edited for this release last year. It came to Wakhevitch as a means of mediating and reconciling his ontology (the grandson to victims of the Shoah) and his knowledge of Hindu symbolism, making use of ancient Indian classical modes and the Far Eastern-influenced styles of Jean Claude-Eloy, consistently conjuring heady modes of listening, hypnotic and transcendent, that subliminally yet potently light up the subconscious.
In eight parts he navigates a journey from celestial melody through spirit-engulfing, widescreen black hole synth dimensions and glistening visions of the sublime, before seeming to collapse the firmament into the earth and vice-versa in the chapter’s glorious, durational finale brimming with elegiac church bells, sky-scorching synths and deep abstractions.
Long a cult figure to diggers and listeners in the know, the praise and admiration for Wakhevitch’s music (by everyone from Demdike Stare to Andy Votel and the GRM’s Jonathan Fitoussi) is proportionally inverse to the availability of his music, which remains all too hard to come by. This new album is crucial as a portal to worlds unheard, and a startling introduction for many to one of the most quietly important figures in electronic music.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Craig Tattersall unspools a gorgeous new tape of disintegrated piano meditations and dusty lower case ephemera for Belgium’s Dauw label. It’s been over 4 years since we last heard from him and over 20 since we were first introduced to Tattersall’s uniquely brittle productions, first as part of Hood and The Remote Viewer, and subsequently as one half of The Boats and at the helm of the hugely loved Cotton Goods series. Despite being a constant presence around us throughout these last two decades, this just might be the most delicate, beautiful music we’ve heard from Tattersall to date.
‘things are sweeter when they’re lost’ is a fittingly melancholy notion for the music inside. On the A-side it’s a dreamily searching, silty flux of piano notes peeling in slow motion. Strings drift over, connoting cold breezes and infrasonic, spectral presences, but the effect is far from menacing, it’s more a tranquil shade of sublime, like those hours after midnight when the meridian sounds of road traffic and human life have ebbed off into the distance and you’re left with the sighing creaks of a room.
The sound is remarkably different on the B-side. Here the air gradually thickens with murkier sub-harmonic distortion, bordering on a seething sense of aggression relative to most of Tattersall’s other output, pushing the grim murk to a logical entropy that precipitates elegiac pauses for reflection and warbling closure.
There are so, so many operators out there who’ve clearly tried to divine the same atmosphere and mindset, but Tattersall has somehow always struck a different, more authentic note for us. He evokes the memory of some distant, formative music suspended in time and outlined in vague, half-remembered shapes, filled with love.
L.A.’s Benedek pulls out a balmy disco package for Music From Memory’s Second Circle sub label.
Uptown, he delivers the liquified 4th world trumpet and keeling boogie of Earlyman Dance before swapping out the trumpet for synth keys and wilder dubbing in the Canyon Version.
Downtown, on Maca he percolates natty percussion in a clipped strut soaked in lush pads and acidic bass, while Tengu’s Mystery pulls toward YMO-esque instrumental influences, and Sixtern gives it some glam slouch.
One of Convextion’s most in-demand classics, ‘Crawling & Hungry’ is finally repressed along with his ace ‘Venus In Spurs’
A total inverted-anthem in our Pelicanneck shop back at the start of this century, Convextion’s ‘Venus In Spurs’ 12” remains a high water mark of dub techno to this day. While in any normal circumstances the A-side would be hailed a total pearl, it’s really all about the B-side’s ‘Crawling And Hungry’, one of Gerard Hanson’s very deepest emotional punishers, stretched out for 11 minutes of Basic Channel-style dub chord meditation with the additional glow of Detroit techno proper and Area54 ambience.
Ask almost anyone who knows or owns this cut, they’ll probably put it in their all-time top 10. Goes for us at least.
The fluidity of the phrasing, timbral research, complex rhythmic combinations and rare sense of improvisation make this one of the best modern jazz recordings on the Saravah label in the 1970s.
"The cello, although considered a minority instrument in the history of jazz and improvisation, has carved itself a niche, both in the USA (Fred Katz, Calo Scott, Abdul Wadud, Diedre Murray, Peggy Lee) and in Europe (Tristan Honsinger, Maarten Altena, Denis Van Hecke, Ernst Reijseger). Alongside Didier Petit, Jean-Charles Capon is one of the French virtuosi on the instrument, that he began playing professionally at the beginning of the 60s before creating the Baroque Jazz Trio. His name was rapidly linked to different cult groups for who he became the guest star (Confluence, Perception, Speed Limit), but also with many more or less well-known (free) jazz musicians including David S. Ware (with whom he recorded the impeccable duo From Silence To Music), Philippe Maté, Michel Roques, André Jaume or Joe McPhee (as part of Po Music). Jef Gilson helped get his career under way (they recorded together as far back as 1968) before Pierre Barouh, boss of Saravah records with who Jean-Charles Capon played alongside Brigitte Fontaine and Areski, offered him the opportunity to record his first album: L'Univers-solitude. In the company of Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre, Jean-Charles Capon demonstrated, in all registers, a level of invention way beyond a traditional rhythmic and melodic background, with the fluid phrasing a perfect complement to his extended range.
It is not for nothing that Jean-Charles Capon admires Duke Ellington, John Lewis and Gabriel Fauré, as can be heard on his later highly personal versions of "Mood Indigo", "Django" and "Après un rêve". As for Pierre Favre, he is not there just to make up the numbers: his timbral research and combinations of complex rhythms offer the French cellist wonderful interaction throughout this remarkable album which had finally been given a dignified rerelease."
Lush, floating vocal studies and diaphanous ambient electronic from Alis, the artist who used to be known as Subeena.
‘Paper cuts’ is a pleasant experience, convecting a meditative vibe between her Aïsha Devi-alike ritual ‘Papercuts’, the anaesthetised space and harmonic hues of ‘BCC: me’, and the blue/grey skied atmosphere in ‘Rely (Could I)’, before shifting into more blunted, folksy ambient-pop dimensions with the etheric ‘Status’ and the glossolalic keen of ‘water’.
Following the reissue of Robert Ashley’s ‘Private Parts’ last week, a reanimated Lovely Music serve this absolute pearl from David Behrman, an important and beautiful artefact of interactive computer music recorded in 1977 and featuring a primitive microcomputer manipulating and evolving improvised acoustic parts for flute, bassoon and cello. It was conceived and recorded in parallel to the arrival of the first home computers, and is one of the earliest, most subtle and satisfying examples of machine language interacting with acoustic instrumentation we’ve heard.
"On the Other Ocean” was recorded in 1977 at the influential Mills College and features Maggi Payne on flute, Arthur Stidfole on bassoon and David Behrman on electronics, feeding their improvisations into the Kim-1 microcomputer for "Harmonic Responses” - or a kind of primitive machine learning. As the label explain: "The relationship between the two musicians and the computer is an interactive one, with the computer changing the electronically-produced harmonies in response to what the musicians play, and the musicians influenced in their improvising by what the computer does."
Behrman expands: "When we went into the Mills recording studio that sunny September afternoon with the breeze blowing through the Golden Gate, we had had no previous rehearsal; Maggi Payne and Arthur Stidfole had never performed together; the simple software (typed laboriously by hand in machine language into the tiny hexadecimal keypad of the "Kim 1" microcomputer) had just been completed. I had no idea what would happen. When Maggi and Arthur began spinning off their long, calm phrases I remember being surprised. And I remember catching an expression of what looked like surprise on the countenance of "Blue" Gene Tyranny through the control room window. We did two takes, chose one and that was it."
"Figure in a Clearing” followed a similar process, but this time the main player was cellist David Gibson, once again feeding into the Kim-1. Behrman explains: "It seemed astounding in 1977 that a translucent green circuit board with a tiny brain on it could take a million instructions per second from its little memory and send commands to another device (the home-made music synthesizer) whenever its program asked it to do so. David Gibson's only "score" was a list of 6 pitches to be used in performance, and a request that he not speed up when the computer-controlled rhythm did. The timbral richness and concentrated eloquence of his playing sprang from his own sources.”
Listening to this edition over 40 years later, the thing that’s perhaps most striking about these recordings is their subtlety; where you’d perhaps expect to find heavy-handed utilisation of new technology, instead you discover slowly evolving, gently mutating pieces hiding a multitude of processes. Behrman’s work here is so startling in its beauty and subtlety that it should be used as a textbook guide for how to approach innovative technology; with patience, restraint and consideration.
Serenely calm, synth-gilded harp meditations with a slight southern gothic air from Mary Lattimore, following up her rarified outings and collaborations for Ghostly International, Thrill Jockey and Constellation Tatsu. In an age full of exhausting noise, chaos and unconscious verbalism, Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughan’s “New Rain Duets” offers an antidote.
"Diaphanous melody emerges from the strings of Lattimores harp, at times reminiscent of a room full of antique music boxes playing different songs but in accord. The synthesizer textures from McCaughan float in and around the harps arpeggios, warm like cloud cover, then disturbed and more harshly electronic. Like the textures on Bowie’s Berlin albums with Eno, there is a constant sense of beauty and foreboding coexistent.
The collaboration’s four movements snake and float through a liminal sonic universe, without a linear sense of tension/release but rather a calm and brooding build into a widening pool of immersive sound. “New Rain Duets” proves that “cosmic music” lives not just in the notes played but also the ones in between. When rendered in such a way as this album, it yields a thing of true beauty and wonder."
Five years on from Space Is Only Noise, the once precocious composer Nico Jaar pursues that album’s blend of dancefloor mechanics, hip hop and ambient electronic pop into the more refined, layered designs of Sirens; its follow-up proper after dallying with Dave Harrington in Darkside and scoring/re-scoring films by Jacques Audiard and Sergei Parajanov, and even racking up BBC Radio 1’s mix of the year for his 2012 Essential Mix.
Whether weaving nods to Alice Coltrane with funereal torch song in Killing Time, or sounding like gothic Trentemøller doing clattery, jazzed-up D&B on The Governor, and even smoky ’50s doo-wop mixed with desiccated rocksteady groove in History Lesson, whose title is perhaps the earnest key to Sirens, Jaar’s 2nd album is slightly trickier to date than its predecessor, yet detectable nostalgic for another time and place.
We’re most attracted to its quieter moments, as with the ether drift of Leaves and its gauzy smudge of brass, strings and pads infiltrated with what we’ll assume is a sample of Nico as a child babbling to his famous father, making for a nice, innocent contrast with the rest of his earnest, pleading croons.
Still one of the best techno albums out of Berlin in this millennium so far, Shed’s seminal debut LP, Shedding The Past is finally and necessarily reissued on his own label, The Final Experiment - newly expanded to include all 12 tracks from the CD edition, and cut to heavier vinyl than the original 2008 pressing!
Thanks to the timeless cues and intent it was built on, Shedding The Past still sounds amazing today, working to an effortlessly adroit, light-footed and dynamic schematic that makes much of his subsequent work feel a bit clunky and overdone by comparison.
On release in 2008, it was a seriously big album for a techno world in flux between classic Detroit house, echoes of UK dubstep, broken beat and Braindance, and traces of tuffer Frankfurt sounds - all components of the Soloaction sound he’d developed for years prior.
Fair to say that Shed distilled those styles perfectly in his début album, as proved in its most impressive highlights such as the balletic gait of Another Wedged Chicken, the misty-eyed beauty of The Lower Upside Down and the breakbeat seduction of ITHAW, but most powerfully in its spine-freezing eternal anthem, Estrange.
Trust us: no techno collection is complete without a copy of this album.
After indulging us with the magnificent Burial Mix perfections of 'King In My Empire' and 'Jah Rule', Moritz and Mark return with a new golliath 12" on the Rhythm and Sound imprint.
Instrumentals on both sides, the most noticeable element as soon as the space echoes of the opening 'Imprint' rumble in is that the formula that has been conceived and perfected by M+M will never cease to amaze. Reverberating pops and emmited static fold themselves around the incredibly deep, rumbling bassline. Shards of dub delay infiltrate the mix, but the cathartic drift of the track is, simply put, mesmerising. 'Trace' is another choice cut, the hiss thrown deep to the fore, almost like a straight cut that was mangled by interference.
Edition RZ document the first 30 years of Berlin’s Inventionen festival in this cornucopia of contemporary electro-acoustic composition, including work by Iannis Xenakis, Trevor Wishart, Boguslaw Schaeffer, and Ricardo Mandolini, among many others.
Established by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and Berlin’s Technical University, the festival is focussed around presenting premieres of recently composed works alongside “classics” of the genre by Xenakis, Cage, Nono, Stockhausen, and the output of the GRM in Paris, with the subsequent aim of connecting a number of other institutions such as BEAST (Birmingham), CCRMA (Stanford), and EMS (Stockholm).
Marking the festival’s 30th year upon its release in 2012, the box set offers a massive, 17-part DVD rendering the first ever performance of Xenakis’ Bohor using Ina-GRM’s famed Acousmonium speaker array, beside a 75 minute Trevor Wishart suite entitled Encounters In The Republic of Heaven, and the video for Rolf Enström / Thomas Hellsing’s Fractal (1984), whilst the first CD includes the audio of the latter, plus highlights in Takehito Shimazu’s microscopically detailed Zytoplasma, and two Boguslaw Schaeffer pieces, including the remarkable Berlin 80 II, and the 3rd disc, a CD, is given to the diverse, percussive, noisy and poetic Elektroakustiche Musik of Argentina’s Ricardo Mandolini, which proves to be some of the most striking material in the set.
‘United’ is the incredible, ambiguous solo debut of medieval and electronic music hybrids by classically trained viola player Annie Garlid as UCC Harlo. To us it sounds like a baroque take on Arthur Russell's 'World Of Echo' treated with choral riffs.
One of the most striking debuts we've heard recently, ‘United’ introduces a patently gifted composer blossoming after many years playing on other people’s records, from early music ensembles to contemporaries such as Bill Kouligas, Caterina Barbieri and Holly Herndon. In her first solo LP Garlid reconciles these opposing poles of her work without making any concessions to her art, rendering a stellar set that ties up medieval baroque, deconstructed dance music, vaulted kosmische and hauntological ambient-pop in a measured, stately and quietly breathtaking style.
Recorded over six years in Germany, the album started as sketches made during train commutes to work in a Cologne orchestra, and was later finished in Berlin. Across its 8 tracks, Garlid weaves complex contexts into beautifully refined compositions with a preternatural patience and timeless grace that’s anything but difficult to grasp for listeners with little to no knowledge of early and classical music modes.
It’s rare to hear such a diverse yet coherent collection executed quite like ‘United’. From the opening swell of viola, mixed with trickling field recordings, synth, and Garlid’s etheric vox in ‘Ceres’, it’s clear that this is a special record, a fact only reinforced as it unfolds between the subtly daring, detached treatment of J.S. Bach in ‘Bach Gamba F*ucked’, and the celestial vectors of ‘Palimpsest/Too Near’, before the gently pendulous rhythm of ‘Lyricisty of Panic’ begins to pull influence from Baroque, as much as traditional African music and Berlin kosmiche, and ambient arabesque of ‘The Secret Lives of Plankton’ extends into lush synth zones recalling Laurie Spiegel’s ‘Unseen Worlds’.
The other side only gets more intriguing, chiming in with the synthetic serenity of Maggi Payne’s ‘Crystal’ in the floating ambience of ‘June 29th (The Third Space)’, and puckering our nerves with the bittersweet intonation of ’Sumite karissimi’, her synth version of a 14th C. work by Magister Zacharias, whilst ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ drifts from choral meditation to flanged church bells with a surreal, waking dream quality, and the pulsing arps of her remarkable ‘Áve Giove’ brings the Lorenzo Senni inspiration into tangible focus, yet with that elusive, ambiguously oneiric quality that makes the whole album so subtly transfixing.
For the good of your health, Warp have re-pressed one of electronic music's golden moments. Like many we've lived with this album for a long time now and it safely ranks in our personal best ever list...
Maja S.K. Ratkje’s spellbinding ‘Sult’ is based on her soundtrack for the ballet suite by Jo Strømgren for the Norwegian national ballet. Leading on from her previous solo LP ‘Crepuscular Hour’, Ratkje is here accompanied by a wildly modified, out-of-tune pump organ in 9 wonderous songs that attest to her non pareil, improvisational brilliance.
Stemming from the ballet adaptation of ‘Sult’, Knut Hamsen’s classic novel about a starving writer in late 19th century Kristiania (now Oslo), Maja’s treatment closely follows its themes in the lyrics and music, but works as a distinctive document in its own right. Under song titles taken from the novel, Maja unfurls surreal, anachronistic scenes akin to a steampunk echo of olde Oslo.
Using an era-appropriate pump organ rigged with metal and PVC tubes, and a wind machine built in, along with resin threads, metal and glass percussion and bow - which she had to learn to play before recording - Maja regales the narration with a fine but beautifully loose grasp of her instrument’s chaotic analog nature, skilfully harmonising with her own, incredible vocal abilities.
Despite having never read the book or visited Oslo, Maja’s music and singing takes us right there, to the same cold cobbled streets where Hamsen wrote his semi-autobiographical account of a starving artist trying to make it, and where you might encounter images that gave rise to Edvard Munch’s ’Skrik’ . Through the resilience of her voice and the queasy, off-kilter shanty feel of the pump organ, Maja most romantically and acutely connotes that atmosphere with the timeless charm of a bard, troubadour or dramaturgist, or quite simply the ambiguous, dreamy nature of the most potent art.
The Basic Reshape of Carl Craig's 'The Climax' is without question one of the finest remixes of all time. Seminal 12" from Basic Channel....
It's a definitive, driving, hypnotic club killer that rebuilt the tribal mastery of the original into a logic-defying display of bass shuffles and aquatic percussion that kills us every time/
"Remake" Basic Reshape from 1994 relates to "Remake Uno/Duo", Carl's sample-based re-interpretation of Manuel Göttschings epochal E2-E4. Basic Channel take a radical, abstract, sample-free approach with a breathtaking slow motion groove under a multilayered sound sphere.
Oliver Ho debuts his brute, industrial & psychedelic drone project Slow White Fall for Downwards with half an hour of visceral synth and guitar distortion driven by slavish drums highly recommended if yr into works by Tony Conrad, Swans, Bourbonese Qualk, Throbbing Gristle...
The ‘Total’ EP is a bitter extension of Ho’s increasingly noisy forays into industrial musick found in his Broken English Club and Zov Zov outings of recent years. Gnashing right at the biting point, the five tracks here are soused in distortion to degrees recalling The VU, Swans, and Bourbonese Qualk, bringing Ho as far as he’s travelled from techno proper and closest to his formative industrial influences.
He fully commits to this sound with opener ‘A Blinding Light’, toiling booming drums and slavish hi-hats with electric blue raga drones in a way that resonates with everything from Tony Conrad to Clay Rendering, before ‘Releasing Together’ locks into a tantric vortex sounding like a duel between Throbbing Gristle and John Carpenter.
’Slate’ then returns to the amp worship with sanctifying slow riff distortion worthy of Dylan Carlson, while Ho’s plaintive vocals interject the sludgy crawl of ‘Our Eyes’, and ‘Vein’ sounds like he’s repeatedly stabbing a live 1/4” jack into industrial rock’s beached and bloated corpus, releasing noxious gasses that build into a tarry fug of guitar distortion. This is Ho at his most stare-down intense and timelessly, narcotically effective...
Christian Fennesz relays four compelling deep space images from his unique electro-acoustic microcosmos in ‘Agora’, the Viennese artist’s first album since ‘Bécs’ 
Borrowing its title from the ancient greek word for a gathering place, ‘Agora’ finds Fennesz creating highly detailed, alien ecologies of sound riddled with myriad, interlaced dynamics, but each singular in their scope. They variously transition from wide-open to busy, hyper-populated zones of enquiry and back again, but paradoxically enough all come as the result of one man in his spare room, composing inside a pair of headphones.
Change of circumstances meant that Fennesz couldn’t use his usual studio and by necessity was limited to what was at hand in his spare bedroom-turned-studio - just like the old days when he wrote his first record. These limitations pushed him further to explore worlds of possibility contained within his guitar and computer, with drily functional titles such as ‘In My Room’ invoking ideas from both Alvin Lucier and J.G. Ballard to explore vast realms of reverberant, imaginary space, while ‘Rainfall’ feels to emulate a lush spring downpour over bust city streets, all splitting greys and oil and concrete reflection, and ‘Agora’ radiates into every corner of the synthesised soundfield with gloriously detached, isolationist effect, alongside the bittersweet then and coruscating texture of ‘We Trigger The Sun’.
Lovely, organic modular synthesis reflecting the natural world in a humble, new age, and microkosmically-expressive style
“"full/new" is an expression of mutual planetary motion. Drawing a school of listeners to the floor of Commend’s relatively small interior on a late July Sunday afternoon in 2018, Emily A. Sprague and Lightbath (aka Bryan Noll) provided an hour of aqueous reflections that whispered with the trees outside on Forsyth street and tempered the activity of the surrounding island.
Frequent collaborators, Sprague and Noll have been traveling some years on the same light ship through music, friendship, darkness, and spiritual joy, sailing not only the same creative waters of improvised ambient music but also of deeper life events, providing support and connection. full/new represents the cosmic encounter of these two amongst friends, their complementary sets in healing ceremony, celebration and reunion.
To begin, Lightbath (in collaboration with a plant via the MIDI Sprout) daubs an arc of floaty melodics, chalky auras and affecting chimes into space. Nurtured by Noll’s composer-gardner spirit, “full” manifests a magnetic kineticism as person and machine travel together exchanging ideas in turn, flowing with the motion and change of the tides. An articulation of weightless abundance, “full” is balanced by the complementary piece “The Hermit”, a seven-minute piece recorded six days before the event using the same configuration of modules. Noll describes “The Hermit” as a meditation on one zone while its dynamic sibling, “full” is a stream of consciousness journey through multiple.
If “full” portrays voluptuous movement, “new” is its accompanying voice of possibility and renewal. Sprague pulls listeners into a thin cocoon of reverie, swayed gently by arpeggios in positive and negative acceleration. An interlude of rustling, trickling, bird calls and the occasional tapping signals the frolicking of polyphonic melodies over a swelling, sonorous bass. The final movement stills out into a sanguine solitude, leaving us with a single, extended note.”
Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him.
"In the mid-1970s, a force of nature swept across the continental United States, cutting across all strata of race and class, rooting in our minds, our homes, our culture. It wasn’t The Exorcist, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or even bell-bottoms, but instead a book called The Secret Life of Plants. The work of occultist/former OSS agent Peter Tompkins and former CIA agent/dowsing enthusiast Christopher Bird, the books shot up the bestseller charts and spread like kudzu across the landscape, becoming a phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, the indoor plant business was in full bloom and photosynthetic eukaryotes of every genus were hanging off walls, lording over bookshelves, and basking on sunny window ledges. The science behind Secret Life was specious: plants can hear our prayers, they’re lie detectors, they’re telepathic, able to predict natural disasters and receive signals from distant galaxies. But that didn’t stop millions from buying and nurturing their new plants.
Perhaps the craziest claim of the book was that plants also dug music. And whether you purchased a snake plant, asparagus fern, peace lily, or what have you from Mother Earth on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (or bought a Simmons mattress from Sears), you also took home Plantasia, an album recorded especially for them. Subtitled “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them,” it was full of bucolic, charming, stoner-friendly, decidedly unscientific tunes enacted on the new-fangled device called the Moog. Plants date back from the dawn of time, but apparently they loved the Moog, never mind that the synthesizer had been on the market for just a few years. Most of all, the plants loved the ditties made by composer Mort Garson.
Few characters in early electronic music can be both fearless pioneers and cheesy trend-chasers, but Garson embraced both extremes, and has been unheralded as a result. When one writer rhetorically asked: “How was Garson’s music so ubiquitous while the man remained so under the radar?” the answer was simple. Well before Brian Eno did it, Garson was making discreet music, both the man and his music as inconspicuous as a Chlorophytum comosum. Julliard-educated and active as a session player in the post-war era, Garson wrote lounge hits, scored plush arrangements for Doris Day, and garlanded weeping countrypolitan strings around Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He could render the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike into easy listening and also dreamed up his own ditties. “An idear” as Garson himself would drawl it out. “I live with it, I walk it, I sing it.”
But as his daughter Day Darmet recalls: “When my dad found the synthesizer, he realized he didn’t want to do pop music anymore.” Garson encountered Robert Moog and his new device at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and immediately began tinkering with the device. With the Moog, those idears could be transformed. “He constantly had a song he was humming,” Darmet says. “At the table he was constantly tapping.” Which is to say that Mort pulled his melodies out of thin air, just like any household plant would.
The Plantae kingdom grew to its height by 1976, from DC Comics’ mossy superhero Swamp Thing to Stevie Wonder’s own herbal meditation, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Nefarious manifestations of human-plant interaction also abounded, be it the grotesque pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the pothead paranoia of the US Government spraying Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat (which led to the rise in homegrown pot by the 1980s). And then there’s the warm, leafy embrace of Plantasia itself.
“My mom had a lot of plants,” Darmet says. “She didn’t believe in organized religion, she believed the earth was the best thing in the whole world. Whatever created us was incredible.” And she also knew when her husband had a good song, shouting from another room when she heard him humming a good idear. Novel as it might seem, Plantasia is simply full of good tunes. Garson may have given the album away to new plant and bed owners, but a decade later a new generation could hear his music in another surreptitious way. Millions of kids bought The Legend of Zelda for their Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1986 and one distinct 8-bit tune bears more than a passing resemblance to album highlight “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos.” Garson was never properly credited for it, but he nevertheless subliminally slipped into a new generations’ head, helping kids and plants alike grow.
Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. “My dad would be totally pleased to know that people are really interested in this music that had no popularity at the time,” Darmet says of Plantasia’s new renaissance. “He would be fascinated by the fact that people are finally understanding and appreciating this part of his musical career that he got no admiration for back then.” Garson seems to be everywhere again, even if he’s not really noticed, just like a houseplant."
Black Dice cat Eric Copeland runs roughshod around house, disco and techno in his patented ‘Freakbeat 4/4’ style for DFA
Also self-described as “late Night Flight proto tekno”, the tracks are imperfectly caught between avant-rock and messy dancefloor sensibilities in a rub n tug between some of his straightest groves and haywire hooks.
Best of the lot are ‘Pay Off’ which sounds like Larry Heard lost his shit while running through ‘Feel It’ and ended up going well off road, and likewise ‘Beat It’, which could be Arthur Russell doing acid and then making it, and the two squirming 8-bit steppers ‘Falo’ and ‘High Score Zed’.
Marja Ahti poetically manifests the super-natural and pataphysical via environmental field recordings, Buchla 200, ARP 2600, bowl gong and harmonium with ‘Vegetal Negatives’, her first proper release under this name following a run of tapes and LPs as Tsembla, and roles in Finnish psych ensembles Kiila and Kemialliset Ystävät. Imagine the sound of dolphins swimming through soil, or Wanda Group finding his true form as a bed of nettles…
‘Vegetal Negatives’ brings to light Finnish artist Marja Ahti’s deeply sensuous and texturally-aware style of holistic composition, giving voice to the natural world as a prism through which to imagine what happens when the natural order of biology and physics mutate in unreal ways.
This poetic license opens up Marja’s sound to vivid reaches of the imagination. Moving on from her string of albums as Tsembla, and her work in the Kemialliset Ystävät and Kiila ensembles, she navigates a lushly overgrown garden of the mind in four parts. Two longer sections ‘Coastal Inversion’ and ‘Chora’ offer immersive space-time manipulations, with the former meshing brittle, glassy sounds with head-wobbling acoustic chicanery to sound like some jellified gamelan orchestra, while the 12 minute ‘Chora' - laced with deeply strange, breathing organisms, most spellbindingly gives voice to the natural world, both human, and, in effect, Ur-Terrestrial.
They’re separated by two more concise works, the para-dimensional space of ‘Rooftop Garden’ with its richly evocative segues between mechanical and environmental sounds, and ’Symbiogenesis’, which sounds like phosphorescing flora singing to each other after sundown.
From Syria via L.A. and upstate New York, K Á R Y Y N makes a strong impression with debut album ‘The Quanta Series’, following a beguiling collaboration with Actress’ Young Paint Ai. No half measures here, K Á R Y Y N is a proper triple threat, writing, producing and performing every track in a dramatic, soaring heart-on-sleeve style of IDM/ambient and operatic pop RIYL Björk, Holly Herndon, Fovea Hex
“Written and recorded over a seven year period, 'THE QUANTA SERIES' tracks K Á R Y Y N’s movements across continents on a voyage of self-examination. Beginning in 2011 following the death of two relatives in Aleppo, K Á R Y Y N left her native LA for Cherry Valley, upstate New York to process her grief in seclusion. During the 18 months she lived in Cherry Valley, K Á R Y Y N wrote two songs for 'THE QUANTA SERIES'. The first was a visceral, emotional piece recorded in one take called 'TODAY I READ YOUR LIFE STORY 11:11'. The second, a musing on impermanence and understanding the impact of our choices called 'SEGMENT & THE LINE'.
Over the years that followed, K Á R Y Y N spent time living in Berlin where she wrote 'PURGATORY', a song inspired by a memory from her childhood spent in the Forty Mountains of Idlib province in Syria. As she travelled, she found inspiration everywhere, leaning into her own familial legacy, feelings of grief and love and observations on human interaction. A deep connection to her lineage is a concurrent theme in K Á R Y Y N’s work, with an interpretation of traditional Armenian folk song 'AMBETS GORAV' present on the album plus a beautiful choral patchwork called 'MIRROR ME' providing an introspective break in the album - a track about "facing yourself, the good, the bad; searching for the parts in us that have been lost."
‘The Smoke’ is Alina Astrova’s third and best LP as Lolina since placing her Inga Copland and Hype Williams projects on ice...
It renders a poetically insightful study of life in London, where she ekes out a sense of shadow-strafing play from its fetid streets, revelling in the spaces between sticky pavements and 24 hour off license-lit environs with a signature mix of ennui and louche observation framed by layered and attractively tacky production.
As an emigre living in the UK, Lolina’s perspective is perhaps ever more intriguing in the current climate of both footie, Novichok and Brexit fevers as her experience of the city feels embedded yet dreamily detached, with bright, fizzing synth presets and smudged, viscous rhythms meshed to her vocals in a manner that connotes a red-eyed mind drifting dazed between dawning afternoons and smeared evenings, coolly beguiled at the scenes unfolding around her.
The result is Lolina’s smartest solo record, a perfect headphone accompaniment to the capital, reflecting its character and characters in its mix of quizzically jazzy and arcane, chamber-like turns of phrase with sparing daubs of field recording peppered by ear-snagging lines such as “your eyes are one, your voice around me / why don’t you leave me in peace, to smoke my trees” in the massive highlight ‘A Path of Weeds and Flowers’, or the sung/spoken schismatics of “fake city/real city/cut the fug with a shank” in the drowsy jag of ‘Fake City, Real City’.
This one’s set to be a big favourite of ’18. Don’t miss.
Kompakt staple Jörg Burger (The Modernist, Burger/Ink ++) initiates a new compilation series, ‘Velvet Desert Music’ with 15 choice cuts strung between traces of rock, folk, country, surf, krautrock and psychedelic contemporary electronic music
“The concept shares some similarities to Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series as unlike a conventional compilation of tracks from different artists, Velvet Desert Music Vol.1 is a collection of music that creates a distinct vibe and atmosphere.
Jörg Burger is responsible for the concept and selection. The styles of music presented on Velvet Desert Music Vol. 1 play a crucial role and influence in his work for many years. Now he has created a platform for these styles. Beside showcasing his own music, Jörg Burger kept to inviting a close circle of friends and colleagues that share similar influences in their work. All of their contributions were specially composed or remixed for this collection.
Velvet Desert Music Vol. 1 features the first new Burger/Ink track since the release of their iconic full length “Las Vegas” on Harvest and Matador Records in 1996.
“Just think...from Sergio Leone to David Lynch, from Elvis in his deepest moments to Johnny Cash somewhere between amphetamine backlash and American Recordings, from Hollywood Babylon to Hotel California, from Mulholland Drive to Paris, Texas. Served with a pinch of Tago Mago and Pink Floyd at Pompeii. Then you know exactly what Velvet Desert Music is about...“ – JÖRG BURGER”
The mesmerising ’Ilana (The Creator)’ is desert blues maestro Mdou Moctar’s first album recorded in a proper studio and backed by a full band
Whirling at the heels of his live recordings made in Jack White’s Third Man complex, the Tuareg guitarist returns to his spiritual home of Sahel Sounds, flanked by Ahmoudou Madassane (Les Filles de Illighadad) on rhythm guitar, Aboubacar Mazawadje’s percussion, and Michael Coltun on bass, to present his magnum opus 10 some years since his debut album was distributed on SD cards across west Africa.
Mdou got to this point after his self-taught, fiery guitar skills were heard by Christopher Kirkley ov Sahel Sounds, who, after a few phone calls (Mdou dropped the first one, thinking it was a prank), secured Mdou’s ‘Tahoultine’ song for the now-seminal ‘Music From Saharan Cellphones’ compilation in 2010. A string of celebrated LPs have followed, including Mdou’s soundtrack for a Saharan remake of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’, and now on ‘Ilana (The Creator)’ he finally shows what he can do in a true studio setting, and with bios own band.
The results are wider, more layered, and immersively lusher than anything else in Mdou’s oeuvre, yet they lose none of the in-the-moment “life” found in his rawer, earlier works, or indeed his transfixing live performances across the EU and USA.
Comprising long hours of jamming in the studio, with later overdubs made in Niger, ‘Ilana (The Creator)’ harnesses Mdou and his group’s mesmerising energy in 9 songs, coursing with the kind of psychedelic feel that begs eyes closed and heads-down from the magnetic swiller of ‘Kamane Tarhanin’ thru the wide open blues space connoted by ‘Inizgam’, to the elegant, swaying rhythms and lilting harmonies in ‘Anna’, and a scorching tribute to Tuareg folklore in ‘Ilana’, with incendiary music underlining lyrics about France’s exploitation of Niger’s uranium reserves.
Cranky-ass cyber-punk blatz from San Fran’s Cube, picked up by Superior Viaduct’s sublabel, W.25th. Everything from rictus death rock steppers to sawn-off junglist dirges and bittersweet lullabies for folk who took too much wizz. RIYL Powell, StabUDown Productions, Puce Mary
“Cube is the prolific and chimeric nom de plume of one Adam Keith, formidable tape experimentalist and artist / abraser currently operating in Oakland, California's vibrant subterranea. After countless cassette releases, 2016's well-received My Cube LP and a tenure in no-wave faction Mansion, Keith reaffirms Cube's pledge with Decoy Street – his second album and the most developed work he has made under any guise to date.
Opener "In This House" serves as the ideal introduction to Cube: cellular interference, colliding circuitry, metal-on-metal grind and simplistic guitar distortion meet a towering and damaged beat. While "Habit" merges downtempo and industrial touchstones via layers of heavily treated vocals, "Sanctuary" tilts further towards propulsion – a dark treatise on discomfort, yet contagious enough to charm DIY and post-punk devotees.”
Studiously retro psychedelic soul from Sa-Ra’s Shafiq Husayn, alongside a dazzling supporting cast including; Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bilal, Robert Glasper, Coultrain, Chris 'Daddy' Dave, I-Ced, Anderson Park, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Jimetta Rose, Fatima, Computer Jay, Medlodious Fly, Kamasi Washington,
“The Loop' is the new LP by Los Angeles based polymath Shafiq Husayn, an epic project which saw its inception in 2012 through a series of studio sessions at Shafiq’s home, including collaborations with the likes of Thundercat, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Bilal and Anderson Paak. Amongst a close knit circle of friends and family the golden tones of The Loop were created, deeply rooted in ideas of song, story, history, guidance and spirituality. The album bumps, jumps and jangles through progressions in jazz, hip hop, soul and funk, following on from his debut album ‘Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka’ and adding further to his rich history of timeless, unique music. On The Loop past, present and future are brought together through a psychedelic concoction of time traveling drum machines, celestial string sections and trails of synthesizer vapour. Inflections of Sly Stone, Pharaoh Sanders and Earth Wind And Fire traverse with Marley Marl and Dilla-esqe drums making for an organic yet LA-trifying experience.
Shafiq has brought together an impressive array of LA's musical royalty, enlisting the likes of Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Kamasi Washington, Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave, Eric Rico, Coultrain, Computer Jay, Jimetta Rose, Om'Mas Keith, Kelsey Gonzalez, I-Ced and more to provide the backbone to his recording sessions. Drawing in features from an international cast of performers and artists like Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote, Fatima and Karen Be amongst others. Now complete and finally ready for release in 2019 The Loop is truly something to behold. The records is accompanied by a series of paintings by acclaimed Japanese visual artist Tokio Aoyama, who worked in tandem with Shafiq to create a painting for each song on the record.”
Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams) customarily dispenses Lolina’s yearly report with Lolita, a self-released white label of warped bleep-techno-pop and clipped dembow bump.
Arriving a year on from her Lolin & Scratchin’ mix CD with DVA for BUS Editions, Lolita ‘fesses a perfectly uneasy trio of aces taking in the title track’s curdled dancehall tones and slippery lyrics on the A-side, while the flip sets her lilting, off-kilter vocals to dissonant dembow knocks on Keep It Movin’, whereas Plot Twist is the EP’s lone, wriggly neon instrumental, like some half-cooked prototype that crept out of Errorsmith’s studio when he wasn’t looking.
As part of their 20th Anniversary celebrations, Strut offer up the first new volume in their pioneering ‘Nigeria 70’ series for over 8 years, bringing together rare highlife, Afro-funk and juju from the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Compiled by collector and DJ Duncan Brooker, this new selection of tracks is receiving its first international release outside of Nigeria.
"The compilation returns to a fertile heyday in Nigerian music when established styles like highlife and juju became infused with elements of Western jazz, soul and funk and musicians brought a proud new message post-independence. Brooker places the spotlight particularly on some of the incredible Ukwuani musicians from the Delta State region as guitarist Rogana Ottah and Steady Arobby’s International Brothers Band forged their own fluid brand of highlife and soulman Don Bruce drew on the US R&B greats for a series of great albums and explosive stage shows at his residency at Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Elsewhere, the album explores the close connection between Nigeria and Benin’s music, most famously through Sir Victor Uwaifo, appearing here with a killer mid‘80s ekassa jam, as well as highlife hitmaker Osayamore Joseph on ‘Obonogbozu’ (Joseph made headlines in Nigeria for very different reasons in 2017, surviving a one month kidnapping ordeal).
Other tracks include ‘Sickness’ a 1979 lament on how all countries share troubles by Prince Nico Mbarga, the Nigerian / Camerounian star behind the smash hit ‘Sweet Mother’; reggae singer Felixson Ngasia switches to funk and disco for a heavy workout with potent lyrics around black identity; another major highlife great Etubom Rex Williams unleashes a punchy psych funk gem with ‘Psychedelic Shoes’ and Africa 70 member Pax Nicholas vocals a simmering Afrobeat groove from Jacob Lee’s Saxon Lee & The Shadows International Band."
Heart-on-sleeve post-rock and modern classical drone navigations imbued with an absorbing narrative appeal by the Iranian composer for Lawrence English’s label
“I was watching The Mirror obsessively around 2013-2014. I wouldn’t go a day without watching at least a scene from the film. Something about the dreamlike flux of images made me calm, sometimes hopeful, many times just simply mesmerised.
The writings of Dostoyevsky had the same effect on me some years earlier. I lived in his books as I did in this movie.
I remember watching the scene where the mother is compared to Maria Timofeyevna, it all went around in my head like a dream; like a world of associations that surrounded my feelings. The significance of wind and trees, which are my lifelong obsessions, made this more beguiling. I chose certain characters from the film and two novels and let them play their own drama and sculpt time with sounds and images which later became some of these tracks.”
A wistful, fractal collection of introspective songs built from fragments of other people’s voices, sounds, and music by French/Canadian artist Jean Cousin aka Joni Void
“Mise En Abyme is the second full-length by Joni Void, the avant-electronica project of France/Canada producer Jean Cousin, following his acutely accomplished and acclaimed 2017 debut album Selfless. (#8 Experimental Album of 2017 at Pitchfork, among other accolades.)
Grappling with a cascade of heartbreaks and discontinuities over the past year, Cousin calls the new album a “time-travel experiment”, as he culls sounds from devices and sources spanning childhood to the present (phones, cameras, video games, home movies) to retrieve and reframe subjective memories, histories and “regressions through former selves” through immersion in the evocative potential of the mostly wordless voices of others. The resulting sonic portraits simultaneously convey formally abstract dislocations and highly emotive warmth, interiority, humanity and specificity.
Side A especially highlights these works – the “with people” half of the album, replete with contemplative, melancholic songs, each featuring a deconstructed performance by a different female voice, propelled to varying degrees with additive rhythmic and textural layers. Side B is the “isolation” half: vocal samples continue to make appearances, including Cousin’s own voice on the vertiginous “Voix Sans Issue” and his own lyrics on the computer-narrated text-to-speech spoken word of the confessional “Deep Impression” – but the contrasting vibe is more claustrophobic, anxious and febrile.
Mise En Abyme ends with a throwback to Cousin’s pre-Joni Void keyboard-based works as johnny_ripper on the gorgeous Rhodes piece “Persistence”, while the closing exuberant maximalist jam of “Resolve” fittingly samples every previous song and locks the album into a self-referential recursive sequence.”
Murderous, deep tech house and techno minimalism from Lucy, referencing Albert Camus’ classic french tome ‘The Stranger’ - also the inspiration behind The Cure’s first single
We advise drawing for ‘Dyscamupia (Paused)’, where the Stroboscopic Artefacts boss menacingly places the death croaking vocal over Twin Peaks-y pads and a direct, driving, uptempo pulse, and also to the ‘‘Dyscamupia (Backward)’ where the vocals are consumed by waves of noise then give way to a chilly breakdown.
Super bass-heavy Miami house dopiness from Greg Beato, trotting out his 2nd 12” in nearly as many weeks on his Ni Un Pero label
Named after the Miami-Dade jurisdiction he hails from, ‘Dade’ - also meaning to walk unsteadily - is a fine title for Beato’s sound on this EP, a blend of worn out drums underlined with heaving subs and sealed in muggy atmospheres.
His album aside, this is the most varied set in Beato’s catalogue, holding a line between the swaggering groove and furtive feel of ‘Tres’ with its grunting subs, thru the bleached out dub house lushness of ‘Cero’, and the head-high ‘Cinco’, to the tremendously weird whirligig of ‘Hasta’ and a grubbing oddity named ‘El Fin’.
Bubbling with psychedelic optimism and riddled with traces of classic soul, spiritual jazz, kosimiche rock and new age, ‘Radical American Hippy Kraut’ is the colourful new one from Brooklyn’s Time Wharp and Ch Rom
““We designed Radical American Hippy Kraut to meet the semi-necrotic but self-assured geriatric ambling last dance of patriarchy, monoculture, and the society of the unbound prioritized self. From a coffeeshop-bar-workshare-space identical to many others came the elemental code to the disruptor class’ ribbons of co-cultivating career gossamer light, and we’ve harvested this code to design instructions for developing higher pathways for the exchange of compassion and psyber-spiritual healing.
The blockchain prosperity silicon contagion continues to spread as the Earth is cannibalized by its children, who under duress of the elephanthead patriarchy succumb to the compulsion to auto-post and lifestream until we’re reduced to piles of calcium dust atop shattered lucite frames—but Wharp and Rom’s thundering motor drums rattle on in radical contrast! The group-selfthink grand optimization singularity is upon us, and thus we devote ourselves to dyspiritual para-American affective labor towards scuplting the counter-hymn of righteous joy and ecstatic hope against the undending statist drone of the convenience supremacist untopia.
- Wharp & Rom”
Killer Chi-house from a ghetto-house OG, squaring up the classic acid ov ‘Halloween House’ plus 3 previously unreleased knockers - all freshly remastered by Redshape
Singapore-based Midnight Shift Records have done a sterling job here, giving a second wind to the ‘floor-chewing 303 lines and psycho-jak stabs of ‘Halloween House’, which has been unavailable on wax since 1988, along with high-strength workouts in the Todd Terry-esque raver ‘Can’t Wait (Factory Mixx 1987)’, the inexorable acid drive of ‘Nightmare’ featuring Jammin’ Gerald, and the acid blues of ‘Jack My Body (Factory Mixx 1987)’, all primed to play at the nearest opportunity.
London-based electronaut Emile Facey aka Plant43 routes thru Sheffield’s CPU with a sparkling 4th solo LP of nimbly arranged arpeggios, brooding bloo pads and fluid hydraulics
Discerning androids and cyborgs will be in their element here with 8 exactingly crafted workouts flush with colourful chromatic melodies and night gazing Bladerunner feels anchored in effortless rhythms, including craftier runs into Arpanet styled calculations abundant int he 2nd half.
Brooding electronic soundscapes. Sounds a bit like ancient gods playing foghorns accompanied by darkly angelic string orchestrations...
“From Siavash... In the movie “Eternity and A Day” Alexandre makes a deal to buy three words from a refugee child. In making Subsiding my intent was to explore the affects, images and sounds of those words. One of the words was Argathini.
When the album was finished I mistakingly typed Agarthini as the first track’s name, it became an entirely different word. A few days before that; I had a conversation with a few friends about the intentional fallacy and works of Arvo Pärt (the music in this album is heavily influenced by him). It seemed apt to not to change the mistake and remain silent about the words.”
Highly infectious breakbeat garage vibes from NYC’s Falty DL and his south London counterpart, Benny Ill ov Horsepower Productions
Falty steps off with a signature volley of infectious 2-step with wild subs and simmering chords in ‘Ill Bent’, which Benny Ill reworks inna tuff-but-sweet jungle fashion on his ’Straight up III Mix’, and on a ruder, dubbed-out tip in the ‘Fat Larry’s Revenge Mix’, along with one of his inimitable originals in the cutthroat London rufige of ‘Is It Safe’.
From Michigan via Belgium, Tyler Dancer brings a rude Detroit flavour to his follow-up record for DBA, leading on from 2017’s debut 12” and strong remix of Funkadelic with Shake
Uptown he plays out the wickedly sub-heavy swagger of ‘Kármán Line’ with its hazy top line and rugged flow coming off like Shake meets Nolean Reusse, whereas ‘Shiva’s Hands’ puts the kicks down four square with frazzled handclaps and weird, piped-in lead to sound a bit New Beaty, and the pumping ‘Nyx’ lets some jazzy light trickle in to the mix for sweet contrast.
Palmistry loosens up his signature, nipped dancehall style with subtle traces of noise, slippery textures and off-kilter dissonance to bittersweet appeal in ‘Water’, his first solo outing since the well received ‘Pagan’ album in 2016
A wonderfully fine-feathered free jazz zinger from L.A., 1978, Horace Tapscott and the Pan Peoples Arkestra’s ‘The Call’ is reissued by DJ Harv’s Outernational Sounds for the first time
“Our Music is contributive, rather than competitive” - Horace Tapscott. Working under the right kinda steam, Tapscott and company play a blinder here, sending us reeling with the deliciously complex, rolling syncopation and flighty horns of ‘The Call’, then seducing with the mellifluous appearance of Adele Sebastian in ‘Quagmire Manor at Five A.M.’ before erupting into needlepoint bebop, and back out to Adele. Percussion fiends will then be in their element with the lithe, Afro-latinate swing and frenzied paso-doble vamps of ‘Nakatini Suite’, before they switch up and out again with the heady sway of strings and wind, hunched breaks and searching clarinet of ‘Peyote Song No. III.’
A proper Bobby Dazzler, this!
Proper ’93-style breakbeat ardcore pressure from TCM’s ‘Mind Bombing’ album, reissued for all 2019 rave kru
Originally dished up on the legendary Labello Blanco, the ‘Joyrider EP’ came at the latter end of TCM’s early ‘90s run, but still fires on all cylinders between the A-side’s fractious, patchworked zinger ‘Joyrider 2 (Last Ride To Hell)’ full of dubwise handbrake turns and dancefloor G-force, before ‘The Only Solution’ gets rabid with running man breaks, junglist sirens and twilight darkcore vibes, and ‘Voice Of The Mind’ gets nutty with bruxist string tension, shrieking divas and hyper old skool vibes - one of the last of its ilk before the ’94 phase shift.
Bringing to a close a series which has frankly altered the way we listen to and perceive sound and music over the course of this decade, Jakob Ullmann seals his important Fremde Zeit series with ‘Solo V for Klavier’; a fascinatingly stark and spectral hour-long finale that sets the idea of ‘Foreign Time’ in its most minimalist and broadest setting.
Like the previous instalments, ‘solo V für Klavier’ is interpreted from a graphic score, this time formed from a series of abstract water-colours aleatorically overlaid with transparent sheets marked with black lines, scattered in the manner of oracle sticks to create a pattern determining the duration of sections, their colour and sequencing. Whilst patently super-minimal, the piece’s pianissimo nature is too demanding for just one solo performer, Lukas Rikli, who requires the participation of three assistants who use horsehair on the strings to sustain the soundscape.
So far, so concrete (and the above is only a skim of the full technical requirements), but what occurs arguably falls within the realm of the supernatural and metaphysical. Performed according to Ullmann’s uniquely conjured laws of physics, the work opens an uncanny valley between the object - the grand piano - and subjective perceptions of its sound. It takes several minutes before one might even realise a piano is at the centre of the soundstage - somehow all the action appears to happen in the meridian, in the timbral, in the liminal aura, almost frighteningly connoting a presence but not the actual body that produced it.
It’s only when identifiable chords and strings occasionally loom forward that we can just about make out the fixed physicalities in the room, but in the process we’ve already attuned to Ullmann’s laws of sonic democracy (if you’re doing it properly, the piece should play at just above the volume of environmental sound - hence it works best at night), which makes any instrumental gesture, no matter how slight, appear magnified, animating a microcosmos of sound at the molecular level.
The results highlight the effective warzones of sonic bombardment and “pollution” we’re all subject to everyday, and most intently offer the invaluable space for retreat we’re all clearly, increasingly in need of.