Dave NYZ makes his debut for the W0rmhole.
"Those wonderful people at The Wormhole recently got in touch and invited me to send them a CD album. So I had a bit of a think and then rummaged around in the studio and laboratory where I found a bunch of stuff done with cheap old ROMplers and my MANIAC cellular automata sequencer. After sifting through a few sessions I selected a variety of tracks and put them together for this release.
For process-inquisitive types, the generative composition techniques with cellular automata used various MIDI events including => note, velocity, mono / poly aftertouch, pitch bend, mod wheel, continuous controllers and various custom system exclusive encodings to change microtuning tables and various synth patch parameters. Sequences were generated and manipulated live at the sequencer interface and recorded direct to hard disc." – David Burraston, New South Wales, 11 April 2020."
Death Is Not The End digs deep to pull out some raw Sufi-Flamenco recordings from 1962, courtesy of the late Aziz Balouch.
"Aziz Balouch moved to the Iberian Peninsula from modern-day Pakistan in 1932 in search of work and music. After a childhood spent studying Islamic mysticism and devotional songs in the Sufi shrines of his native Sindh he soon fell in love with the 'deep song' of flamenco and was taken in as an apprentice to the great heterodox cantaor Pepe Marchena after a chance encounter. He dedicated the rest of his life to flamenco and developed an elaborate theory of the South Asian and Sufi origins of the art which he propagated through live performances and publications in London, Spain and Pakistan.
Decades before the arrival of the academic discipline of ethnomusicology or the invention of 'fusion' Aziz Balouch painstakingly immersed himself into a completely different musical tradition seeking connections and drawing inspiration to create a unique performance style which has tragically remained hidden and ignored. These 4 tracks are taken from Aziz Balouch's only surviving recording, an EP released in Spain in 1962. On each track Balouch draws on his polyglottism to seamlessly merge Sufi poetry in Persian, Sindhi, Hindi and Arabic with various forms of Andalusian song in Spanish. Accompanied by a single guitar his voice pushes through into the profound depths of human experience to excavate the shared past of flamenco which had been submerged beneath the surface."
Deaf Center's second album Owl Splinters from 2011 gets a lavish re-packaging as a gatefold 2LP. It includes a Svarte Greiner re-interpretation album ‘Twin' as well as new cover-art with photos by cinematographer Joshua Zucker-Pluda.
Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland quietly honed their art via the nightmarish catharsis of the Svarte Greiner and Nest projects respectively, arriving at their 2nd album together ‘Owl Splinters’ back in 2011 in deeply solemn and contemplative mood. For this chapter of their story, mysterious imagery was rendered even sharper, as though someone on the inside wiped a palm on the window of their cabin in the woods.
This is largely attributable to the fact it was recorded at Nils Frahms' Durton studio, where the lo-fi graininess and techniques of their early work was brought to life with hi-end engineering and analogue equipment, allowing the duo to articulate their supernatural stories with more evocative detailing and widescreen atmospherics.
Opening to the bowed strings and seismic bass shudder of 'Divided', we're ushered straight to a world where Totland's piano adorns centrepiece 'The Day I Would Never Have' with ethereal pensiveness and Skodvin's cello expands like a dense, blackened cloud of smoke. Through the smaller vingettes like 'Fiction Dawn', this forested gloom colours the album through to the slow, vacuous pressure system of 'Close Forever Watching', its surge of cold black air almost brutally resolving the atmospheric tension.
The accompanying LP ‘Twin' is a 40 minute interpretation of Owl Splinters by Erik K Skodvin under his Svarte Greiner alias. The record takes the long-form, ghostly sections of it's parent album and expands them into crushing drone epics. The two parts are cut into four sections, pieced together by used and unused material from the recording session. It first appeared in form of an accompaniement CD that came with the initial 100 LPs of Owl Splinters. This is the first time ‘Twin' appears on vinyl.
Elena Colombi’s Osàre! Editions back with its third release and once again making our ears prick, this is a fucking label to watch we tell theee. This one’s the work of Johannes Haas, aka L.F.T. (Love, Fist, Tears), a Hamburg local who met Colombi at Golden Pudel, where else, and who makes highly authentic sounding early 80’s synthwave pop, lo-fi and nicely frayed at the edges, highly recommended if yr into The Normal, Skanfrom, Liaisons Dangereuses...
"Elena Colombi’s Osàre! Editions proudly presents its third vinyl release: Blood in the Grass, an EP of electro tinged new wave from Hamburg-based producer Johannes Haas, aka L.F.T. (Love, Fist, Tears), the title of which takes inspiration from a 1966 tapestry work by the late Swedish-Norwegian textile artist Hannah Ryggen (1894-1970).
Prompted by Colombi and Haas meeting on the dancefloor of Golden Pudel, the eight tracks run the gamut of darkwave and punk sounds, with Haas utilising Korg MS20 and Roland SH101 synthesisers to meld mutant acid with slamming synth lines, ear-worm melodies and opaque lyrics that are left open to interpretation. The new wave aesthetic he draws inspiration from is most evident on tracks Die Geldsmachine, No Covenent and the glistening Chloe-Rose, and with its howling guitar riffs and driving energy geared for late nights, Manon is a rough and ready punk anthem and a tribute to Haas’ “gang” of favourite people in Hamburg."
Major new work from GRM director François Bonnet (aka Kassel Jaeger), featuring recent "Portraits GRM" stars Lucy Railton and Jim O’Rourke and filtering eerie drones and tones into a shapeless but deep-hitting rumble of waterlogged sound. It's a hypnotic, deeply human album that enshrines Bonnet's memories in layer upon layer of tonal mud; if we dig too deep or concentrate too hard, we are ourselves become engulfed in the swamp, part of the opera. Highly recommended listening if yr into Iancu Dumitrescu, Richard Lerman, Jimmy O'Rourke.
When Bonnet was a child, he would venture out every Sunday to his favorite spot in the countryside: a swamp. Years later, he has composed a drone opera to memorialize these pivotal early moments, drawing a parallel between his love of the swamp and his own musical output, which was described by a teacher as swamp-like. "I guess because of the lack of demonstrative musical shapes and articulations," Bonnet admits.
Regaled with an awesome capacity for inducing ur states of trance, and just as likely to rip you out of it and off onto darker paths, ‘Swamps / Things’ blurs the line between the organic and synthetic, as instruments are contorted to sound like synthesizers and heaving pulses take on the character of orchestral flourishes. Layers of sound come on in diffracted waves of elemental and perplexing emotions that speak to Bonnet's remarkable breadth of vision as much as his rich palette. In a sense, he extends his role as artistic director of the GRM to a metaphorical director of sound in a mostly instrumental and multi-dimensional opera whose meaning may be elusive, but whose dramaturgy is enacted in the most absorbing, ravishing ways.
"Sound is abstract. When the source is elusive, narrative and meaning shift between the concrete and obscure. With his first solo LP with Shelter Press, Swamps/Things, Kassel Jaeger wades into this foggy, conceptual realm. From memory and metaphor - sliding fluidly through the imagistic and emotive - emerges an immersive, cavernous world that rethinks electroacoustic music on organic terms.
‘Swamps/Things’ was conceived as an opera without distinct characters or text. It draws Kassel Jaeger into his own history, experiences, and the unlikely double of the swamp, a landscape that has held literal and metaphorical sway over him since childhood. Merging 8 works as a total environment, abstaining from distinct shape or discrete articulation, across the album's breadth, sound becomes a shifting mirror for the bubbling, ordered chaos of organic life.
Resting at the junction of concept, emotion, and phenomena - tapping the multidimensional potential for narrative and meaning possessed by each - Swamps/Things encounters an artist of remarkable craft, delving toward the unknown, deploying organized sonority as object and environment, as much as action, movement, passage, and arc. Seemingly possessed by an entropy entirely its own, the temporal gives way to the poetics of space, while the density of an endlessly evolving climate, laden with cacophonous happenings, renders itself still. Flickering images of the natural world - memory and the imagined reformed as sound - present an operatic double for human action and thought. From deep, fog like banks of minimalist long tone, to industrial clamors left as tracks in the mud, or the collisions of shifting pulses, overtones, and textures - captured from across the murky, drone laden waters between the acoustic and synthetic realms - moody, howling cries and tense meditations merge in ambient sheets, capturing a fleeting image of where decomposition gives way to new growth.
A remarkably intimate and forward-thinking aural balm, bristling with complex beauty, Shelter press is overjoyed to present Kassel Jaeger’s Swamps/Things. Two immersive, intoxicating sides overflowing with humanity and ideas."
Recorded at INA GRM and Steamroom, covering a period of thirty years, the gap between the two visits Jim O'Rourke made to the GRM, featuring Eiko Ishibashi on piano, Atsuko Hatano on violin and viola and Eivind Lonning on trumpet .
"Shutting Down Here" is an exceptional recording, commencing GRM's brand new series of releases "Portraits GRM" and covering 30 years of activity from Jim O'Rourke. O'Rourke first visited the studio as a dedicated fan in the 1980s, returning three decades later with his own legend now set in stone. But the pre-supposed dialog between apprentice and master is difficult to excavate; the sounds presented on "Shutting Down Here" melt into each other: piano from Eiko Ishibashi, viola and violin from Atsuko Hatano, Eivind Lonning's trumpet and electronics and other elements from O'Rourke himself.
It's a graceful, poignant fusion of past, present and future, with fragmented pre-digital cyber-drones mutating into acoustic textures, swelling into jubilance or deep-diving into whirlpools of dissonant doom. There's a story here, somewhere, self-referential and non-linear, sipping the auteur's mysterious legacy and contributing criticality. O'Rourke has dedicated four albums to visionary director Nicolas Roeg (Drag City quadrilogy "Bad Timing", "Eureka", "Insignificance" and "The Visitor"), but "Shutting Down Here" might be closest stylistically to Roeg's idiosyncratic, deconstructed vision.
"Due to the wide dynamic levels, please adjust your volume accordingly."
Excellent LP from Hedvig Mollestad, a "multifaceted and dynamic progressive jazzrock monster”, new on Rune Grammofon.
"In May 2018 Hedvig received an invitation from Vossajazz - the much loved annual festival established in 1973 - to write the commission work for 2019. This came at the right time, she had been thinking about writing for a bigger group than the trio, and this would be a good opportunity. To make it suitable for album release the full festival version was edited, sharpened and recorded from scratch in Amper Tone studio in Oslo. And this stunning album is the result!
"In addition to Hedvig on guitar, the line-up includes powerhouse drummer Torstein Lofthus (Elephant9) and percussionist Ole Mofjell, the youngest member, but with solid experience from the European improvisation scene. Keyboard duties are handled by Marte Eberson, probably most known from her five years with Highasakite, and Erlend Slettevoll (The Core and supergroup Grand General, Rune Grammofon 2013). Hedvig first met trumpeter Susana Santos Silva in Mats Gustafsson´s NU-ensemble.
This three women, three men lineup defies the general notion of progressive jazz as being a typically male activity. Maybe this is why it´s so multifaceted, rich on textures and melodically strong? Being the riffmeister Hedvig truly is, she has of course found room for some really strong ones, as well as some subtle and powerful soloing."
Includes one LP of original material and one LP of comtemporary reworks from Bana Haffar, Bergsonist, Lightbath, Sarah Belle Reid, Signals Under Tests, Fahmi Mursyid, Kai Riedl & Suny Lyons and Ultrabillions.
"The singular expressions of music across Indonesia are seemingly limitless, though few are as dynamic and hold such a colorful history as jaipongan of West Java. The form of jaipongan we know today was born from the fields of Java where an early form of music called ketuk-tilu echoed over fields during harvest times.
Known for intense and complex drumming coordinated with equally dynamic solo female dancing, ketuk-tilu performances included a rebab (a small upright bowed instrument), a gong, and ketuk-tilu (“three kettle gongs”). Though the original performance context of this music revolved around planting and harvesting rituals, with the singer accepting male dancing partners, over time ketuk-tilu became an outlet for village life expressing fertility, sensuality, eroticism, and, at times, socially accepted prostitution. Activities in the first half of the twentieth century that were best suited amongst the elements of harvest and outside of urban criticism.
Fast forward to 1961, the year the Indonesian government placed a ban on Western music, most specifically rock and roll, ostensibly to revive the traditional arts and have the country refocus on Indonesian ideals. Though, this attempt to reclaim, and in many ways conservatize, musical output had an unexpected musical outcome. In the early 70s the composer and choreographer Gugum Gumbira (1945-2020) took it upon himself to retrofit and creatively expand the core elements of ketuk-tilu into a contemporary form. One that would harness ketuk-tilu’s core dynamics and nod to the government’s pressure to revive traditional forms, while creating a fresh and socially acceptable art form where enticing movements, intimate topics and just the right degree sensuality had a collective musical expression. Born was jaipongan.
Musically, Gumbira added in the gamelan thereby augmenting the overall instrumentation especially the drums. Importantly, he brought a new and very focused emphasis to the role of the singer allowing them to concentrate solely on their voices opposed to dancing as well. These voices weren’t there to narrate upper class lifestyles or Western flavored ideals (and colonial mentalities in general), but the worldview and woes of the common people of West Java. Intimacy, love, romance, money, working with the land, life’s daily struggles and the processes of the natural world were common themes in jaipongan that ignited the hearts of the people and directly spoke to both the young and old. The two timeless voices that would define the genre and fuel it to echo out across the globe were Idjah Hadjijah, featured here, and Gugum’s wife, Euis Komariah (1949-2011), two nationally cherished voices that catapulted the genre into the sensual, elegant and other-wordly.
Movement-wise, Gumbira included some of the original sensual moves of ketuk-tilu and intertwined them with movements based on the popular martial art called pencack silat. With just enough new and just enough old, and just enough safe and just enough bold, men and women danced together in public in ways never allowed before. The genre and its performances were an oasis for the optimal amount of controlled intimacy and sexual nuance to be socially acceptable. Jaipongan was embraced by a country longing for new societal norms and creative expressions.
All these elements combined rooted Jaipongan in the hearts of West Java and set the genre on fire. Gumbira established his own studio, Jugala studio in the city of Bandung, where a cast of West Java’s best players resided. This record, as well as hundreds more that have defined music in West Java of every style, were recorded there. Radio, a booming cassette industry, and live performances of jaipongan flooded the country, so much so that the government's attempts to reel it in were futile. Jaipongan had tapped into the hearts, daily worldview, airwaves and clubs of West Java and wasn’t going anywhere. And by listening here, it’s still as alive as ever.
In the lineage of vast sonic experimentation that has filled Indonesian music history and still continues today, electronic musicians and modular sythesists were invited to rework sounds found in these recordings. With the help of the musicians in Java, Riedl and Lyons made the original live recordings in a multi-track format enabling future composers to work with specific elements of each song. The musicians doing reworks were given freedom to work with the recordings in anyway they saw fit, a freedom that has suited music well over time to produce countless creative collisions, and musical conversations, that we all hold dear. Kai Riedl, Athens, Georgia 2019"
Genius dembow rhythm science from DJ Python on his 2nd album for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery’s Incienso. Total mind-melter this one, easily Python’s best material since his 'Dulce Compañia’ debut - we can tell you now we’re gonna be banging on about this record all fucking year.
Following from the reticulated deep house-paced reggaeton hybrids of that acclaimed 2017 debut, the new side by Brian Piñeyro ‘Mas Amable’ takes a rambling, sidewinding trip exploring slippery, mutable 90/180bpm metrics with a serpentine guile that surely lives up to his moniker. Imagine Beatrice Dillon jamming with Gescom and Kelman Duran, and you’ve nearly got a grasp on this incredibly constructed album.
Across 50 minutes of seamlessly arranged transitions from lush field recordings to hip-gripping dembow permutations and semi-conscious and tripped-out vocals, Python dangles the dance by a fine conceptual thread that ties the constant rhythmic chronics to their subtly shifting tonal/textural variables. Call it ambient-jugle-dancehall, avant-dembow, deep reggaeton, whatever; it’s just an incredible record for lovers of rhythm and sound of all stripes. Starting up with five minutes of rustling, shoreside ambience in ‘Te Conocí’, the album elegantly and rudely shifts its weight between seven mutations of dembow’s tressilo drum pattern and junglist markers, toggling the pressure gauge from gently propulsive sway in ‘Pia’ to tighter, darker steppers type in ‘Alejandro’ and wavey whistling melodies in ‘oooophi’, before technoid neuro D&B stabs light up ‘Descales’ and it all fades out in the narcotically effective downstroke and tripped vox of ‘ADMSDP’, and slunks into the deep blue reggaeton electronica of ‘Juntos’ and ‘mmmm’.
Cast somewhere between the horizontal and vertical, and thus primed for dancehall or late night satisfaction, whatever angle it’s approached from, ‘Mas Amables’ is a unique and richly immersive experience that will surely rank among the definitive records of the year.
Yeah, we’re feeling this one.
Stunning, uncompromising works for violin recorded on the hoof in lockdown. Quite frankly one of the most engrossing collections of string recordings we've heard for a while, we just wish we had more time to live with it so we could do it justice in words. All we can say is - give this time and attention and you'll be rewarded tenfold.
"Music for Violin Alone" was recorded in a makeshift studio in an empty house in Le Poujol sur Orb during the first two weeks of the French lockdown. Recorded both as a response to all loss of work due to COVID-19 and a way to be heard again. The pieces on the album are the pieces I’ve come to discover and learn during the two years of maternity leave. Two years of maternity leave have also been two years of creative silence, a search for new approaches, repertoire and ways of playing.
Only after finishing the recording process I realised the connection between the works - they have all been written by or dedicated to violinists-composers (with Oliver Leith being an exception) - J.S.Bach, Angharad Davies, Nicola Matteis Jr., Malcolm Goldstein (dedicatee of Cage’s Eight Whiskus and Tenney’s Koan).
The album opens with Circular Bowing Study by Angharad Davies - an extended exploration of a technique no matter how limited, it continues back through the ages with works that are filled with silence (Bach, Cage and Leith) and works with almost total absence of it (Tenney, Matteis), and closes with my own composition - broken harmonics of a string trapped inside a ring. It’s like a map of invisible violin sounds where past and present pathways are being drawn and redrawn over and over again until they are confined to a single technique or a broken sound or disappear into a total silence."
Double sided A including the bubblegum club track ''Let's Make a Deal'' by Linda "Babe” Majika, which was originally released on the rare 'Don’t Treat Me So Bad' lp in South-Africa, 1988.
"On the flip, you’ll find the deep late-night saxophone driven tune ''Step Out Of My Life'' which includes Don Laka on the keyboard and is produced by Ray Phiri, who also founded the popular South African group 'Stimela'. The song was originally released in 1989 and finally sees a reissue, pressed as a loud DJ-friendly 12-inch."
A manifesto for possible future music from François J. Bonnet, aka Kassel Jaeger, director of the GRM.
"This is not a study. It is a manifesto for a peculiar conviction: that music remains to be discovered, that it is still hidden. That, nonetheless, it does sometimes appear, but most often incompletely and unevenly. And that what we have hitherto referred to as “music” is in fact only a preliminary, a prodrome.
That all musics produced up until now have been nothing but simulacra, rituals to call music forth. This may sound crazy, and indeed unwelcome. But the sole concern of the following text will be to make this statement legible, understandable, and perhaps even to some extent acceptable. Its hope is that, setting out from a few intuitions, the possibility of a music to come can be formulated. That this obscure becoming will emerge, one trait at a time; that the shape of this music to come will reveal itself, gradually, by way of a cluster of assumptions, the reading of a multiple history, and the examination of damaging paradigms that have taken music far from itself.
That the subjectivity of a writing, with all of its beliefs, its errors, its biases, its injustices and its shaky certainties, may yet manage to cast a singular and inspiring light upon the idea of music—this, ultimately, is the ambition of the lines to come."
Both pieces commissioned by INA GRM, Lucy Railton’s piece first performed on the Acousmonium at INA GRM's Multiphonies Concert Series, Maison de la Radio, Paris 2019, Eilbacher side recorded November 2018-March 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Two side-long pieces here from GRM's new "Portraits GRM" series, an offshoot of "Recollection GRM" geared towards more recent commissions for the pioneering French experimental outfit. The first side is from Berlin-based cellist and composer Lucy Railton, who follows her mind-bending records for Modern Love and PAN with an even more ambitious piece, fusing gurgling off-world electronics with disquieting, Lynchian strings. At times 'Forma' sounds as heavenly as Stephan Mathieu and at others as doomy as The Haxan Cloak, but it never loses the sacred essence of GRM pioneers Bernard Parmegiani or Beatriz Ferreyra.
Veteran Baltimore experimental sort Max Eilbacher - of Kraut-drone splinter sect Horse Lords - handles the flip, memorializing the death of a fly by surrounding its withering wails with effervescent electronics, collapsing polyrhythms, cut-and-paste French chatter and crunchy digital noise. A surreal, almost literary attempt at narrative storytelling, it twists and turns through aural textures with a lightness, humor and joy rarely witnessed in self-consciously "experimental" music.
Solid longform 2-tracker from Floating Points.
'Nuits Sonores' is great - nice to hear Sam Shepherd edging away from the coffee table for a mooch round moodier environs, delivering a 12-minute number that sounds like a smudged Paperclip People tangling with a bit of jazzzz as it builds. 'Nectarines' is again kinda indebted to classic Carl Craig and Main Street productions.
Shinichi Atobe’s fifth album for DDS, his first in two years. Deep and sublime, the classic Chain Reaction < > Chicago House vibe, but this time with a swarming Drexciyan undercurrent, somewhere between DJ Sprinkles, Dopplereffekt and The Other People Place, and yet still 100% Shinichi.
It’s odd working with an artist without ongoing dialogue; no context or an exchange of ideas. It’s all conjecture. Here's another CD of material in the post from Shinichi, two years more or less since the last one. No words except for the track titles. Oh, a photo this time.
‘Yes’, positivity, hope. But the album starts with a dystopian vision; something like Dopplereffekt’s sound-chemistry experiments, a tense builder. Big optimistic chasms open up, the Piano House euphoria of the title track, beautiful sunset closer 'Ocean 1’. But there’s a noticeable change too. 'Lake 2’ is more fraught sci-fi, 'Lake 3’ a sort of percussive Chain Reaction monster, 'Loop 1’, on a Drexciyan tip.
It’s all coated in that weird - some people say infuriating - toppy production, witnessed this time in a more tempered and different formation courtesy of an amazing Rashad Becker master, all precise but loosely swung arrangements. Everything slow to unfurl but, also, everything in exactly the right place.
Following the reissue last year of Fairuz's classic 1979 album "Wahdon", Wewantsounds pursue their exploration of great Lebanese music with the reissue of Fairuz's highly sought-after LP "Maarifti Feek," released in 1987.
"Recorded in Beirut around 1983-84, the album features the Diva's superb voice combined with Ziad Rahbani's jazz and funk orchestration, making it one of the most in-demand albums on the Arabic funk scene. The release will coincide with "Arab Divas," a major exhibition set in the prestigious Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris, celebrating the greatest singers from the Arab World and starting 13 May 2020.One of the greatest singers of the Middle East, Fairuz started her career in Lebanon in the 50s and quickly established herself as the most renowned Diva in the Arabic world, playing the most prestigious venues in the world.
At the end of the 70s, Fairuz was at a turning point both professionally and personally. Her Husband Assi Rahbani, who, with his brother Elias, had penned her biggest successes, has suffered a stroke a few years earlier. This setback ultimately led to both the demise of their marriage and the end of their professionnal partnership. Enters Ziad Rahbani, Fairuz and Assi's son, a young musician, playwright and producer who had cut his teeth writing a handful of Fairuz's song - including her 1973 hit "Sa'alouni El Nas" - at just seventeen. Ziad Rahbani swiftly took over from his father and uncle as the singer's musical director and composer and this fruitful association, which started in 1979 with the album "Wahdon,"broke many new grounds for Fairuz with funkier rhythms and edgier lyrics."
Amazing excavation of early ‘80s DIY minimal wave pop from The Netherlands, clad in a spot-on homage to his collaborator Annie Sprinkles and totally primed for fans of John Bender, Chris Carter, Maria Zerfall and thee most enigmatic bedroom-built songcraft.
“Tucked away in the Dutch underground of the early 80’s a young Hessel Veldman created his own music world in the small industrial sea town of IJmuiden. It was a world recorded on tapes and reels. A world where things happened according to personal logic based on sonic exploration, electronic sounds and improvisation. The approach was intimate, at times light-hearted, but often following deep inner contemplation and total immersion in the creative process. Above all, music was made according to the Do-It-Yourself principle of the home-taping culture.
The home-taping network established itself globally during the late 70’s and kept blooming throughout the 80’s. It was a self-exploring, self-sustained music culture of people sending each other home recorded music material on cassettes. No external music industry was interfering with the musical works. The making of the music, the different releases and the labels were all self-managed. Wonderful international cassette compilations were created that showed the intensive musical exchange at play between the home-tapers. Cassettes were often accompanied by all sorts of printed matter and resulted in little pieces of individual artworks. Hessel Veldman played a protagonist role in the Dutch home-taping network while also maintaining a large international network of contacts.
Under the moniker Y Create (Why create? or Ymuidense creations) many cassettes were recorded at home as well as in collaboration with others. Simultaneously, Veldman created his own cassette label Exart with his wife Nicole Veldman on which their own and other artists productions were published. The label was created to spread and exchange experimental and improvised music made in home-studio’s. The Exart home-studio was the place where compositions, recordings, radio-programs, mixes and remixes were made. Veldman has stated that out of hours of home recordings a few tracks would derive that had captured rare and special tracks or rare sonic atmospheres that would be selected for a release. Most pieces could never be reproduced exactly because mistakes and uncomfortable settings were of great importance during the recording process. Aside from the many Y Create recordings, Veldman was member of the improvisation group Gorgonzola Legs and kept working intensively with other artists like Fluxus artist and Dutch underground cult-figure Willem de Ridder. With De Ridder, De Ridder’s wife Cora and Nicole hours of spontaneous improvisation, field recordings and radio plays were created. They recorded deeply shared intimate experiences with each other but also used theatrical storytelling.
Hessel Veldman’s diverse music practices have been traversing several decades by now and he continues to play music according to his own insights and intuitions today. Nevertheless, the home-taping era has played a key role in the shaping of his free approach to music. Eigen Boezem is a collection of tracks gathered from different cassettes from his body of work that capture moments of magical home recordings. Eigen Boezem displays the versatility of his musical output and creativity, ranging from industrial experiments to new wave - from trance inducing avant-pop to synthetic minimalist funk. The selection of the different tracks on Eigen Boezem is done in such a manner that a new cohesive album is created.
First ever vinyl reissue of Vivian Goldman’s total post-punk evergreen, produced by Adrian Sherwood and PiL’s John Lydon and Keith Levene, and still addictive and brilliant 40 years later
Beloved for its ohrwurming combo of Goldman’s lilting voice with a strolling bassline supplied by Aswad’s George “Levi” Oban, ‘Launderette’ is pretty much the definition of a post-punk anthem in our books. Whether you came across it on original 7” release in 1981, via the influential ‘Anti NY’ comp in 2001, or your mate playing their favourite songs anytime in between, it’s quite simply an unforgettable tune, and once again brandishes a killer B-side that may have previously slipped your attention.
Last heard on ‘Resolutionary’, a 2016 retrospective of Vivian Goldman’s cult solo work and songs with The Flying Lizards and Chantage, ‘Launderette’ was recorded during downtime at the Public Image Limited’s studio, and sees her louchly riff on unrequited attention or the unravelling of a relationship over George “Levi” Oban’s spooling bass in a way that snakes into your memory banks and simply doesn’t leave. However even those familiar with ‘Launderette’ may not know it’s darker, pointed B-side ‘Private Armies’, here in its longer version where she sets withering lyrics about the dibble and racist skinheads to a scowling bassline, phasing violin and jumpy steppers drums in a way that’s aggressive but not macho, just seething, understandably leading it to become a favourite of ‘Rock Against Racism’.
Black Ark Vol. 2 is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"It’s a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded around Jamaica =just before the demise of Perry’s famed Black Ark Studio. Black Ark Vol. 2 is the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release, took a different path.
More vocal oriented, the album features extended dubwise cuts of (former wife and co-producer) Carol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans remake of the Bee Gees hit ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid covers from Third World lead vocalist Bunny Rugs.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark Vol. 2 remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another."
One of the greatest debuts of all time, re-mastered for the first time. Not hard to sum up this album as utterly essential and a cornerstone of post-punk, contemporary pop and electronic music.
In 1982 the Scottish duo of Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie birthed Cocteau Twins with their resoundingly influential debut album, ‘Garlands’. A masterpiece of scuzzed pop sung in indecipherable lyrics and set to ravishing clouds of white hot electric guitars, serpentine bass and ricocheting drum machines, it established a template that’s never been bettered, and famously imitated ad infinitum by successive waves of post-punks and goths.
A generation of moody buggers grew up on this record, probably passed between friends and siblings, picked up in musty charity shop or second hand record emporiums, or even cradled in its fancier reissued form, like this one. But no matter the provenance it’s prized like a loved one by all who own it. Still utterly breathtaking stuff.
On her finely measured debut album Melbourne-bassed Roza Terenzi focusses a classic ‘90s >< 2020s brand of proggy rave romance for D. Tiffany’s Planet Euphorique.
In key with her smart control of classic early ambient dance and rave styles showcased on her early singles and subsequent turns for Dekmantel and shown in her DJ sets everywhere, Roza Terenzi’s aesthetic makes for a varied and absorbing album that plays deep into her style and gives room to tie up her various strands with a cool, underlying narrative style.
Entering with buoyant ambient bumps recalling Mappa Mundi and flowing out into lush IDM techno with ‘Elevate’, the album effortlessly balances classic tropes in a refreshed style, taking in the melancholic rave suspense of ‘Modern Bliss’ with Barcelona’s Ivy Bakakati, and throwing down ruder hard drum bounce in ‘That Track (Rewired Mix)’, before slipping off into ambient bubblebath mode on ‘Spiral’, and touching on restless B12-style acid with ‘Total Eclipse’, but ultimately leaving on an upward trajectory with the glyding trance-breaks of ‘Eternal Lust’ and the couldn’t-give-a-fuck ghetto rudeness of ‘My Reality Cheque Bounced’.
New one on Whities, the last release on the label before it re-brands itself as AD 93.
Last seen on a much loved debut for Blackest Ever Black and a follow up for Berlin’s Climate of Fear imprint, тпсб re-emerges on whities for a new EP of flanged and flickering productions.
This one’s on a slow/fast tip, percolated footwork deployed at 160 while mellow pads and vox drift over the top at half-pace. It sounds simultaneously way too fast and way too slow - an old trick, but a good one.
'Don't Call Me I'll Call You’ is dub techno, juke and filter house rolled up in one, 'If This Is I Don't Know What Isn’t’ channels Burial and Tatu before heading off into a plastic d&b fantasy, while 'Dream Houses of the Global North’ is a more ethereal and atmospheric junglist tearjerker.
Nicely loose-limbed and messed up productions, highly recommended for yr Rezzett, Buttechno and Burial freaks.
Pure nether-pop magick from Glasgow-based Maria Rossi, chasing up her LP ‘Zoom’ with a return to studio-based sorcery after 2018’s ‘Hilja’ worked its way into a lot of AOTY lists.
Arriving in close proximity to Cucina Povera’s split tape with Haron for BAKK, the freeform mix of semi-melodic synth noise and humble, hymnal vocals in ‘Tyyni’ recaptures the appeal of her first album across eight steeply hypnagogic songs that sound as though she’s put a bit of time in researching (doing) mystic substances to our ears, but may just be proof of her porous link to other dimensions.
While taking its title from the Finnish for “still, serene weather”, the music offers a canny contrast of gently precipitous and heady sound pressure systems that sound like field documentary evidence of natural events and scenarios rather than anything more laboured. That gently organic effortlessness carries the album on fantasy wings, breezing from sweetly haunting psychedelic projections in ‘Salvia Salvatrix’ to tie in gauzy rhythmic knots on ’Teerenpeli’.
She vacillates a barely-there presence with air-carving vocal calligraphy on ‘Varjokuvatanssi’, and the slow techno-punk lullaby ‘Pölytön nurkka’ calls to mind early Grimes penning an elegy with Suicide, and the curdled lysergic textures of ‘Haaksirikkoutunut’ give way to pristine digital revelations in the FM synth sculpture ‘Saniaiset’, wrapping up with her spine-tracing, beat-less synth-pop beauty ‘Jolkottelureitti’.
Contemporary dark ambient shadow-casting from Dutch producer Samuel van Dijk aka Multicast Dynamics and techno artist Mohlao
“Multicast Dynamics returns with a sixth studio album but one that marks something of a new chapter. Ancient Circuits is a departure from previous works on Denovali and one that stands the project aside as a powerful electronic act that tells stories while also serving up heavy hitting soundscapes that are persuasive, unexpected and disturbing.
By now, Multicast Dynamics is revered for absorbing and journeying albums that are as immersive as a film or evocative as an audio book. Since 2015, long players like Aquatic System, Outer Envelopes, Continental Ruins and Lost World have explored imagined civilisations and futuristic histories in infinite detail.
Ancient Circuits is another album with a very real sense of space - it places you in the middle of a sparse yet richly detailed world, with sonic illusions and synthetic realisations from a post-human world. Listening to this album is like being lost deep in the fabric of space itself, where ancient cosmology and modern technology intersect.
Each of the four 25-minute pieces are clearly demarcated yet sequential stories that introduce new characters and are drawn out of long and complex studio experiments. They are collages of sound that glimmer, disturb, shine, dive deep and explore new realms. Sonic gradients and electronic pulses add dynamics and drive as you zoom in to microscopic levels of detail and revel in the information and density you find when you get there.
This album is about technology that is well advanced yet no longer in existence today. An interface that has been heavily decayed after surviving many waves of history and extreme conditions and shows the signs of heavy wear and tear. It could well be a type of interface located in a hidden room, surrounded by organic debris and material decay, but one still responsive enough through a series of toggles, switches and dials to manipulate a sensory world.
Ancient Circuits is ambient so arresting that it pulls you deep inside. It is suspensory, storytelling music that keeps you on edge. It is as emotionally stirring as it is mentally evocative. Once again, it's an album that finds Multicast Dynamics draw together visual art, sound design, cinematic ideas and conceptual thinking to come up with a work that is a multi-sensory exploration that puts you as the central character in an expressive musical world.”
Superb deep dives into ambient dub noise from Barn Owl’s Evan Caminiti, continuing a trajectory from stoner doom and drone into his most impressive, reverberating zones of tonal and textural introspection
After taking longer than usual between albums, Caminiti follows from 2017’s ‘Toxic City Music’ and the ‘Refraction’ (2019) aside for Make Noise Records with his most immersive, amorphous, and ephemeral batch of ambient dub exploration. Working somewhere between styles also explored by the West Mineral Ltd. lot (Huerco S., uon, Exael), Vladislav Delay, Pole and the likes of Montreal’s Automatisme, the 10 tracks on ‘Varispeed’ mess with the meter in subtle ways, diffracting his synth patches in adjacent, laminal flows of frayed and tangled polyrhythm that soon enough melt time away and absorb the listener into an OOBEscent state.
Over the past half decade Caminiti’s glacial metamorphosis from drone to dematerialised ambient dub has seen his work become as succinct as it is abstract. On ‘Varispeed’ he deftly uses a combination of tape and electro-acoustic process, coupled with “live electronics” by Lisa McGee to shape a series of organic-sounding ecologies where time moves to its own internal logic and no two seconds repeat themselves. His sounds stubble and fizz in naturally-occurring spasms and effervescent fits, fizzing and dissolving with a sense of cool urgency while ostensibly remaining static, in one place. It’s a sound surely worthy of comparison with the best at this style - from Bellows to Chain Reaction and the most elusive uon bits - but Caminiti has made a virtue of evoking an underlying narrative between the parts that really comes into its own with sequestered, immersed listening of the sort we’re all practising right now.
Master of myriad styles, Sir Rick Bishop takes in baroque, flamenco, surf, and harder to place fusions of phantasmagoric sound design, Gaelic folk and Indian Raga, and more lysergic expression in this bounty of a new album.
“Five years after Tangier Sessions, Sir Richard Bishop, we presume, is back from his travels around the world. With Oneiric Formulary, he’s dug deeper into his bag of extra-musical gestures from the eternal and unknowable, along with a few sounds we might recognize, all transmuted for our mortal ears’ enjoyment. The last couple of Sir Richard Bishop releases on Drag City were genre exercises of sorts — The Freak of Araby explored the musical legacy of late Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid while Tangier Sessions explored the sound of an obscure 19th century guitar that Rick had acquired from a mysterious Swiss luthier.
The title Oneiric Formulary, may sit contrarily on the tongue — but we may refer to it as representing “a collection of dream states” — which means we like it! With such a lofty goal in mind and at his fingertips, Sir Rick returns to the approach of his DC debut, Polytheistic Fragments — a different sound, a different instrument, for nearly every track, drawing from the music of all nations, including and especially that infamous republic with only one person on the census roll (initials SRB). It’s got mad variety, the kind you don’t see much of anymore — an Ed Sullivan kind of evening out, with some spinning plates, dancing mice, and of course, an appearance from Zippy the Chimp.
What it means is that when you drop the needle/raise the laser/press the head to tape/or do whatever happens when you stream it, you’ve got sounds that don’t sound at first like guitars — because they’re not! Then you’ve got sounds that sound initially like guitars — because they are! Sir Richard found joy in not only finding unlikely sounds, but also writing a fake jingle, soundtracking an unreleased film, reflecting on Southern origins, going concrète (Beatles-style!), using computers (Sir Rick, no!), and accidentally juxtaposing Frippian electric guitar drone against the grit of ol’ school acoustic guitar while thinking of sci-fi, as well as revisiting (t)rusty old forms such as Americana, classical, gypsy and raga. It’s all trotted out to phantasmic effect, as it brings to us with the freshness, the roar of the old crowd as they see, smell and hear the greatest show on earth. What a night! Thank you, Sir Richard Bishop.”
The second edition in Shelter Press and INA GRM’s series of annual publications, this time revolving around the idea of “resonances” and featuring The Caretaker - for the first time recalling selected memories that inspired and informed his now retired/expired protagonist, Tomoko Sauvage’s notes on her Hydrophonic practice, a previously unpublished text by Maryanne Amacher about Tones, David Toop on Resonant Frequencies, plus contributions and articles written by Chris Corsano, Ellen Fullman, Christina Kubisch, Okkyung Lee, Pali Meursault, Jean-Luc Nancy, David Rosenboom and Christian Zanési. Essential reading for curious spirits and creative minds.
"To resonate: re-sonare. To sound again—with the immediate implication of a doubling. Sound and its double: sent back to us, reflected by surfaces, diffracted by edges and corners. Sound amplified, swathed in an acoustics that transforms it. Sound enhanced by its passing through a certain site, a certain milieu. Sound propagated, reaching out into the distance. But to resonate is also to vibrate with sound, in unison, in synchronous oscillation. To marry with its shape, amplifying a common destiny. To join forces with it. And then again, to resonate is to remember, to evoke the past and to bring it back. Or to plunge into the spectrum of sound, to shape it around a certain frequency, to bring out sonic or electric peaks from the becoming of signals.
Resonance embraces a multitude of different meanings.
Or rather, remaining always identical, it is actualised in a wide range of different phenomena and circumstances. Such is the multitude of resonances evoked in the pages below: a multitude of occurrences, events, sensations, and feelings that intertwine and welcome one other. Everyone may have their own history, everyone may resonate in their own way, and yet we must all, in order to experience resonance at a given moment, be ready to welcome it. The welcoming of what is other, whether an abstract outside or on the contrary an incarnate otherness ready to resonate in turn, is a condition of resonance. This idea of the welcome is found throughout the texts that follow, opening up the human dimension of resonance, a dimension essential to all creativity and to any exchange, any community of mind. Which means that resonance here is also understood as being, already, an act of paying attention, i.e. a listening, an exchange.
Addressing one or other of the forms that this idea of resonating can take on (extending—evoking—reverberating—revealing—transmitting), each of the contributions brought together in this volume reveals to us a personal aspect, a fragment of the enthralling territory of sonic and musical experimentation, a territory upon which resonance may unfold. The book has been designed as a prism and as a manual. May it in turn find a unique and profound resonance in each and every reader.”
Ravishing, dream-like debut by Okkyung Lee’s chamber ensemble, placing a rarely paralleled instrumental guile and imagination at the service of Shelter Press’ beautiful series of carefully hand-picked editions.
Rendering Lee’s first recordings with the Yeo-Neun Quartet, an experimental chamber ensemble established in 2016 and also comprising Maeve Gilchrist (harp), Jacob Sacks (piano), and Eivind Opsvik (bass), ‘Yeo-Neun’ distills the multiplicities of Lee’s decades of solo and collaborative work and diffuses it thru her cello and fellow players to realise a radical mixture of contemporary classicism and fearless experimentation. It’s the ultimate example of Lee’s inimitably calm but unpredictable style, wrapping up myriad aspects of chamber, jazz and folk musics with sentimental melodies and melancholy touches that betray a core influence from the popular Korean ballads and emotive traditional forms of her youth.
Under a title that loosely translates to ’the gesture of an opening” in Korean, Yeo-Nuen is focussed on discretely lush arrangements, but prone to combust at noisy, avant angles that keep the album safely clear of concrete genre taxonomy. Lee and her ensemble work tightly within a broad set of sonic reference points, elegantly navigating the far flung cues she’s absorbed over decades of intensive touring schedules that have seen her play across the world with everyone from Mark Fell to Ellen Fullman, and appear on recordings by artists as diverse as Jenny Hval and Swans. In those contexts, Lee has developed preternaturally-heightened instincts for improvisation, but the recordings of ‘Yeo-Neun’ appear to consolidate this finely honed grasp of spontaneous combustion with a newly realised, stately feel for composition that’s at once calm and gripping.
Born of a life on the move, the music understandably helms to its own sense of time and pace and allows listeners into the rich inner life that sustains an artist on the road. Between the tender resignation of ‘here we are (once again)’, the Alice Coltrane-Like sweeps of ‘another old story’, the visceral tonal ruptures of ‘in stardust (for kang kyung-ok)’, and the enchanted vision of ‘facing your shadows’, it’s hardly felt more like a privilege to bear witness to an artist laying her soul bare, and so sharply articulate and express her sense of individuality and connection to the world. Frankly. it’s jaw-dropping stuff.
A colossal, trance-inducing, yet largely overlooked pillar of 20th century American minimalism.
Regarded no less than a "holy grail" by Keith Fullerton Whitman, it spans 100 minutes of atonal, amorphous string composition scored in four parts for a quintet, here performed by Linda Cummiskey (Violin), Malcolm Goldstein (Violin), Kathy Seplow (Violin), Stephen Reynolds (Viola), David Gibson (Violoncello).
By all accounts Harley Gaber was a colourful fella, a complex American artist, composer and filmmaker who dropped it all not long after release of this 1976 work to become a full time Tennis player and coach. He would return to the arts, and later music, writing soundtracks for his own films before sadly committing suicide in 2011.
'The Winds Rise in the North' is a frighteningly heavy and rewarding master-stroke, giving rise to dense, gripping harmonic overtones which prickle, seduce and get under the skin in a way that few others achieve. Lock the doors, turn off your phone and give yourself two hours with this. You won't regret it.
An excellent Arvo Pärt primer...
"Arvo Pärt creates music of deceptive simplicity, and listening to his work can be a transformative experience. Imagine taking your ears on a retreat, and you’re some way to understanding why his work is so popular.
The Estonian composer underwent his own transformation in the 1970s, having explored dense avant-garde music in the early part of his career. He put himself through an eight-year creative exile, and emerged with a new, purer voice. The Arvo Pärt that many people are devoted to today (including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Björk) creates music that cleanses. A sonic detox."
Their most crucial drop since the ‘White Label Classics’ CD, which included the anthemic melody of 2004’s ‘Functions On The Low’, as used in Stormzy’s ‘Shut Up’, this EP throws down prime unreleased Dirty Danger and Rapid productions in demand for over a decade.
’R U Double F’ wields signature square wave baroque riffs and brittle drums in the template-setting style, while ‘Darker’ is cold and hungry for an MC in full pirate FM flow. The moshing ‘Iron Man’ (don’t call it grindie!) is a freaking cover of Black Sabbath’s track of the same name!!!; and ‘Come On’ whips it hard on an aggy 2-step bound to get you bouncing off the walls in isolation.
Talk about cashing in eh? lol. Death Is Not The End celebrate our impending apocalypse in style with this properly life-affirming collection of 1930s to ’50s Greek Rebetika. Life-affirming cos it speaks to the daily trials and tribulations and heartache that are more or less on pause right now - so we’re living vicariously through it, and it’s making everything seem normal for a minute. Anyway, proper boss this one.
Greek Rebetika is an often dark, melancholy style of folk/pop music that spread from the docks of Athens to a Greek diaspora across the world in the early 20th century. As the label correctly classify, these “songs of sorrow, poverty, loss and general end of this god forsaken planet” still resonate nearly a 100 years later due to their relative simplicity, which has future proofed their melodies and unmistakeable feel for generations to come.
The famous Markos Vamvakaris appears on this set with the sarkily jolly but exasperated sound of ‘Those Who Are Rich’, and Stelios Kazantzidis contributes two highlights with the lamenting cadence of ‘Bleed Bleed’ and ‘The Leaves Fall From Branches’, while we’re also rapt with the pipes of Yiota Lydia’s ‘Badworld’, the coy strings of ‘I Want to Enjoy the World’ by Elli Sofroniou, and the ventricle-jangling riffs of ‘I Ached in My Heart’ by Marika Ninou.
Tresor channel the Drexciyan journey’s continuation with the release of The Book Of Drexciya, Vol. 1, a graphic novel which covers the first 5 vivid chapters of this powerful mythology, a crucial Afrofuturist work.
"African pregnant women thrown o the slave ships gave birth underwater to amphibious creatures. They could breathe as they did in their mothers’ wombs, they had webbed hands and feet and became the Drexciyan wave jumpers: great warriors of the abyss. Revealed in the inner sleeve notes of The Quest (1997), through a map of the diasporic black culture, Drexciya illustrated four phases: The Slave Trade, Migration Route of Rural Blacks to Northern Cities, Techno Leaves Detroit, Spreads Worldwide, and The Journey Home (Future). It introduces the very creatures and warriors found in these pages, such as Wavejumpers and Deep Sea Dwellers. The return home is of destination future, where lays the population of their abyss.
Follow the story of the first Drexciyan, his subaquatic birth, growing up in the caves of Ociya Syndor, later to become Drexaha, the empire’s first king. Get introduced to Dr. Blowfin, Master of Alchemy and Quantum Genetics, who masterminded Drexciyan computer systems and network, based on Genetic Intelligence and DNA matrix systems. Hear the story of the birth of the wavejumpers, the mightest warriors of Drexciya. Enter Bubble Metropolis, thriving with its central command, aquabahns and aqua wormhole gateways to the cephalopod-like oceanic Cruisers.
Authored by Abdul Qadim Haqq and Dai Sato, it features the art of Haqq, Leo Rodrigues, Alan Oldham, Hector Rubilar, Leonardo Gondim, Daniel Oliviera and Milton Estevam.
Haqq’s legendary concept imagery associated with the Detroit techno community and beyond for almost 30 years and his contributions to the mythology at the time of conception makes him uniquely positioned to lead this endeavour. Dai Sato is most known for his screenwriting for animes Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell.
This project comes with the full support of living Drexciya member Gerald Donald and Helen Stinson, the surviving mother of James Stinson."
Breathtaking new studio album from The Necks, saddling up for a glorious route taking in fast flowing polyrhythms and revelatory soundscapes - really one of their strongest in a flawless catalogue that now spans 30 years and with a closing track that once again taps into that Talk Talk thing they do so well...
The now legendary trio have always charted their own path thru the backwoods and wilds of jazz, krautrock and avant terrain, but ‘Three’ sees them head off across topographies that were previously only glimpsed on the horizon. In proper beginning, middle and end sections, they thrillingly cultivate and hack thru dense, lush new worlds of psychedelic sound before arriving at a third-eye dilating interzone, and relieving the psychic tension in a tranquil, bucolic final passage, leaving its participants ravished and refreshed.
Effectively 30 years in the making, if we take in their entire run from 1989’s classic ‘Sex’, via 1994’s ‘Aquatic’ and the singular roil of 2018’s ‘Body’, the triad of finely sculpted works in ‘Three’ are the ultimate combination of the instrumental intuition that binds Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, and Lloyd Swanton, perfectly accentuated by studio processing from Tim Whitten (engineer) and Doug Henderson (master) that portrays their efforts in the best possible, impossible light and studio magick with frankly astonishing, practically psilocybic results.
It’s genuinely difficult to think of another band who could come up this sort of album after three decades together and for it not to sound like they were playing to hoary fans or trying to recapture something. From the barefoot scramble and cascading rush of ‘Bloom’ to the cavernous wonder of ‘Lovelock’ and bluesy resolution in the marshy delta sprawl of ‘Further’ The Necks effortlessly keep their sound flowing into oceanic, hypnotic grace.
"Light Sounds Dark present 'Crossed Wires' an eponymous collection of music salvaged from a dusty cassette in the depths of the archives from the productions of an 80s psyche-experimentalist. Expect raw, unheard, previously unreleased music,. about as authentic as it gets."
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.
Very necessary and long-overdue survey of Vivien Goldman’s pioneering blends of Afro-Caribbean and West African music with post-punk and beyond. Massive RIYL The Flying Lizards, The Slits, PiL, The Raincoats, Adrian Sherwood, David Toop
“There’s a myth about music critics that says we are frustrated, wannabe performers. Evidence to the contrary: Vivien Goldman. Ever since she migrated from pitching editors on the little-known music of Robert Nesta Marley to becoming one of the foremost chroniclers of the perfect storm of reggae, punk, hiphop and Afro-Beat, the London-born, New York-based Goldman has made documenting music her primary life work. But between 1979-82, Goldman was also a working musician, creating songs that, years later, would be sampled by The Roots and Madlib. These rare girl grooves are now collected for the first time on Resolutionary, courtesy of Staubgold Records.
Resolutionary takes us through Vivien’s first three musical formations: first as a member of experimental British New Wavers The Flying Lizards; next as a solo artist, with her single “Launderette,” featuring postpunk luminaries; and then as half of the Parisian duo Chantage, with Afro-Parisian chanteuse Eve Blouin. Goldman’s synthesis of post-colonial rhythms and experimental sounds are threaded together by her canary vocal tones and womanist themes. Her eclectic musical crew included PiL’s John Lydon, Keith Levene and Bruce Smith; avant- gardists Steve Beresford and David Toop; The Raincoats’ Vicky Aspinall; the mighty Robert Wyatt; Zaire’s Jerry Malekani; Manu Dibango’s guitarist; and Viv Albertine, then of her good friends, the Slits. The majority of the tracks were produced by dubmaster Adrian Sherwood, and Resolutionary channels the history of a time when the bon-vivant voice of music was in the air, and Vivien Goldman was its eyes, ears, and mouth.
(by Evelyn McDonell)”
Techno boss Shifted coarsely defines his style of dry, rictus techno rolige in a 4th studio album and first for his Avian label
Advancing nearly half a decade form his Hospital Productions debut album, the UK artist makes up for absence with eight tracks in his hard bitten way, but making room for glints of melodic light in ‘Moving Towards the Exits’ recalling classic Ø, and more elegantly shifting his weight into Regis style industrial swagger on ’Sharpen Your Senses’. But if you’re just here for the bangers - and why not - fill yer boots with the crushing kicks and streaking rave signals of ‘Taser Cries’ and the reticulated, coiled club charge of ‘Reptilian’ to really get the juices going.
Ugandan rapper MC Yallah joins Phantom Limb for the release of her blistering new 12” Mama Waliwamanyii. Produced by Irish electronic artist Eomac (one half of R&S Records’ Lakker), the EP fuses Yallah’s breakneck Luganda language rapping with Eomac’s powerful, purposeful beats.
"Formed remotely between Dublin and Kampala, Mama Wailwamanyii represents several months of work, sending beats, loops and song-stems back and forth until the results boiled down to the two vital cuts of exhilarating, experimental, unpredictable hip-hop that make up the EP.
Opening with urgent descending synth lines, ‘Mama Waliwamanyii’ rushes Yallah’s rhythmic vocal style to the forefront, bristling with kinetic energy. The song references her mother - its title translates to “Mama, you were strong” - and a sense of fierce, feminine intensity pervades throughout, a deep personal meaning that kicks as hard as the beats. The track is destined to intoxicate dancefloors across the world, perfectly sculpted by Eomac to rise and fall with breathless ecstasy one moment and send the heart racing with expectation the next. Yallah wrote the track after losing her mother, who raised her and her siblings alone following their escape from the domestic violence of their home life in Kenya. She writes that the studio session evoked floods of tears. That raw, expressive power shines through.
On the flip, ‘Kakana’ is darker, more patient. Eomac’s spacious, creeping synth lines burn and glower with simmering anticipation, while Yallah’s delivery fills in the percussive gaps with machine-gun poetry. It acts as a neat foil both to ‘Mama Waliwamanyii’ and to Yallah’s previous material, positioning her contribution to the collaboration as a colourful, flowing solo over the greyscale, psuedo-industrial sonics laid down by Eomac. A call to arms, the title translates to “calm down” in response to the criticism Yallah has faced as an outspoken, independent MC in her local scene.
The EP also features extended mixes of both tracks as instrumental versions specially created by Eomac, transforming them into a mutant, warped techno with entirely different personalities to their vocal takes."
‘Second Language’ is the debut album of IDM and magpied rhythmic modernism by Angus Finlayson aka Minor Science.
Rendering his first release since 2017, Minor Science delivers 10 tracks of wistful arrangements that coyly flirt with the floor one minute, and induce listeners to horizontal states the next. Mercurial nods to footwork, ghetto-tech and D&B expand his usual tempo bracket (normally between 120-135bpm) into faster styles, whilst his proggy tendencies come into play in a way recalling Konx-Om-Pax’s misty-eyed IDM styles.
Really lovely suite of lower case solo keys and classical salon ambient by Skire label owner and Andrew Chalk collaborator Tom James Scott - his first since 2017 - drifting across tremulous piano pieces and hauntingly gorgeous late night tones on tip-of-the-tongue between Elodie, Sarah Davachi, SAWII-era AFX and Kevin Drumm. Make some time for ‘Redwoods’ and go from there.
“Mine is the Heron” is the new Tom James Scott record, the first document of his solo work since 2017. Over the past decade, the UK-based composer has released a diverse body of recordings via labels such as Bo’Weavil, Carnivals, Where To Now?, and his own impeccably curated Skire imprint.
This album finds Scott in half-remembered, sanguine moods, some of which are likely to remind listeners of his collaborative work with Andrew Chalk. Fragile acoustic piano runs are meted out with painterly finger strokes, buoyed by subtle, idiosyncratic FM sound design, chimes, and guitar. Culled from recordings composed and put to tape over the past several years, the collection has the feel of a poet’s selected works, or perhaps more appropriately, a compendium of letters - exquisite vignettes that feel simultaneously private and important to disseminate into world.
The hermetic nature of this quietly stunning music is evocative of abandoned shingle beaches and misty marshes, and of the Virginia Woolfe novel from which the album takes its title: “Mine is the heron that stretches its vast wings lazily; and the cow that creaks as it pushes one foot before another munching; and the wild, swooping swallow; and the faint red in the sky, and the green when the red fades; the silence and the bell; the call of the man fetching cart-horses from the fields - all are mine.”
Released in solidarity with Campaign Zero and the Black Lives Matter movement and featuring a mad lineup including Eddie Fowlkes, 4hero, Ben Sims, Robert Hood, Planetary Assault Systems, Mark Broom, Rebekah and more.
"‘Break The Silence’ stands in solidarity with Campaign Zero and the Black Lives Matter movement and all marginalized communities that have for too long faced injustice and inequity. Featuring 14 unreleased tracks kindly donated by some of the finest voices in contemporary electronic music, this collection’s purpose is to raise as much money for and awareness of Campaign Zero’s mission to end police violence in America.
In the days and weeks since the tragic killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain and countless others before them, Campaign Zero’s vision is a world where the police don't kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, ensuring accountability and developing model legislation and advocacy.
The compilation heads out with the politically charged 'State of Emergency' from Chicago’s K Alexi & Tony Loveless, a track that wears its heart on it’s sleeve. As K. Alexi says, "I was more than happy to be part of this project and feel that it was long overdue and beyond necessary for those who know me, know that I’ve never been shy about speaking my opinion about the white washing of, well, hell everything. Hopefully this will set things back on the right path and give those who have laid down the groundwork for this thing of ours a chance to be heard."
Detroit’s Eddie Fowlkes similarly injects political overtones into his Tech-Soul drenched 'Pandemic One' whilst a skip across the pond has drum n bass pioneers 4 Hero team up with D’n’B legend Goldie and crank up the pressure in dancefloor unity with the deep and jazzy 'Universal Love (Dubstars)’ - Internal Affairs remix. Staying in the UK, London based techno don Ben Sims tears things up as only he knows how with the aptly titled ‘Break It Down’, compatriot Mark Broom brings it home with the dark and driving 'Gunna' and Luke Slater takes us on an electronic detour as Planetary Assault Systems with 'Huddler's Source of Wonder'.
Handing the baton back to the States, we find Robert Hood in imperious minimal mood as ‘The Redeemer’ marries new production techniques to his classic sound whilst LA’s Adrian Sandoval, aka Developer makes his voice heard with the powerful punch of 'Cultural Conditioning.' Not forgetting that there is still very a much a message in the music, UR’s Mark Flash delivers the 'Voice of Detroit' featuring speech on Black Lives Matter by Coleman Young Jr. - son of the late, great Detroit Mayor, Coleman A. Young. “It explains what it means, and why it's important to see the value of the lives of black people and their contributions to society."
Berlin based, UK artist Rebekah adds her industrial clout to the project with the ferocious 'Stealing Fire and Radioslave man Matt Edwards and Patrick Mason join forces with their club-thumping SRVD project and the equally teutonic 'In The Dark'.
Back to the ‘D’ we find UR’s Jon Dixon with the more delicately balanced techno of 'Counterpoint' before we descend back into the deep rumbling basslines of Sinistarr x K-Dan’s ‘Apollo’. Last but by no means least we find the man who’s drive and dedication rallied the troops for this project into action as EPM’s Oliver Way hooks up with Belgian techno producer Dany Rodriguez for the anthemic ‘First Act.’
The world of dance music is united in its cry for change. Turn it up and break the silence!"
GAIKA's latest set was recorded in Puerto Escondido during a Mexican tour, and the collision of sounds is a subtle revelation.
NAAFI's finest appear on production duties - TAYHANA, OMAAR, Lechuga Zafiro, Zutzut, Wasted Fates, Debit and Lao - anchoring GAIKA's hazy poetry in an unmapped location that's a hyperspace leap from his usual South London base. It's a vital matchup, dripping syrupy, weightless outlines of dancehall, reggaetón and smudged Mexico City club over GAIKA's fleshy ASMR whispers and quietly pushing the limits of what pop might suggest or represent.
The TAYHANA-produced 'Of Saints' starts things off slowly and sexually as the Argentinian producer's glassy PS1-boot-screen melancholia underpins GAIKA's lusciously annunciated words. 'Lord Zemel' pits the rapper against Lechuga Zafiro's slithering, bass-heavy neon flicker, while the Zutzut-produced 'Brutal' vaporizes a dancehall banger, suggesting spiritual kinship with Felix Lee's fantastic "Inna Daze". "Seguridad" is sci-fi futurism for fantasy airlock isolationists.
Patrick Stottrop’s activities are at the heart and foundation of Berlin’s Techno sound, active since 1996 and founder of Zhark Recordings, he’s been pushing and challenging the definition of dance music since it’s inception.
"On this release we find the title track “Legeia” as well as the tracks “Die Erwartung” and “Richmond”, taken from The Garden of Time LP recoding session from 2019. These 3 tracks set the prevailing mood for 2 subsequent cuts, “Horus” and “Sorcerer”. While Richmond follows a more andante direction “Legeia” presents a unique combination of drones engulfed in a wild & hectic Technoid percussive Inferno.
“Die Erwartung” on the other hand might resemble in its overall mood the Rheingold Prelude (in a higher register) with its drone like strings layer build up. wHILE “Horus” and “Sorcere” are recent tracks form KAREEMs current live set and were recently arranged to fit into the EP format. Both tracks build on static percussive hostility and climax towards their middle parts to an overall acoustic orgy of reverberating string strikes and high-pitched drone oscillations. An over all grand addition to his continuously growing and ecstatic catalog."
Filter Dread's debut album — written and produced entirely on Hardware — for Coyote Records, following standout releases on Ramp, Codes, Unknown To The Unknown, Corrupt Data and Sneaker Social Club over the last seven years.
"A maze of mind-boggling pulses, zaps and cosmic commotion, the album’s looming unease and shadowy tone bleeds into a Coyote discography recently defined by the eternal gloom of Marks’ ‘Endgame’, Shayu’s hyper-futuristic, OG grime inspired ‘All The Way Through’ and Last Japan’s shimmering ode to the stars, ‘LUNA’. From the bit-crunched, 2-step swing of ‘Space Flex’ through to the frantic eski chills of ‘Plug It Up’ and the fraught, all-encompassing perplexity of the title-track, ‘Trickster’ is a record fit for the times."
Azu Tiwaline explores "the intersections of Berber music, dub culture and techno hypnosis” on this strong new EP for Livity Sound. Bare-boned and moody, this one slowly pulls you in with gradually coalescing layers that are detailed and atmospheric, highly recommended if yr into Burnt Friedman, Portable, Move D.
"Fresh from the acclaimed Draw Me a Silence LP on IOT Records and collaborating with musician and sound artist Cinna Peyghamy, this new record further explores the hypnotic percussion and mystique of the Tunisian Sahara, a hybrid sound playing on contrasts and nuances, light and dark with echoes of techno minimalism and modern dub."
First release by Gala Drop in five years, recorded live at Boom Festival in 2018.
"Rediscovering new ways to cross over genres in the 21st century has been a central motif in Gala Drop’s existence. For over an hour, the five-piece group from Lisbon and Detroit performs a tremendous live set of new and old tracks, giving life to the multitude of ideas that exist within the group’s core. They behave like one of the best rock bands on the planet, play like psychedelic rock could not exist without dub and make dance music happen in the interstices between funk, disco, house, and trance.
Hugo Valverde's live mix brings a vivid light to this recording, making it energetic, organic, and absurdly joyful. He makes it sounds like a rock act playing with the narrative of a DJ dance set, exploring the obsessive studio-design of Gala Drop’s tracks. An hour of pure sweaty bliss. Close your eyes and feel the unique and intense scenario they must have experienced at Boom Festival."
"It's still easy to summon the feeling of surprise and pleasure I took in discovering the medium of dub plates. Also, soon after, in the possibility of making compositions out of multiples and sets. It was a music of surfaces and simultaneities—you could put the needle down anywhere at any time, so it was necessary that they worked at any speed and in combination. I composed with that functional cluster of outcomes in mind.
"All the sounds were samples of one sort or another, pre-degraded by my cassette deck capture method. I would compose suites of plates, then play them myself on 3 or 4 turntables, or form ensembles to play them, one record per person. All methods of manipulation were valid, but we gravitated toward the analog— guitar pedals and the like. I think the idea was to generate versions— to conjure situations, essentially. To keep it going, I would heat metal pins before performances with a lighter and insert the hot metal into the inner groove of the record, one per plate, with the result that the tonearm hit an obstruction eventually and— voila—a lock groove. This primitive strategy suited me well, adding what sounded like a rhythmic thud (for example on track one at around 17 minutes) to the mixture of mechanical sounds and effects.
These pieces were premised on a series of landscapes— an imaginary opera set in iconic scenery. I think I was imagining settings like secret gardens and forests at midnight and shipwrecks. Each performance also had an element of danger: for one thing, playing a plate at all further degraded the already unstable signal-to-noise ratio on it— pushed it toward noise, which I loved, like a continual state of abrasion, touch as conflict. It was a dialectical process, aimed at production itself."
—Marina Rosenfeld, 2019
The pieces were initially made for presenting a version of the Memorias record in live context and take on a new form with what is effectively new material, using atmospheric recordings and trace elements from the original album as a base around which beat patterns and basses were constructed and layered.
"Coming in around the 80/160bpm mark and drenched in spatial effect, the pieces take in bassed out drones, smeared late night dub-scape, warped jungle and blunted half time steppers. A refracted UK bass music influence is clear to hear as is reference to various tribalistic industrial-dub projects from the 90s to the present day and the unmistakable spectre of Bryn Jones’ Muslimgauze - as was indeed the case on the Memorias vol.2 track ‘Homage To The Cause’ itself a direct tribute to the work of Muslimgauze.
Despite their bass heavy nature these tracks remain as much about the underlaying soundscapes and atmospheres as the beats themselves. Each of the pieces is thickly layered with ghostly recordings and haunted tones echoing from the distance and serve much as the original Memorias vol.2 record did to present some form of an abstracted sonic travelogue, only this time as if you were walking through a Maghrebi night market or an abandoned Atlas mountain Kasbah listening to a jungle mixtape on broken headphones.
The cover shows an interpretation of the Amazigh/Berber symbol ‘yaz’ or ‘aza’ which is used to represent freedom or ‘free man’ which is the literal meaning of the word Amazigh. “These are arrangements of some pieces I made to perform a version of the Memorias vol.2 record late last year and the start of this. I took recordings and textures from the original tracks and built beats and bass around them to create a new version of the album.
I put a band together with a percussionist and guitarist to play the stuff live and these are adapted versions of the drum tracks we used for those shows.”
Stalwart German producer Jackmate signs to Herbert’s Accidental Jnr for his new EP 'Werk'.
"Having released on the likes of Pampa, Perlon and Playhouse, the veteren DJ Michel Baumann aka Soulphiction is now reactivating his Jackmate moniker - more techy and club oriented, Jackmate first appeared in 1996 and recently resurfaced on a V.A. compilation on Ripperton’s Tamed Musiq.
Here “the Jacker” presents three deep and funky stompers that will take you straight into the summer. On the A side the jolting percussion / kick interplay of the title-track with its boiled down bassline sets the scene perfectly. The warm and jacking groove of ‘Skeletones’ conjures the best loved Moodyman-esq moments whilst the hypnotic melodies of ‘The Clarinettes’ serve to ask why there aren’t more clarinet solos gracing the world’s dancefloors?"