Akira Rabelais' small but perfectly formed catalogue of releases has created one of the most complete and consummate identities in electronic music. On this album for David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint, the Texan-born artist returns to the guitar - an instrument he wielded during his early years on the Austin live scene, playing in industrial bands during the 1980s.
Although processed guitar music became something of a staple on the experimental electronic scene of the earlu 00's, 'Caduceus' sounds very different from other records in the field, taking on a far more radically abstract tone. 'Seduced By The Silence' introduces the record with an almost percussive, grinding sound that resembles an annihilated tabla than a stringed instrument. More subtle, implicitly melodic episodes follow, with the crumbling timbres of 'Then The Substanceless Blue' and the blissful cacophony of 'Where To Let Our Scars Fall In Love' representing early highlights.
Considering this album is derived from a single instrumental source, the dynamics are remarkably broad, ranging from the quiet AM radio-style lullabies of 'Comme Un Ange Enivré D'un Soleil Radieux' to the howling distortion surges of 'Night Dances Through Heaven's Black Amnesia'. In both cases there's a magical otherness at work that goes beyond the realms of electronic music's conventional cold logic, and holds the kind of mysterious appeal you'd associate with artists like Steven Stapleton and Andrew Liles. 'Surface Of Soft Steps, Violets Whisper' and 'On The Little In-Betweens' momentarily unshroud the guitar to reveal more conventional harmonic structures, while 'In A Cadence Of Vanishing' spies untreated acoustic guitar as it shifts through an ominously stationary chord sequence and a backdrop of static jetisons tarces of melody.
A remarkable, deeply absorbing album from a modern great.
The Unwound album that ended all Unwound Albums.
"Recorded in a moudering farmhouose basement at the crest of the new century, Leaves Turn Inside You is the no-wave response to Spector’s wall of noise call. Infinite layers of choppy guitar stabs and bridge scrapes, guttural bass thronk, thrift store synths, and monotone chanting wash over suffocating rhythms to deliver the wrld’s only choral grung LP. Remastered from the original analogye tapes and pressed on heavy weight vinyl for the discerning noise-nik."
Redshape presents his 3rd and most-rounded dedication to ‘90s dance music with ‘A Sole Game’ for Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records. In a finely honed style he worked towards since 2006, Berlin’s Sebastian Kramer a.k.a. Redshape draws from classic Detroit house, UK rave and AI, Frankfurt techno, and the endless party spirit of his home city, to render a definitive, darkly-toned self-portrait sounding every bit as synthetic, romantic and classic as the CD’s cover art looks.
“In typical Redshape style, the eight tracks of A Sole Game take you on a journey through nighttime worlds and dusky industrial landscapes haunted by howls and other strange voices. It’s obvious that one of the most important goals was to craft a perfectly seamless whole of an electronic album that works without interludes or what others would consider “album material”. Each track is a universe of its own and ready to be played in a club. A limited amount of instruments made it possible for the songs to sound quite homogenous despite being constructed very diversely. Most of the melodic structures stem from a Prophet 12 synth, most of the drums from the duo of 808 and 909, providing a warm and analogue sound.
This kind of traditionalist techno setup allowed for a fast and immediate workflow while recording the foundations of each track. Later on, Kramer took these recordings and elaborately arranged and processed them, trying to maintain the sometimes naive and pure emotions of the initial recordings and establish an organic feel. By fusing this proper songwriter approach with the codes of techno, Redshape takes a big step forward in his musical evolution.”
Perhaps the most significant new work from The Radiophonic Workshop in its 50 years of scoring radio and TV, the ‘Possum’ soundtrack is, remarkably, their first feature length score for film, and includes material from Delia Derbyshire's archive, heard here for the first time.
From the studio boffins and composers behind the influential, original Doctor Who and Quatermass soundtracks, the ‘Possum (OST)’ includes all cues from the film plus 9 bonus tracks, adding up to a bloodcurdling bevy of dread synth tones, pastoral flutes and bowed percussion notably laced with sound elements and drones from the archive of Delia Derbyshire, the legendary creator of the original Doctor Who theme tune.
It’s a seriously generous set, running to 38 cues that say their piece with haunting effect, along with a number of more meaty parts, and all primed to make you double check that the doors are locked on long, cold Autumn nights. In particular the eerie, evaporating flutes of ‘Possum Sting and Undercurrent’, and the likes of ‘The Barracks’ with its cold, empty tones, or the palpitating dread of ‘Pursuit’ really put the willies up us, and will likely do the same or worse when synched with the film.
While the personnel of The Radiophonic Workshop (as opposed to The BBC Radiophonic Workshop) is not disclosed, the sounds are unmistakably from that particular school of the eldritch uncanny and should be strongly recommended to fans of their classic BBC works or their Italian library/horror counterparts as much as Coil, Deathprod or Demdike Stare’s atmospheric moments.
Akira Rabelais has long been in our list of the most interesting, overlooked producers in electronic music. His early material for Mille Plateaux offshoot Ritornell was nothing short of revelatory, a mysterious, complex maze of elaborate layering that genuinely sounded unlike any of his contemporaries, or anything we've heard since. He was then picked up by David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint and released an incredible, career-defining head-scratcher of an album in 2004 called "Spellewauerynsherde' - one of the most spectacularly odd and brilliant electronic records of any description you'll likely hear - seriously - seek it out.
Anyhow, that preamble is just to set out the extent to which we're all Rabelais fanboys here - so this new double album, the first disc in collaboration with Harold Budd no less, has arrived here with much excitement, offering his first new recordings in over five years.
The Little Glass breaks down clearly over two discs; the first containing four plaintive solo piano parts by Budd and Rabelais, followed by a 2nd disc presenting Rabelais’ hour long, inharmonic, electronic transformation of the preceding material.
Rabelais has collaborated with Budd before, he provided his own incredible side-long second CD to Budd's majestic Avalon Sutra album, and while the piano pieces that make up the first CD here are bloody lovely and all, pardon us if we do hurry on to the second disc, because, well, you know this is going to be special.
With a deliquescence touch perhaps best compared to William Basinski, the L.A.-based artist renders the original improvisations as a breathtaking hour of glistening tone clusters and mid-air melting partials growing in complexly yet naturally as fractals experienced under the lens of DMT, or a time-lapse image of ice crystals forming at the edge of moving water.
To be quite honest, we haven’t the foggiest as to what process that he’s using to achieve these results - it may well be his trusted Argeïphontes Lyre software but, we can’t confirm this - however that matter only ratchets the sensation’s enigmatic appeal - if ever there was a more acute application of the word.
It’s the sort of music that gives us involuntary rapid eye movements, as though we’re in sleep mode while awake, making time feel plasmic and space almost tangible in a sense that you could almost huff up his starlight and recline in his hyaline webs.
The Little Glass is evidently, achingly, beautiful but, don’t take our word for it; drink deeply and ye shall see, pal.
Christoph de Babalon places his revered sound design skills at the service of dread-filled dramaturgy in ‘Teyas’, an abstract opera written in collaboration with Warsaw sisters Antonina Nowacka and Bogumila Piotrowska, a.k.a. WIDT.
Reframing De Babalon’s patented palette of diaphanous atmospheres and blood-dripping jungle breaks with a more theatrical purpose, ‘Teyas’ is a logical extension of his interests in macabre and gothic themes. Working in the shadows of rave, dark ambient and classical theatrical scores, the possessed presence of WIDT really sets this side apart, out there with de Bablon’s most memorable releases such as his recently reissued ‘If You're Into It, I’m Out of It’ classic.
Both WIDT and De Babalon bring a strong visual sensibility to ‘Teyas’ that vividly speaks to sound-to-image synaesthesia, with vocals detached and processed into an ungodly array of shapes and set against some of de Babalon’s most precise stage mise-en-scene, adding up ot the kind of sound that doesn’t struggle to suspend the listeners disbelief.
The result is 5 stunning parts of fathomless electro-acoustic space and sparingly-used percussive rushes shaded and kerned into a captivating narrative that's highly recommended to fans of everything from Jani Christou to Maja Ratkje, Sophia Loizou to Kreng.
Deep, driving techno-jazz and spaced-out lounge funk from the inimitable Pépé Bradock on his spiritual home, Atavisme
Taking his 2nd flight of 2018 following ‘Exodus 8’, Monsieur Bradock is clearly bang up for it on ‘ATA 019’. With the exception of some spaced out respite in ‘Furious Yogi’, the energy and psychedelia levels are sky high on the other three, as he gears up with the burning dub-techno chords, padded bass and arcing, sampledelic textures of ‘Panique Manucure’ on the front, before really striding out with the hypnotically infectious pound and warbling notes of ‘Romantic DNA’,and cutting loose on a Chicago-style tribal pound in his own, special way with ‘Ave Psychic’.
Swedish producer Toxe's sharp ascent through club-cursed climes has elicited the highest praise from the start. In just a few years she has linked up with Staycore and Halcyon Veil, presented an A/V project with The Vinyl Factory, and scored KENZO's FW 2016 prints presentation with close collaborator Mechatok. Her new EP 'Blinks' is a fractal bloom of candied melodies and minor laments set in a sweep of frenetic rhythmic scenes.
On Blinks she puts that experience to good use in a bright and playful collection of phthalocyanine hooks and frenetic rhythms, sashaying from what sounds like an airborne Plaid in Honey Island thru to the slippery lead and big beats of Big Age, and over into what sounds like a late ‘90s AFX on Perfect 2, or some LP5-era Æ inspiration on Blue Warm Up.
The second instalment from Basic Channel's offshoot, Basic Replay, a reissue label convened to showcase prime influences and lesser known inspirations, the men from Berlin have selected and remastered a truly shocking follow up to Keith Hudson's 'Playing It Cool..' album reissued last year.
'Call me rambo' was originally recorded in 1986 and released on the Heavyweight label, an imprint formed by the Heavyweight soundsystem, based in the Wood Green and Tottenham areas of north London. Featuring Chester Roots at the controls and his nephew Ackie at the microphone, this is raw and dangerous english dancehall. Hailing from that blissful period in the middle eighties, when clubs could play Marley Marl next to Super Cat, or Half Pint next to early Trax records, 'Call Me Rambo' opens with a bang, racked with strafing machine gun fire and the helicopter sounds free with a Commodore 64, natty dread a go scientific an' ballistic.
Stylistically speaking, Ackie's voice is reminiscent of the great Barrington Levy, and the simply enormous, rampant rhythm sends shockwaves through any musical system - all b-boys and hardcore addicts would do well to sweep a copy of this and ask questions later. Flip the script, and Chesse retains Ackie's winning 'Don't push me' refrain, and much of the sonic elements but works the board hard, 'Rambo Gun Salute' as a part two is simply perfection, dubwise and anywise. 'Rambo Salute' takes the dub even further out, as Ackie drifts further into the mix, and Chester works it on out in true ragamuffin style. "Ramming dancehall is the priority", so the man say. This has shattered the office record for rewinds this week and is utterly essential for ALL self-respecting music fans.
A Croatian masterpiece originally released in 1977
"Rich textural pieces constructed from an unnotatable, intricate interplay of percussive squeals, scrapes and rattles, parched and pitchless woodwinds, and dislocated keyboards On the evidence here, Acezantez founded by the versatile Croatian composer and instrumentalist Dubravko Detoni merit wider recognition. Contemporary . Here are supposedly stylistic affinities between early Nurse With Wound and Detoni's music.
This Detoni (born February 22, 1937) release was the first since his LP on the Phillips Prospective series, which in the '70s was the most credible house for innovative compositional names such as Xenakis and Pierre Henry, who opened the doors to such avant-garde musical invention. Where atonality is to the fore in much avant-garde music, Deoni's sense of abrasion is met with bouts of melodic intervention. Elsewhere, heavy industrial sounds are used as percussive texture; mixed with forceful electronics and dramatic instrumental passages, they create a complex and textured series of compositions."
Thurston Moore (guitar) and Tom Surgal (drums) rinse out a heady tangle of shreds and splayed rhythms. Originally released by Bruce Russell’s Corpus Hermeticum in 1995, now edited by Bruce and reissued on vinyl for first time by London’s Glass Modern
“In 1990 I heard Thurston in a trio with Sauter and Dietrich of Borbetomagus on Forced Exposure’s Barefoot In The Head album. two free men meeting a slave, as Byron put it. I had studied The Wasteland in high school, and understood the literary allusion immediately. Then he did the solo single on Table Of The Elements in 1993. I heard the B-side - Earth/Amp (once again, the mystique of the B-side, it fucking rules) - and wrote him immediately proposing an album. ‘Make it just like Earth/Amp’ I think I said. Luckily he paid me no mind and delivered this monolithic slab of ‘Righteous Boo’. It had all the burning snake riffology I wanted, plus the Promethean poly-rhythms of the last of the original hipsters, Tom Surgal. Talk about Le Tombeau De Rudolph Grey… - Monsieur Mallarme. As we say in the record business: calm block, obscure disaster. And, as they say in the history business, the rest is… gravy.
- Bruce Russell, Lyttelton, NZ July 2018”
Raw, trippy house excursions from Montreal’s DJ Spence and Sentena a.k.a. SnP 500
Built for long sessions, SnP 500 test out three mutant patterns and vibes between the off-centre, subaquatic wriggle of ‘Eart’ and the skudgy glam swagger of ‘Rock Song’ on the A-side, before projecting into languid dream house space with the 12 minute extension of ’44’ that rolls out a super lush lather on the B-side.
E-Unity rides oblique, fresh electro/bass vectors on a smart debut for London/Bristol’s Oscilla Sound.
Perihelion works on a weightless electro flex with bubbling 808s anchoring a glittering lightshow of diffracted, hyaline tones and laser beam lixx. Morty is more emo, thanks to its creamy swirl of harmonised pads, but still with kinda dancehall/dembow grit in the pants, and A Wormhole In The 4th Wall percolates those vibes with more delirious pressure recalling cuts from the killer DJ Python album.
Smartly contrasting cuts of deep, psychedelic disco-house and brooding electro abstraction from this Amsterdam-affiliated artist and label
Still playing the incognito game as it should be done, this white label series 4th 12” keeps the levels high with the effortless, 113bpm disco swagger and pumping bass recoil of the A-side, whereas the flip gets well weird on a slanted and enchanted sort of darkroom electro sleaze, all stalking basslines, hallucinatory string sweeps and over-the-shoulder vocals that could really work a room at the right point of the night/morning.
A total must-have for sound-oriented cinephiles! This is the first ever pressing of David Shire’s OST for ‘The Conversation’, a Francis Ford Coppola classic about a wire-tapper in 1970’s NYC, brilliantly played by Gene Hackman, and featuring sound design by the living legend Walter Murch. Trust Jonny Trunk to execute the job with typically covetable results.
Like Jonny Trunk, we distinctly remember seeing this flick for the first time in the ‘90s (probably late on a schoolnight on Channel 4 in my case) and becoming utterly sucked into the film’s innovative shots and sound design, which uniquely told the story of a wire-tapper, brusquely portrayed as a Mac-wearing and neurotic loner by Gene Hackman, who memorably unravels when, on his latest job, he uncovers a murder.
Even to our naif ‘90s ears, the by-then-vintage movie soundtrack and its subtly innovative sound design felt uncannily sparse and refreshing, especially for a major studio production, and it’s not hard to understand how it’s been referenced as a genre classic countless times since then. With hindsight, we can hear how it dovetails very neatly with the minimalist and avant-garde movements of the ‘70s, arguably in the process becoming a sterling example of the way avant-garde and mainstream ideas fluidly informed each other in that decade.
The music is mostly played on piano by David Shire, who was enlisted for his first ever soundtrack job by his brother-in-law, Francis Ford Coppola. The main theme is a sort of slow ragtime jazz piece which filters thru the whole soundtrack, returning in increasingly tense and prangingly dissonant avant-garde situations that mirror the narrative’s flow of intrigue and tension. It’s not until the 5th track, ‘To The Office/The Elevator’ when this element arrives in the soundtrack, and it only really happens again in a small handful of other instances, but the contrast is so stealthy and subtle that it gets us every time, and works beautifully in balance with the airy, pensive, isolated economy of David Shire’s other pieces in the soundtrack.
Golden Ratio Frequencies, the private label from Alex Macarte (Gnod, Ahrkh), divulge a divine session of time-dilating, resonant drone meditations made by Salvaticus Selvatico on Gongs, Himalayan Bowls, and synths. Lovely, focussed music, full of presence and room recorded intimacy, that rewards focused, durational attention with transportive effect...
“Golden Ratio Frequencies is proud to realise the first physical release of ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS, a sprawling and expansive collection of sound explorations by Simone Salvatici AKA SALVATICUS SELVATICO.
For over a decade Salvatici has explored resonance and interaction between holistic, intuitive and sacred instruments, such as Gongs and Himalayan Bowls, in combination with Synthesisers, processed sound, and controlled feedback. With ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS, we see the Italian-born, London-based artist observing and disclosing the hidden connections of contrasting elements, such as movement and stillness, acoustic and processed sounds, as he draws melodies rising out of drones, returning to them, in activation and contemplation, weaving a fragile balance between two polarities continuously evolving.
A trained sound practitioner, Salvatici has studied under masters of the craft such as Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux, and at a number of prestigious academy programs, including The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST). He has released records and collaborated with projects such as Clorindine, Polbrone, and has worked with filmmakers, directors and visual artists performing in such venerable institutes as Tate Modern, Cafe Oto and Centre of Contemporary Art Glasgow. Salvaticus Selvatico illuminates for us but one shade of colour from Salvatici’s prism of talent, drawn from a source of pure and free commitment to sound in its elemental form.
Originally self-released by the artist digitally online in 2017, GRFRQ is honoured to bring this spell-bindingly beautiful and delicate work into the material realm, offering a wonderfully considered deluxe double-cassette release, with over two hours of sublime sounds professionally dubbed to magnetic tape.
ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS takes the listener on a journey in and out of deeper layers consciousness with gentle ebb and flow, rise and fall, and crescendo and plateau that melts away its mammoth two-hour duration into a mind state where neither time, space nor the self are of concern—a mental, physical and spiritual refuge in which we are gifted the experience of peace and contemplation.”
Harold Budd at his very best, coupled with an extra disc featuring a 70 minute re-working by Akira Rabelais. A timeless classic on David Sylvian's Samdhisound label.
It's hard to over-estimate the contribution Harold Budd has made to modern music, his seemingly effortless take on minimalism and ambience imbuing this often academic genre with all the warmth and humility so often missing from the work of his contemporaries. Best known for his collaborations with Brian Eno and the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, Budd here delivers 14 immensely moving pieces, strewn with Piano cascades and panoramic soundscapes, drifting off into sublime, almost unbearable reflection.
It's a theme that's further developed with the second of the two cd's here, featuring a 70 minute re-working of Budd's work by the remarkable Akira Rabelais: a breathless, beautiful tapestry of midnight strings and echoes of lost piano taking time to unravel, eventually displaying all the warmth and intimacy Budd has spent a musical lifetime striving to perfect.
Portugal/London’s Padre Himalaya turns out an ace, multiplexed EP of pop edits, hip hop breaks, and ghetto house from Silvestre
Making his 2nd run on Padre Himalaya after a pair of 12”s with Tokyo’s Diskotopia, Silvestre diversifies his bonds in unexpected ways, swaggering from sawn-off hip hop to a rude and woozy early ‘90s breakbeat edit of t.A.T.u, and breezy Skam-style hip hop on the A-side, before switching up to a banging, rugged ghetto house swang and sped-up, NYC-style ‘90s reggaeton-hip hop for good measure.
Full flight space rock from Canada, 1980, featuring Del Dettmar of Hawkwind
“Melodic Energy Commission is a Canadian gem and an interesting branch of the Hawkwind family tree (featuring Del Delmar on electronics.) Hailing from British Columbia, their unique blend of space rock, progressive and hippie psychedelia began in 1977 as a recording-only project titled "The Melodic Energy Commission of Collected Artists."
MEC quickly released two albums: 1979's "Stranger in Mystery" & 1980's "Migration Of The Snails." The music is raw and heavily exploratory, often shifting styles radically within a single track, moving from from quiet chamber orchestras to dissonant guitar freak outs with smears of analog electronics filling in gaps along the way.
RIYL: Amon Düüll II, Tangerine Dream, Hawkwind, Sun City Girls and Syd Barret.”
China’s Shao follows a 12” and opening credit on the ‘Dreamy Harbour’ compilation for Tresor with ‘Doppler Shift’, 6 tracks of greyscale techno and Alva Noto-esque minimalism taken from the 9-track digital release.
Picking up where his ‘Sensi (Edit)’ left us in the ‘Dreamy Harbour’, Shao heads in pursuit of a immersively textured and effortlessly rolling structures across ‘Doppler Shift’, keening from the vapourised metallic tang and shadowy bass strokes of the intro cut and into the clipped swagger of ‘Reflection Pt.1’, which recalls Carsten Nicolai & Olaf Bender’s Diamond Version gear, and then dissolving into the filigree moire of keys and swivelling bass on ‘Bubble’.
The tougher ‘Bubble (Version)’ follows fathoms deeper, l;eating to the steeply vaulted, hallucinatory sound design of ‘Atmospheric Refraction In The Desert’, which sounds something like Dylan Carlson meets Donato Dozzy, and the sublime ambience of ‘Winter 2012’ recalls Shinichi Atobe at his sylvan, ghostly best.
Introducing In Mirrors From Vancouver, B.C. Their Debut LP "Escape From Berlin" was recorded in deep isolation on location at Nite Prison in Vancouver. Produced & mixed by Johnny Jewel, the album plays as a dizzying massive singular collage.
"Acutely focused on texture & the negative space between moments, composer & poet Jesse Taylor is the core member in a revolving cast of collaborators. For this LP, his partners in crime are Suzanne, Hiromi Inada (Japan), & Andrew Grosvenor on clarinet. As enigmatic & fleeting as reflections in a hall of mirrors, these themes are fractured & textural. Taylor ambitiously asks us to look beyond the mirror...through to the other side where we imagine Phillip Glass playing chess with William Burroughs while Klaus Schulze slaves over a droning synthesizer in the corner. Sonically, we hear vapor trails from Coltrane, Carpenter, & Amon Duul.
This debut is a glance at one of the most varied artists on Italians Do It Better's roster. Johnny & Jesse have been collaborating behind the scenes since 2003. Distilled in a process strengthened by time from Portland to Montreal...Los Angeles to B.C. In Mirrors blurs the imaginary lines between genres opening with a sultry Stevie Nicks cover & closing with 14 minutes of expansive aural fusion. Perhaps Taylor's good friend, Joey Casio said it best..."Change the channel, this one is the mirror”.”
Cold blue wavey melancholy from Vanderschrick, a new earthling discovered by celebrated reissue specialists, STROOM 〰
On the A-side ‘Ochtendgrijs’ gazes into middle distance with unaffected vocals and a plaintive, minimalist backdrop of wide bass and shivering chime trees that beckon listeners to rest and reflect in its Antwerp attic air.
By contrast, the B-side may well provide the urge to dance, striking the finest balance of sexy slunkiness and introverted pop coyness that’s really pushing our buttons right now.
Very welcome reissue of Juju & Jordash’s debut EP, originally dispensed by Reggie Dokes’ Psychostasia Recordings in 2004
Dovetailing with the label’s early vibes, Amsterdam’s J&J unfurl an eternally charming and admirable spin on Detroit beatdown at its jazziest and loosest, nudged with unmistakeable nods to Dokes, Theo Parrish and KDJ, but with a certain Israeli/Amsterdam suss of their own.
Finding its feet in the deep space jazz strokes, alien synth voices and wickedly stumbling groove of ‘Hush’ starring live sax by Chris Corstens, the J&J magick flows into the properly rude KDJ-style twyst of ‘Husheesh (Acid Dub Mix)’ on the A-side, before Reggie Dokes and Ferrispark’s Scott Ferguson smooth out the kinks as Koomba Project with an effortlessly deep remix on the B-side.
Johnny Jewel reunites with Farah for the first time since their golden ’Gay Boy’ and ‘Dancing Girls’ classixxx
Farah delivers her best Cali drawl on the gently dub-fluffed disco groove ‘The Only Ones’, and with a far more sultry, latinate tug against the lilting congas and tight bass lixx of ‘Baby Girl’, while the B-side provides a very necessary instrumental mix of the ohrwurming ‘Dancing Girls’ from the pivotal ‘After Dark’ compilation, as well as the uncredited appearance of her weightless ace, ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ tucked away at the end.
Johnny Jewel’s original vehicle, Chromatics, remind us their ineffable elan on ‘Lady’
The melancholy thizz of ‘Lady’ heads up the EP with Ruth Radeltt’s vocals skimming over needling arps and plush, strolling disco bass, also appearing as an instrumental and a dramatically stripped back and opened out ‘Lady (On Film)’ version.
‘Looking For Love’ rounds off the package with a gilded slow motion disco ace included as a shorter instrumental and a super classy 15 minute ‘Disco Version’ proper.
30th Anniversary Edition of Pixies’ debut releases, ‘Come On Pilgrim’ and ‘Surfer Rosa’, also includes bonus 1986 Radio Concert ‘Live From The Fallout Shelter’.
"It’s been thirty years since the release of ‘Surfer Rosa’ – a record made up of rage, religion, gore, incest and superheroes named Tony – a debut album so good that it’s now seen as a masterpiece. A year prior came ‘Come On Pilgrim’, an eight-track mini-album released in 1987 which contained cuts culled from their first ever studio session, where they famously recorded seventeen tracks in just three days.
These formative records showed the Pixies to be an alien breed; four oddball outsiders from Boston blending US underground thrash rock, indie surf pop and Spanish-language flamenco with the Biblical mythology of Frances’s childhood. They would go on to record another masterpiece in 1989’s ‘Doolittle’ but it’s the gruesome glory of ‘Surfer Rosa’, and the ruined sexuality of its cover image (a topless flamenco dancer in a crumbling Mexican bar) that set a fresh blueprint for an indie rock dynamism that not only planted the seeds of grunge (Kurt Cobain would admit that he was trying to imitate the record while writing ‘Nevermind’) but of much of the best rock music made since.
To celebrate this milestone, Pixies are playing five sold-out intimate shows at London’s Roundhouse starting this October and preceding them is the release of ‘Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa’, the thirtieth anniversary nedition which contains ‘Come On Pilgrim’, ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Live From The Fallout Shelter’, a concert-cum-session that first aired in late-1986 on WJUL in Lowell, MA. Vaughan Oliver returns as designer – as with all other Pixies sleeves - to stunningly reinterpret his original artwork thirty years on, delivering a fresh take while retaining Simon Larbalestier’s iconic photographs as the centrepiece of his design."
Fractal Fantasy’s Visceral Vaults finally give up the hard-edged rap mutant ‘WW4’ by Mikey Dollaz, King Louie, Zora Jones & Drippin, backed with a Jersey house style remix from Famous Eno
First spotted on Zora Jones’ killer Fact mix in 2017, ‘WW4’ features Mikey Dollaz and King Louie running roughshod over a crunching blend of slamming drums and pitch-warped chromatic vamps, whereas Famous Eno’s remix fills in the weed smokey space between the original beats with militant kicks and martial melody for screwfaced club antics.
The Death of The Machines series arrives at its first compilation, featuring heavy hitting EBM and industrial zingers by four new artists: Exterminador, Craow, R. Gamble, and Plastic Ivy
Classically schooled in the dark art of war dance, each operator pulls out something hard and nasty, ranging from the supremely taut, Silent Servant-esque traction of ‘Mohammad Bin Salman (Tegeler Mix)’ by Exterminador, to the gnashing drum machines and palpitating EBM pulse of Craow’s ‘Lot’ on the front, and over to the virulent synth-pop lead and muscular thrum of R Gamble’s ‘Dead Advice (Club Mix)’ and the hot-stepping quicksilver of ‘Exit Strategy’ by Plastic Ivy.
Detroit dons Brendan M. Gillis, Erika Sherman and Carlos Souffront stake out darkest electro-techno terrain in their long overdue first Ectomorph album. Don’t expect any tops-off rockers or identikit bangers, but do expect loads of dark, stripped-down and classic Motor City nous in effect, especially in the viscous warp of ‘Crawl Of Cthulu’, the blank-eyed grunge of ’Stalker’, and the radioactive shudder of ‘Psychic Downfall’. 313 heads, pinch yourself; it’s real!
“Ectomorph occupy a unique and strange place within Detroit Techno history. Founded in 1994 as an inspired reaction to DBX, Basic Channel, Rob Hood, Sähkö, and Drexciya, they released their first 12" singles in 1995 as an attempt to make Detroit music for Detroit itself, rather than exclusively for export.
The mystique of their early singles led to mythic status and a strong underground cult following, which they have continued to develop through releases on their own Interdimensional Transmissions label. Their live shows are legendary for their ability to fluidly incorporate improvisational techniques into synthesized music (and for the sheer amount of hardware that they bring to the stage). The Ectomorph show is all analog, no computers or samplers or even drum machines: all sounds come from the modulars and the mountains of Moogs.
Ectomorph (now officially comprised of BMG & Erika) reconvened in 2016 to write new music, which led to a series of live shows where the new material was tested via performance and allowed to evolve in form. To capture the energy of these performances, the new material was recorded in the studio totally live, multitracked for further engineering, but with no editing whatsoever. This music, to borrow a phrase from Derrick May, is what it is. The entire album was recorded live in one or two takes in the Interdimensional Laboratories in Detroit. This is the sound of the idea that is Ectomorph, presented in its natural and organic format, live and improvisational.
Interdimensional Transmissions (or IT) is a Detroit-based label founded by BMG (Brendan M Gillen) in 1995, with its first release the debut record by Ectomorph. The label has come to represent the left-hand path within Detroit Techno, Electro, post-disco, etc. IT often takes a wide musical lens and incorporates history as a way to find something both pure and new. IT is collaborative in nature, and functions as a dialogue between label partners BMG, Erika, & Amber. IT parties have also gained a cult status internationally, with their recurring No Way Back events becoming the focal point of a sort of post-rave cultural phenomenon and the annual after party highlight of Detroit's Memorial Day weekend.”
Keith Hudson, the dub dentist, was a one-off innovator with impeccable, classical lineage: his first studio recording involved former Skatalites; his earliest releases provided solid-gold hits for Ken Boothe's "Old Fashioned Way" as far back as John Holt, Delroy Wilson, U-Roy and the rest.
Like "Lloyd" Bullwackies Barnes, his collaborator here - his split from this tradition is dynamic and all his own: Hudson's mature music finds its optimum conditions away from Jamaica, in London and New York studios and for less didactic transatlantic audiences, while his dark experimentalism becomes increasingly better suited to the the LP and extended 12" than the cardinal 7" reggae format.
Original dark disco mixes from the middle>> latter seventies, drenched in the essences of deepest afro-american-jamaican funk jams. "Playing It Cool & Playing It Right" was released in 1981 on Hudson's own, american based Joint International label. It was originally intended that one of Hudson's teenage sons would voice the dubs: in the event the Love Joys, Wayne Jarrett, and inimitably Hudson himself featured at the microphone.
Like Wackies, Hudson was a Studio One devotee "I used to hold Don Drummond's trombone for him so I can be in the studio", he once recalled ˆ and the album follows Coxsone's recent strategy of overdubbing signature rhythms. While the Studio One sides were aimed at the dancefloor; Hudson's reworks of alltime classic tracks like "Melody Maker", all darkside funkadelic guitars and brooding feeling, are more psychological. Deep Barrett Brothers rhythms are remixed like you've never heard, deeper still with reverb, filters and other distortion, pitched down, everything; and overlaid with new recordings, often heavily treated, of wahwahed guitars, percussion, keyboard, voice. "Playing It Cool.." is legendary, strange, utterly compelling music.
Coil’s unearthly garden continues to bloom posthumously with the Astral Disaster Sessions - including a whole bunch of previously unreleased and rare cuts from the Un/finished Musics recordings finally seeing the light of day, transferred from analogue tapes onto Gary Ramon’s Prescription label a year after the remastered original sessions crept out on vinyl reissue.
Notoriously recorded in the former debtors prison-turned-Iron Maiden studio beneath the River Thames, on Samhain, 1998, the Astral Disaster Sessions - Un/finished musics serves a haul of previously unreleased or hard-to-find versions of tracks from the original Astral Disaster [1999/2016] LPs, which are widely regarded a seminal highlight of Peter Christopherson, Johnn Balance, Drew McDowell, Thighpaulsandra and Gary Ramon’s time together as Coil.
On the A-side you’ll now find swirling raga-noise meditation The Sea Priestess (Early Mix) next to a sublime, previously omitted Part 2 tract of The Mothership and the Fatherland, and a skinnier, plasmic Alternative mix of The Avatars, but we imagine the big attractions for Coil fiends will be the Instrumental mix of I Don’t Want To be the One, which was previously only found on a rare 1999 promo-only Prescription sampler, and most particularly the ghostly and invasively psychedelic 14 minutes of Cosmic Disaster, which was the original working title for Astral Disaster, and has never been released on any format.
Legit reissue taken from analogue masters, Coil's sorely coveted Astral Disaster (1998) for Gary Ramon’s Prescription (UK) is returned to circulation on its original format. 2nd hand copies now trade for at least a K, just sayin’…
At the behest of Ramon - who is absorbed into a line-up revolving Jhon Balance, Peter Christopherson, Drew McDowall, and Thighpaulsandra - over two days at Samhain 1998, Coil descended into the bowels of his Sun Dial studios, surrounded by manacles and chains under the level of the River Thames in the Ancient Borough of Southwark, to commit what would become one of their most possessing sides.
Astral Disaster was the result: two correlating hemispheres channelling, meditative, eastern raga drone with sage-like poetry and electro-acoustic phantasmagorias, projecting a plasmic miasma of pharmaceutical shimmer and surreality that’s pretty much arch Coil.
If there’s any one big reason you need it, though, that would be the amazing B-side, The Mothership and The Fatherland, framing creaking wooden drums and the gibber-chin shivers of swarming, translucent studio duppies in a diaphanous soundfield of freefall ambient atmospheres - basically the sound of ketamine in the ‘90s.
Makes us want to melt. Massive recommendation!
Deathprod, Lotic, Rezzett and Total Freedom reframe Bendik Giske’s very Colin Stetson-esque use of the saxophone+vocals on ‘Adjust’
Yes you read that right - for the first time in over a decade, Deathprod lends his remix magick to this set in completely inimitable style, serrating Giske’s melodic breath control from source and turning it into a 6 minute cyclone of streaking white noise better compared with the sound of a motorway underpass or airport runway than anything remotely human-made, that is until it calves away into a sludge metal coda in the final third. Trust it’s heavily satisfying.
The other remixers step up to the mark in their own style, from Total Freedom’s lush lather, to the fractious schismatics of Lotic’s, and the sidewinding psychedelic techno keen of Rezzett.
‘Baroque Steps’ is a quiet, poetically impressionistic study on the transition from winter to spring and beyond, all painted in shimmering watercolour washes and oily slydes by Andrew Chalk (Elodie, Organum, Mirror)
Describing a passage from bright, hazy, layered harmonies, and a subsequent descent into more mulched and curdled tones, Chalk’s seamless arrangements induce increasingly hypnotic states and, in a way, could be taken as a allegory for his own, near geologic, 30 year progression from harsh grained noise to these kind of utterly sublime instrumental and electro-acoustic refinements.
“Sun-lit leaves. It is a clear blue message of hope, as it rings out on a cold winter's day. As the spring progresses, it becomes a cascade that overflows with bubbling sound, and ends with a challenge"
Slick, high pressure bass business from two of the UK’s baddest, Batu & Lurka, launched on the latter’s Fringe White label one year on from their debut sling.
Combining and parsing the best traits of both producers, the A-side steps and swings off 25 PSI pumped subs and hyaline hooks in a reticulated ice-snake riddim rent to the rafters with streaking dynamics before bringing it closer down with sublime, shivering pads saved for the most poignant moment.
In stark contrast, the B-side’s Struck yanks the tempo down and rubs the drums up the wrong way, swivelling heavy on a 110bpm tempo with cold, thistly, slamming drums and flat bass slaps stealthily opening out in swaggering UK style unconcerned with trends but firmly fixed on ’nuum roots and futures.
Belfast’s BLOOM returns from the dark with ‘Nutrient’, his first outing since remixing tracks from Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ three years ago
Lest we forget, Bloom’s trio of releases for Visionist’s Lost Codes, Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper, and Craylegs between 2012-2014 were key moments in the instrumental grime resurgence, effectively taking the style in gyroscopic 3D space.
With ‘Nutrient’ he follows a line also taken by Rabit, to frolic in the ruins of dance music’s recent past (and future?) with pulverised traces of grime and sic fi FX whipped into an asymmetric, keening blatz of weightless post-hardcore torque and cinematic shrapnel.
Joy O approaches 10 years in the game with a diversified EP smartly marking the distance travelled from his acclaimed debut ‘Hyph Mngo’ back in 2009.
Spanning shadowy UK electro-bass, weightless trance, and deep blue house styles, the ‘81b EP’ follows Joy O’s collaboration with sax player Ben Vince for Hessle Audio to render a definitively mature self-portrait of his sound in 2018.
On the A-side he tees off with the slunky lust of ‘Seed’ on a sci-fi electro tip, mixing gynoid vocals with shifty UK-style subs into killer 2nd half Reese drop, whereas ‘Coyp’ is more stripped down to ghostly rolige, and ‘Tennov6teen’ locks into a roil of entrancing arps.
The B-side is much warmer, fleshly, stretching out with the offset, Kassem Mosse-alike bubble ’n squeak of ‘Belly’, before ‘Sin Palta’, a highlight of his Dekmantel mix, appears in a more dubbed out mix, and ‘81b’ curls up at the end on a slouchy after-party bent.
Jibber-jawed techno and raving deja entendu from France’s E-Talking and southern English artist Laksa on the 4th in Whities’ Blue series
E-Talking, a new moniker for one half of french pair Nummer, rolls out the decayed, snappy drums and bruxist throat singing styles of ‘Telephone Rose’, while Laksa offers a strobing, rolling flashback to raves gone-by in ‘It Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before’.
Cranky, bashy UK electro-techno subsets from the echo chambers of Bristol’s Batu and Lurka.
They’ve cleft a sound square between their respective styles, coming with square-bassed cyber ruffige sparked off by glancing ice-pick snares on the A-side, whereas the flip digs a tangy metallic techno sound busy with squirrelly synths in a spacious sound design, before going slow and low on a bugged-out bit of Bristol dancehall.
Black Merlin joins Mannequin’s Death of the Machines series with a killer payload of slow-to-mid tempo industrial/EBM/Acid styles
In three parts Merlin holds his ground, driving from the brain-burrowing acid drive of ‘Oba Enka’ with its spirit-gnawing breakdown on the A-side, thru the charred synth drones and sluggish thrum of ‘DEF’, to check out on the razor-fanged and grimacingly slow churn of ‘HAM’.
Elodie’s sublime second album presented on vinyl for the first time. Originally issued on CD in 2011 ‘La Lumiere Parfumee’ finds Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk’s duo hovering into the languid, spectral forms that have charmed us ever since.
Impossibly delicate and floaty, ‘La Lumiere Parfumee’ is a like a slow motion, weightless ballet written for keys, strings, synth and brushed drums, where Chalk and Van Luijk seemingly keep their instrument’s feet from ever touching the floor. Thanks to expertly refined recording and post-production techniques, the soundfield is intimate yet psychedelically expansive, with ineffably dreamy results cradling listeners in a mid-air sound quite unlike any other in circulation right now.
When this album originally arrived it wasn’t really on our radar. At that time there was a groundswell of wishy washy neo-classical/modern ambient music that possibly occluded Elodie from our view - perhaps a case of can’t see the wood for the trees. But ever since encountering them live and then circa ‘Porte Ouverte’ , it’s become clear to us, at least, that Elodie are in possession of that rarest quality; an effortless, subliminal ability to intoxicate and draw us whole into their unique sound world.
With tremulous keys, powdered percussion, and murmuring wind instruments marbled with synth gasses, they create immaculate snapshots of crepuscular, pastoral scenes as immersive and purposefully descriptive as Japanese Gagaku soundtracks, but also every bit as humble as the most charming Cotton Goods releases. It’s a gently mystical, natural sound that warrants repeated visits, just like your favourite local beauty spot, respite bench in an inner city park, or secluded rooftop terrace of the mind.
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
Autechre's classic debut album from 1993, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Go on, blink; for the first time in fifteen years Autechre’s peerless debut album, Incunabula is reissued as a facsimile copy of the original, 1993 release, replete with silver-printed gatefold jacket.
We’re not going to bang on about this too much, but you should know by now that Incunabula is one of the cornerstones of modern electronic music, one of the pinnacles of the British rave epoch and among the most life-affirming records ever, bar none.
Aye, it’s 100% essential.
Steeply hypnotic and immensely powerful mix of possessed drone, doom metal and pounding motorik rhythms from Manchester’s Primitive Knot, who, being local and all, we’re ashamed to say we’ve never seen before, but will do on the strength of this evidence presented by Aurora Borealis (home to The Haxan Cloak, KTL, Burial Hex)
“Hailing from Manchester, UK, Primitive Knot have created a cult underground following with their prolific output and aura of arcane mystery. Primitive Knot cover a lot of musical ground, from motorik Krautrock to primitive thrashing doom metal, garage rock to the kind of industrial pop bombast associated with latter era Sisters of Mercy. Yet at all times, the sound is pure Primitive Knot. ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ sees Primitive Knot exploring the spiritual outer realms with drone, doom and dark ambient methodology, delivering over an hour of shamanic cosmic drift.
‘Thee Opener Of The Ways’ collects the sold out tape releases of ‘DOOM I’ and ‘DOOM II’, combining them with the tracks ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ and ‘Devotion And Decay In Interstitial Space’ to bring this material to a wider audience in a cohesive album format.”
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
Hodge lends a koshing techno remix to this canny set of spacious, halfstep-leaning breakbeat workouts by Truska.
The original pressures are strongest in the skittish Pangaea styles of Lucid and Intra, while Fervous works at a slower tempo for those that need it.
We’d recommend going straight for Hodge’s stark rework of Lucid, reduced to boulder rolling kicks and dank atmospheres right out of the facility on Goldeneye the computer game.
Slum Village’s Waajeed spins out the Detroit-style beatdown hip hop instrumental, ‘Strength’ along with his own house mix and remixes by Jay Daniel and Jon Dixon.
The original is a breezy slow-motion ace blessed with blooming 313 pads, whereas Waajeed’s string mix is a super plush house track loaded with proper subs, slinky marimba melody and delicious vocal, oh and those patented Detroit strings, natch.
Jay Daniel chimes in with a reshuffle of the house mix, adding extra layers of concussion and daubs of live-sounding keys, arriving at an uplifting 2nd half denouement, while Jon Dixon opts for a deep and classic Detroit house style.
At long last the Ø & Panasonic soundtrack to ‘Sähkö - The Movie’ has finally been discovered and available for release nearly 20 years after the movie was made, and 1 year since it was premiered by the Boiler Room
Recently discovered in a box of Jimi Tenor demo tapes at the Warp offices in London, the 1995 film’s soundtrack is now compiled and issued to coincide with the Oslo memorial for Mika Vainio this September, 2018. It’s very safe to say that a lot of techno heads are going to be very happy right now.
With the exception of an edited version of ’Syväys’ from the 2012 EP of the same name, all the material here is previously unreleased, but sounds very close to material found on Mika’s legendary ‘Metri’ LP and the ‘Röntgen’ and ‘Kvantti’ EPs, or Panasonic’s ‘Vakio’, which were all produced during the same period as the film.
The techno bods really need to check for the tentative minimal techno probe of ‘Scene 1’ and the pulsating miniature ‘Scene 2’, while those with a noisier tooth will gert a good kick out of the rest.
Carla Dal Forno yields her self-released cover versions tape, ‘Top Of The Pops’, which was previously only available on her 2018 US tour
Recorded on the cusp of winter/spring, it features Dal Forno placing a gently haunted spin on personal pop & wave favourites by The B-52’s, Rénee, The Kiwi Animal, Liliput, Lana Del Rey, and The Fates.
Stripped down to their essence, the songs provide a fine showcase for Carla’s strong yet plaintive vocals and skill in painting and framing her subtle instrumental backdrops. The results are most alluring in her skeletal reduction of the B-52’s ‘Give Me Back My Man’, with its seaside town-in-winter ambience, and in the dark blue stripe of her take on Lana Del Rey’s ’Summertime Sadness’, but we’re sure you’ll all have your own favourites.
Sold out at source. Think quick if you’d like one.
Killer, oblique pop-deconstruction from NYC’s Keke Hunt a.k.a Just The Right Height. Robotically-enunciated lyrics set to spare, jagged, sawn-off hooks jabbed in on sampler and machines, RIYL Yeah You, FAY, Lolina, Klein
“Hunt’s stop and go, deconstructed songwriting is emotional and bare. Her undressing of the radio hit is so lyrically labrinthine, the urge to dance might escape you — and dance with me.
Just the right height is an investigation of pop lyricism and a satire of feminine objecthood; The perfect size, The perfect longing shape to fit inside, the perfect fit. Just the right height is a rubber mouth. Formless liquid silicone poured into a mold that mimes agency, vocalization, but says nothing; careless. An empty silhouette, inciting arousal and movement. Mouthy, Vapid, Stupid, Hot; Vain and thoughtless song.
In her album Let Forever Be Only You Tonight, Hunt writes lyrics by compiling text from an online lyric generator which outputs jumbled lines sourced from the lyrics of existing popular songs. Hunt exhales composited speech, a synonym of the virtual pop star whose personality program is compiled from the thoughts and feelings on her fans blog posts and online output; Her face surgically modified to reflect the image of her fans.
Rhythm stripped of melody is the dominant form in Hunt’s musical work. Nevertheless, Hunt intersperses her catalogue with heartfelt, melodic tracks as if to tie a polite bow on a rude package.
Hunt’s earliest released music was written in collaboration with Los angeles based painter Marisa Takal. The tracks released on their 2014 split with Odwalla88 are the product of a 3 year collaboration. Hunt has also collaborated with Multimedia Bryan Edward Collins on a project called Hard World Fashion. This album features a song co-written by Collins and Hunt. Since 2015 Hunt has released music under with tape labels such as Primitive Languages and ALL GONE tapes, under various titles, culminating in her current moniker, Just The Right Height. Let Forever Be Only You Tonight is her first full-length LP and release through She Rocks!”