Still one of the best techno albums out of Berlin in this millennium so far, Shed’s seminal debut LP, Shedding The Past is finally and necessarily reissued on his own label, The Final Experiment - newly expanded to include all 12 tracks from the CD edition, and cut to heavier vinyl than the original 2008 pressing!
Thanks to the timeless cues and intent it was built on, Shedding The Past still sounds amazing today, working to an effortlessly adroit, light-footed and dynamic schematic that makes much of his subsequent work feel a bit clunky and overdone by comparison.
On release in 2008, it was a seriously big album for a techno world in flux between classic Detroit house, echoes of UK dubstep, broken beat and Braindance, and traces of tuffer Frankfurt sounds - all components of the Soloaction sound he’d developed for years prior.
Fair to say that Shed distilled those styles perfectly in his début album, as proved in its most impressive highlights such as the balletic gait of Another Wedged Chicken, the misty-eyed beauty of The Lower Upside Down and the breakbeat seduction of ITHAW, but most powerfully in its spine-freezing eternal anthem, Estrange.
Trust us: no techno collection is complete without a copy of this album.
UK dubstep veteran J. Sparrow cuts back to Mala’s Deep Medi for his sophomore album, and first in 9 years
It’s a big bag of weighty ones, most impressively so in the rave-ready seethe of ‘Computer World’, the nervy stepper ‘Run For The Border’, and the Peverelist-style deft touch of ’Ndidi’.
Dome’s opiated but agitated 2nd album arrives via a crucial reissue scheme on Editions Mego, finding Wire guys Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis further getting to grips with their reorganised Blackwing Studios set-up.
Following Dome 1’s pretty much unprecedented vacillation of ghostly pop songs and sculpted noise, the duo’s 2nd LP finds them mining deeper into the foundations of avant-rock to coax out strange, plasmic forms of minimalist dirge set to slow, jagged rhythms and lysergic vox.
Arriving a year after their first effort, ’2’ documents their further ventures at Eric Radcliffe’s legendary Blackwing Studios (site of seminal recordings by Yazoo and Depeche Mode) after they had spent a lot of intense session reorganising their set-up. The result is an inimitably druggy, enchanted record that slips listeners into a strange state of mind.
‘The Red Tent I’ opens with a gentle transition from the sublime into menacing darkness, while ’The Red Tent II’ follows with a mean pre-echo of sludgy, grungy stoner rock, and ‘Breathsteps’ pushes that vibe down the rabbit hole into a sort of cranky, clangorous free jazz. Side B then opens with the spectral guitar harmonics and distant laughter of ‘Reading Prof. B’, leading into the album’s trippiest pieces with the mogadon rock ’n roll freak ‘Ritual View’ and the psychotomimetic charge of ‘Twist Up’, before it all calves off into the menacing ambience of ‘Keep It’, and we’re left wondering what the eff just occurred.
What a deeply strange and wonderful record.
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Tightly coiled. dubwise D&B from Breakage, back for the 4th 12” on his Index label
A-side fires off a jump-up barrage of amen breaks and bouncing bomb bassline in ‘Yeah’, before he tucks the rhythm tighter, aerodynamic a la DJ Krust or Digital with the B-side’s ‘Liff Up’, and the atmospheric pressure release of ‘Wicked’.
The gun tune to end all gun tune, ‘The Guncontrolla’ is a righteous pacifist dub statement from the Seekersinternational posse, who go about recording classic firearms being cocked and disassembled with results that land somewhere between Lee Perry's Black Ark, Parmegiani at the GRM and Mark & Moritz at the Rhythm & Sound controls...
Armed with a battery-operated 1987 Tascam Porta Two 4-track recorder and a Shure SM57 cardioid microphone, the Seekers capture the disassembly of a Colt British Service Pistol, a Glock 34, a Kalashnikov 1967 Soviet Rifle, and a Springfield M1 Garand, eventually all colliding and grating against one another via an elemental transfiguration coaxed out of the mythical SKRS echo chamber.
Drawing on ideas of metaphysics, metallurgy, and telekinetic mysticism, the SKRS treat their subject carefully to avoid any sort of romanticisation or fetishisation of guns or violence - in a temporal warp of dreamlike dread tension, where, crucially, not a single shot is fired. Instead they carefully but ruggedly use dub’s transfigurative techniques to turn the workshop recording into an absorbingly abstract warning shot.
The results are fascinating, conjuring some imaginative intersection of a back yard GRM and the Black Ark, and characters from ‘The Harder They Come’ spliced into scenes from ‘Falling Down’, fed thru that psychodelic echo chamber of dematerialised concrète that intends to defuse and diffuse the curse of gun violence with the black magick of dub music. Or, in other words, bullet-time dynamics re-configured as protest dubs.
Fire! Orchestra, mnow a 14 piece group, still feature the core trio of Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin) and the two singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg - between them the only constant members of Fire! Orchestra since their inception.
"Apart from this reduction, the main line-up difference is the introduction of a string quartet. This "cleanup" has worked wonders, keeping the rhythm and horn sections to their bare necessities, with the string quartet expanding the canvas and bringing a new, exciting dimension to the table. And on top of their game; the two powerful and sublime singers, quite different, but still blending perfectly.
We also have to mention drummer and producer Andreas Werliin for his work in the audio department; rarely have we heard such a detailed, warm, deep and dynamic mix from a relatively complex combination of instruments. While their three previous albums can be considered as uniform works, if not conceptual, Arrival is a collection of more individual compositions and songs, including two stunning cover versions. Blue Crystal Fire by visionary guitarist Robbie Basho was first heard on his 1978 album Visions of the Country. At Last I Am Free is today probably best known from Robert Wyatt´s version, but originally written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers of Chic.
Although the rest of the tracks are credited to Berthling, Gustafsson, Werliin and Wallentin, it´s important to stress that this time the orchestra members have had considerable creative input throughout the process. Arrival is light and shade, joy and despair, structure and improvisation, performed by an ensemble of excellent musicians."
Die Schachtel inaugurate the Decay Music imprint for “ambient, ethereal, and emotively abstract” contemporary music with a hitherto unknown hook-up between industrial pioneer Maurizio Bianchi, Saverio Evangelista (Esplendor Geometrico), and Juan Manuel Cidrón
Each respected in their niche, the trio converge on a stark and sparse sound woven from lonely solo piano and extra subtle atmospheric disturbances. The two pieces unfold in stately procession with ‘Besoch Trauma’ gathering from streams of sylvan drone, dusky field recordings and looming concrète spectres into a distressed solo piano coda that peals and warbles with aquality recalling Akira Rabelais’ sublime creep. The piece follows thru onto the B-side and into more hauntingly glassy, windswept dimensions, with the keys dropping out to leave us wondering how we got here, sand returning like recollected glimpses in the thick of The Caretaker’s later stages.
“Slow, sophisticated, and a deeply meditative, minimalist wonder, Besoch Trauma progresses like a melancholic dream - the slow wilting of sounds, pondering their own rebirth. Repetitive and restrained piano lines rise among drifting synthesiser tones and textural ambiances, fall away and return, fracture, break, stagger, and distort across the entirety of the albums first side, while murky, implacable sounds breed with flirting electronics and piano, sculpting the vast expanse of abstraction which emerges across the entirety of the second - clattering and droning, filled with air, fading melodies, and rippling tones - the inorganic rising as a synthetic vision of the natural world, and a music which entirely refuses to say what it is.
Two slow burning sides, unfolding with greater depth at every turn, across Besoch Trauma Bianchi, Evangelista, and Cidrón, joined as Vértice, build rich tapestry of creatively challenging sound - a hypothetical imagining of historic minimalism and ambient music, bred with industrial and punk. Dark, inhabitable, and unquestionably beautiful.”
One of Convextion’s most in-demand classics, ‘Crawling & Hungry’ is finally repressed along with his ace ‘Venus In Spurs’
A total inverted-anthem in our Pelicanneck shop back at the start of this century, Convextion’s ‘Venus In Spurs’ 12” remains a high water mark of dub techno to this day. While in any normal circumstances the A-side would be hailed a total pearl, it’s really all about the B-side’s ‘Crawling And Hungry’, one of Gerard Hanson’s very deepest emotional punishers, stretched out for 11 minutes of Basic Channel-style dub chord meditation with the additional glow of Detroit techno proper and Area54 ambience.
Ask almost anyone who knows or owns this cut, they’ll probably put it in their all-time top 10. Goes for us at least.
First vinyl edition of 1997’s ‘Khmer’, a groundbreaking album for Jazz and modern classical label ECM, featuring Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær channelling Miles Davis in a late ‘90s jazz-fusion style, replete with house and D&B-referencing rhythms
“Massive beats and throbbing grooves underpin the Norwegian trumpeter's fiery solos in a project that forms a bridge between ECM's improvised soundscapes and the brave new world of trip-hop, drum'n'bass, ambient/illbient, techno, industrial, electronica and samples. Nils Petter Molvær may be best known for his jazz work - with most of the leading Scandinavian players and with Elvin Jones, Gary Peacock, and George Russell - but he also has vast experience as a rock sessioneer. Khmer brings jazz's freedom and pop/rock's sound potential together.”
The Lifted ensemble return for a second, fluid jazz excursion on their new album for PAN, this time with an expanded lineup that includes Beatrice Dillon, Bass Clef, Jordan GCZ, Dawit Eklund, Will DiMaggio, Aya (OOIOO) and Martin Kasey, plus Future Times boss Max D and fellow core members Matt Papich aka Co La, Jeremy Hyman and Motion Graphics. Sublime, late night listening for smoked-out jazz heads and fans of anything from Move D's Conjoint to those excellent first couple of Flanger EP's from Burnt Friedman and Uwe Schmidt.
In a further loosening of the jazz screws from their debut album, the group’s frameworks on ‘2’ feel even more open-ended and dynamic this time around. With classic finesse, their Baltimore studio is beautifully applied as an instrument, becoming a primary tool and practically a member of the band, which allows for a frictionless exchange of ideas and energies from the original ‘70s fusion groundbreakers to flow into a lush, hyper-present. In that sense Max D and the central processing unit of Papich, Hyman and Williams play a sort of Teo Macero-like role, acting as a crucial bloc of filters and editors for the players’ dextrous blind takes.
With exacting sleight-of-hand executed in both the performance and extended post-production studio techniques, they arrive at gently psychedelic conclusions in seven parts, creating an amorphous sound stage where they project images of a melting 4th world in opener ‘Now More Than Ever’, while Beatrice Dillon’s mouth-watering synth pads and Motion Graphics’ silvery piano bring that halcyon Hassellian feel teasingly close on ‘Mirror In MY Room’, before flirting with the ‘floor on the balmy swing of ‘Rose’, exquisitely lit up with Martin Kasey’s sax and Sami’s spirited flute.
Deep, highly atmospheric late night blissouts.
First reissue of David Rosenboom’s groundbreaking 1975 experiments in using brain biofeedback to control live electronics, newly expanded with an additional LP containing an unreleased 1977 live recording of Rosenboom’s “On Being Invisible”, in which the composer himself performs on an array of electronics that are fed information from his brainwaves. Another diamond from Black Truffle.
David Rosenboom was a key member of that 1970s fraternity of electronic music explorers who prized early forms of live electronic music performance, often seeing it as superior to the laborious process of electronic composition on clunky computers, and much closer to the ultimately expressive forms of classical instrumental virtuosity.
With ‘Brainwave Music’ Rosenboom pushed that idea into new dimensions, using electrodes and monitoring devices attached to players in order to receive and gather information about their brainwaves, body temperature, and galvanic skin response, which was then analysed and in turn used to modulate the parameters of his oscillators and filters. In theory, the system allowed for a greater level of connection between the player’s sub/conscious intuition and psychophysiological response, or in-the-moment action.
On the A-side’s ‘Portable Gold And Philosophers’ Stone’ this notion manifests as a warbling smudge of phasing, keening microtones as the brainwaves of Pat and Alan Strange and Marilyn and Frank McCarty feed into Rosemboom’s electronic systems in a wholly absorbing and inimitable flurry of ostinatos, eddies and whorls that make our eyes go funny. However, with the B-side’s ‘Chilean Drought’ and ‘Piano Etude I (Alpha)’ he works with Jacqueline Humbert to specifically focus on the three states of brain waves, Alpha, Beta, and Theta at once, with uncanny results that will sound different to each listener depending on their listening environment and mental state, leading their brain to subconsciously pick up on the voices speaking to their mind’s appropriate frequencies.
Recorded contemporaneously, Rosenboom’s 1977 previously unreleased live recording of ‘On Being Invisible’ is initially, aesthetically closest to the A-side of ‘Brainwave Music’, but find Rosenboom better getting to grips with his system, with immeasurably intricate, complex results that sound like a pre-echo of Florian Hecker’s acid trax one minute, and like Dolphin chatter the next, then like intercepted alien transmissions.
Suffice it to say this was the first record of it kind, and a truly historic piece of electronic composition.
Nifty pic'n'mix soundsystem flex from Andy Mac, stepping away from House to nimbly work with slower tempos and classically skooled dub FX. Proper.
He's joined by a Richard Blackbarrow channelling Jackie Mittoo in the simmering organ riffs that dance over ‘Dawner’ on the A-side, while ‘Tawny Grammar’ takes the vibe outdoors with sounds of running water and tropical bird calls fringing a sloshing Nyabinghi phrase and scooping subbass to absorbing effect.
Known for his releases on Sucata Tapes, Paralaxe Editions and Where To Now?, Portuguese “sound activist” Bruno Silva aka Ondness embraces ideas of chance, chaos and ambiguity in a spannered, enigmatic album for Holuzam, the weird, second cousin to the mighty Príncipe label.
Through his minimalist percussive formation, Ondness reminds us of the swung attack and squashed funk of Anthony “Shake” Shakir as channelled through the prism of Raster Noton’s Rn-Rhythm-Variations series; in other words - sharp but loose-limbed for the floor. Or as the label explain so well “ ...pop-up music, constantly moving and fading away, reappearing with a new idea and then leaving it out in the open”
We get going on the fractured midnight keys and drums of “Torre”, before fully getting into gear on "Sem Gente” with its jazz/bassdrum malfunctions reminding us of Atom Heart’s magnificent, bizarrely overlooked Brown album from ’96. 'Mau Vibe’ splinters a tribalist session into oblivion, while 'Casa Fora Fallout' conjurs the spirit of Madteo at his most thrillingly unhinged.
In short; a peculiar, oddly compelling 40 minute session from the wonderful, extended Príncipe family.
All City soluble New Info swerve into dream-pop with the enchanted debut by Dublin’s Bitflower bb
“Mastalgia is a 6 track ethereal pop record produced by Bitflower Bb throughout 2017 - 2018 and released in 2019 on label New Info.
Mastalgia is a collection of bedroom pop songs born out of urban mornings and suburban evenings. The record was made as a companion for dusk walks and light of dawn commutes along Dublin streets. The songs endeavour to slow the flickering blur of urban routine and celebrate the personal narratives imbued along the city's laneways, windows, walls, telephone cables, and bicycle lanes.
Each track echoes a delicate appreciation of private daily journeys, saturated in memory, hope and imagination. The word mastalgia itself denotes the common, cyclical breast pain, which most women experience frequently and without utterance. Providing pacifying melodic remedies for growing pains, Mastalgia nurtures the cultivation of treasured private space, from the heart of it’s producer to the heart of the listener.
Bitflower Bb is a side project of Dublin based DJ and producer Dream~cycles.”
Wolfgang Voigt’s deeply romantic, terrifying Gas classic, ‘Königsforst’ returns to vinyl on its 20th anniversary reissue, re-cut over 3LP for optimal immersion.
Finally available following its appearance within the Gas ‘Box’, this is the definitive 8-track vinyl edition of the 3rd instalment to one of deep, ambient dub-techno’s most revered catalogues.
Originally issued by Mille Plateaux in 1998, ‘Königsforst’ is an ideal example of Wolfgang Voigt’s turn away from his early ‘90s acid rave classics toward a more Teutonically-refined hybrid of classical elegance and inexorable techno momentum.
More specifically, the tracks distill Voigt’s experience of walking in the Black Forest into a sort of rhythm-driven meditation, creating a space for reflection upon always-the-same/always-different repetition that most beautifully encourages the mind of the listener to wander, ponder and arrive at similarly rarified conclusions.
In other words it’s a stone cold classic.
Moor Mother is on the cover and chatting about liberation technologies inside July, 2019’s edition of the Wire.
We can’t wait to properly go through the Latin Freestyle primer by Peter Shapirio, and the Ellen Arkbro interview should be interesting. There’s also features on Damon Locks, Big Strick, Abdullah Ibrahim, and London’s Bohman Brothers are tested by the Invisible Jukebox. Includes all the usual news, reviews, and listings, too.
‘Live at the Jazz Cafe’ renders a 1 hour long recording of Fennesz performing live at the eponymous venue in Camden, London, on 12th March 2019
The release *almost* shares a cover and material with Fennesz’s most recent album, ‘Agora’, and sees the Viennese shoegazer and celebrated experimental guitarist riffing on elements from that album, effectively rendering its looser, “live” counterpart.
Crafty IDM/electronica by Thomas Pujols’s Nebulo on Calum Gunn’s excellent, exploratory label, Conditional
After a ruck of LPs to his name for Hymen since the mid ‘00s, Nebulo returns from hiatus since ’16 with a remarkably fresh sound that appears to jump off from Arca’s ‘&&&&&’ and into hyperpresent terrain shared by TCF and CY AN.
‘YYY’ gets off to a breezy beginning with prickly, windswept arps showing a flair for free dynamics and melody, while ’448BPM’ accelerates up-to-the-second with flashcore-esque levels of intricacy but sans fibrillating kicks, before the staggered meter and expressively bittersweet flourishes of ‘BND Rose’ and the nerve-wringing emotion of ‘ASCII Snake’ most closely reflect Arca’s genius for off-kilter, melodic arrangement.
Kevin “The Bug” Martin frames Miss Red in an OOBE-like haunted dancehall style for his Pressure label.
A dominant force on the label already, and a central muse for Martin, Miss Red returns to supply a forlorn, ghostly presence with ‘The Four Bodies’ EP. Her shatterproof tenor floats sweetly over the minor key menace and dembow bumps of ’Shut In Your Head’, before ‘Loco’ pulls her fwd, nagging on a revving, sputtering piece of heavy riddim machinery, ‘Loco’.
But from there it gets very maudlin with the dread lament of ‘Don’t Text Back’ sung in a cracked and detached patina of voices over synthetic nyabinghi, and ‘Prayers’ jettisons the riddim entirely to vapourise Red into a hall-of-mirrors, glossolalic drift, something like Burial meets Grouper.
Disciples dig into the teenaged, pre-4AD years of Detroit’s Warren Defever and come out with the first signs of gold in ‘F Choir’, a flighty synth miniature that sets the tone for a very promising retrospective revolving His Name Is Alive
Crispy and trippy electro/B-more breaks and Batucada rhythms from K-Lone for the Wisdom Teeth label he runs with Facta
Strong stuff end to end, rolling out in a fine declension of pressure between the fiercely sharp, whirring electro-breaks mechanics of ‘Sine Language’ and the slinky belly tuck and swivel of ‘Batucada’, to go super minimal and hypnotic with the mercurial flow of ‘Missed Calls’, and the pastoral dub of ‘Bells’.
Masquerading under aliases for the last few years, Luke Blair coughs up gritty techno mutations on the Twisted Blood EP for his Glum label.
Each cut sounds like it was captured mid-mutation or formed from reactive substance that burn on contact, convecting the oxidising garage-techno torque of Twisted Blood and the submerged techno stress-test of Another Victory for Furniture for more adventurous dancefloors, along with more knackered, impish alien folk dance with crooked budge of The Yips, and something like a corrupted pastoral ambient scene with Doom.
Bokeh Versions light up a necessary reissue of Tradition’s long-lost outer-dub oddity Captain Ganja and The Space Patrol, pressing up a damn fine and deeply psychedelic reminder of North London’s contribution to the worldwide dub sphere c. 1980 - years before Scientist and Jammy battled the space invaders.
As a secretive and sought-after outlier in Tradition’s catalogue of lovers rock and dub aces, Captain Ganja and The Space Patrol represents the group’s most esoteric and experimental urges in full effect, springing dub’s mutable framework with a sample bank of crying babies, radiophonics and library soundtrack FX and then swirling the whole thing in Paul Thomson’s cosmic synths and keys.
From the red-eyed bachelor lounge vibes of of The Breathtaking Blast thru the lush recoil and tumble of Subaquatic Swerves and the pealing oddness of The Creepy Crawl to the bawling infants perfused around Rocket Repairs’ warbly melodica and decaying drums, it’s clear to hear how this album provides perfect context for Bokeh Versions’ previous releases, from the loose schematics of Seekersinterntional to the plasmic plong of Jay Glass Dubs, and even the label’s colourfully warped charisma on the whole.
It’s totally primed for a long, hot summer…
Another sterling collection of Parmegiani’s “lost tapes” spanning 1966-1990, ‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ circles 17 poetic and versatile works from the legendary GRM and ORTF artist/technician’s sidelines into work for TV, film and theatre choreography, expanding the themes of his recent ‘Rock (Bande Original Du Film)’ and ‘La Soleils’ reissues
Whilst deeply appreciated for his pioneering efforts in shaping electro-acoustic music at the GRM (with best results found in his priceless ‘L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD’ set), Parmegiani first cut his teeth at ORTF, France’s national broadcaster, and also wrote a lot of sound for theatre and contemporary dance choreography.
‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ offers a vital bridge between Parmegiani’s more academic, concert-based works for the Acousmonium system at GRM, and his artistic/commercial endeavours, documenting a body of work where his razor sharp skill in editing and illusive spatialization meet more melodic gestures and brilliantly proto-technoid rhythms.
There were clear hints of this style in the ‘Bande…’ OST, but they most captivatingly come to the fore in this follow-up, most notably on the pulsating brilliance of ‘Versailles… Peut-Être II’ , one of the sharpest pre-echoes of the ‘80s we’ve ever heard, along with the inimitable clarity of his pranging percussion and highly visual editing on ‘Image De Marque I+II’, and the Black MIDI-esque spirals of La Guerre Des Insectes I’ , for example.
Highly infectious breakbeat garage vibes from NYC’s Falty DL and his south London counterpart, Benny Ill ov Horsepower Productions
Falty steps off with a signature volley of infectious 2-step with wild subs and simmering chords in ‘Ill Bent’, which Benny Ill reworks inna tuff-but-sweet jungle fashion on his ’Straight up III Mix’, and on a ruder, dubbed-out tip in the ‘Fat Larry’s Revenge Mix’, along with one of his inimitable originals in the cutthroat London rufige of ‘Is It Safe’.
Howes slugs two grubby house and dancehall trax on ‘The Weathertenko’ 7” for Andy Lyster’s Youth label, following their ace CDs by Hiroshima Anniversary and FUMU
Taking a minute out from running his Cong Burn label, Howes really gets into Youth’s cyberpunky mindset on both sides: firstly with a soggy bilge pumper that sounds like an early MDR or Silent Servant grinder, c.2009, then with a brilliantly unexpected slice of slow, electroid dancehall torque on the B-side, all rub-and-tug bass and cold, ceramic dub FX.
‘Science <> Religion’ is a glorious new example of the slow burning drone ecstasies explored by Téléplasmiste, an inquisitive collaboration between Michael J York (Coil, Cyclobe, Shirley Collins) and experimental UK stalwart Mark Pilkington (Strange Attractor Press)
Invoking references to seminal works by composers including (and not limited to) Robert Ashley, Steve Reich, and Alvin Lucier, the tape operates with a compellingly traction in two 20 min+ parts primed to recalibrate your chakras.
In the first, ‘Science’ they entwine gently keening microtonal sine waves with floating organs and mantric tape loops intoning “love is the law” over primally persistent percussion with a richly meditative effect that draws the ecstatic moment out to near infinity (or 24 minutes), before the 2nd part descends on a more astral sound full of spuming synths, bittersweet bagpipe tones and lonely accordion with a more wide-eyed and spaciously suggestive appeal that glacial transitions and resolves in pastoral, earthly realms and impishly intoxicated synth pulses.
Beautiful Swimmers gather a lovely set of obscure boogie, house, new age soul and electronica gems for the 2nd compilation from Croatia-based festival, Love International
From Plunky’s sweet sax bleat in ‘Africa Sunset’ to Spirit Garden’s plush piano house, the set covers all the right bases with nuggets to be scored in Harlem Gem’s mid-tempo boogie-soul-house ace; Mark Goddard’s new age house bubbler ‘Tiny’s First Journey’; KW Griff’s unmissable B-More soul winner ‘Be Ya Girl’; and the crystalline, rude UK techno/electronica of 1995’s ‘Whiddon On Down’ by The Horn.
More unknowns than you can shake a cocktail stick at. Must check!
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.
As the pig flies out of London and Jai Paul’s legendary album officially drops, the pop enigma gives wings to a pair of new beauties and the world is (kinda) ok again
Arriving in the slipstream of ‘Jai Paul’ come two slices of his signature soul-pop delicacy, bedding down the juicy FM bass synth and slow sizzling drums for his heart-warming falsetto harmonies, shared with Fabiana Palladino (who appeared on a Paul Institute 7” in 2018), before ‘He’ turns up the funk with roving, holo-‘d out bass and Linn drums, saving some of the best moments in the reprise’s killer chrome-rip synths and studio gremlins.
Davy Kehoe fronts this mesmerising krautrock crawler for the cult Wah Wah Wino crew, flanked by fellow winos Brendan, B Man, and Morgan Buckley, who also mixed and edited the thing.
So yeh while it’s Davy’s name at the top, as with all Wah Wah Wino releases, it’s really a group effort and not hard it hear the influence of more than one cook up in the mix. Up top they saddle up for a long and meandering trek, high plains drifter style, with Davy manning drum machine, organ pedals, harmonica and dubbed-out vocals, along with B Man on percussion, guitar and organ by Brendan, and Morgan on fretless bass.
Together they mesh out a hazy, swaying grind that intersects haunted dancehall vibes with drone rock hypnosis, with a traction and time-slipping lilt that hits square between the 3rd eyes of Can, Tony Conrad and Black Zone Myth Chant. Allow the Roseanne style harmonica, though. The flipside is quite a different matter, effectively like a watery imprint of the A-side, with everything rubbed to a gauzy nub of scratchy rhythm and desiccated bass.
Michael O’Shea’s sole, breathtaking album ranks among our favourite of all time - yet hardly anyone seems to have heard of it. Produced by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis at the Dome studio in 1982, it’s an utterly singular work of magick meshing myriad, worldly modes into music that rarely fails to reduce us to tears. It’s one of those albums that basically sounds like nothing else - the only record we can draw some parallels to is Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s life changing 'Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’, despite it coming from the other end of the world.
First brought to our attention by Blackest Ever Black at the start of this decade, we’ve gradually developed an obsessive fascination with its sublime, rapid dervishes and warbling rhythmelodies, so it’s a pleasure to see it finally made easily available to everyone who we’ve ranted about it over the years (2nd hand copies have been historically pricey and hard to come by!), and especially replete with its enlightening new sleeve notes by archivist and writer Failed Bohemian.
A busker among other trades, O’Shea was an itinerant soul who, after a childhood and formative years spent between Northern Ireland and Kerry in the south of the country, and extensive travel between Europe, Turkey and Bangladesh, created his own instrument - an electrified dulcimer known as Mó Cará (Irish for ‘My Friend’) - which he performed on at Ronnie Scott’s, before later playing on bills with everyone from Ravi Shankar to Don Cherry, and also recording with The The’s Matt and Tom Johnson.
Aside from his two contributions to the Stano album, ‘Content To Dine In I Dine Weathercraft’ (also recently reissued by Dublin’s Allchival), O’Shea’s first and only album is the main point of reference for this unique artist. Like some eccentric expression of ancient Indo-European voices channelled thru a Celtic body, Michael O’Shea’s improvised acousto-electric music intuitively distills a world of styles into singularly hypnotic works. Using his self-built instrument; a hybrid of a zelochord and a sitar, made on a wooden door salvaged in Munich, and with the crucial addition of electric pick-ups and the ‘Black Hole Space Box’, O’Shea would absorb sounds from his travels like a sponge, and relay them back thru the instrument with effortlessly freeform and achingly lush results as elaborate as a Celtic knot or elegant as Sanskrit text.
The mercurial flow of syncretised styles in 15 minute opener ‘No Journey’s End’ catches your breath and doesn’t give it back, leaving us utterly light-headed and feeling something akin to religious experience, before his ’Kerry’ vignette most beautifully limns the epic coastline he hails from. The plasmic swirl and phasing of ‘Guitar No. 1’ is perhaps the one piece that time dates the LP to the post-punk era, even if it could have come from ancient Mesopotamia, while the album and artist’s underlying metaphysics bleed thru most hauntingly in the timbral shadowplay of ‘Voices’, and the rapidly tremulous, animist voodoo of ‘Anfa Dásachtach’.
Noted in his lifetime, not least by himself as; “…joker, transvestite, inventor, psychonaut, actor, catalyst, community worker, musician, traveller, instrument maker,” Michael O’Shea’s life was, by all accounts, every bit as colourful as his music, which only makes his untimely death in 1991 all that more tragic, as we’d practically give an arm to hear what he could have made in the early techno era, as he was purportedly getting heavy into London’s rave scene before he was taken.
Honestly no other record has cast such a strong spell over us in recent memory - to the extent of sending us on wild goose chases on the wrong peninsula in Kerry - so please pardon the gush ‘cos we can’t help but share love for this life-affirming disc and Michael O’Shea’s beautifully transcendent music.
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
Agent of disruption, Sam Kidel simulates a free party in a Google data centre and baffles Amazon’s Alexa on ’Silicon Ear’, his superb follow-up LP to our AOTY 2016 ‘Disruptive Muzak’
The Bristol-based composer and music teacher now turns his subversive “analytical artistry” towards global corporations. Where his ‘Disruptive Muzak’ piece adapted the early hacking technique of “phreaking” - manipulating telephone exchanges - his two new works logically follow with a signature mixture of mischief and uncanny insight, suggesting super crafty ways to subvert AI voice recognition and simulate a rave in a server centre.
“First exhibited at EBM(T) in Tokyo, Live @ Google Data Center trespasses in Google’s data centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa to perform electronic music amongst the humming banks of servers and endless cable runs, without actually breaking in. In a process he describes as “mimetic hacking,” Kidel used architectural plans based on photos of the data centre to acoustically model the sonic qualities of the space. The resulting acoustics on Live @ Google Data Center simulate the sound of Kidel’s algorithmically-generated notes, rhythms and melodies reverberating through the space, as though a bold illegal party was being held in the maximum security location.
The generative audio patch Kidel used to make the B-side, Voice Recognition DoS Attack seeks to disable the functionality of voice recognition software by triggering phonemes (the smallest units of language). The project, first developed for the Eavesdropping series of events in Melbourne, exploits a weakness in voice recognition that cannot distinguish between individual voices. When you speak while the patch is playing, the cascading shards of human expression mask your speech and thus protect you from automated surveillance, questioning our vulnerability in the face of global data giants. In amongst these displaced sounds, Kidel fed additional musical elements into his patch to create the version of the project heard on this release.”
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo. We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way.
"Mango Walk / Mango Drive" was the second release on the label and, for many, remains its finest moment. The a-side features an original production from the Wackies vaults by Azul & Bullwackie recorded in 1979, with an incredible 9 minute revision from Mark and Moritz on the flip. The version that appeared on the Rhythm & Sound 'Compilation' is over two minutes shorter.
Dome’s groundbreaking debut album ‘1’ is finally available as a standalone vinyl reissue via Editions Mego. Comprising Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, Dome formed during Wire’s 1980-84 hiatus, creating their own recording space in Eric Radcliffe’s legendary Blackwing Studios (Depeche Mode, Yazoo), where they would pursue and recombine myriad musical interests to become one of post-punk’s most definitive, influential and endlessly inventive bands.
Truly taking to the idea of studio as instrument, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis used their Dome set-up to generate some of the uncanniest music of their generation. Using the usual guitar and drums, plus synths and lots of tape manipulation, they effectively combined avant-garde experimentation with a pop nous, resulting in strikingly unique songs such as their incredible, signature ‘Cruel When Complete’ featuring the haunting vocals of Angela Conway aka. A.C. Marias, along with oblique noise sculptures such as ‘Ampnoise’ and seminal freaks like ‘Rolling Upon My Day’ which do it all in the space of one track.
‘Dome 1’ was the first of three Dome LPs released on the band’s eponymous label between 1980-81, along with other notables such as the incredible Michael O’Shea album and A.C. Marias’ ‘Drop / So’, which all bore the spooky, spacious hallmarks and air-bending tones of Dome’s studio. It catalogues the first experiments of what, to our mind, was one of the most intriguing and esoteric bodies of work from the early 80’s, combining the artschool sensibilities of Gilbert - who was in his mid '30s by this point - with a post-punk awareness shared by Lewis. They captured the ideal - shared by so many yet achieved by so few - of reaching a kind of avant-pop utopia. 40 years later, it still sounds like nothing else.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
Raw poppunknoise by an all-female trio from Montréal
“Montréal trio Lungbutter serves up an exhilarating and relentless barrage of astringent noise-punk driven by the ferociously wide-screen tri-amped guitar squall of Kaity Zozula, the brawny pummel of Joni Sadler's drums, and the wry subliminal/phenomenological sing-speak of vocalist Ky Brooks.
Brooks, Sadler and Zozula have all been mainstays of the vibrant experimental noise/rock community in the city for several years, having put in time as members of numerous bands including Femmaggots, Harsh Reality, Caymans, Nennen, Wreckage With Stick and Nag – as well as the Misery Loves Company tape label, La Plante collective, and the campus/community radio station CKUT. Lungbutter has been their main jam for a while, playing frequently in Montréal and with sporadic excursions to DIY spaces around eastern North America. Honey is their first full-length album, following the self-released Extractor cassette EP from 2014, which Big Takeover described as “thick neanderthal sludge, stream of consciousness yelps over lawnmower riffs, a dweeb-metal triumph” and Weird Canada praised as “confident, artful, intense”.
Lungbutter’s minimal guitar-drums-voice configuration is rooted in a visceral, ascetic punk idiom, refracted variously by free-noise, sludge rock and slowcore. Zozula marshals chaotic motifs of full-spectrum distorto-guitar, occupying a huge tonal space from low-end bass to paint-peeling treble, redolent of blown-out Melvins/Flipper fuzz and equally indebted to the frenetic dissonance of Keiji Haino or Merzbow (as in the thrilling passages of warped noise on “Solar” or “Veneer”). Song structures coalesce around guitar riffs of shifting tempos and the backbone of Sadler’s muscular, deliberate drums, while Brooks’ voice – at once mantric and declarative – deconstructs one brilliant lyrical theme after another, dancing along the knife-edge of dispassionate acerbic examination and wide-eyed cathartic revelation.
On Honey, live favourite “Vile” glories in a swampy martial stomp before lifting off into its propulsive, danceable stride. The slow burn of “Intrinsic” finds a doomy three-note pattern of guitar crud and slow, caustic vocal lines to build thick tension, careening towards explosive release punctuated by Brooks’ most impassioned and full-throated shouts. “Honey” and “Veneer” are both marked by guitar intros highlighting Zozula’s marvellously biting tone and technique, with buzzsaw static and freeform noise workouts prefacing the lurch into pounding primeval beats, the likes of which also drive standout tracks “Solar”, “Flat White” and “Dépanneur Sun”.
Honey is 33 minutes of satisfyingly searing, sharp-as-tacks, scum-tainted art-rock from one of the city's finest and most uncompromising bands.”
Wickedly stripped down rhythms and sounds from Melbourne’s Jon Watts, leaving his debut mark on SUMAC with styles running in parallel to minimal techno, quasi-acid, and mutant electro rolige
“Jon Watts is Melbourne based producer, DJ and musician. Over the last decade Jon has traversed a number of styles as a live performer, including no-input mixing, free improvisation, and hardware techno experiments. As a DJ, Jon is a staple of Australia’s East coast warehouse party scene, and has forged a unique style that seamlessly combines styles from free Jazz to hi-modern composition, minimal techno, house, jungle, UKG and everything in between.
On this EP Jon presents 7 tracks of stark, minimal, well-starched, emotionally ambiguous, yet functional techno experiments. Jon is indebted to the no-input mixer experiments of Japanese artists such as Toshimaru Nakamura and Sachiko M, as much he is to techno luminaries such as Jeff Mills and Kotai. He has patiently combined the sounds of malfunctioning circuits with cold acid inflected arps, home recorded analogue drum machines, and classic rhythms. Steeped in hardware, but never beholden to its standardised logic, these tracks channel the sweaty focus of the club, into refined loop-based compositions that occupy a hazy zone between unfinished idea, DJ tool, and avant-garde reduction.”
Brooklyn’s superb Blank Form Editions follow peaches by Catherine Christer Hennix and Maryanne Amacher with a first vinyl edition of pioneering free improv jazz rippers from 1975 Japan. Hugely tipped to fans of Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey and Keiji Haino!
‘April is the cruellest month’ is taken from 1975 recordings destined for ESP Disk which remained unreleased due to the label’s collapse in 1976. It’s understandably hailed as a missing link between Western jazz and Japanese noise for its joyously unhinged, thrilling levels of abandoned form, and begs the question; how would an international understanding of Japanese noise be altered if it had been issued as and when intended?
Until the late ‘60s, Takayanagi, who cut his teeth under Lennie Tristano, was an accomplished player of cool jazz, but his mind was blown by Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘Free Form Guitar’ in 1969 and he turned his back on the Japanese jazz scene, infamously calling them “a bunch of losers” in the music press. Shredding solo, and with saxophonist Kaoru Abe, he would dextrously yet elegantly lay waste to convention and effectively arrive at similar, iconoclastic, and expressive conclusions to the likes of Ornette Coleman, Peter Brötzmann or Derek Bailey at the other ends of the world.
In key with the revolutionary spirit of late ‘60s Japan, and the world for that matter, Takayanagi’s shapeshift into “free” zones was cemented with ‘April is the Cruellest Month’, where they inquisitively splay the jazz atom into atonal quarks and bestial chatter in ‘We Have Existed’, and a cranky smear of brass and diffused percussion recalling aspects of Gruppo in ‘What Have We Given?’, before the B-side’s catalcylsmic 20 minute charge ‘My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart’ truly lets rip with unearthly intensity, Takayanagi’s guitar intrepidly blazing a trail thru the gurning, ecstatic maelstrom in an every-direction-at-once aesthetic that clearly predates Masami Akita aka Merzbow, who wouldn’t debut until 1979, or the Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha, who emerged in 1978.
Eyebrow protection required - this one’s a 100% scorcher!
Special Request exerts hardcore Yorkshire G-Force while wearing his Y-fronts for the raving joyride of ‘Vortex’ with Houndstooth
Paul Woodford’s 4th album under the Special Request guise is also his loosest and nuttiest, monkeying around all aspects of his cumulative rave knowledge to draw zigzagging lines between electro, Detroit techno, breakbeat rave, jungle-tekno, and rushing hardcore trance in his own style.
On a handful of highlights he appears to crack out the same software FX employed on his Bobby Peru classic ‘Erotic Discourse’, namely in the mazy, AFXian electro chicanery of ’Sp4nn3r3d’, the Tango-flavoured hardcore nosedrip of ‘Vortex 150’, and his ruthless fast couplet of ‘Fett’ and ‘A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere’, while the best of the rest draws on a very ‘90s sort of electronic dance music soul in the likes of his Luke Slater-esque techno buzz ‘Memory Lake’, and the rude rave rolige of ‘Fahrenheit 451’.
Mick Harris kicks off his 2019 with this 5 track EP of tar-black, bass heavy sonic violence.
"This EP features 5 reworks of “Salford Priors”, one of the heaviest tracks from his return-to-form album “Over Depth”, the first by Mick Harris himself, and 4 more by his longtime collaborators in the production guises of Fausten, Stormfield, Monster X and Scald Process. The EP begins with an apocalyptic, dubbed out violent reworked by the man himself, creeping in with a cold, calm eerie drone that quickly goes from zero to 100%, blasting into a full force attack of artillery percussion and strafing, shrapnel textures atop the landmine subs and characteristic Harris snarling mono-bass. Julien Caraz has caused much distress over the years with the sheer rage and precision sonic assaults of his Monster X project.
Here he eschews his usual frenetic tempos for a solid 130BPM, a sleek techno destroyer built for giant spaces and huge soundsystems in mind. The Combat Recordings boss has worked audiovisually with Mick since the Scorn AV at Bangface Weekend in 2011, toruing with Fret AV in 2018. Here he switches back into audio mode to rework Salford Priors into a hard electro assault for the Stormfield remix. Fausten is the shadowy, twisted collaboration between Monster X and Stormfield. Having released a staggeringly twisted album on the legendary Ad Noiseam, Fausten went into hibernation as the pair pursued their own projects, with only a few sporadic tacks surfacing over the years. The pair have been putting together an album’s worth of new material for 2019, beginning with a powerful remix of Salford Priors. Taking Fret back into it’s aquatic, fathoms-deep sonic territory, this remix is a behemoth work that moves at quarter-step tempo,allowing for more physicality and dynamics, the profound pulse of each profoundly deep bassdrum like an underwater volcanic explosion, with skittering percussion the resonates in the stillness."
Lena Willikens highlights original material from three female Japanese artists, Kopy, Tentenko, and Miki Yui, in a diversely groove-driven plate including her own ‘Megamix’
The ‘Paredo’ EP is a result of Lena’s 2017 trip to Japan at the behest of the Goethe Institut, where she and her artist partner Sarah Szcesny developed their Phantom Kino Ballet at a residency in Kyoto. While there, they also caught live performances by Kopy and Tentenko which lead to their appearance here.
Kopy supplies the punchy kicks and dry but gunky electronics of ‘2NP’, and Tentenko swaggers on some bolshy triplets, while Düsseldorf-based Japanese artists Miki Yui follows her Realistic Monk collab with Carl Stone and last year’s LP for Salford’s Cusp Editions with the weightless trickle of ‘Tromb’. Combined by Lena’s mitts, the ‘Megamix’ consolidates all three pieces in deftly swingeing form, cannily dancing in between their patterns to come up with something like a rogue Batu number.
Leila Hassan and Francesco Cavaliere’s Sea Urchin blow new age kisses and woozy thought bubbles about Egyptian martial arts in a Arabic and Italian over crimped cubist computer dub and ambient styles.
“Tahtib is food for your mystical post-exotica musical landscape - hand drums played by computers fall with a squelch into the swamp, horses neigh at dub bassists, there’s water everywhere full of urchins and tarot cards and just when you think you need to breathe this record breathes for you. Tahtib’s future ambient glyphs are matched with the rapid-fire staccato "taks” of imaginary tahtib sticks (tahtib is an Upper Egyptian martial art which was enjoyed and practiced by Leila's grandfather Baba Aly). Leila Hassan sings seamlessly between Arabic and Italian (and possibly more) breathing pure soundart alchemy across Francesco Cavaliere’s library of sound effects and textures.
You remember Sea Urchin? They added their signature aquatics to Osaka-native 7FO’s 7” for Bokeh back in 2017. The duo of Leila Hassan and Francesco Cavaliere debuted a totally unique expression of ‘library music as future music’ on a series of small run cassettes before their proper debut LP Yaqaza was released on legendary Belgian imprint Kraak (Pan American, Limpe Fuchs, Typhonian Highlife). This caught the ear of Bokeh designer svengali Patrick Savile, who adds his vision to the LP cover. Francesco has also released solo explorations on Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane) and Edições Cn (Dolphins Into The Future).”
Ricky V takes N.O.W.’s chill-out bar vibe to the terrace in two bendy tech-house remixes
Taking the opener to 2018’s ‘Shape The Future’, Villalobos returns a rolling swell of symphonic soul strings, voice-in-your-head patter, and sibilant hi-hats to guide your limbs on the 10 minute 1st mix.
The 15 minute-wide 2nd version is craftier, coaxing a wormy electro groove into squirming permutations around over-the-shoulder vocals, while the groove very gradually straightens out into a supple 4/4 with Villalobos’ patented sleight-of-hand.
‘Buntús Rince’ translates from Irish as ‘basic rhythms’, and this new compilation explores how Irish musicians were influenced by strands of different genres of music from around the world, merging them to create their own unique sounds. The compilation features some of the most innovative and talented figures in the history of Irish music and includes rare Irish jazz, fusion and folk outliers from the 1970s and early 1980s from musicians relatively unknown outside of Ireland.
"Often regarded as a musical backwater, the 1970s finally saw Ireland begin to make its mark on international music. The nature of this feat is all the more commendable, considering how isolated and conservative the country still was in the middle of the last century. The emergence of acts like Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and Van Morrison instilled in budding young Irish musicians the belief to dream big.
Unlike many other European countries, Ireland had not benefited from the cultural impact of immigration. Pioneering Irish musicians did not have access to the type of vibrant music scenes ubiquitous to most European cities at that time. With no talented players or even in some cases recordings of the music, they had to cultivate and invent their own small scenes.
A jazz scene had begun to blossom in Dublin in the late 1950s. Self-taught players like Noel Kelehan and Louis Stewart emerged as the Irish standard-bearers. Their level of musicianship saw them play with some of the world’s most renowned artists. The 1960s would see the emergence of the ‘beat’ scene in Ireland, with groups like Granny’s Intentions, Taste and Eire Apparent finally challenging the hegemony of Irish Showbands. Change was in the air. The late 1960s also saw many Irish emigrants returning home, bringing with them inspiration from the new styles and sounds of London and further afield. The arrival in the late 1960s of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline, new music magazines and the availability of music on vinyl meant that different genres were now becoming more accessible. The musical landscape of the country began to transform and evolve, influencing a new generation of musicians in the process. The 1970s saw advancements in studio technology. 8-track studios began appearing in Dublin, offering more opportunities for groups to record singles and albums. Synthesizers and other instruments were also becoming easier to acquire as the younger generation turned to electric jazz and fusion music. While the level of musicianship was high, the levels of opportunities in Ireland were still very limited. Many groups and solo musicians had to emigrate to try and succeed. Thankfully for those who remained, this new emerging scene didn’t go totally unnoticed and local labels began to take a chance on more obscure Irish groups. Labels like Mulligan and also producers like John D’Ardis and Terri Hooley championed and documented music from the Irish underground of the 1970s.
Their valuable work is a common thread which connects many of the tracks on this compilation. From the soaring flute playing of Brian Dunning, to the swinging piano of Noel Kelehan and the sonic force of Jolyon Jackson’s synthesizers; ‘Buntús Rince’ lifts the lid on a vastly underappreciated period of Irish music history. One for the collectors."
In ‘Border Ballads’ Richard Skelton draws inspiration from the rolling landscapes of the Scottish Borders for a moving instrumental panorama coloured with a melancholy palette of piano, bowed cello, viola and burnished electronics. It’s some of the most focussed and direct work of an already fascinating career.
Blessed with his usual knack for limning the atmosphere of a place so well it feels familiar even if you’ve never visited it, ‘Border Ballads’ beautifully channels wide open spaces, lush green pastures fringing on moorland, most crucially, experienced without a soul in sight, leaving listeners comfortably isolated in the elements. While there’s no detectable human voices in the recording, Skelton's strings possess the haunting cadence of the region’s rich folk music heritage, which quietly seeps into the album’s abstract yet gripping, underlying narration.
"Richard Skelton has spent the last two years living on the rural northern edge of the Scotland-England border, a boundary demarcated by various watercourses - among them the Kershope Burn, the Liddel Water and the River Esk. This hinterland topography has informed a series of musical recordings which, in their brevity, stand in stark contrast to the longform compositions for which he is more usually known. Nevertheless, there is a sense that these twelve miniatures are fragments of a larger whole, such is their unity in tone and timbre.
In some ways, ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as a revisiting of certain compositional processes first encountered on ‘Marking Time’, over a decade ago. The sparse, overlapping bowed notes, for example, or the solitary, bell-like piano. But there is something different at work here. Whereas ‘Marking Time’ felt aeolian, shifting, fleeting, this new work, with its persistent cello undertow and its low, tremulous viola, feels telluric, grounded, earthen. Perhaps ‘Border Ballads’ can be seen as the embodiment of a desire for certainty after a prolonged period of upheaval, but that ever-close riverine border, at once both fixed and fluid, is a disturbing presence. A darkness that cannot be ignored."