Left Ear continue their cross-continental excavations, this time with two stripped back mid-tempo dancefloor winners from 1980’s South African studio artist Lungile Masitha (AKA Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala).
"Lungile Masitha was the short-lived studio name for renowned SA artist Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala, who played with such iconic bands as Harari and Umoja. However, in the mid 80’s his name was under license to one of the major labels and in an effort for self-expression recorded under the name ‘Lungile Masitha’, here he linked up with long term friend Jimmy Mngwandi to co-write and arrange the two tracks ‘Vuyani’ & ‘Makoti’, both sung in his native Tsongan tongue.
Vuyani is an upbeat tune that matches Chicco’s unique vocal style with percolating drums and distorted choruses to incredible effect, while Makoti is a mellower blend of floating keys and choruses sung by local kids in an effort to expose “emerging talent”.
Mikkel Metal returns to Copenhagen’s Echocord with ‘Just Enough Light’, comprising six originals from the Danish artist.
"Copenhagen based producer and DJ Mikkel Metal has been a beacon of light in the Danish electronic music scene and further afield for nearly two decades now, with the Dub Techno imprint from his hometown, Echocord, being the predominant home for his output, whilst also releasing material on Cologne’s Kompakt, Tartelet, Semantica and Avant Roots, a telling sign of the quality embodied in his work.
Here though we see Mikkel deliver a mini album concept in the shape of ‘Just Enough Light’ and opener ‘Awake’ perfectly sets the tone with emotive, dynamically unfolding atmospherics, tension building bass drones and spiraling dub chords subtly easing us into the project. ‘Bregnan’ then stirs in some classing Dub-Techno tropes with billowing stab sequences, lumpy subs and off beat high hats carrying the hypnotic groove for six and a half minutes. ‘Jech’ then strips things back to an almost beatless amalgamation of murky chords and modulating synth whirrs.
Opening the flip side of the release is ‘Include’ which embraces a brighter feel via ethereal pad swells, jazztinged synth melodies and bumpy 909 rhythms before ‘Konkin’ edges back into the eerie, brooding aesthetic with bubbling echoes, broken drums and menacing bass swells at its core. ‘Restore’ then closes the package on a stripped-back vibe, laying focus on an ever- eveolving singular dub chord to ebb and flow around thunderous subs, kicks and bright hats."
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”.”
Two masters of very different string instruments, Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee, colour in ‘The Air Around Her’ with beguiling microtonal timbres at a time-melting pace for John Chantler’s 1703 Skivbolaget, Stunning, highly absorbing recordings.
Setting up her famous long string instrument in the 26 metre length of Stockholm’s Kronobageriet - Sweden’s former royal bakery - Ellen Fullman brings a lifetime of dedication to her unwieldy and uniquely resonant instrument, while preeminent improvising cellist Okkyung Lee acts as a more agile counterpoint, subtly contrasting Ellen’s glacial cadence with a broader range of quicker strokes and pointed extended technique.
Produced by John Chantler and recorded by Maria Horn during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016, ‘The Air Around Her’ takes its title from a quote in ‘Vermeer Interiors’, a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book ‘Granite Dives’. In both parts, Ellen and Okkyung play with sound as light, conducting a tonal shadowplay of inherently vast scope and ambition that comes with any recordings of Ellen’s long string instrument, as it always requires a good deal of time and space to properly tune and set up.
The results are swept around the space of the old bakery, captivating in their keening swoons and nimble plies, and also the smoothness and friction of their flux of overtones, seeming to coruscate and bend in mid-air in tingling ecstasies, always pulling the ear to the full extent of the room’s parameters.
Sturdy square-bass techno rollers outta NYC
Back to bang on The Bunker NYC for the first time since 2014, Marco Shuttle goes long and deep with a mix of fine-tuned bass rumble, nagging drums and ethereal atmospheres in ‘The Moon Chant’, whereas ‘Siberia’ hearkens back to NYC’s industrial/EBM heritage, pivoting off cracking snares into acres of spiralling synth space, and ‘Curve Pericolose’ tweaks out on sweetly off-key astral techno trajectory.
Nocturnal Emissions’ dark ambient archetype and master opus sees light of day on its 30th anniversary reissue with Alessandro Adriani’s Mannequin.
Starting a very welcome programme of Nocturnal Emissions reissues, ‘Spiritflesh’ offers a steeply absorbing blend of field recordings, concrète and analogue electronics recorded in London Zoological Gardens, the Derbyshire Dales and various sites in Great Britain between January and May 1988. With sleight of hand and near magic realist intent, the eldritch, future-primitivist results beautifully and brutally evoke a strong sense of time and place, and confirm Nocturnal Emissions position at the vanguard of post-industrial exploration.
Written in the first half of 1988 and self-released by Nigel Ayers’ Nocturnal Emissions in 1989, after a decade of veering between noise, synth-pop and multi-disciplinary A/V performance, ‘Spiritflesh’ found the group perversely avoiding the acid house phenomenon and heading to the outer limits of sonic perception. Combining the indigenous, British sounds from the bleak Derbyshire Dales with Church harmonium, Car Wipers, and the relatively exotic sounds of Chimpanzees and African Wildfowl, the ten tracks speak to an idea of GB as a node, criss-crossed by eons of people, cultures, and their beliefs and occult ephemera. In effect, the music feels like a detached, psychic reading of the country at that time, when contemporary folk were engaged in technologically and pharmaceutically enhanced reveries that related as much to ancient African and pagan Indo-European traditions as up-to-the-second advancements in science and technology - effectively reading the aura of a country and culture tilting from analogue into the digital dimension.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Chris Carter plugs a large gap in his discography with ‘Miscellany’, containing a previously unreleased batch of cosmic ‘70s synth abstractions, plus the first ever vinyl pressings of ‘‘Disobedient’ and ’Small Moon’, as well as a new edition of his classic ‘Mondo Beat’ . For any self-respecting fan of Throbbing Gristle, X-TG, Carter Tutti, or CTI, this is a genuinely essential motherload direct from source.
Arriving in the wake of the influential synthesist’s ‘Chris Carter Chemistry Lessons Vol.1’, this boxset extends a necessary catch-up to many listeners, as well as a salve to collectors who can now complete their Chris Carter vinyl collections. Between the four respective albums inside, Mute survey the years prior to Carter’s pivotal debut ‘The Space Between’ , which was recorded in the run-up to TG’s original demise, and the years post his participation in the short but extremely bright early phase of the world’s most notorious band.
The ‘Archival Recordings’ disc is perhaps of greatest interest, historically and artistically. Spanning 1973-77, it covers the years just before, and after, Throbbing Gristle’s conception, when Carter was clearly in thrall to kosmische and psychedelia, but not beholden to them. Across 13 parts, Carter’s take on space music and pulsing early electronics is definitely less whimsical, much darker than other music of that period, progressing chronologically over the LP to reveal a full embrace of electronic music’s dark allure by the time we get to the hellish miasma of ‘See Sick’ .
However, if we follow that chronologic logic beyond his years spent in TG (1975-1981), it’s clear to hear that Carter’s music becomes less dark and more sensual, funked and melodic with the languid lines and supple rhythms of ‘Mondo Beat’, including the classic ‘Moonlight’ which would become a dance anthem around Europe and the US (and reissued by Optimo in 2011). Skipping a grip of classic CTI and Carter Tutti material, that logic also extends to ‘Disobedient’ and ’Small Moon’, issued over 1998 and 1999, and exploring inquisitive strains of sound design more mystic/etheric, than outright dark, noisy or “Industrial” - all quite symptomatic of late ‘90s PMT.
Zoe McPherson’s standout ‘String Figures’ album remixed by Ben Vince, N1L, Strahinja Arbutina and more in decimated dancefloor styles
In Ben Vince’s ‘Perculator Mix’, Zoe’s ‘Sabotage’ is agitated and torn up over sunken subbass, whereas Sukitoa o Namau give it a more sloshing, spacious rework focussing on pranging percussion and guttural vocal sounds.
UIQ’s N1L gives a cement mixer treatment to ‘Komusar’, resulting some sorta Afro-concrète churn, and Bartellow kneads the same elements into a squashed tribal grind.
The most impressive transformation comes from Hester-1 with the ruggedly balletic plies and hi-wire tension of their ‘Hardingfele’ remix, and Strahinja Arbutina follows recent 12”s for Vivod and Natural Sciences with the cold woodblock punctuation and offset techno roil of his take on ‘Deep’.
Experimental Polish composer Anna Zaradny practices bewitching electronic rituals in Go Go Theurgy; her first solo LP in eight years following two memorable split sides featuring Fennesz and Burkhard Stangl over the interim.
In her previous outings we were struck by Anna’s taste for dissonance and an intense, pulsating sort of feminine pressure, and find those elements in majestic effect over the two long pieces contained within this LP - only her 2nd full solo album since 2003.
Abstract in its stoic, precisely sculpted and beat-less arrangement, yet organically evolving in its layered harmonic chaos, Go Go Theurgy divines a free-floating space at once powerfully driven by rhythm, yet due to the absence of any tangible percussion defines a lush, keening, and pensile tension whose effect is only heightened when she abruptly veers off into passages of pizzicato pointillism.
It could be considered dance music in a most extreme, physical form - with proper amplification both sides have the potential to exert serious G-force torque, liberating the body from the mind, and vice versa - but the underlying structures which reveal themselves with subsequent listens also lend themselves to comparison with proper classical music, especially in the staggering, Wagnerian turn of phrase that cleaves side two, before it calves into an almost asphyxiating, head-curdling final passage.
Really impressive stuff.
Ghost and The Silence's Masaki Batoh weaves a delicate, yet heavy web, winding acoustic patterns around undulating psychedelic choruses while charting an existential trip through life after death.
"Spiritual and tranquil, suggesting laid-back modes of Swedish neo-classicists Dungen and Goat, projecting golden hued, old-school melodic structures..."
Rustin Man aka Paul Webb announces his return. Webb, formerly the bass player in Talk Talk, releases his new album ‘Drift Code’ via Domino.
"Recorded at his Essex home, a converted barn three miles from the nearest village, the record has a warm, wise kind of euphoria to it, coupled with an acute sense of storytelling and surreality. Webb has released one record under the moniker Rustin Man so far - the superb ‘Out Of Season’ in 2002, a collaboration with Beth Gibbons of Portishead."
Von Grall tramples into grey area techno zones for Horo after dispensing the ‘Infinitum’ album in 2018
In four parts the Paris-based producer sloshes from the rolling kicks and swelling rip-current of ‘Three Waves’ and the tense pressure of ‘WLM’ to more pendulous ambient techno momentum of ‘Vanquish The Disparities’ and the murky footing of ‘Suffrage Campaigners’.
Gallipoli, Beirut’s fifth album, started life when Zach Condon returned to his old Farfisa organ, the same one he used to write his first two albums, Gulag Orkestar (2006) and The Flying Club Cup (2007). After stints writing and recording in both New York and Berlin, with time for Zach to recover from a broken arm factored in, band plus producer Gabe Wax (Speedy Ortiz, Soccer Mommy, Adrianne Lenker / Big Thief) headed to Puglia in Italy to finish the album.
"With the remote rural setting “the right amount of isolated”, an intense month of 12 to 16-hour days in the studio with day trips around the coastline followed. Inspired by the surroundings, Gallipoli is unintentionally more visceral than Beirut’s more recent albums, alive with an energy that is further enhanced by every creak and groan of their instruments, every detuned note, and all amp buzz and technical malfunction being left in the cracks of the songs."
The Firecracker clan gather round to tell the tale of ‘The Sorrow of Derdriu’, an ancient gaelic myth predating the ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley’, featuring smoky, psychedelic music from Lord of the Isles, Hoch Ma Toch, and Other Lands.
On the surface a tragic tale of a love triangle between a king, a young girl, and her suitor, the myth of ‘The Sorrow of Derdriu’ is also a metaphor for matters of national sovereignty, a concept sorely close to the hearts of folk in Scotland and Ireland right now. While that idea is never made explicit in the music, there’s an earthily rich and ancient sense of soul to Mac-Talla Nan Creag’s sounds and arrangements that suggest, whilst we might have hand-spinners and perfectly bevelled phones in our hands, not so much has changed over the past 2500 years.
Stemming from 2015’s ‘Mac-Talla Nan Creag’ compilation of works by Drew Wright (Hoch Ma Toch), Neil McDonald (LOTI), and Gavin Sutherland (Fudge Fingas, Other Lands), they’re now a group in their own respect, alchemising elements of instrumental folk and new age synth musics into their own strains of gaelic songcraft and impressionistic narration. In other hands this record could have come out like a string of cheesy cliches sounding like a 2-bit documentary soundtrack for the History Channel, but this bunch of Detroit, Dub, Jazz, folk and electronica fiends skilfully draw on a broad collective knowledge to beautifully and immersively carry gaelic storytelling traditions into the modern day. Gorgeous silk screened packaging too.
Hyperdub virus carrier Lee Gamble initiates a new, conceptual triptych with his ‘In A Paraventral Scale EP’, which will feed into the ‘Flush Real Pharynx’ album in 2019
Hypothesising on the idea of the ’Semioblitz’, in his own words: “the aggressive onslaught of visual & sonic stimuli of contemporary cities and virtual spaces”; the London-based Brummie offers a closer, yet more diffuse examination of the causes behind his ‘Mnestic Pressure’ album, which itself dealt more broadly with the hypermodern condition of sensory bombardment that anyone living in urbanised areas have felt and experienced, whether explicitly, or unknowingly and subconsciously.
Partly echoing Mark Fisher’s notions about the adverse links between capitalist realism and mental health, in concept and effect Lee’s 7 concise tracks feel to limn the exoteric soundsphere of life in dense city areas, shared spaces where we’re ubiquitously hammered with slogans, “seductive” advertising and even subliminal messaging such as the hyper directional speakers attached to billboards described in Steve Goodman’s essential ‘Sonic Warfare’ tome.
If those commonly accepted facets of everyday life can be considered as exerting a sort of sferic, psychic damage upon their recipients, Lee’s music can be heard to simultaneously diagnose and offers a sort of therapy for the condition. Using language of cinematic sound design, the dynamic of the street (the doppler effect, overheard conversations), and the reverberations of club music, the EP moves quick and slow, patiently yet swiftly flowing the gaseous olfactory/visual sonic synaesthetia of ‘Fata Morgana’ to the polytheistic ambient hyperrealism of ‘Many Gods, Many Angels’ via bittersweetly anxious arps of ‘Folding’, somehow soothingly brutal psychoacoustics in ‘BMW Shuanghuan X5’, and the paradoxical state of static flight in the rapid-eye electro flux of ‘In The Wreck Room’.
The third album from ,ultidisciplinary artist, singer, writer and electronic performer, Annabelle Playe, featuring two pieces of electroacoustic brilliance inspired by the GRM, through to noise and industrial music.
"It reveals an universe made as well of distortions than atmosferic landscape. She describes her work as : "An electronic journey questionning what move inside and bring us beyond. Questionning detail, speed, fragmentation and continuum. "
Roaming DJ-Kicks mix from Leon Vynehall, loosely focussed on the raw, soulful, and off-centre links between house, industrial, broken beat, dub and electronica
The vibe simmers with a mellow feel flush with melodic charm across 20 tracks including choice highlights in the likes of Dave Ball and Genesis P-Orridge’s ‘Sex & the Married Frog’, a cranky Bourbons Qualk strutter ‘Moving Forward’, a rare Source Direct gem ‘Deep Rage’ as Mirage, and AFX’s drill ’n bass classic ‘Children Talking’. Also includes two exclusive Leon Vynehall productions; ‘Who Loved Before’ and ‘Ducee’s Drawbar’.
Killer, collaborative project of DJ Plead and T.Morimoto, contemplating their mixed Lebanese and Japanese heritages through a dense combination of digital emulations and rhythmic patterns already rinsed by Objekt, Salon Des Amateurs and Zaltan of Antinote fame...TIPPED!
"POISON investigate the uncanny abstraction whereby centuries old instruments and rhythmic patterns are encoded into files and presets; digital synths, heavy subs, 808s, and vocals from collaborator ARZ, combine with emulations of the Shakuhachi, Mijwiz, Taiko, and Darbuka among others. Enabled by commercial sound design tools, the two Australians have produced a beguiling piece of audio simulacra to be enjoyed by DJs and listeners alike."
One-take nautical folk anthems / underwater futures produced by John T. Gast and MC Boli, marrying minimalist, quasi-ceremonial orchestrations and massed pipes of un-peace to spacy Berlin-School electronics and plate-shifting, ship-sinking UK soundsystem pressure. 35 minutes of music.
"On ‘Domestic Saga (All Is Lost)’, wistful reeds extemporise against white tides of high-lonesome synth drift, sonar bleeps and sparsest percussions tumbling through 20,000 leagues of reverb…drowned-world echoes of John Surman’s kosmic Cornwall, Anna Själv Tredje’s epic alpine ego-dissolve, even Namlook/Hawtin’s horizontal techno meditations, all rendered ultra-uncanny by JTG soundboy mischiefs x the conservatoire poise/formality of Boli Group. ‘Ava Maria’ comes at you like an army of pissed-off, undead sailors through the fog – slow but tooled-up and sure of purpose, 100% bad news for you and anyone else unfortunate enough to be holidaying in this til-now quiet and idyllic fishing village with no internet or mobile reception. Properly heavy, heady material: bellows-blown thickening the air around you, pressing on your temples, eventually threatening the full Kananga.
But 'Thank You Lord' - with its centrifugal, quintessentially Gast flute-loop (or harmonium or melodica or whatever it is) locating the pagan-folk energies in grime and vice versa - effortlessly steals the show. Propelled by torpedoing sub-bass and bombastic martial string/brass vamps fit for the court of Neptune (release the motherf*****g kraken!), draped with silken weather-storm keys and a surreal voiceover that sounds like a rogue Danish naval officer narrating his own mental collapse, it's just... woii. Unlike anything else out there and too, too good. The kind of all-at-sea strangeness that can’t be assimilated, and therefore must assimilate you..."
One of the most potent new acts in the EBM/synth-pop/darkwave resurgence deliver an achingly well-sculpted, goth-veiled sophomore side
Moving in line with the music industry’s 30 year frame-of-reference phase shift, Boy Harsher turn cues from mid-late ‘80s styles to their acutely emotive, aerobic purpose in ‘Careful’.
If you’re looking for instant gratification, the strapping EBM arps and gynoid vox of ‘Come Closer’ gives a strong indication of what to expect, while the likes of ‘fate’ and ‘LA’ wickedly tap into a stream of Wax Trax!-styled industrial sauce, and ‘Tears’ serves deliciously discordant synth tanggggg along with the Italo-esque elan of ‘Lost’.
Properly satisfying charms for dance-pop goths, then.
Based in Bristol, LTO first made waves as part of mysterious electronic collective Old Apparatus. As a solo producer, LTO has since attracted attention with his praised debut LP "The Number From Which All Things Come" and subsequent ambient/modern classical-focussed "Storybook“ LP. With "Déjà Rêvé“, he expands on that classical sensibility, creating a highly expressive and nuanced release for Denovali Records.
"Each of the tracks on this record express a certain abstracted sense of time and place, often of a long forgotten memory or dream, or of an imagined future; of places foreign, yet strangely familiar; of varying states of consciousness; of non-linear time systems; of repetitive childhood fever dreams; of places with different laws of physics removing the constraints of day-to-day reality that you never want to leave; of unimaginable landscapes.
Broadening the already far-reaching colour palette of "Storybook", LTO has created something truly remarkable: complex piano arrangements, ethereal soundscapes, elegant orchestration and floating ambience, all perfectly placed in a rich cinematic landscape. LTO creates an ingenious dramaturgy, inducing different moods, from dark to light, with an inimitable depth and irresistible suction."
One of the most minimal releases we’ve heard from the cultishly adored producer...
‘Kode’ yields three stripped down pieces ranging from the the hypnotic whistle cadence and purified electronic drips of ‘DE 2.1’ to the sexy smooth arps and piquant bleeps of ‘PKL 7’, and the precisely subtle, phase shifting mechanics of ‘MM5’.
The main player behind the dictaphone moniker is Oliver Doerell, a multi instrumentalist originally from Brussels who now resides in the musical heartland of Berlin.
The last 3 years have been spent working on the Dictaphone project, assisted by the saxaphone and clarinette playing Roger Doering. Their past has been spent in similar fields, Oliver has composed numerous scores for theatre work, and Roger has a film soundtrack for ‘Alaska.de’ which was a major box-office hit in Germany.
Their first full length work, ‘m.=addiction’ is a beautifully crafted album that trancends classification with all it’s references to midnight jazz, old film reels and heartwarming, nostalgic found sounds. Points of reference range from the Cinematic Orchestra through to Boards of Canada and down to a deeply unconscious underground aesthetic, the beauty of this album is wrapped in an incomprehensible warmth - its indecipherable accessability and its undeniably microscopic, home-baked construction.
Restored and remastered reissue of Sir Shina Peter & His International Stars’ sought-after 1986 Afro-psych blinder ‘Sewele’, including the classic ‘Yabis’ burner that appeared on Strut’s acclaimed ‘Nigeria 70 (Lagos Jump)’ compilation in 2008
“Strut present an exclusive new reissue of a great (and now very rare) original album from the early career of Nigerian juju star Shina Peters, ‘Sewele’ from 1986.
“‘Sewele’ represented a time of transition in my music career,” explains Peters. “I had branched out to start as a solo artist after spells with Ebenezer Obey, Prince Adekunle and Segun Adewale and I was trying to find my own voice and to play juju in a more progressive direction. This was an important time for me. Three years later, I had honed that sound into Afro-Juju, and my ‘Ace: Afro Juju Series 1’ album broke me as an artist.
On ‘Sewele’, Peters explores different themes on four extended juju workouts, showcasing his incredible guitar work and his sense of fun as the odd Bob Marley and Abba riff pops up in the grooves. The title track means ‘shower of blessings’: “it’s like a prayer for my fans throughout Nigeria and the diaspora.” The funky Afrobeat of ‘Yabis’ is about being proud to be African and not to follow American ways and ‘Agbe’ere De’ states proudly that Peters is coming again with something different: “I always wanted to get the message across to my fans that I was keeping things fresh and creating melodies and music that people would enjoy.” The final track, ‘Late Aboderin’, is a moving tribute to Peters’ mentor, the late Chief Aboderin: “He helped me in many ways including legal aid in a court case against a record label. He also bought a van to carry the band to concerts.”
The Utopia EP is Mira Calix’s first release on Warp in a decade.
"A decade in which mixed media installation and exhibition work, with a focus on classical instrumentation, has been the main focus of her practice. Her most recent project was a sound installation that featured an ambitious choral work, performance artists and a unique speaker diffusion system. Part of Beyond the Deepening shadow at the Tower of London, it ran from 4-11 November and saw over 300,000 visitors, creating an international media storm.
The basis for the new EP title and lead track – rightclick – was Utopia, a Random Acts film written and directed by internationally acclaimed novelist Adam Thirwell (released on 6 December 2018). In the short film starring Lily Cole and Lily McMenamy, a girl tries to set up a commune in a tiny apartment and finds her ideals of utopian living tested and expanded as an alternate version of Calix’s fragmented track acts as the bedrock throughout.
“the past few years I’ve been making mostly installation, which I find thrilling, but the nature of my practice means I tend to work with many hands, many speakers, many materials, many musicians over long periods. It was really refreshing to make this EP, to give myself a time limit, a strict set of rules, a tight sonic palette and be fully autonomous as a writer, producer and musician. In a way it’s going back to my roots, my first ever release on Warp was a 10’, but it also felt completely fresh, playful, to just build some tracks around a cinematic scene – something for friends to move to in the early hours of a louche house party!”
Detroit beatdown legend back again on FXHE, now 25 years in the game!
Detroit’s original Norm Talley commits a killer new EP to F.X.H.E. following that incredible Norm-A-Lize set. It's some of the rawest, deepest, most soulful 313 gear we’ve heard since the last Omar-S LP. - 100% essential!
Elena Tonra, guitarist, vocalist and lyricist of Daughter, assumes thepseudonym Ex:Re (pronounced ex ray) for her eponymously-titled debut solo album, a deeply personal record that was made with both a sense of urgency and a cathartic need. Just finished, it’s being released with equal speed.
Tonra’s candid solo songs document the time after a relationship ended and are written like unsent letters to herself and others. Taking on a creative moniker, she chose Ex:Re to mean ‘regarding ex’ and also ‘X-Ray’ as a way to look inside and see what is really there. Writing took a year but the recording process lasted mere months, turning to Fabian Prynn (4AD’s in-house engineer and producer) and composer Josephine Stephenson on cello to help bring Ex:Re to life.
Elena said of the album, “Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it’s about the space without that person in it. In every scenario, there's either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment. I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes. He is only felt as a ghostly presence."
Isolée make his first move in 2 years with a sprawling ode to Cornish savoury snacks
Purportedly inspired by a late night experience in the dark rooms with a swede, some spuds and a fair bit of mincing, ‘Ginster’ hugs the A-side tight with a reticulated tech-house groove and shifty, surface-level synth modulations that sound like an AI attempting to emote in gasps, before turning into a slinky minimal jazz ride.
B-side, ’Sudden Frost’ wraps up gently seductive disco bass and loping drums with a folk-accented guitar lead, and ‘Leap-Second’ dances out in buoyant, sloshing dub-house style.
Dictaphone’s love of innovation that slowly creeps its influence onto the smokey traditions of Jazz and film scoring has made for an inspired fusion of musical styles old and new.
After their acclaimed debut album ”M.=Addiction", Dictaphone have spent time in the studio teasing their instruments back to life and eventually delivering another mesmerising set of tracks. ”Peaks" and ”Warszawa w nocy" are based around recordings made in a rehearsal room somewhere in Berlin with microphones hanging from the low ceiling. Roger Döring (saxophone & clarinet), Stephan Wöhrmann (drums) & Piotr Rybkowski (bass) met up for a couple of sessions over the last two years, fragments of which were taken away and re-assembled by Oliver Doerell in preperation for these new tracks.
”Peaks" is more than a hommage, inspired by the theme of a well known TV-series, it takes that haunting groove and transforms it into the most perfect setting for Döring's saxophone. The B-Side features two timeless Dictaphone tracks, made by Doerell and Döring evoking the same breathless haze of late nights that their album managed to portray so vividly.
Deeply cinematic music.
Fanciful prog-rock from 1979, full of celestial synths. First time reissue. RIYL Mike Oldfield
“WRWTFWW Records is honored to announce the official reissue of super rare and fabled prog-rock/library/synth album L’Univers De La Mer by French composer Dominique Guiot. The full length release is sourced from original masters, available on digital format for the first time.
Written, composed and played by Dominique Guiot with his Mellotron, Minimoog, clavinet, organ, and guitar, L’Univers de la Mer draws its inspiration from deep sea exploration, oceanic creatures, and underwater kingdoms. The 12-track album navigates organically through diverse mutations of the prog-rock and synth kind, from scenic meditation pieces ("Wind Surf Ballad"), to medieval electronica ("Une Ballade Pour Une Goélette"), spacey smooth jazz ("Les Deux Poissons"), funked out fantasy folk ("L’Univers De La Mer"), or even incredible Sega Mega-CD vibes ("La Danse Des Méduses") - altogether painting a fascinating world of eerie magic and subaquatic sensuality. It’s escapism at its best with subtle overtones of Schicke Führs Fröhling, Mike Oldfield, and Claude Perraudin.
The sound of the album is brilliantly captured by its surreal cover art, the work of legendary artist Jacques Wyrs, whose memorable record sleeves include Klaus Schulze’s Picture Music, Eloy’s Floating, Ange’s Le Cimetière Des Arlequins, and the 1974 reissue of Larry Coryell’s Spaces.”
"First Appearance" develops and expands upon the curious and strangely familiar soundworld of 2017's "Gabriel," with the Good Captain Schray luxuriating in those expansive, warm waters that one associates with new age, balearic, sophisti-pop, and art rock, adding to them potent distillations of his own concocting.
"There is a nostalgic component to this music to be sure, with echoes of Vini Reilly and The Blue Nile in the periphery, as well as forgotten 80's studio projects where the engineer decided it was important to elide the highs and lows to make a more comfortable space in the middle. But Schray's idiosyncrasies as a writer and player void any readymade comparisons. Rather, with him at the helm we get sonic gems such as the loping dub bass emerging from nowhere in the final act of the most excellently titled "His Peculiar Livestreams" and the metallic resonances and wide open spaces conjured in "The Cruel Psychic," compositional sleights of hand that make "First Appearance" a record to play and replay in an effort to decode its odd and many mysteries."
Alex Cobb, November 2018
Bruno Bavota is an Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist with a gift for marrying the intellectual and emotional into earnest and profoundly effective songs.
"Though favorably compared in his early career to another Italian composer, the legendary Ludovico Einaudi, Bavota has found himself increasingly pursuing ways to distort and disturb traditional arrangements and melodies in pursuit of a more distinct resonance. Armed with a plethora of outboard effects pedals and processors, Bavota manually manipulates his songs in real time as he performs – often with his bare hands engaged in a seesaw battle of construction against obstruction.
It infuses a genuine sense of tension and forward momentum that makes his work extraordinarily poignant. Recorded live in one afternoon at a friend’s studio in Bavota’s hometown of Naples, Italy, RE_CORDIS documents many of Bavota’s most recognizable and accomplished works as they stand at this moment in time – ever-evolving musical life-forms that change shape while maintaining their distinctive skeletons. It also introduces his newest work, “The night of,” a tense, escalating race of loops punctuated by a series of dramatic chord strikes.
The recording is charmingly informal, leaving the sounds of Bavota’s physical movements – the shuffling of feet, the triggering of effects pedals, the creaking of stools – present in the mix to mingle with the music. As an exhibition of Bavota’s skills as a composer and performer, it’s impressive; as a glimpse of what’s to come, it’s an epiphany."
Oliver Doerell and Roger Doering's revive their much-loved Dictaphone project, last active in the early-mid 2000s on City Centre Offices.
Joined this time around by Alexander Stolze on violin, they generate a lavishly cinematic sound, at times distinctly Continental, at others given a decidedly Arabic lilt, especially on the gorgeous 'Manami' and 'Soylent Green (1973)'.
There are echoes of the micro-level loop-finding experiments of Jan Jelinek, at others the midnight arthouse blues of Julian Neto, but Dictaphone have got their own thing going, and Poems From A Rooftop is an elegantly constructed work of modern electronic jazz, suavely bohemian without being flip, beautifully detailed without being over-fussy, and warmly recommended.
“Vertigo II” is the second album from Oliver Doerell and Roger Doring under the Dictaphone tag, further honing their homespun tape loops and jazz variants into a new midnight sound.
The serendipitous coming together of Oliver Doerell and Roger Doering, 'Vertigo II' marks a clear evolution from the sound on 'M.=Addiction'; while diluting none of the spirit which made it so irresistible to begin with. Laying down a bed clicks and sliced digitalis, 'Vertigo II' resembles the intricate bedrock of artists such as Jen Jelinek or Angelo Badelamanti, building layers of aural sediment around this smoky foundation.
Enraptured by sonorous bass, 'Vertigo II' allows loose-limbed horns and digital detritus to roam the spectrum without becoming detached from the guiding core. Shortwave-interference and found-sound further imbue proceedings with a nostalgic quality, only magnified with the passage of time since its original release.
Reissue of Richard Pinhas’ majestic solo synth mission, out of print on vinyl since 1980, now bundled with a 25 minute bonus track, ‘Wintermusic’. Beautiful, classic, proggy synth music for fans of Vangelis, Cluster, Fripp & Eno, Tangerine Dream
“Originally released in 1979, Iceland is Richard Pinhas’ third solo album and his first following the breakup of Heldon. While moving away from the maximalism of his old band, paring down Heldon's hybrid of otherworldly sci-fi imagery and pummeling psych-prog riffs, the journey through Iceland is decidedly more inward.
Consisting of longer, brooding synth-based pieces as well as short proto-industrial études and interstitial sketches, Iceland features Pinhas’ delay-ridden electric guitar, pulsating machine rhythms and analog synthesizer washes – all vivid in texture and timbre, notwithstanding an undeniably chilling ambience.
This first-time vinyl reissue includes "Wintermusic," an immersive 25-minute bonus track recorded in 1983 and appearing here on vinyl for the first time. Pinhas’ excursions channel the season's stillness and sublimity, its majesty and its threat. Without a doubt, one his finest moments.”
FaltyDL rolls out on a London-meets-NYC-style deeptech and acid session, backed with a spiralling Octo Octa remix
‘If All The People Took Acid’ is one of the straightest but juiciest rollers in FaltyDL’s arsenal, whereas ‘Flesh Of Acid’ budges on a ruder sort of Luke Vibert flex with frazzled drums and glowing synth skin, and ‘Scream Acid’ gets its teeth in with wickedly nervy, chattering, psychotomimetic effect and funky turns of phrase.
Octo Octa’s ‘Loop Me Into Infinity Remix’ of ‘If All The People Took Acid’ lends it a more romantic/psychedelic rave flush.
Proper rave banger from Nightwave with a killer remix on the flipside.
"Psychic Tonic is exactly what we are all about rolling breakbeats and thunderous kick drums and is the perfect addition to the DEXT LTD series. And if that's not enough, another of our favourites Jerome Hill (Super Rhythm Trax) comes along for the ride, and flips it totally on its head on the Remix"
Bowery Electric’s millennial trip hop dread and gauzy shoegaze reheated and served up by the Arkive
Out of print since its maiden release in 2000, ‘Lushlife’ hearkens back to the onset of a 20th century comedown that’s never fully passed. The combo of rustling breaks, minor key strings and opiated female vocal.
Subtly shaded, lower case dance music goodness from Chekov, Lack, Flaty and Martinou on the 4th Cong Burn 12”
St. Petersburg’s Flaty twysts out the slippery, subaquatic electro dynamics of ‘Clearances’ next to the slow and pendulous minimalism and nosedrip tanggg of Lack’s ‘Multiplier’ on the A-side, before Chekov bumps the tempo only slightly with his eerie, spherical strutter ‘First Thought’, and Sewer Sender label boss Martinou shuffles off into a dawning horizon with the nimble dub house shimmy of ‘Guide Pattern’.
Dublin’s Frank B a.k.a. Sias turns out tuff, jacking but melodic cut sfor All City’s Jheri Tracks
‘May 1932’ hits harder and bittersweet with cold EBM kick and chrome burning electro-trance lead.
‘Of Cotton’ is ruder, going on with tetchy, grimy drum programming and stressed-out synth squabble.
First vinyl edition of the powerful, cult dark ambient debut by Black Mountain Transmitter, reissued on its 10th anniversary of release, by London’s Aurora Borealis. RIYL Kevin Drumm, Decimus, Wicked Messenger
Originally transmitted via CDr on the artist’s Lysergic Earwax label in 2009, ‘Black Goat Of The Woods’ atmospheric menace and immersively viscous qualities have seen it become a cult classic in the zone between dark ambient and experimental noise.
The 39 minute work now breaks down over two sides of vinyl, transitioning from washes of sheet metal thunder and whirligig organ riff into wide open spaces perfused with shivering metallic percussion, acephalic voices and cavernous doom drones, mainlining an opiated doom intensity that doesn’t let go until the blue hour redemption of the final passage.
Gnarled Midwest acid techno badness from Heckadecimal on Philly’s faithfully noisy Great Circles
“2018 played host to a bumper crop of sounds from some of Philly’s grittiest, including Great Circles mainstays M//R and Chaperone. To close out the year that was, we are pleased to present Heckadecimal’s ‘Murder Tape.’
A Minneapolis-based producer and acid auteur, Heckadecimal has been a fixture within the vibrant Midwestern electronic music community for nearly 20 years. Founder of the legendary ‘Anti-human’ events and co-curator of the ever-prolific Always Human Tapes imprint – alongside Ryan Wurst and Peter Lansky – Heckadecimal’s reputation is one of unrelenting creativity and tireless advocacy for sonic experimentation. His work has found its way to light via a slew of pseudonyms and stage monikers, including The Worm, noface and Wonder Sirens.
In short – Heckadecimal lives and breathes the sonic matter that he leaves pouring out of studio monitors, busted bar systems and finely tuned rave stacks, wherever his travels take him.
Live performance lies at the core of Heckadecimal’s practice. When he stormed through Inciting HQ in Philly earlier this summer, he took command over an arsenal of hardware that reminded us of how Octave One or Shawn Rudiman might show up. These were machines that he had lived with; touched with custom modifications, hand-drawn stickers and pockmarks incurred in battle, one got the sense that the gear was a personal extension of the artist.
Perhaps it’s a bit maudlin, but we feel a certain kinship with this project. Indeed, these tracks at times feel very much of a piece with the gnarled tonalities in which our stable typically traffics; all low-slung riddims that reach at equal lengths towards mutated IDM aesthetics and post-Packard Plant techno extrusions. These are future perfect grooves that glide along under the vast Midwestern sky, providing a fertile communication conduit with the City of Brotherly Love.”