Bajan rap prodigy Haleek Maul finally mounts a solo album proper worthy of the hype that’s surrounded him since he debuted, aged 16 in 2012
Over the past decade, Maul’s self-produced blend of Caribbean music and trap influences have singled him out as a unique producer in the field of what Fact Magazine term “post-Yeezus rap”, earning him cosigns by everyone from Clams Casino and RZA to Saul Williams, who notably featured on his 2015 salvo ‘Prince Midas’. Now 23 years old, Maul turns out his most full bodied long player with ‘Errol’, a tight 12 track showcase of his singular versatility and daring tendency to do it differently, or at least follow his own nose.
Despite his location in Barbados, Haleek Maul’s music has always helmed close to current ATL and NYC sounds and ‘Errol’ feels up-to-date as anything coming from the US in 2020, but with a detectable distance also shared by the likes of UK’s Gaika. From this relative outsider vantage point Maul offers a familiar yet unique perspective on the rap game, taking in semi-sung/rapped joints such as ‘We Wid It’ and ‘Glitching’, alongside the hard ass ‘Ceiling Fan’ where his accent really comes thru, plus drill-styled darkness in ‘Relax’ and ‘Abyss’, and sadlad lullaby styles on ‘DWGWY’ and the minor key baroque of ‘Name’, while the bittersweet ‘Feelings’ wraps a prettier bow on it all.
Burnt-out and ruff house chops from affiliates of St. Petersburg’s renowned Kisloty crew
Six tracks spill their goods between the pranging trenchfoot trample of ‘I-M’ to whinging lo-fi techno grunge on ‘Inhale’ and the soggy slop of ‘Rate Me’ on top, before the grimacing tribalism of ‘Rekohu’ and the bittersweet choral loops of ‘Cardo’ pass into the fugue state emulation of ‘Casein’.
Cold electro, 160bpm ghetto-EBM, and mutant dancehall pressure from affiliates of St. Petersburg’s Kisloty crew
Living up to their name, Muscles & Hate’s debut 12” is frozen to the bone and full of dancefloor vitriol, spitting out the unyielding EBM clench of ‘Tim For More’ and the 160bpm missile ‘Labyrinth’ with a salty alacrity that follows thru into their swaggering electro mechanism of their eponymous highlight, and the simmering sort of acid-dancehall shifter ‘SCS’.
Sleazy Amsterdam house and broken beat funk from a former member of the Rednose Distrikt
Four tracks to hustle the dance, ranging from bar-ready disco-house bubblers ‘The Tool’ and ‘Left-Right-Dub’, to jazzy broken beats in ‘The London Bug’ and the in-the-pocket budge of ‘The Force’.
A crucial Drexicya project comes back around on remastered 12” blessed with some of James Stinson’s heaviest basslines
First served on Tresor’s Supremat sublabel in 2001 and now given cat#Tresor.271, this 12” was a stone-cold warm-up for the killer LP ‘The Opening of the Cerebral Gate’. It opens with the moody, acidic electro squelch of ‘Power of the 3rd Brain’ and only gets stronger therein with chest-rattling subbass shockwaves and subaquatic pressure of ‘Disrupted Neural Gateway’, and another untypical streamlined winner named ‘Do You Want To Get Down?’, squaring up mad, slyding squares with zig-zagging synths and sparingly used vocals in one of oddest Drexicya grooves out there.
Everyone’s favourite bijou imprint Good Morning Tapes finally make a first-time vinyl edition of this sought-after tape release by pivotal Parisian producer Dang-Khoa Chau, aka D.K. - a gorgeous, 40 minute new age ambient tribute to ancient Vietnamese spirit possession rituals that comes highly recommended if yr into Ramzi, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Iona Fortune, Move D.
Arriving in the wake of Good Morning Tapes' prized vinyl editions from Jonnine (HTRK), XVARR, Anthony Naples, Tapes and more, ‘The Goddess Is Dancing’ is an extended trip that revolves around lilting, rhythmelodic percussion and aqueous atmospheres expressing D.K.’s imaginary interpretation of music used in Vietnamese ritual music. It unfolds as a ceremony in five parts honouring the mystical goddesses of Forest, Water and Heaven, with music both relaxing and energising in a way that’s intended to aid dancers’ transmogrification from human vessels into spirited beings.
The results are some of D.K.’s lushest in a catalogue that now stretches back to 2014 and takes in mystic club music and sanguine home listening for everyone from Antinote to Melody As Truth and 12th Isle. In careful progression, the EP moves from the deliquescent shimmers and breathy choral synth spirits of ‘The Three Realms’ to the exquisitely poised dream motion of the title track and the hypnotic percolations of ‘Going Into Trance’ on the A-side, before stretching out on the B-side into slow, balmy elegance of ‘Forest Palace’, and ultimately dissolving any remaining tensions with the dematerialised, 12 minute design of ’Summoning The Spirits’. In a current field awash with new age ambient references and a searching sense of spirituality, D.K.’s offering is exceptional for the execution of its never cloying, timelessly enchanted appeal.
A late pinnacle of the Drexciyan oeuvre, Storm 2 aka Transllusion's 'The Opening of the Cerebral Gate' is availed as an expanded 3LP pressing to include (almost) all the tracks on the CD version, compared to the original 2LP
It's all remarkably bass-heavy, even saturated, compared with a lot of other Drexciyan workouts, resulting some of their most ruggedly stripped down electro-techno functions ranging from the pounding might of 'Transmission Of Life' to the militant march of 'War Of The Clones' and the funked come-on, 'Do You Want To Get Down'. On the other hand, it also features stacks of gorgeous Drexciyan melodies in the aquatic flux of 'Cluben In Guyana' and the twinkling keys of 'Unordinary Reality', and to darkest effect on 'Crossing into the Mental Astroplane'.
Highly recommended to all aquanauts.
LSD stream another potent batch of unidentified audities on vinyl with their opening gambit for 2020.
Following the course of their most recent editions, the trip turns deeply inward across ‘LSD029’ via nine pieces of haunting tonalities and ritualist rhythms. As ever it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s behind these anonymous works (until the Discogs hive mind does its thing), but as usual they tend to those aesthetic spaces in between the academy and the bunkered imagination, clocking up long tracts of possessed drone strewn with æther voices alongside barely-there ambient interzones, before the final side stakes out percussive paths to the stars. For the intrepid listener and and self-respecting psychonauts, you could hardly find a more enigmatic and collectable volume.
Small but tasty plate of deep fried electro/acid-dub abstracts from Aaron Coyes (Peaking Lights) and Nate Archer’s Leisure Connection, via wayward Dutch label R=A
Returning to the label 7 years since they debuted Leisure Connection on the No ‘Label’, Coyes and Archer rub out a satisfyingly salty blob of haywire dub FX that resolve in a byzantine maze of modular plongs and etheric strings equal parts tropical and Radiophonic on ‘March of the Imbecile’, whereas ‘Love From The Astroplane’ transitions from aleatoric noise into a reverberate sort of acid dub stepper working shades away from Tribe of Colin or John T. Gast, who’ve both previously appeared on the series.
Room 40’s A Guide To Saints label host Del Lumnta’s inquisitive, nascent experiments with modular synthesis, pushing deep into weightless abstract ambient interzones flushed with iridescent melodies and culminating in a captivating 17 minute improvisation for Organelle on the B-side
“From Del Lumanta: Preparations was my first time experimenting with modular synthesis. The recordings on the first side of the tape are taken from performances during Sydney Festival’s Masters of Modern Sounds at the Art Gallery of NSW in early 2019. I was asked to respond to the gallery space. I spent my visits thinking about institutions. How I approach them, and how I work within them. What are their conditions for labour, how do they condition what I do? I often feel guarded when entering these realms.
Side B was an improvised recording made a few weeks after winding down from the event using an Organelle. Here, I felt focused on the idea of resources, particularly resources that have nourished my disciplines. I thought about their endings.”
Noirish dancefloor sophistication from Significant Other, coming off like Parris meets Alex Zhang Hungtai or a crankier Batu and Raime’s gaff on his debut for Oscilla Sound
‘Club Aura’ sets the dank tone with creepy, seeping electronics stalked by FM synth bass while lonely sax dances around its blue shuffle. ‘Mike’s Gone Back To Manchester’ then amps the energy levels to a murkier swagger a la Loefah’s 81 posse, and ‘Little Blue Pills’ balances that dank pressure with scudding trance licks on a properly writhing tip, leaving ‘drum Therapy’ too turn it out on a jungle-footwork tip recalling tracks off Raime’s ‘Planted’ EP.
Bocian Records give Kevin Drumm’s grim archival piece gtr/synth 2000 some room to breathe on tape, presenting the full 40 minute work which was excerpted as Old Shit on Drumm’s Necro-Acoustic boxset.
Compared with the pensive hi-register focus of his recently reissued Interference, for example, this is a much older, tempestuous Drumm working in the bowels of his sound, eking out a grittily textured roil of guitar and synth in a way that defined his late ‘90s explorations of the guitar as a member of the forward-facing Chicago school.
To be specific, he uses prepared guitar and analog synthesiser here to create an immersive tangle of atonal shards and viscous drone, the sort of stuff that feels like committing yourself to a pool of quicksand in the hope that there’s something worth it below the surface.
What occurs down there is a lightless and intensely physical experience, as though systematically dissolving your flesh and bones thru attrition into you’re nourishing the earth around your emulsifying cadaver.
Using just his voice and a fucking massive set of bagpipes, Fluxus member Yoshi Wada induces Ur-trance states on his peerless debut album, necessarily reissued By San Fran’s États-Unis for the first time since its 1982 release A recording that transcends the ages, ‘Lament for the Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile’ is beautifully simple and direct in its execution and a sterling example of American minimalism at its captivating, meditative and ineffable best.
“Yoshi Wada’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, originally released in 1982 on India Navigation, remains one of the most remarkable flowers to grow in the rarefied air of American minimalism – akin to Terry Riley's Reed Streams and Pauline Oliveros' Accordion & Voice, yet with a wild, liberated energy all of its own.
After graduating from Kyoto University of Fine Arts with a degree in sculpture, Wada moved to New York City in 1967 and quickly fell in with the community of artists known as Fluxus. In the early '70s, he began building his own instruments and writing musical compositions, studying with La Monte Young and Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath.
Recorded during an epic three-day session in an empty swimming pool in upstate New York, Wada’s first album brings together two of the oldest drone instruments – the human voice and bagpipes – to simple and glorious effect. A visit to the Scottish Highlands spurred Wada’s interest in bagpipes, which the composer integrated into these sparse, otherworldly sounds heard on Lament.
"That swimming pool was quite hallucinatory," recalls Wada. “It was another world. I felt it in terms of resonance. I slept in the pool, and whenever I moved, I woke up because of the reverberations.... The piece itself is an experiment with reeds and improvisational singing within the modal structure."
Virulent highlife-soukous party starters from the Congo via Nigeria - big on ‘70s Nigerian dancefloors and still big with the legendary Picos sound systems of Colombia’s Cartagena and Barranquilla carnivals
“Since the 60s, Congolese guitar combos and orchestras have always been popular across West and Central Africa. But the ‘natural fit’ element between East Nigerian Igbo highlife and Congolese rumba and soukous made for a unique beat: highlife-soukous.
Although eclipsed internationally by Lagos, Yoruba, Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, it was highlife- soukous that you’d hear at parties all over southern Nigeria in the late 70s and early 80s.
Outside Africa, the sound proved a special favourite with Colombia’s Carnival Champeta and Pico Sound system DJs – where, even today, you can hear super-rare Bota International original vinyls booming out over 20-foot-high speaker stacks along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the records being ‘covered up’ in the style of British Northern Soul 45s, or reggae sound system dubplates, so that competitors can’t discover the name of the tune or band.
Welcome to the mysterious world of highlife-soukous – and Bota Tabansi International.”
Rrose & Silent Servant corral a wealth of exclusive, unreleased avant-garde, experimental electronics in their instalment for the ambient-leaning ‘Air Texture’ series, including exclusive tracks on the vinyl by Laurel Halo, Anthony Child aka Surgeon, Not Waving, Charlemagne Palestine, Luke Slater, Phase Fatale, Function, Octo Octa plus Rrose and Silent Servant themselves (and a tonne more on the digital versions)...
Running to nearly 2.5 hours of music on the CD and digital versions (the vinyl includes 12 tracks), the set sweeps across decades and continents with a variegated spectra of music by 26 artists ranging from the influential Maggi Payne to the enigmatic Abul Mogard and lesser known figures. It’s all sequenced in a way that highlights their mutualities and diverse idiosyncrasies and makes for a quietly absorbing listen riddled with surprises.
As you might expect, there’s a number of ambient/atmopsheric works by prominent techno producers, including the modular explorations of Anthony Child (Surgeon), the pulsating beatless arps of Phase Fatale’s ‘Nightmare in LA’, the petrol-stained tone of ‘Psychic Harms of Economic Deprivation’ by Ron Morelli, and naturally Rrose’s hypnotic smudge of James Fei’s ‘For Bass Clarinet 8.97’, along with a piece of splashy breaks-driven ambient bleeps by Luke Slater, and the floating step of Silent Servant’s ‘New World’.
But some of the strongest parts come by those who’ve longer worked in experimental realms, including the Medieval sounding ambient inquisition of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s ‘8th Continent in 5 Dimensions’, a smart and subtle contrast between pioneering synthesist Maggi Payne’s rugged space music and Lucrecia Dalt’s more tactile, introspective strokes, and the heady expressions of Laurel Halo’s lysergic sphere ‘Dies Ist Ein’ or AGF’s haunting choral chamber work ‘HUM-ILITY’, and the nagging pulses of Laetitia Sonami.
Eleh's cultishly celebrated trio of LPs for Taiga released between 2008 - 2012, here remastered and collected on digital format for the first time.
Certain pedants would probably scoff at the fact this incredibly pure analog music is now available to download but, we're not among them and reckon it's a crucial entry point for anyone intrigued but as yet unwilling to make the dive. They're some of thee heaviest pieces of minimalist electronic music from the last decade, and we don't say that lightly. Strongly recommended if you like Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock, Sunn 0))).
NYC-based shapeshifters Georgia do it loose and freaky for Andy Lyster’s Youth label with an 80 minute mosaic of worldly, rhythmelodic inspirations and psychedelic electronics.
Following a haul of prime material releasedover the past 12 months with everyone from Firecracker and Ekster to Métron Records, the duo of Brian Close and Justin Tripp aka Georgia really suit the playthru CD format of ‘One Mind’ with a showcase of hypnotic, psychedelic styles that really takes a grip with extended, immersive listens.
The 15 tracks are haphazard and frazzled examples of Georgia’s pointed take on upending western electronic convention with non-standard scales and rhythms. Whether trading in wilfully oblique modular electronics or following club-ready hunches, they always prize a sense of playfulness. Knotty, nutty modular flux in ‘Fifthda’ shares space with wigged-out, ceremonial processions such as ‘Window 8’ and mutations in ‘New Force’, along with sizzling mixes of thumb pianos and synthesised voices recalling Paul DeMarinis’ ‘Songs Without Throats’ on ‘Baiala Ghalic’, and Iueke-style dancehall warpers such as ‘City Floral’.
And on a more ruffneck flex, the sluggin’ slow-fast bogle of ‘Laca Ja’ shares a rudeness in common with the gruff prang of ’Smart Stance’, but they’re at best when doing it colourfully and psychedelic, as with the fractal flow of ‘Day To’, and when it all comes together like Senyawa sparring Foodman on ‘Vision Zero’.
Originally released in November 1981 on Les Disques du Crepuscule, Hommages was recorded in Leicester in February 1981 and produced by noted Belgian new music composer Wim Mertens. The album was conceived as a series of diverse homages to other composers, which include Bill Evans (My First Homage), Ferruccio Busoni and Gustav Holst (The English Mail-Coach and The Vespertine Park) and Percy Grainger (Hi-Tremolo).
The earliest of the pieces here (appropriately titled 'My First Homage') was penned in 1978 for a performance at The Kitchen in New York as a tribute to the work of jazz pianist Bill Evans, and features some beautiful harmonic exchanges across its captivating quarter-hour duration. Both 'The English Mail-Coach' and the quite stunningly beautiful piano and percussion of 'The Vespertine Park' were inspired by Ferruccio Busoni, and you can hear a certain neo-classical approach in these works, although they remain firmly rooted in the 20th century.
Significantly, this remastered edition of the album includes two bonus recordings: 'Out Of Zalieski's Gazebo' and 'Danse Dieppoise', both compositions drawn from the same period of Bryars' work.
Stunning, previously unheard chapter in the saga of Igor Wakhevitch, a close peer and associate of everyone from Pierre Henry to Yves Saint-Laurent and Pink Floyd, one of the first composers of his generation to make use of Moog, Synthi AKS and ARP synthesizers. responsible for some of the most remarkable synth music known to humankind.
Among the key, pioneering ‘70s artists who brought an epic sense of poetry to the language of avant-garde synth and concrete music which emerged in the ‘60s, Wakhevitch is hailed as a cult figure for his string of classic albums including ‘Logos’, ‘Docteur Faust’, and ‘Let’s Start’ between 1970-1979, as well as production for Terry Riley, and on Salvador Dalí’s opera, ‘Être Dieu’ (‘To Be God’). Most beautifully, he opened up synth music’s 3rd eye to heavy inspiration from Hindu classical music and schools of thought, leading him to spend 30 years in India prior to the construction of this, a masterful chapter in his visionary canon.
‘Kshatyra [The Eye of the Bird]’ is a remarkable, much later work, recorded in the late 90’s on Wakhevitch’s custom Mysterious Island 88 system, and later edited for this release last year. It came to Wakhevitch as a means of mediating and reconciling his ontology (the grandson to victims of the Shoah) and his knowledge of Hindu symbolism, making use of ancient Indian classical modes and the Far Eastern-influenced styles of Jean Claude-Eloy, consistently conjuring heady modes of listening, hypnotic and transcendent, that subliminally yet potently light up the subconscious.
In eight parts he navigates a journey from celestial melody through spirit-engulfing, widescreen black hole synth dimensions and glistening visions of the sublime, before seeming to collapse the firmament into the earth and vice-versa in the chapter’s glorious, durational finale brimming with elegiac church bells, sky-scorching synths and deep abstractions.
Long a cult figure to diggers and listeners in the know, the praise and admiration for Wakhevitch’s music (by everyone from Demdike Stare to Andy Votel and the GRM’s Jonathan Fitoussi) is proportionally inverse to the availability of his music, which remains all too hard to come by. This new album is crucial as a portal to worlds unheard, and a startling introduction for many to one of the most quietly important figures in electronic music.
Precious, proper eye-opening retrospective of the little-known but brilliant parallel worlds and wormholes of Germany’s Dörte Marth a.k.a. MAAT with a compilation of her first two records put together by The Skaters’ Spencer Clarke, a real revelation and massive recommendation if yr into owt from Coil to Spencer Clarke’s own exotic trips, or the kinda esoteric audness plucked out by Freedom To Spend over the last 18 months. We’ve struggled to get a proper supply of this one but have just picked up another stack of copies - we urge you to grab this proper doozy if you haven't already...!
Compiling Dörte’s overlooked first two LPs - ‘Konstruktionen’ [Dom Elchklang, 1993], and ‘Sie’ [Dragnet Records, 1993] - ‘The Next’ brings us up to speed with her highly personalised mid ‘90s work, covering a surreal spectrum of sounds ranging from ’Selected Ambient Works II’-like slithering ambient creatures, to unique twists on Far Eastern styles, and future baroque synth pieces with classical music references reminiscent of Coil's Unnatural History, but played further, blurring the shadowy lines between sampling and virtuoso playing.
As the label explain, Dörte's use of electronic drums, Pan-Asian arrangements and classical styles "invents a private world where she uncovers and projects forth a new and ancient female energy - almost orchestrating her pallet and shooting it through star-clusters beneath the world. .."
It’s quite a revelation.
Previously unreleased, groundbreaking Incus material from Derek Bailey’s Company in 1981, revolving a lively and playful ensemble including Charlie Morrow and David Toop on one half, and the likes of Jamie Muir drumming, Radu Malfatti bleating, and Christine Jeffrey chirruping on the other
“Previously unreleased recordings by various lineups drawn from Derek Bailey, Tristan Honsinger, Christine Jeffrey, Toshinori Kondo, Charlie Morrow, David Toop, Maarten Altena, Georgie Born, Lindsay Cooper, Steve Lacy, Radu Malfatti and Jamie Muir.
Journalists often make the brief history of Free Improvisation conform to the idea that the history of music is a nice straight line from past to present: Beethoven… Brahms… Boulez. Thus Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and John Stevens — together with Brötzmann and co across the Channel — were the trailblazing ‘first generation’, forging a wholly new language alongside contemporary avant-garde and free jazz. Figures like Toshinori Kondo and David Toop, willing as they were to incorporate snippets of all kinds of music, were the pesky ‘second generation’, happily cocking a snook at the ‘ideological purity’ of Bailey’s non-idiomatic improvisation.
‘Company 1981’ shows up the foolishness — the wrongness — of such storylines. Check the eclectic collection of guests Bailey invited to Company Weeks over the years. He had clear ideas about the music, but he was no ideological purist.
One of the founders of Fluxus, Charlie Morrow injects blasts of Cageian fun into half the recordings here, whether blurting military fanfares from his trumpet, or intoning far-flung scraps of speech. Cellist Tristan Honsinger and vocalist Christine Jeffrey join in the joyful glossolalia, while Bailey, Toop and Kondo contribute delicious, delicate, hooligan arabesques, by turns.
The remainder are performed by a different ensemble: Bailey, bassist Maarten Altena, former Henry Cow members Georgie Born and Lindsay Cooper on cello and bassoon, the insanely inventive Jamie Muir on percussion, and trombonist Radu Malfatti, showing his mastery of extended technique. Were that not enough, there’s the inimitable purity of Steve Lacy’s soprano ringing high and clear above the melee. Glorious!
There’s always been this idea that Free Improvisation is somehow Difficult Listening, but when the doors of perception are thrown open and prejudice cast aside, you realise that it’s not difficult at all. “Is it that easy?” chirps Morrow, at one point. Indeed it is. Enjoy yourself.”
A live document of a performance by TG to a small and invited audience on 16 February 1980. Neither an insight into TG’s recording process nor private live show, Heathen Earth is it’s own entity and exists as a document and testament to a group of people at the height of their creative powers, recorded just over a year before they disbanded and terminated the mission.
Live performance brought out Throbbing Gristle's talents for improvisation and provocation, and it's no coincidence that most of their classic albums contain sizeable extracts and edits of their shows; the live arena - be it grotty club, gallery space, concert hall or even the band's own rehearsal space - is where the action and the innovation really happened.
The bulk of Heathen Earth documents one particular performance which took place in 1980 on "Saturday the 16th February between 8:10pm and 9.00pm"; the tracklist is filled out with two recordings from two separate performances in '78. It's a hugely enjoyable listen, arguably capturing better than any of the "studio" albums the tension between free-wheeling abstraction and structural discipline which defines the group. It's also probably the most obviously electronic TG album of its time, Gen's guitar and Cosey's cornet duelling with Carter and Sleazy's clipped, clammy minimal synth constructions: 'The Old Man Smiled', 'Something Came Over Me', 'Don't Do As Your Told, Do As You Think' and 'The World Is A War Film' are all breathtakingly, pulsatingly ahead of their time.
'Still Walking', first heard on 20 Jazz Funk Greats, sounds even more surreal and seductive in its live incarnation, Cosey's dour East Yorkshire vowels echoed to infinity, before P.Orridge presents a vision of paranoia and self-loathing purified in 'Sub Human' and 'Adrenalin' brings things to an oddly ecstatic, hi-NRG close, Carter fully indulging his arpeggiated Euro-disco inclinations.
Masami Akita’s dazzling 1996 classic ‘Pulse Demon’ rears its grimacing head on Relapse’s expanded 2019 reissue
Emerging from a pivotal period in Merzbow’s oeuvre, ‘Pulse Demon’ has remained one of the project’s most prized emissions ever since. More or less defining and destroying the square root of noise (blistering, howling chaos) and techno (loopy, hypnotic linearity), the album’s original eight tracks, plus the fiercely technoid bonus cut ‘Extract 1’ epitomise the notion of being so wrong that it’s dead right; doing everything that hoary old musical convention said you should’t, and letting it all hang out with thrilling, almost rubbernecking results that are almost too cataclysmic to witness, but one can’t help but ogle at.
Aye, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re not everyone, leave your keys in the pot and come party like its the end of the fucking world. Practically worth it for the mesmerising op-art jacket alone.
Adventurous, infectious sets of soul-fired jazz from Joe McPhee and the Decoy trio of Steve Noble, John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins, recorded in May 2019 at London’s Cafe Oto
“In the eight years between the recordings which make up AC/DC and their last release Spontaneous Combustion (ROKU 002CD, 2014), Decoy and each of its members have been practicing individually at the very top of their form. Coming together again in such celebratory circumstances and in the good company of a fantastic crowd set the scene for a very special night. As they begin, Alexander Hawkins casts a needling surface between his Hammond organ and John Edwards's loose splatters and slaps of low-end bass. McPhee skitters over them with his pocket trumpet by way of introduction; Steve Noble strikes his rims in anticipation.
The first set sees moments of frenetic free jazz peel off into weirdo soul territory and when switched to saxophone halfway through, McPhee's romantic lyricism is utterly beautiful. When a groove sets in, Hawkins's B3 ascension in harmony with an ever-powerful Edwards-Noble rhythm section sees the room thicken and swirl to the point of giddiness. There is one unreal part at 22:22 where we're sure you can hear Edwards's bass vocalizing. Regrouped for a second set, Steve Noble's metallic textures meld with detuned arco bass to create an unholy atmosphere, ripe for Hawkins to play out the eerier end of the Hammond. When McPhee sounds a sax motif the band catches it quickly and it's soon wickedly morphed and stretched by each player, recurring to absurdity in a stoned-out funk free for all. The whole recording bleeds enthusiasm and joyful imagination and is a brilliant document of an unforgettable evening. Decoy are a limitless band who play nowhere near enough.”
10 tonne heavy anthology of African Head Charge’s dub mutations spanning 2 decades
Picking up where 2016’s ‘Environmental Holes & Drastic Tracks’ left off, ‘Drumming Is A Language 1990 - 2011’ takes African Head Charge’s 1990 masterpiece ‘Songs of Praise’ as the starting point for this set, charting the band’s actions thru ‘In Pursuit of Shashamane’ (1993), ‘Vision of A Psychedelic Africa’ (2005), and ‘Voodoo of the Godsend’ (2011) along with a bonus disc ‘Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi’ cramming 10 previously unreleased version mixes of their 1990 + 1993 albums.
Serving a 73 piece menu over five courses, it’s all more than enough to keep even the baddest case of dub munchies sated. Fans will already be well familiar with the original albums, but in case you don’t know, ‘Songs of Praise’ is a real beauty that really sounded like little else at the time, and pushed dub in fantastic new angles in key with the explorative spirit of 1990. Likewise its follow-up resonated with this phase shift between analogue/digital and old/new worlds, and it’s these two albums that provide the rich source material on the bonus disc of version, resulting highlights in their enchanted take on ‘Peace and Happiness’, the hypnotic slow march of ‘Dub For The Spirits’, and the trampling psychoactive mash of ‘Learned’.
Becoming Peter Ivers tells the story of the late Peter Ivers, a virtuosic songwriter and musician whose antics bridged not just 60s counterculture and New Wave music but also film, theater, and music television. This is the first Peter Ivers compilation, collecting 25 songs from over 500 reels and cassettes and an incredible amount of unseen ephemera, a fraction of which is included in the artwork.
"Written and recorded in Los Angeles in the mid-to-late-1970s, Becoming Peter Ivers raises the curtain on this mischievous master of ceremonies, who, harmonica in hand, rarely missed a chance to light up an audience. Since his untimely death in 1983, Ivers’ short but storied life has been the subject of much research and remembrance. Becoming Peter Ivers is the most expansive effort yet to collect his archival recordings.
“Demos are often better than records,” Ivers wrote. “More energy, more soul, more guts.” The statement anticipates the appearance of Becoming Peter Ivers, which was assembled from a trove of demo cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes that Ivers recorded variously at his home in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, and Hollywood studios for a pair of major label albums in 1974 and 1976. While the two commercially released albums feature the resources of session musicians and state-of-the-art studio detail, Becoming Peter Ivers highlights the private moments of Ivers’ musical energy, frequently pared down to piano, drum machine, harmonica, and Peter’s ageless voice.
Though technically not Ivers’ debut album (in 1969 Epic Records released Knight Of The Blue Communion, Peter’s psychedelic jazz odyssey of sorts), Terminal Love was the A&R brainchild of music legend Van Dyke Parks. Already a masterful harmonica player (respectively mentored by blues legend Little Walter and jazz bassist Buell Neidlinger while he was a student at Harvard in the late 60s), Ivers wove his harp melodies through the sensuously colored but unconventionally arranged pop compositions of Terminal Love and its self-titled follow up, which, like the New York Dolls at the same time, explored the libidinous, ironic, and artful possibilities of the rock template.
A studious artist, Ivers recorded hundreds of writing and rehearsal sessions onto reel-toreel and cassette tapes, but notes were either scarcely kept or have since been lost. RVNG Intl. collaborated with Ivers’ longtime friend and supporter Steven Martin, as well as his lifelong companion Lucy Fisher, to tell an intimate story of Peter’s creative journey through this untold music. The collection includes tracks that recurred in Ivers’ ouvre over the years; “Alpha Centauri,” “Eighteen And Dreaming,” “Miraculous Weekend.” And, of course, “In Heaven” – the song co-written with David Lynch and commissioned by the filmmaker to be featured in a now-iconic scene of Eraserhead. An accomplished Yogi by the late 70s, Ivers was as spiritual as he was playful. Accentuated by his cherubic face and compact height, Ivers’ vitality and curiosity became a part of his poetic sensibility, a quality that also characterizes his singing voice. Fisher remembers Ivers calling his days holed up in the studio as “snowy days,” as if he had been cut from school and let free to roam on his own. “No one knows what Peter Ivers does on a snowy day,” he would say.
In 1980, Ivers became involved with the Los Angeles-area public access show New Wave Theatre, serving as its host and paternal misfit. Ivers would introduce a new generation of groups like Fear, Dead Kennedys, and Suburban Lawns while playing a kind-of “straight” man, deliberately baiting the punks with square questions and frocked fashion. His signature question to guests was delivered deadpan: “What is the meaning of life?” Ivers died, tragically, the victim of a violent homicide in 1983 that remains unsolved. A shock to his community, his death all but fazed the LAPD, who treated the investigation with less than minimum care. A labor of love that took RVNG Intl. over five years to complete, Becoming Peter Ivers re-frames Peter’s music as the centerpiece of his captivating story, concentrating on the work he made during his numerous retreats into art, or, as he put it, during his snowy days. Available as a double LP, CD, and digitally, Becoming Peter Ivers includes liner notes by Sam Lefebvre and Steven Martin and an array of unseen ephemera from Peter’s life and times."
Mark Nelson's Pan American beautifully drifts into a sunset sound referencing his classic Labradford output on ‘A Son’, his first new album since start of the decade., RIYL Spacemen 3, Mark Lanegan, Bark Psychosis...
Now a duo revolving original member Mark Nelson of Labradford esteem, and percussionist Steven Hess, whose solo work and with the likes of Sylvain Chaveau and Michael Valera is well loved over here, Pan American return to their post-rock roots with suitably brooding results that sound to these ears like a long evening spent porchside sipping an unending and always chilled glass of whiskey.
Dwelling on acoustic strums and murmuring electronic textures, the music hits a fine vein of ambient post-rock sensitivity that gauzily looks back to that time before the retroactivation of new age and 4th world ambient styles, to a sort of pre-2008 Americana ennui and indie alt.rock that used to be dominant but has lost its grip over the past decade.
“Motivated by notions of "moving backward" and tracing roots – as well as a couple years of hammered dulcimer lessons – the album's nine songs were written and recorded in his home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe. The emphasis on uncluttered arrangements and the centrality of the guitar and vocals reveal these songs as the most direct and emotional statement of his career.
Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: "What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?"
After decades of mining post-rock pathways and latticework electronics in Labradford and early Pan American, A Son strips away ornament and distraction in favor of a direct gaze into the heart of what is.”
The crucial AHC reissues mash down babylon ‘In Pursuit of Shashamane Land’, their 1993 blend of dub, trance and “world music” which begat the start of the band’s 12 year hiatus
As the follow-up to African Head Charge’s pivotal 1990 classic ‘Songs of Praise’, the band’s 6th studio album saw co-founders Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and dub master Adrian Sherwood mash out a sound that would also infect dubwise “world” music for years to come. The album is now newly prepped with 8 bonus tracks not found on the OG vinyl, pulling from a bonus 7” and the CD version to present a definitive vinyl pressing including two previously unreleased, contemporaneous works; ‘Rastaman’ and ‘Run Come See Me’.
Psychoactive, organically spongiform dub audness from the masters of this style, chock with edits, mad FX, and unpredictable, experimental compounds of acoustic/electronic instruments
“Originally released in 2011 to celebrate the 30th year of On-U Sound. The album is essentially the continuation of a process that has seen both band and label expanding and transforming the landscape of contemporary reggae into new and exciting shapes. All the elements of a classic African Head Charge album are present; a triumphant mix of dub, psychedelia, trance, afro and tribal rhythms that have given them their own unique place in contemporary music.”
‘Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi’ is a wigged-out version excursion of African Head Charge's previously unreleased dubs to ‘Songs of Praise’ and ‘In Pursuit of Shashamane’ (1993).
Like 2016’s Return of the Crocodile’, which saw AHC’s master Jamaican percussionist and band leader Bonjo and mixing desk maverick Adrian Sherwood breath new life into their early ‘80s classics, this new suite offers a psychedelic sidespin on two handfuls of tracks that return like a comet of return orbit from the early ‘90s.
Produced at a time when music was in a major flux between analogue/digital and old/new worlds in the early ‘90s, the source material of ‘Songs of Praise’ and ‘In Pursuit of Shashamane’ naturally reflected this phase shift in an explorative, sensually psychedelic style that was already firmly in place, and seemed to resonate every stronger with the new age spirit of the times as the flipside to rave’s excesses.
The results contain big highlights in their enchanted take on ‘Peace and Happiness’, the trampling psychoactive mash of ‘Learned’, and the electrified Afro-eklectro-blues of ‘Pitched Fever’ from the side of ‘Shashamane Versions’, while the other side’s ‘Dubs of Praise’ really treks into wigged-out terrain with the slow, possessed holler and stomp of ‘Dervish Dub’, the pendulous clockwork drum pattern of ‘Disciplined and Dignified’ with its South East Asian vocal samples, and the hypnotic slow march of ‘Dub For The Spirits’.
Dead handy reissue of V-Neck’s probing, percussive IDM/electro/breakbeat oddity, originally released on their Emote label in 1995
25 years later the four zigzagging tracks of ‘Auto’ resurface to a dancefloor zeitgeist that’s very sympathetic to V-Neck’s brand of clipped, rolling syncopation, squiggly acid and hypnotic atmospheres. The A-side reruns the brilliantly slinky bubble and brooding pads of ‘Auto’, which calls to mind Muslimgauze gone to Islamic Indonesia, or even those Marsesura/Uwalmassa/Wahono cuts for Disk/DIVISI62 in the modern day, while ‘Quasi’ feels like a swaggering Kompakt cut taken somewhere much warmer.
On the other side ‘Semi’ tightens up to flex a darker, skeletal sort of breakbeat/electro style rolled deep into spaced-out electronics recalling Ciel or Forest Drive West productions, and ‘Uni’ straightens out to an almost even keel, but still keeps it wickedly kinky and off-centre for the dancers.
Room 40’s A Guide To Saints label serve horizontally inclined and richly oneiric mesh of piano, bowed cymbal and open-window atmospheres from Australia, warmly tipped to fans of Elodie and Tape Loop Orchestra
“Dream-like extended duration work from Brisbane duo Primitive Motion in collaboration with San Diego musician Anthony Burr. Breath of Light Remains is an improvised work recorded at PM HQ during one of Burr’s sojourns to his Australian home town. Summertime neighbourhood sounds of children playing, local birdlife and cicadas drift into the home studio as the trio arc sound around the room and beyond, colouring the air in shades both light and dark as time stands still.
Anthony Burr has enjoyed a distinguished career both as an improviser and reader of contemporary composition. He has recorded key works of Alvin Lucier and Morton Feldman and has played with Jim O’Rourke, John Zorn and Laurie Anderson. He has released work in duo form with both Iclelandic bassist /composer Skúli Sverrisson and Australian pianist/composer Anthony Pateras. While principally renowned as a clarinettist, on Breath of Light Remains he drops time-dissolving notes from the piano in a beautifully measured and delicate performance.
Primitive Motion is the collaborative project of Brisbane artists Sandra Selig and Leighton Craig. Over the past decade they have recorded an extensive body of work, with five albums released to date of
their otherworldly musical dialogue, including a previous Guide to Saints edition. Their visual/audio collaborations have been exhibited, with a major work included in the 2010 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. They have recorded and performed outdoor improvisations responsive to the natural environment, and on this release weave a group tapestry of floating sound with Burr that dissolves into the fading afternoon.”
Ruggedest 130bpm UK Bass flavours from Hypho, back for a 2nd course on Loefah’s 81
Galvanised with cold, steely production, the EP racks up 6 tightly coiled cuts of contemporary club styles dragging aspects of grime, jungle, and drill into a slower roll cage. ‘Civilians’ sparks up with a gully mix of jungle shrapnel and Zomby-esque 8-bit electronics threaded with news reports about London knife crime, while ‘Raindrops’ injects some ambient soul into it, and ‘Very Last Time’ cocks back a whirring electro-bass mechanism, and ‘Coke n Cream’ sounds like a cold, sluggish UKF workout with Biggie samples. ‘Get a Job’ runs on a ruddier sort of speed garage-techno gas, and ‘Oh’s and Zee’s’ locks off with a clunkier but deft cubist swang.
Soundtrack synthesist Steve Moore (Zombi) puts some gas in his horror disco machine for Kompakt
Drawing his clearest links between ‘80s horror synth soundtracks and contemporary club tastes for retro-futurist fetishism, ‘Frame Dragging’ sees Moore on a proper nocturnal mission with the Munich-style sleekness of the title track, before pulling over to the evocative beat-less panorama of ‘Gravity Well’. The furtive build of ’Gamma Quadrant’ follows as a prime sort of dawn hours soundtrack, and ‘Protostar’ slips off into opiated arps.
Colourful bouquet of krautrock-jazz-techno collaborations between producer James Holden and clarinetist Wacław Zimpel.
Rolling on from Zimpel’s recent ace ‘Massive Oscillations’, the four driving and barely-tempered expressions of ecstasy on the ‘Long Weekend EP’ also form Holden’s first new release since early 2018’s ‘A Cambodian Spring OST’.
Operating somewhere between the likes of early Kraftwerk and US acts Golden Retriever or Ka Baird, the UK/Polish duo of Holden & Zimpel project four lustrous chromatic visions that get into gear with the languorous whirligig ‘Saturday’, and really stretch out into free-spirited wonder by the technoid peaks of ’Sunday’, before furling into more introspectively searching modes on ’Tuesday’, which also features the Göttsching-esque guitar of prolific Polish player Jakub Ziołek, who also contributes more chiming sort of Afro-inspired, Reichian phrasing in the landing sequence of ‘Wednesday’.
First time vinyl edition of the Aphex Twin and Kode 9-backed ‘Cache 01’ set from Shanghai’s SVBKVLT crew, brimming with exclusive, forward club zingers from a crazy lineup including Tzusing & Hodge, Gabber Modus Operandi, 33EMYBW, Hyph11e, Gooooose, Osheyack & Nahash and more - not available elsewhere and hands-down the most vivid and thrilling showcase of new electronic music we’ve heard in a while.
‘Cache 01’ speaks to the abundance of prism-pushing electronic mutants presently at work in the Far East. Where too many Western artists right now are caught in the retro-vintage, shabby chic trap, every one of the artists featured here embrace the here and now, and what’s to come, with a fervently infectious alacrity and directness that’s hard to ignore and has seen the label showered with praise from corners worldwide.
We’re all spoilt for choice with the highlights, but a few really stand out. The wildly ricocheting 808 proprioception of Gooooose’s ‘Arp Kicks’ is right up there with the best we’ve heard in recent years; Swimful impresses with the hard-ass, keening grime designs and descending sirens of ‘Nailz’; Indonesia’s Gabber Modus Operandi send us reeling with the mix of wailing traditional horns, gamelan and gabber kicks in ‘Sangkakala II’; Hyph11e precogs the deathly march of the robots with the reconfigured D&B and noise of ’Sinking’; MIIN strikes a class fusion of dembow-dancehall and IDM in ‘Metagame’; and Zaliva-D exert a powerful sidespin with the rugged battery of ’Synthetic Sin’ inna Low Jack style. It's Hands-down it’s the most vivid and thrilling showcase of new electronic music from the Far East, or anywhere else for that matter, in years. A real no brainer.
Flexing arm emoji. Fire emoji. 100% emoji.
Important and long overdue retrospective album compiling work by Ruth Anderson - a pioneering American electronic music composer, conductor and flautist - effectively her first album in a career that spans almost 70 years. Anderson was born and worked during the same era as Daphne Oram, albeit on the other side of the pond, and is sadly another groundbreaking composer and musician whose work had been sorely overlooked during their lifetime. As the excellent liner notes point out - Anderson was composing in a world that was "heavily gendered against her”. Anderson sadly passed away last year, just before this album was released - kudos and respect to Arc Light Editions for attempting to right almost a century of wrongs.
"Jennifer Lucy Allan’s Arc Light Editions releases the debut album by little known electronic and tape music composer Ruth Anderson (1928-2019) who died just before she was able to see her first solo release out in the world. ‘Here' reinserts Ruth Anderson as a trailblazer in the history of electronic music in the USA, as one of the first women to set up an electronic music studio, gathering microtonal electronics, drone and meditative long-form works and a mischievous plunderphonic collage into an album that is playful and bold in its minimalist approach to sound.
Anderson was born in Montana in 1928, and originally trained as a flautist and composer, studying with Darius Mil- haud and Nadia Boulanger in Paris on Fulbright scholarships, and was the first woman to be admitted to Princeton University Graduate School in the early 1960s. She also worked as an orchestrator for NBC-TV and the Lincoln Center Theater production of Annie Get Your Gun with Ethel Merman (1966). After joining the faculty of Hunter College, CUNY, in 1966, created its Electronic Music Studio. She was engaged in studies of psychoacoustics, Zen Buddhism, and was a committed teacher. She remained at Hunter teaching composition and music theory until her retirement in 1989. As Louise Gray writes in her sleevenotes to ‘Here’: “That it is released now, in 2020, to a musician born in 1928 and who has had an active musical and compositional life, certainly since the 1950s, is a cause for celebration as well as for some dismay.”
The works compiled on ‘Here’ display a consistently innovative approach to electro-acoustic composition and its uses. “Pregnant Dream” is a collaboration with poet May Swenson (whose poem of the same name is reproduced on the inner sleeve). “Points” is constructed from pure sine waves, a veil of microtonal sound intended as a healing piece that generates quiet energy. “So What” hovers in electroacoustic space, and crescendos in oscillations and phasing. The playful proto-plunderphonics of “SUM (State of the Union Message)” is constructed from sounds sampled from TV commercials, made one January while Anderson was waiting for a studio to become free, offers tongue-in-cheek resistance to politics and communication as pertinent today as then. She wrote that her intention with "SUM" became “to say as little, and by omission, as much as the President (Nixon) would in his address.”
The whole of Side B is taken up entirely with the restful and meditative “I Come Out Of Your Sleep”, constructed from the speech vowels in Louise Bogan’s poem Little Lobelia. It is a deeply calming and mindful piece, intended to be played at low volume. Anderson intended the shape of the vowels to become breathy melodic arcs and tones, which be- comes the core of a stylised meditation. As Gray writes, it is “both intimate – a breathing, gentle entity – and simulta neously vast – the wind whistling around a mountain, the slow unfolding of something that only an attentive listening will reveal.”
Bewitching, sound sensitive and psychedelic experiments from LA’s Celia Hollander ($3.33), landing somewhere between Carl Stone and Laurel Halo...
“Celia Hollander works with digital audio as a medium to intuitively form temporal experiences. Each song in Recent Futures aspires towards a different type of temporal movement: a swing between the recent past and near future, an accelerating present, a temporal eddy, a juxtaposition between massive and microscopic durations, a flowing momentum and a preserved stillness. An assemblage of field recordings drenched, sampled, tumbled, stretched, diced, dyed, layered and reversed, Recent Futures yields varying terrains of the abstracted mundane, a magical realism of audio.
Celia Hollander is an LA based composer and artist working with audio, scores, performance, installation and text. Her work critically engages ways that audio and the act of listening can shape temporal perception, generate narratives, question cultural infrastructures and cultivate social connection. Her work has been performed or installed in venues and institutions including MOCA, The Getty, Kunsthalle Basel, Cirrus Gallery LA, Human Resources LA and Zebulon, LA and she is a resident dj on Dublab Radio.”
Killer vinyl debut of chromatic dembow bubblers and downbeat illbient from NYC’s Blazer Sound System on Andy Lyster’s Youth label.
Comprising Zebrablood (formerly of psych freaks Excepter) and Rainstick, the Blazer Sound System duo were brought to Youth’s attention by what Andrew Lyster calls their “must check” monthly NTS show, where BSS mash together a broad mixture of styles loosely landing between psych, dub, avant-techno and current road music. Their vinyl now cements their reputation and sound in 10”s of hard black plastic that sits neatly beside Youth’s FUMU and Georgia releases.
Uptown Rainstick catches a wave of ribboning chromatic arps, sirens and dembow dancehall bumps that sound like a n NYC block party on mushies - big for the DJ Python heads - alongside Zebrablood’s ‘Whatcomesup96’ cut that patently sounds like a vintage Spectre or Kaman Leung neck snapper. Downtown, on ‘Destorto’ Zebrablood makes the vibe like a haunted carnival with choking levels of dank bass spun out with scudding reggaeton synflutes, and ‘Draco Beat’ returns to that late ’90s dancehall/hip hop crossover sound with rudest results.
French beat maker Debruit meets Kinshasa, DRC’s Kokomo! for an energetic sound compatible with Kuduro but leaning towards dance-pop influenced song structures. Issued by the same label behind SOPHIE’s debut album
“You can trace the seeds of Fongola back to so many different places. It began in Kinshasa, in the Ngwaka neighbourhood where DIY experimental musical instruments are made, and the Lingwala neighbourhood where Makara Bianko sings every night on electronic loops with his dancers and where the band first met. We spent our tours across Europe dreaming about what we wanted to tell the world. It was recorded in makeshift studios we built out of ping pong tables and mattresses in Kinshasa and Brussels. Finally, I spent months putting it all together in Abattoir, Anderlecht like a giant electronic puzzle with pieces that don’t fit and no blueprint.” - Débruit
Signed with independent label Transgressive (Flume, SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma), KOKOKO!’s distorted polyrhythms and spontaneous lo-fi sounds provide a chaotic soundtrack to their home country. When most people think of culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s The Rumble in The Jungle fight of Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman and the accompanying Soul Power concert with James Brown in the 70s, Mobutu in his abacost and leopard print hat, les sapeurs in their elegant tailoring, and the king of Congolese rumba Papa Wemba. A faded vintage postcard. KOKOKO! represent the antithesis of tradition, and their debut album Fongola - which translates to “the key” - is a torrid, anarchic, youthful journey smashing a new path through modern life in Africa’s third most populous city.”
Presumably knocked up under a posters of Regis and Surgeon, Klockworks 29 presents Troy as a disciple of the Birmingham sound in four tracks of tight, gnarly techno .
Check the acid-eaten slammer ‘OB6.5’ and the lip-biting leads of ‘Surge’ and ‘Closure’ for your weekly dose of Brummie techno dirt, then ‘TTFO’ for a more Millsian brand of banger.
Lebanese composer Sary Moussa debuts on Nico Jaar’s Other People with a hauntingly wistful synthetic sound comparable to a more melancholic Emptyset or Sote work.
‘Imbalance’ is Moussa’s first release since 2014’s ‘Issrar’, delivered under his Radiokvm alias. It take cues from a nostalgic reminiscence on his childhood, from “the echoes of political unrest, to Greek-Catholic chants, and the quiet nights of a secluded Southern village” for a carefully expressive sound that channels his skills in sound design and composition for theatre and dance, short films, and museum installations.
‘Imbalance’ is effectively a smart lesson in speaking your own sonic language. Using a singularly stripped down palette, Moussa teases his tones into amorphous melodic shapes and curdled harmonic colours with the poetically lyrical touch of, say, Rashad Becker, Emptyset at their most low key and brooding, or the hypnotic minimalist dissonance of Chained Library’s Co-Habitant and Eliza B.C, but ultimately coming closest to the intricate, xenharmonic craft and electro-acoustic magick of Sote’s ‘Parallel Persia’.
Gritty retro-futurist aces from Smolensk, Russia’s Gamayun,
Astringent, asymmetric, and elusive in texture and arrangement, ‘Filterealism’ feels like a colder echo of the kind of FM synth-sparked, cubist jazz-fusion explored to some extents by Oneohtrix Point Never and early James Ferraro, and more rhythmically in the case of Lifted, but with an extra few drops of Russian LSD.
Vintage-soundign ‘80s sampler chops and digital synth tones unfold in complex, ribboning arrangements coated in ferric distortion that smudges their sharp angles and hyaline harmonics. It’s not necessarily a dancefloor sound, although one could have a wriggle to it, so it’s maybe better considered a soundtrack for your daily games of dodging commuters or sneaking in the queue at Greggs, and it’s arguably ideal for turning a mission to Aldi into something like a DMT trip.
2LP premiere of the heavyweight dub trip from Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and Adrian Sherwood’s prism-pushing dub vehicle, originally issued in 2005 after an extended hiatus from the band
Making up for lost time between 1998’s ‘Drums of Defiance’ and this one, African Head Charge really go in with the FX across all 17 tracks, including a couple of bonus cuts not found on the 2005/2009 CD editions.
The album properly lives up to its name with a freakish play of spectral apparitions animating their rock solid reggae grooves, turning up wild highlights between the spaghetti western dub styles of ‘Surfari’, the screwy, hypnotic madness of ‘Drumming Is A Language’, radioactive electro-noise in ‘Ran Come Saw’, and rolling steppers pressure meets frog croaks in ‘Ready You Ready’.
After years messing about with his robot band, Squarepusher gets back to ye olde drill ’n bass of yore with ‘Be Up A Hello’, his most enjoyable album in decades, basically.
The jizz-fonk is still present and correct, but the junglist breaks and acid are also back in a big way, along with stacks of analogue hardware, throughout the album’s nine tracks of accelerated, hyperactive tekkers.
While the influence of jazz-fusion has always been key to Squarepusher’s work, we’re usually best impressed when he purely gives it up for the rave in proper, if mutant, ‘90s style. he does just that with the unmissable ‘Nervelevers’ and ‘Speedcrank’, which are right up there with AFX’s remix of ‘Box Energy’ and ‘Cock/ver10’ in terms of ravenous acid breakbeat with not a nanosecond spared for razor-sharp edits, while ‘Vortrack’ lends that style a deliciously darkside appeal, but ‘terminal Slam’ takes it a bit too bro-style with its Van Helan levels of noodle acid riffage, and ‘Mekrev Bass’ pulls it back from the brink with Venetian Snares-like complexity and tension. The two beat-less works - his night-glyding ‘Detroit People Mover’ and ’80 Ondula’ - are almost necessary to save you from cardiac arrest if doing it all in one sitting.
Unpredictable noise and electronic vignettes from a strange new producer named Landddlord on Canada’s Slow release label
Clocking 4 tracks in just over 7 minutes, Landddlord’s eponymous debut is nothing if not succinct, pranging out from the convulsive rhythmic noise and grunts of ‘Mean Streak’ to the tense, strobing gasps of ‘Lost In Pain’, and the short sharp shock of ‘2FA’, before pulling out a real surprise with the sighing choral synth cadence and grungy trudge of ‘Ugly All At Once’, which flips into a high-speed barrage of drums out of nowhere. Do check if you like Gobby, Foodman, Stine Janvin.
Singular psych-folk from Portuguese duo Calhau!, offering an intuitively wayward and weird take on domestic folklore and musical tradition in a way that resonates with work by Yong Yong, Rashad Becker, the lysergic experience. Highly recommended...
“Multidisciplinary Portuguese artists Calhau! return in 2020 with a new album and their first release on Discrepant. It’s quite possible you’ve never heard about them. They’re not that famous in Portugal or anywhere. Calhau! is formed by couple Alves von Calhau and Marta von Calhau, not their real names, but they’re their real names in the artistic reality Calhau! have been working in the last 15 years. But now that you’ve read their name, you must dig in. They’re one of a kind.
They’re not musicians, painters, illustrators, sculptures, visual artists or performers. They’re all the above but without manifesting their work specifically in any of them. While listening to “Tau Tau” – or any of their other releases – that translates quite well: their sound is quite visual, the voices translate into movement and the arbitrary use of sounds reveal a strong sensibility to the architecture of aesthetic.
“Tau Tau” manifests the voice element in Calhau!’s music as their main element. It’s been present in previous releases, but it’s the centerpiece here. All the words/phrases you hear are wordplays, with Portuguese words and their sounds, but also associations and co-relations. It’s done with purpose and meaning, it’s tailored work that carries meaning and – like in “BÓFIACULT” – a social critique.
The sounds and how Marta plays with her voice expose some other areas of work in Calhau!’s domain, like their continued interest in Portuguese folk traditions, not just with music/sound but also with objects. Objects that, ultimately, you can listen in “Tau Tau”. If you’re a fan of both our “Antologia De Música Atípica Portuguesa” compilations (they’ve of contributed with one track for our first volume “O Trabalho”), you’ll find “Tau Tau” as a good complement of how 21st century musicians understand and recreate Portuguese folklore.”
Black Truffle thank you lot for listening, with Oren Ambarchi & Will Guthrie, James Rushford, Rohan Drape, Delphine Dora, Alex Macfarlane, Andrew Chalk & Daisuke Suzuki, Tim Coster, Joe Talia, Julia Reidy.
Probingly bittersweet electro-acoustic investigations of online surveillance and security systems from Australia’s Jasmine Guffond, following excellent albums for Sonic Pieces with her Editions Mego debut.
Paranoid in tone and elusively spectral by nature, ‘Microphone Permission’ evokes its subject in a mix of quizzical ambient sound design and mutated techno pulses that furtively get under the listener’s skin. As one might hope from experiencing Jasmine’s acclaimed solo albums, ‘Yellow Bell’ (2015), ‘Traced’ (2017), and ‘Degradation Loops’ (2018), the sound of her new LP is also incredibly detailed and once again lures us into a hypnagogic state where her ideas about contemporary life’s liminal but ubiquitous aspects can better take hold.
"Coming from a background in composing for theatre, dance and site specific installation, Jasmine is well versed in transcribing complex ideas into sonic arrangements that reflect their subject. The material in ‘Microphone Permission’ stems from a range of these projects - from the sonification of Twitter meta data, to soundtracks for an extinct forest, and emulating the harmonic shifts of a hydroelectric dam - without referring to them directly, using them as research that feeds into her stark and brooding dystopian musical worldview.
Developed over the course of two years, ‘Microphone Permission’ takes a justifiably paranoid standpoint against the ubiquity of smart phone surveillance systems. Taking cues from the example of the Spanish football league accessing fans’ phones via apps, to see if they were watching illegally screened games, Guffond’s music has a slow creeping sensibility that emulates the now near ubiquitous psychic dread of being watched. Between the muffled voices and subtly piercing tones of ‘Forever Listening’, the warped Arpanet-like electro of ‘Dotcompound’, and the introspective descent from clammy ambient pop to jagged electronics in Jasmine’s concluding statement of ‘An Utterly Dark Spot’, she portrays an aspect of the world as hidden, subliminal as it is ubiquitous and invasive, making for one of the uncanniest, incisive computer music records of 2020 so far."
Foodman initiates Highball Records, a new London label focussed on contemporary music from Japan
While best known for making deftly animated footwork tax, on ‘DOKUTSU’ Foodman follows his nose between all manner of styles, shapeshifting from jazy, strolling house (‘Kazunoko’), to rapidly strobing flashcore-like pulses (‘Kachikachi’) via explorations of bullet-time proprioceptions and vocal cut-ups (’Hirake Tobira’), knackered techno chug (‘Imo Hori’), and colourfully ribboning synths (‘Oshiro’) recalling NHK workouts.
“Foodman emerged from Japan’s nascent footwork scene, using the genre as a springboard for an escapist exploration into a dazzling array of sounds. He’s since earned the respect of influential fans including Diplo, Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat and HOMESHAKE, while Pitchfork, Noisey, FACT and Tiny Mix Tapes have included his releases in various ‘best of the year’ lists since 2016.”