Legendary synthesist Conrad Schnitzler lets his imagination run free as he describes the ‘Conditions of the Gas Giant’, taken from a rare 1988 tape and issued on vinyl, CD, and DL formats for the first time. Includes a haul of killer, martial rhythms that strongly recall Schnitzler’s work for BM originals Mayhem, but with more pronounced medieval vibes and even applied to jack trax
“Bureau B present a reissue of Conrad Schnitzler's Conditions of the Gas Giant, originally released on cassette in 1988. The Berlin artist first released these recordings on a small American cassette label. Admirers of the seminal artist Conrad Schnitzler can be found all over the planet, including the USA, of course. Matt Howarth, illustrator and independent comic artist, is one of them. He has been following Schnitzler's music since the early 1970s whilst drawing offbeat science fiction stories. One day Howarth came up with the idea of making Schnitzler a member of a notorious band -- The Bulldaggers -- who featured in one of his comic series. Not wanting to go ahead without permission, he got in touch with Schnitzler who readily embraced the idea. In fact, he posted a pile of photos by return so that the graphic artist could draw him properly. The Bulldaggers popped up repeatedly in the comics and Schnitzler was (repeatedly) delighted. A friendship soon developed between him and Howarth. In 1986, Howarth designed his first cover for a Schnitzler album (Concert) and the following year Schnitzler entrusted him with tapes which Howarth was able to bring to the notice of the small American label Bird O' Pray. Considering the label's predominantly punk and early garage leanings, Howarth and Schnitzler were as surprised as each other to see the album successfully released on cassette.
Howarth and Schnitzler came up with the album title together. Conditions of the Gas Giant reflected the atmosphere they associated with the music, clouds of manifold colors, whirling nervously above a gaseous planet. A methane and helium tryst in sonic form -- fireworks, pyrotechnics for the eyes, like the surface of Jupiter, just as Schnitzler's tracks are pyrotechnics for the ears. This is the image conveyed by Matt Howarth in the liner notes for the reissue -- naturally designed by himself -- based on the aborted 1990s CD release. He also called on his friend D.H. Kister for further assistance, the man who first introduced him to Schnitzler's music almost fifty years ago. First CD and vinyl release.”
Tuff, rolling neuro-D&B from London’s Xanadu on Dom & Roland Productions
‘Helicon’ finds a fine tension between glyding neuro bass and busy, rattling drums gelled with widescreen pads, setting he scene for a more dramatic onslaught of surging, distorted mid-range snarl and romantic pads with ‘Tokamak’.
Italian psych-jazz-house artist Marcello Napoletano adopts the Anthoney Parasaula alias for a trio of knotty, unquantised jags on Roots Underground
Presumably employing the titular, vintage Italian Crumar synth, he ties up three wickedly tetchy and deviant grooves, writhing like a West London broken beat joint in ‘Crumarjay’, and barely keeping it together with the rude Theo Parrish-like swang of ‘Hi Tech Nick Son’, and getting freaky on a noisy Afro-tribal flex with the rogue psycho-jazz trample of ‘Softdamn,’
Strong contrasts between harsh wall of noise and dread-filled choral relief by Switzerland’s Purpura and the mysterious Lacrima
Among the best of Opal Tapes’ most recent batch, this split finds strength in its relatively conservative, generic purism, executing its ideas with clarity of vision and effect.
Purpura’s ‘New World In A Peaceful Death’ stealthily uses amplitude to draw us into its barely there beginning and into steady building inferno of destructive harsh noise for 30 masochistic minutes. In stark opposition, ‘Dust Sculptures’ by Lacrima unveils a ghostly swell of keening, harmonised choral voices that we’d love to hear in an empty church or warehouse.
High-velocity Berghain-styled techno missiles from Greek-via-Russia producer Stef Mendesidis
Launching with the streamlined 136bpm trajectory of ‘Cyber Document’, he maintains the pressure with a darker touch in the choral motifs and clapping encouragement of ‘Celesta 33’, injecting some dreamier trance pads into the pacy guile of ‘Pain Killer’ and finishing the workout with a prime peacetime girder, ‘Hunt.’
Greek producer Anatolian Weapons meets Toulouse Low Trax on a low-key, mystic tip alongside remixes by Mr TC and Mekine U Teksi
In duo with Detlef Weinrich (DJ Sport/Kriedler/Toresch/Tolouse Low Trax), Anatolian Weponms cooks up the simmering Aegian bobber ‘Ofiodaimon’, which is also revealed as a sort of folk-drone procession in the original. Mr. TC connects with the original vibe at a sub 100bpm pace in a swirling sphere of wobbly bass and hazy vocal tendrils, and Turkey’s Mekine U Teksi steers it into Turkish psych-disco styles.
Slurried rhythmic noise grot from a suitable new mutant on Opal Tapes
In key with VSCC’s 2018 tape for Nostrilevo, ‘EMSGD’ metes out four heavily decayed parts of squashed rhythmic noise ranging from the greyscale effluence of ‘Motionless & White’ to the chewy acidic wobble of ’88_9_29’, a claggy industrial lurcher catchily-titled ’143 129 23.6 502 .000 .662 5.’, and the Nick Klein styles of ‘7_10_31.’
T. Raumschmiere, Dasha Rush, Pilocka Krach, and Paul Frick revise tracks from Gudrun Gut’s ‘Moment’ album in their own image
It’s pleasing to hear T. Raumschmiere return to his signature techno swagger, albeit with a much darker lust in his remix of ‘Lover’, while the reliable Dasha Rush gives ‘Baby I Can Drive My Car’ a rugged darkwave electro overhaul, and Brandy Brauer Frick’s Paul slackens ‘Musik’ to a knackered throb.
Nasty EBM-techno chainsaws from Private Selection boss Jesse Pimento aka Dreams for Dutch powerhouse Pinkman
Revolving a full barrel of bullets, the ‘Beacon Of Power’ EP solidly covers ground between 110-120bpm, scaling from the weaponised grind of its big highlight ‘Slug Street Disko’ thru to swaggering, late ‘80s Wax Trax styles in ’N.B.D.’ and some almighty slow pounders in the pendulous crack and bump of ‘Pay No Mind’ and the deadly ‘Kicking & Scratching’, which we could swear is a slowed down version of something else, but we can’t place a finger on. Answers on a postcard, please.
Remastered reissue of a super smooth gospel soul rarity brimming with exulted vibes. Unavailable since the early ‘80s, and expensive to buy 2nd hand nowadays
“Amazing private gospel modern soul/boogie LP originally released in 1981, featuring an alternate version of the dance floor killer "Spread Love".
Having grown up in rural West Virginia, Michael Orr is a marvelously talented musician and accomplished singer, songwriter, and producer. From the time he was placed on a piano bench as a toddler, Michael has been playing and composing music. In 1975 Michael Orr recorded his first full record “Spread Love” which became an international classic. In 1979 he recorded his second and much lesser known album “Love Will Rise” in Los Angeles and released it on the Birthright record label. The single “Love Will Rise” was a tribute to The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A gem of a smooth soul album – completely rare in the original, and a fully honest testament from Michael Orr. Orr's got a real talent for a song – and his commitment to strong vocals can be heard in his mix of styles that recall bits of Andy Bey, Jon Lucien, Gil Scott-Heron, and DJ Rogers.
An absolutely incredible gospel modern soul album, finally available again, fully licensed and remastered, with original artwork. Not to be missed!”
South Korea’s J E L L V A K O debuts her agitated cyber-techno-punk sound on Opal Tapes.
One the most absorbing instalments of OT’s late solely, ‘Integration’ pulls from modern digital noise, ruder ghetto styles and sawn-off hardcore techno to frame a sort of sci-fi soundtrack style.
In the fractured designs of opener ‘Fanatic’, convulsing metal prangs and splashes of acid rain make for an unpredictably ace sound triggering a chain reaction of styles that knots and contracts between the furtive swagger of ’FaMe’ and beguiling proprioceptive dynamics of her gorgeous centrepiece ‘D O S I’. Skip the dumpy missfire of the dated dubstep lurch in ‘KODE 01’, and the devilishly detailed ’S P L A S H’ gets back on track. One to keep an eye on.
This is the odd man out in the Ethiopiques series, which is ostensibly dedicated "the golden age of Ethiopian music."
"However, you could make a case that the fall of the Derg dictatorship in 1992 brought its own golden age, and it was celebrated in the azmaribets, the folk cabarets that proliferated in urban centers, notably Addis Ababa.
In many ways, it was pretty much the only popular music available. It's quite folkloric, and inevitably acoustic, and the Addis style, known as bolel ("car exhaust fumes"), as practiced by many of these performers, is often improvised, frequently sarcastic - a reveling in the new freedom. Of course, there are differentiations between the artists. Zedwitou Yohannes, one of the females singing in the cabarets, for example, as a habit of whistling while taking in breath, which comes across as quite distinctive, while her sister, Yezinna Negash, sometimes refers back to historical events to make her point. The azmaris use allegory a great deal, and their music, generally accompanied by strummed stringed instruments and percussion, might seem simple, but it offers a stunning level of complexity. And if you want to hear how Rastafarianism has traveled to its spiritual homeland, listen to Adaneh Teka sing "Bob Marley," which quotes the legend's Everything's Going to Be All Right - and in English, along with the name the name of other famous performers and soccer players - amid a fiddle line that can chill."
Ferric-fogged ambient kisses and warbly, sepia-toned nostalgia from California’s r beny, beautifully presented in Femke Strijbol’s screen-printed artwork. RIYL Deru, BoC, The Boats
“Myth makes Echo the subject of longing and desire. Physics makes Echo the subject of distance and design. Where emotion and reason are concerned both claims are accurate. And where there is no Echo there is no description of space or love. There is only silence.” (Mark Z. Danielewski)”
Body-gratifying, technoid suss from one of our favourite rhythmaticians; New Orleans-via-Atlanta’s Leonce, giving his Morph Tracks label a golden start.
2 years since his deadly infectious ‘Insurgency’ 12” with Fade To Mind, Leonce mints his own label with a swingeing display of rhythmelodic hustle that leaves everyone else seeming stiff as f*ck.
Speaking absolute percussive truth in each corner, he rolls out four incredibly supple and slinky dance grooves that say the most with the least. ‘Penetration Testing’ sets it off so damn right with trilling martial claves and grubbing bass bustle synched to early trance techno riffs to own your tendons, before ‘Werkk’ flips a house classic with devilish, elastic swang and parry.
So it comes as a lush surprise when he comes with blushing chord drones in the 2nd half, lighting and softening the gnashing drums of ‘Ricochet’ to sound like a mix of classic Detroit/Dutch techno feels and encrypted Afro-Latin patterns, before ‘Vesper’ adds a trace of ominous Twin Peaks-y views to that blend with addictive effect.
Unmissable for DJs/dancers.
The Danish guitar charmers channel classic kosmische and American minimalism in five durational, hypnotic flights for their debut collaboration, bringing together Munk’s years of playing with Causa Sui with the iridescent freshness of Sørenson, following solo albums.
“On a foundation of interlocking guitar and synthesizer patterns, the duo constructs lengthy pieces that are experimental yet welcoming in nature, precisely executed yet with room for soaring improvisation. Always Already Here pays homage to the masters of classical minimalism (Steve Reich, Terry Riley) and the pioneers of electronic music and kosmische (Brian Eno, Manuel Göttsching), still it doesn't sound derivative or retrospective. The type of hypnotic bliss Munk and Sørensen strive for is distinctly timeless.”
The third installment of Buda Musique's Ethiopiques series is undoubtedly one of the best, an unlikely occurrence as most of this material was released in 1975 - a year after the fall of Emperor Haile Sallassie and after the rise of a repressive military regime that quickly brought to an end the "Golden Age" of "Swinging Addis."
"Mahmoud Ahmed, the best known Ethiopian pop singer in Europe, contributes the two powerful lead tracks and the finale: three trance-heavy tracks not found on other Ethiopiqes releases dedicated specifically to him. But the best material on this installment are Alemayehe Eshete's tracks, four in all, that sound like heavy, James Brown-style funk sung by an African with a Middle Eastern horn section. Elsewhere, Hirut Beqele's ska-like rhythms and wavering, melodica-sounding voice testify to the reciprocal influence of Jamaican music."
This volume of the Ethiopiques series is the one that veers closest to what we think of as the traditional modern sound of Africa.
"The cycling stringed instruments, the chanting vocals, the handclaps, all remind one of juju music. Not that that's a bad thing. In fact, this might be the best single disc of traditional African music to emerge in the years prior to 2001. Most of this music is from the northern region of Eritrea and marked by a ring of singers and dancers who gradually increase the speed and complexity of their clapping and ululating to the point of frenzy. This is haunting stuff, not as mind-blowing as the sunglassed funk of the other volumes of the series, but charming in its way and a vital chapter in the musical history of the region."
Smudged, balmy Balearic chug and woozy far eastern vibes, teamed with an ace, New Beat-esque remix by Suzanne Kraft
“Olaf Blanch debuts on Modern Obscure Music with the Borealis EP, which also features a remix by Suzanne Kraft. The Barcelona based producer presents four original tracks that explore different Balearic soundscapes, from the exciting adventure of Nur Yawa to the deep ambience of Birds. For reference points, think Mark Barrott’s Islands project or some of the great Ambient records of the 1990s. This isn’t all. Suzanne Kraft turns Nur Yawa on its head, creating a catchy and very danceable Nu Beat styled remix.”
Big room UK rolige from Silas & Snare for big stage player Madam X and her Kaizen label
‘Pressure’ comes with dramatic intro, precipitous drops and dry claps to cut thru big rigs, while ‘Dreamscape’ opens out with brooding pads over percolated subs and minimal but militant percussion, with the tense build of ‘Whistle Blower’ leaning into a rugged sort of proggy UK bass style.
Recording in the '70s in Addis Ababa, Ahmed mixed R&B with hypnotic Eastern vocal lines to create a most unusual style.
"At first the music seems familiar, with a lineup of guitar, bass, drums, and organ sounding like an ersatz Booker T and the MG's. But when Ahmed's keening, confounding voice joins in, listeners find themselves in new territory. The music is worthwhile just for its unsettling quality on Western ears."
Andy Votel expands on Finders Keepers’ reissue of the Moomins music by Graeme Miller & Steve Shill with his soundtrack for an exhibition of artwork inspired by Moomins illustrator and author Tove Janssen.
Commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in October 2017, and recorded in situ at the exhibition by Jonathan Edwards and Felt Mistress, Votel’s instrumental soundtrack mixes elements of the original animation soundtrack and related sounds, blended in 13 sections. The nostalgia feels are clear and present, casting almost everyone over the age of 30-odd back to a world of fuzzy felt characters and their adventures in the bucolic Moominvalley. Aces, natch.
Heart-warming, rhythm-driven electronica from James Clements, aka prolific D&B producer ASC, exploring a gentler, Schnaussian sound as Comit for A Strangely Isolated Place
In a beautifully refined shift away from the steely contours and urgent rhythms of his widely-adored ASC releases, Commit locates a finely feathered balance of float-away melodies and the kind of sweetly puckered, whirring rhythmic impulses that connect ‘90s Autechre and B12 to early Ulrich Schauss’ noughties ambient-pop and its contemporary echoes from the likes of Synkro.
Effectively the eight tracks of ‘Remote Viewing’ form a tactile inversion of Clements’ better known side. but they should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed his meticulous and abundant work since start of this century, and more specifically in the past decade, when he has really dominated a certain grey area of modern D&B.
Between the crimped rhythms, reverse string loops and wistful pads of opener ‘Behind Dulled Eyes’ and the eldritch acid-hop whirl of album closer ‘Soliloquy’, Comit portrays a sweetly tempered version of himself that’s sure to attract lovers of fluffier electronics in the likes of his Autechrian nod ‘Flutter’, the dewy-eyed bliss of ‘Reverie’ and the soul-searching stroll of ‘Meadows.’
The return of Wax Poetics, in a new European edition. Same quality, size, and focused scope
“The iconic Wax Poetics returns to Europe with this unique Collector's Edition. After a brief hiatus from the shelves, the magazine is returning in its original format, size, and structure. This Collector's Edition will feature classic articles (inc Melvin Bliss & Gary Bartz) from the Wax Poetics vaults plus new words about the ever-growing London jazz scene and a look back at its acid jazz movement. Expect the magazine to continue to close the gap in music journalism between coverage of contemporary artists and celebration of classic trailblazers."
Classic, cusp-of-darkside ‘ardcore collage styles from Alex Banks and Danny DiMerre’s pivotal Hyper-On-Experience duo, remasterd and reissued by the legendary Kniteforce label
Crammed with nanoscopic edits and multiple breakdowns, this is the sound of ’93 at its most inventive and definitively nutty in that inimitable UK style. From the original 12” comms three bullets; the jaw-trembling, rogue stepper ‘Disturbance’, the deep diving rush of ‘Monarch Of The Glen’ with it’s wide-eyed synth into and scintillating schizoid switch-ups, plus the rudeboy rufige of ‘Lil Ruffian’, and Alex Jungle’s cut-up, catapulting remix of ‘Monarch of The Glen.’
Rupa’s cult, 1982 Indian “disco” side comes back around on a fully legit pressing via Numero. Some of it is novelty, but the standout ‘Aaj Shanibar’ is a proper burner!
“Barely disco and hardly jazz, Rupa Biswas’ 1982 LP is the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic. Tracked in Calgary’s Living Room Studios with a crack team of Indian and Canadian studio rats alike, Disco Jazz is a perfect fusion of East and West. Sarod and synthesizer intricately weaving around one another for 37 transcendent minutes, culminating in the viral hit “Aaj Shanibar.” Remastered from original analogue source material and with the permission and blessing of the producers and performers.”
First time vinyl press of two super-infectious, jazz funk rare grooves from an early 2000’s CD
Jazz-Funk legend Don Blackman belts it out on both sides, riding a strapping B-line and freshly polished synths on ‘Just Can’t Stay Away’ in stereo and mono versions, for some reason.