Silvia Kastel & Lizzie Davis (Wilted Woman) debut as Shakey with a wickedly off-kilter batch of screwball rhythms and ambient abstraction for NYC’s Palto Flats
Merging minds in syncretic fusions for early/late dancefloors and wonky all-dayers, the pair’s natural, mutual feel for fourth world vibes, musique concrète, and digi-dub seeps out in fascinating ways that variously recall the glistening enigmas of Visible Cloaks (and their cult Japanese influences) as much as Georgia’s wide-eyed weltanschaaung and the more experimental early strains of Laurel Halo and Karen Gwyer.
’Shakey’ slots very neatly among Palto Flat’s reissues of Japanese ‘80s ambient touchstones by Mariah, Yasuaki Shimizu and Midori Takada with a sound that could arguably almost come from ‘80s Tokyo as much as modern day London, where the duo reside and hold down esteemed NTS shows and play live and DJ. Futureproofed by their synthetic hardware texturing, the results are timelessly odd in a rhythmelodic way that weaves across continents, eras and dimensions with a breezy effortlessness and zonked effect.
The fractal fourth world jungle decimations of ‘Crayscandens’ trigger a killer set that scales between the waviest byzantine mazes of ‘Slappy’, to hyaline esoteric simulacra in ‘Dischidia’, and two true highlights in their melted ambient techno stepper ‘Moth’, and the underwater phantasy ‘E ocean.’
New from one half of Giant Swan, one half of SRS with Sunun, and sonic provocateur as part of the multi-headed Avon Terror Corps contingent: Robin Stewart.
"A musician and artist that has a long running connection with the label, RS is a dear friend who has applied many an hour of DIY sticking, stamping, assembling here at our Bristol HQ: perhaps little known to most, his visual art was a catalyst for our first connection going back to 2012, in the very early days of this label, when he contributed with artwork to our third ever cassette release, El Kid's 'Labyrinth'.
Later on, in 2018, he delivered his first solo release via our label - the masterful 23min drone exercise of 'And Then' and title track 'Ominous Bath'. Two pieces of music we still come back to on a regular basis.
Now, two years later, and fresh on the heels of his excellent 12" for The Trilogy Tapes, he's back on NC perfectly soundtracking a shapeshifting, dare we say 'sinking' world, with his next solo offering: 'Marsupial' -
6 new cuts straight from the soundsystem minded, sonic swamp of Robin Stewart, sitting patiently at the soundboy's death bed, kissing him to sleep.
Opening up with ‘Pastel’, the low-frequency word-sound dance with Anglo-Afro-Latina poet Daniel Dyson, the meter is set with the pressure up to ten on the dial right from the start.
Once we've entered the zone, it's a depth charge straight into title track 'Marsupial', which is guided by extra mixing desk dub engineering via Sunun, and conjures the ghosts of 00's Bristol music, whilst injecting a kind of Chris & Cosey esque Trance. But don't get it twisted, Robin Stewart has a style of his own and this can be heard throughout all his work, whether solo, or in collaboration - His sound presents a world of wigged out ghost notes and slap-in-your-face tones & drones that dance together in skeletal, heavyweight style -
Throughout this record, the focus is centred around bassweight and third-eye opening glimmers of frequency that light up even the most pitch black moments, such as the paranoid vocal pitch shift of ‘Survival Guide’ - the most ‘techno’ of all, whilst sounding subversive enough to stand in it’s own corner with a grim smile.
These murky, forward-leaning vibrations are echo'd in ’Penny’ with it’s endless tunnel of dancehall reverberations... Another fine example of the constant rhythmic and melodic counter-balance to the vertigo of drum, and bass, which RS controls with a deadly sleight of hand.
The final cut, where it all falls apart in a ghostly orchestra of weightless, dizzying tones, draws the curtain on this display of soundsystem exercise, making it clear that these deft, omni-directional six tracks are here to invite us to the negative space between the crack of the drum and the gut-punch of the bassline. A chest-rattling, limb-by-limb vibration that rattles its way up your body from down below, all the way up to your dome, to converse directly with your synapses."
1st in a series of gang shots from Bristol’s LavaLava, from badhead bashment to a hard drum UKF bullet and frenchtek-y screwball by Lurka, Zoë McPherson and NKC x Roska
All four cuts characterise the label’s soundclash of styles, with hardcore techno, industrial and bashment churned up in rusty dub echo chamber still ringing with traces of Bristol’s breakcore/yardcore sound.
Zoë McPherson turns up a big highlight in her build up from doom-dub to full velocity frenchtek ‘Alva’, and the body-scanning bashment skip of Lurka’s ‘Patterning’ is bound to sound unreal on a big rig, as is the punchy, sparring UKF futurism of ‘Teardown’ from hard drum don NKC and Roska in Bakongo mode.
Fade To Mind’s LA lynchpin trades in bolshy and bumping club reinforcements on his sophomore solo album starring vox by UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, Ghost, Semma ++
Toned between upfront bangers and sultry R&B downstrokes, ’Neurofire’ sees Kingdom’s knack for plucking out vocalists in strong effect, pairing a clutch of of up-and-coming singers with his deeply thugged out style of club and jeep ready production. It’s typically heavy on the bass, but also luxuriously spaced out and sleeker than ever, with stacks of finely layered FM-style synth pads and well oiled rhythmic touches underlining the vocalists.
To play faves, listen out for the perfectly balanced bubble and puckered R&B vox of ‘High Enough’ with Tiara Thomas, and the rude Jersey kicks of ‘Arch Slide’ with club commanding bars split between UNiiQU3 & Tre Oh Fie, or for slower lower vibes peep the grinding ‘DS8’ and ‘Yikes’ with Ghost, both recalling the spooked slink of Paul Marmota to these ears. Trust it’s all good stuff from the label that brought you Kelela and Leonce.
Charli XCX’s lockdown pop riot album follows up 2019’s acclaimed ‘Charli’ with some of her sweetest and most nerve-dancing songwriting, with a naturally experimental pop lean abetted by PC Music’s AG Cook and Danny Harle.
Dished up with a video for each track at the start of lockdown, 'How I’m Feeling Now’ echoes feelings of confusion and frustration in her typically direct, incisive style. Bleary-eyed autotune ballads share space with pricklier electronic mutations of current global movements, kicking off the imaginary rave in killer shots like ‘Pink Diamond’ and ‘Anthems’, and late ‘90s AFX doing bubblegum/TNT vibes in ‘Detonate’ and ‘c2.0’, alongside her nippy, brittle and vulnerable 2-stepper ‘I Finally Understand’, while ‘the likes of ‘Party 4 U’ and ‘Forever’ are straight-up blue pop ballads for the times.
Volume two of an ambitious, epic Jóhann Jóhannsson Retrospective set.
"The deluxe hardcover book edition includes a comprehensive selection of his most influential scores & studio albums including his scores for Denis Villeneuve’s movies Sicario & Arrival.
It also feattures his original soundtracks for The Theory of Everything, The Mercy, his outstanding DG debut album Orphée, 12 Conversations with Thilo Heinzmann and his remastered early masterwork and milestone recording Englabörn including the corresponding Variations featuring Vikingur Ólafsson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ambient-Duo A Winged Victory for a Sullen et al.
The edition also includes previously unreleased tracks, two new essays by Wyndham Wallace and John Schaefer, a Bonus-DVD documenting a memorable concert at Funkhaus Berlin in December 2016, and a large number of rare photographs offering deep insights into Jóhann’s biography and music."
BFTT swings out in a natty style shared with Happa and Rian Treanor on three wickedly awkward funk-ups - big 12" this.
Following Szare’s lead to present the 2nd shot on Bristol-based Polity Records, BFTT tucks and creases the styles found on turns with Whities, Cong Burn and Gobstopper into increasingly mazy, physically playful production chicanery in three differing ways.
Salted with textured noise to taste, ‘Lokt’ goes in hardest and heads-down with frenetic twist on glitchy garage-techno pushing into crazed synth dissonance. ‘Intrusive Obstrusive’ follows with a clipped sort of dembow mechanics driving some spannered electronics and sweeter ambient pads, and ‘(in)finite scroll’ keeps the hustle tucked tight, bubbling and downlow for the thumb-twiddling club wallflowers who can’t stop checking their socials.
Ghost Phone dials in four late night R&G edits for the playas following a well received, sought-after debut.
Up top they hit a real R&B über classique on the downstroke with filter trickery and retuned rimshots, before stepping it up with frisky 2-step play hot on the striking chords in ‘Ride With Me’, and really swinging it on the offbeat with the hair-kissing funk of ‘Ize Kashmir’ in its pendulous OG and deliciously knackered dub mixes on the B-side. Fans of everything from Actress, Lukid, Huerco S to Burial, Rabit's Screw Tapes and Cooly G need to peep these.
Ossia goes off it as DJ OA$IS with the bleary swagger of ‘Goat Life!’ on the FuckPunk label he waters every-so-often with Vessel
Following up Michael O’Neill’s seething 2019 side, DJ OA$IS take charge with some of his most bull-headed gear in a minute, jabbing out atonal motorik rhythms with iron bar drums, electrocuted stabs and of course the gibbering demonic goat of the title. It’s big, daft, and not clever in the best way befitting of FuckPunk.