Private Press Spiritual Jazz from D.C's Jeff Majors.
"Blending beautiful harp & kalimba playing, drum machines (Linndrum) and synth lines, unique combination of instrumentation & vocal layers here. Also holds a cover of John Lennon's ''Let It Be''.. Jeff was one of Alice Coltrane's students at the Ashram and played in Brother Ah's band.. Incl booklet. TIP!"
Skyf Connection (pronounced skAyf) was a short lived project by long time friends Anthony Mthembu and Enoch Nondala. At the time they were working for Annic Music, an independent label run by married couple Anne and Nic Blignaut. Although the label was known mostly for Zulu, Sotho, Tsonga and other traditional styles, they had a few Disco releases on the label including groups like Keith Hutchinson’s Focus and Enoch’s discovery Lena, who went on to have huge success under the name Ebony a few years later.
"In 1984, when an artist didn’t show up for a booked session they decided to make use of the studio time and began working on a demo. At the time Anthony and Enoch had been playing for a year at a new club called Gamsho, located on a farm on the outskirts of Kliptown Soweto. Along with Blackie Sibisi, Sepate Mokoena and Elijah “chippa” Khumalo they made up the resident house band. Due to cultural boycotts and American artists refusing to perform in the country, locals took it upon themselves to fill the market with the American sound the crowds demanded. The demo they recorded at Blue Tree Studios was going to be their product they could use to promote their brand of the American sound. They then took the demo to Universal Studios where their friend and trusted engineer Jan “fast fingers” Smit was working. It would be here that they would polish their demo into something they could take to their bosses and have pressed. Equipped with a DX 7, Linn Drum and some Juno synthesizers they were on their way. Jan lived up to his name and programmed the drums, it is rumoured he could program in almost real time, a skill that translated to the local arcade where he held high scores on many machines. Enoch would be singing and playing guitar while Anthony would do all the Bass and Keyboards. The result was 4 funky party anthems with synth work like no other recording at the time. Their take on what they believed the crowd would want to hear at the beloved club they called home.
From start to finish the 4 tracks portray what would have been a standard night at the Gamshu. Although the club would open earlier and the standard hours of most clubs was 6 to 6 , the band would start playing at 10pm. With their standard set time and Anthony and Enoch unique view on what a Disco should be, they chose the motto Ten to Ten as the album title because those were the hours when they were the stars and Disco ruled the dance floor. To get to the club was a bit difficult, you needed to drive along an empty road where thieves waited for any patrons trying their luck walking after dark. Since there was no transport during the night, the safest way to get home was to wait till the next morning to walk home. Even though in the summer months of Johannesburg light begins to peek in just after 4am, crowds refused to leave and stayed enjoying good music and company until 10am. The lead off track “Let’s Freak Together” has powerful lyrics encouraging people to let go of their worries, put aside any differences and let the music bring everyone to freak and dance together. The whole album is about the joy we can all feel when we share the same moments and how music can bring people together in a unique way, a philosophy shared with the original nightclubs of 70s New York. This approach to music is where the name Skyf Connection comes from, translating from slang to mean the connection we create through sharing, in this case Music and good times.
Skyf Connection would go on to play at Gamsho till the club’s closure in 1986. In those years their popularity lead to being booked for private events like weddings and birthday parties, as well as gigs in some other venues like Mofolo Hall. They would share the stage with many artists through the years learning artist’s songs and providing support as a backing band. After the club closed Anthony would go on to join the house band at The Pelican, another famous club located in Orlando East, as well as dabbling with songwriting for artists like Phumi Maduna and helping Enoch on many projects through the years. Enoch would ditch live music altogether and immerse himself in studio work, starting full time as a house producer and A&R for the recently formed Ream Music. He would go on to produce hit albums for pop artists like Percy Kay and Makwerhu but made his mark discovering countless artists that would become stars in the traditional market. They would remain friends until Anthony’s passing in 2016 and although Anthony is no longer with us his spirit lives in the grooves he left on this one of a kind record. His wife Vinolia will be accepting his portion of the profits on his behalf."
Proper 4th world ventures from Laurent Jeanneau and Chinese avant-garde artist Li Daiguo, meshing and processing a wide mix of Chinese instruments with field recordings and folk songs.
“The prolific Kink Gong (aka Laurent Jeanneau) returns in a unique duet with one of the most prominent artists of the Chinese avantgardist scene Li Daiguo. Kink Gong and Li Daiguo first met in Chengdu (capital of Sichuan Province, China) while playing the same night at the Jahbar music venue.
A few months later, as they become neighbors in Cai Cun, a village near the old town of Dali (Yunnan), Kink Gong begins recording Daiguo playing Pipa, Cello and Zheng. He then proceeded to deconstruct these recordings while adding voices that he mainly recorded in Yunnan Province. This fantastic combination of field recordings, experimental folk melodies and electronic treatment leads us to a fourth underground universe reminiscent of Jon Hassell's finest hours.”
Slompy, hazy, side-chained ambient-soul chuggers and ruggedly woozy knocks from Yuk., back on it for LA’s Leaving Records.
"Co-founder & head chef of the buzzing fine dining restaurant, LASA, LA's Chad Valencia aka yuk. returns to LEAVING Records leading the ambient lo-fi revolution within LA's beat-scene - heralded historically within the production culture of LEAVING's community.
Speaking sonically & conceptually to the nuanced heritage of yuk.'s Filipino upbringing - the Paraiso EP marks the first of two installments in contemporary works of sound art forthcoming from the experimental beatmaker."
‘Word Wall 2’ is the debut gob of existential inquiry by author Austin Collings with Elena Poulou (The Fall) and Liam Power (By the Sea) on the freshly hocked label wing of notorious Salford club, The White Hotel
Following from Austin’s ‘Blade Jogger’ record in 2017, which played on loop in The White Hotel bogs until the cleaners turned it off, ‘Word Wall 2’ or ‘WW2’ finds Austin Collings & By The Sea roping in a phalanx of fiends and friends including Elena Poulou (erstwhile player of keys for The Fall) as well as Natalie Curtis, Helenskià Collett, Neil Robbins and various nefarious types to bring Austin’s depictions of life in Prestwich and being immured in Manchester’s literary/music/art “scene” to a resting place on vinyl.
The tortuous, 15’ first half is co-narrated mostly by Austin and partly his longtime pal Elena Poulou (also a patron of our long gone shop Pelicanneck) and set to a wistful backdrop of drizzly guitars, Factory-line synths, motorik drive and knackered techno with glimpses of music box melody, all performed and arranged by Elena with By The Sea. The style will be recognisable to fans of ‘Blade Jogger’, and is perhaps best described to everyone else as noirish short story or hauntoligical poem distilling Austin’s, and by extension, Manchester’s wry blend of ennui and mucky passions that fuels us day to day.
On the B-side ‘The One Show’ offers a more impersonal, smudged and detached experience rendered thru a collage of location recordings made in/around The White Hotel. From recollections of the Yorkshire Ripper to apocalyptic declarations, acrimonious acronyms and glossolalic speaking-in-tongues wrapped in nods to classic pop culture gone avant-garde, it’s all as salubrious as a weekend booked in to TWH and its all mod-cons-reserved facilities. Pour yourself a Jacob, pull up a coffin, and make yourself uncomfortable.
Manny dance dynamo Anz shells 20 of her in-demand grime/garage/jungle/juke dubs in a special tape edition for Finn’s 2 B Real
Cooked up circa the release of Anz’ wicked ‘Invitation 2 Dance’ EP in spring 2019, the session is testament to the pivotal DJ/producer’s rudegyal style snd energy, constantly switching up/down from bumping broken beats thru sparking 2-step electro, mutant ‘ardcore, bullish Bassline and nitro-injected Ghettotech. Properly primed for party season, the mix also serves as a warning shot for Anz’ upcoming manoeuvres with a Shaolin-level order of DJs set to dominate Manchester’s club life in 2020. More on that in due course.
End to end the mix is pure fire and pieced together with the skills that have earned Anz a deadly reputation over the past few years, as heard in her B2B sets with everyone from Finn and Tom Boogizm to DJ Q. The first side sees her limber up with a relatively slower slew of garage, broken beat and grime mutations with one foot in the ‘90s and the other in 2019, before she keeps toeing the gas to take in her special brand of R&G blends alongside Reese-powered proto-grime and a hot-footing Vince Staples edit, and eventually cutting the fuck loose with nutty mentasms, coiled jungle and an unmissable juke flip of Ella Mai.
Of course you trust us, but if not - 10K listens and 100 commenters on Anz’ soundcloud for ‘Spring/Summer Dubs 2019’ surely proves that this mix has got legs. It’s only her 2nd physical release, too, and thus a perfect stocking filler for your favourite raver (along with a few cinnamon-flavour Garys and a reusable Evian bottle).
"Polish composer Olga Wojciechowska is a busy woman. While her releases have been limited, she's spent much of the last few years working on commissions for a variety of film, TV, contemporary dance and theatrical productions - including, rather surprisingly, a recent score for the Royal Opera House's production of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Medusa."
"Infinite Distances" is just her second solo album as an artist and offers a neat summary of her distinctive style, which blends elements of contemporary classical, buzzing and crackling experimentalism, slowly shifting electronica and drowsy but picturesque ambient music. It's a blueprint that makes for hugely enjoyable listening, with her penchant for combining beautiful piano motifs and woozy, layered electronics coming to the fore."
Kaleidoscopic, polyrhythmelodic grooves inspired by Indian music and recorded on basic electronics
“Composed after an inspiring first trip to India, 'Variante' is an attempt to interpret the subjective impressions of his first visit outside of the western world. “I felt very naive,” says MinaeMinae. “The attempt to reflect this other world alone with my existing knowledge had to fail; it was doomed to fail. It seems to me arrogant to put this world in my mind's drawers. So I tried to see this world with an ‘innocent eye,’ through the eyes of a child.”
The term “the innocent eye” was coined by the Victorian era English art critic John Ruskin in his book 'Elements of Drawing' (1857). In order to learn how to draw, Ruskin writes that one must see the world, colors, and shades with “the innocence of the eye,” or, in other words, a childlike perception. “This approach, in the artistic sense, may be a bit dated. The concept of ‘innocence’ seems strange from today's point of view, but for me, this approach was interesting. It reduces the sensory impressions and complexity of the world which helps in creative work,” MinaeMinae explains.
'Variante' is not a direct copy or interpretation of Indian music or culture, rather, it’s “an attempt to approach the tragedy of the impossibility of complete understanding of other cultures, and to accept this tragedy with the utmost respect and humility for the foreign. This acceptance of non-knowledge creates new possibilities to musically translate my own subjective impressions,” explains MinaeMinae.
Through the percussive glimmers of 'Variante,' another far-off world, seemingly familiar and foreign, takes shape. A world that offers listeners the space for thoughts and impressions to drift, dock, or swirl in the many shifting spaces between rhythms.”
Dons in their field, Ruffhouse affiliates Pessimist & Karim Maas mete out a paranoid debut collaboration of dusty downstrokes and dread electronics.
The duo’s eponymous debut album is perhaps the strongest of its ilk in recent memory. Dwelling in the shadows somewhere between techno overlord Kareem’s sorely overlooked hip hop instrumentals on the Ramadan label, the smoky silhouettes of classic Portishead, and the dub-possessed spirits of Kevin “The Bug” Martin at its most scowling, the album is unyielding in its depressive outlook, but, like the aforementioned references, Pessimist & Karim Maas’s patient and texturally-detailed arrangements speak to an almost comforting virtue of darkside, isolationist UK pressures that will resonate strongly with those who like their coffee as black/brown as their hash.
Trust they’re not fucking about. It’s purely dank.
Pessimist by name and nature, Kristian Jabs supplies a bassy warning shot about ecocide in the Boreal Massif duo with Reuben Kramer via his personal label spearheading the Trip Hop 2.0, err, thing.
In a similar mode to the ‘Pessimist & Karim Maas’ album, Boreal Massif’s ‘We All Have An Impact’ adopts a sluggish tempo to convey a foreboding sonic metaphor for the ruinous effect of humans over nature. It’s no Fatboy Slim sampling Greta Thunberg, but it is a fittingly sombre elegy for the apathy, well-intentioned floundering and confusion surrounding climate change.
In 12 parts they pull up the guilt like a poultice with low-key, shadowy layers of synths and earthy dub bass riddled with rudely sawn-off drums, often tending to rub out the rhythm and leave listeners in imposingly stark situations that recall classic Burial interludes or haunting passages of The Caretaker before strafing into claggy corners of crushed drums shades away from King Midas Sound and Kevin Martin’s glowering ‘90s styles.
Jazzy future bubblers flex from Bristol’s Sydney, flanked by sax from Guy Hobley and guitar by Charlei J-W
Where Sydney’s previous Black Acre outing focussed on Swaziland, his ‘Paraíso / Dahlia’ double-header looks to South America for inspiration in two cuts of bustling breakbeat intricacy and lithe, live instrumental chops, including the balmy B-side starring a delicious warm breeze of a vocal. Swear to god this could easily have appeared on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide show in 1999. One for the acid jazz dads.
Saz Û Dilan is the second solo album of Rizan Said. After King of Keyboards, the most exciting Kurdish-Syrian dance music around right now.. Surrounded by young local singers, Rizan offers his own interpretation of the modern dabke through eight original uptempo compositions full of energy.
"Rizan Said is a composer, musician and producer, responsible for hundreds of Syrian recording industry productions as well as compositions and themes for television and cinema. Hailing from Ras Al Ain, in northeastern Syria, Rizan was a musical prodigy from a young age – a gifted player of percussion and reed instruments before a wealth of synthesizers began flooding Syria in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Steadfast on the Syrian cassette album circuit at the time, Rizan was already sending his signals out from the Jazeera frontier, thanks to a partnership with local Syrian producer Zuhir Maksi. Later, he was the man behind Omar Souleyman’s music and have recorded and toured accross the world with him. Nowadays, he performes as a solo artist and brings the original dabke dance sounds of Syria to European festivals and concerts."
Baltimore house and broken beats bossman Karizma creams 12 years of production for the dancers
The missing link between the rudest house styles coming form Baltimore, and some of the plushest deep house from USA, Karizma is a certified don to dancers on many floors across the world.
‘Collection 1999-2011’ throws down some all time Karizma classics, taking in both parts of his deeply dubbed ‘Tech this Out’ and ‘Darqness’ hustles, plus the foundational UKF/Funky House banger ‘ICU’, the swingeing badness of ‘In Tha Deep’, and killer B-More breaks in ‘K.O.N.G.’, and ruffs broken beat tackle in ‘Twyst This’, ‘Da Bangah’, and ‘Again’.
Cop ‘em all. Your feet will thank you for it.
Guy Buttery’s Indie folk strums entwine with lissom Sitar tones and Hindustani classical singing by Ayurvedic medicine practitioner Dr. Kanada Narahari, who healed Buttery from “from debilitating bouts of fatigue which no diagnosis or medication could help”
“Born in a small village along the Western Ghats in Karnataka, India, Narahari, at the age of nine, had enrolled to study Carnatic classical vocal and developed an interest in Hindustani Classical music with a particular passion for the sitar. While Buttery had secured his reputation as one of South Africa’s musical treasures, a multi-instrumentalist who commands sold-out performances both locally and internationally and more recently had been awarded the prestigious 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music.
From this consultation, a friendship developed between the two musicians with Buttery soon inviting Narahari to join him in his studio. But it wasn’t all plain sailing in the beginning. While Buttery and Narahari’s sensibilities were very much aligned, there were a range of cultural and musical influences, nuances and inflections that first needed to be navigated and understood.
“I suppose we had to find a common ground.” Buttery says, before adding, “Which in the end turned out to be pretty "uncommon ground" for the both of us.” It was after a few intensive sessions together that something exhilarating began to emerge. What began as a few idle improvisations soon evolved into feverish and lengthier jams. Whenever time permitted, the musicians would meet, descending deeper into the emerging sounds, while reimagining the realms that existed between their African and Indian heritages.
Over the next few months, the duo would rack up over fifteen hours of recordings in studio, and it was up to Buttery to shape the material into an album which they collectively titled Nāḍī, which Narahari translates from the Sanskrit as "The Channel" or "An Internal River”.”
Ben Frost’s score to ‘Dark: Cycle 1’
"For the surreal German supernatural thriller, Frost’s dynamic and ominous orchestrations provide a striking backdrop. Says Frost: “Working in this strange and beautiful world of light and shadow has been a gift and an endless source of inspiration.”
Ben Frost is an Australian composer and producer based in Iceland. His albums include: ‘Steel Wound’ (2003), ‘School of Emotional Engineering’ (2004), ‘Theory of Machines’ (2007), ‘By the Throat’ (2009), ‘Sólaris’ (with Daníel Bjarnason) (2011), ‘Aurora’ (2014), ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’ (2017), ‘Fortitude OST’ (2017, 2018) and more. ‘Dark’ is set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families. The story takes on a supernatural twist that ties back to the same town in multiple time periods. The award-winning mystery series transcended borders and connected with audiences around the world."
Vinyl debut of a 1982 tape by Graham Massey (808 State, Toolshed) and co’s early jazz-funk-punk assembly, recorded 198-82 in the deconsecrated satanic mills of Ancoats, Manchester where you’ll now find “craft breweries and coffee fountains every few yards” according to Massey’s excellent sleeve notes
“From the same studio that brought us 48 Chairs (Gerry & The Holograms), The Fall and The Blue Orchids, while following the bona-fide bloodline between Danny And The Dressmakers, Toolshed and 808 State, the “difficult second album” by Biting Tongues (released on a minuscule cassette run by The Buzzcocks vanity label) has since become a near mythical artefact of Mancunian DIY. Cementing the path between the Absurd label’s kitchen sink synth assaults and Factory’s 99 informed downtown aspirations, Biting Tongues’ bass-driven, pounding-sounding, schizo-skronking, squat-pop put the emergence of punk-funk under a blinding interrogation bulb then hid round the corner evading secret police. Pouring three letter words like ESG, DAF, PIL and ACR into Ken Hollings Scrabble bag would result in a unique form of wordy dictaphone agit-rap and closed-circuit commentary to Graham Massey’s overqualified punk ensemble, laying foundations of future Manc activity using uncertified sand and gravel tactics, only to be safety checked every 38 years, or thereabout. Live It, the lost Biting Tongues album, still breathes.
Including what the original members of this pioneering post-punk platoon unanimously consider their greatest work, Biting Tongues seldom-heard, second roll of the dice was presented to The Buzzcock’s own label New Hormones to coincide with full-length DIY debuts by Ludus, Dislocation Dance and a distinct tightening of pursestrings. Recorded on half-price studio time (in the midst of a multi-track repair session) and duped on to compact cassettes to keep pressing costs down, the album Live It even entirely bypassed the non-existent art-department before landing in the hands of a small readership of peculiar punk die-hards, instantly slipping into obscurity, evading official band future discographies and reaching an imaginary status in the history of unchartered Manc-manufactured messthetics. Now available, on vinyl, with two sleeve variations and extensive notes from Graham Massey and Ken Hollings, Live It is a welcome misplaced release and an essential addition to Finders Keepers’ Cache Cache catalog. Biting Tongues make wise heads!”
More Goa-trance on 33-not-45 vibes from Alexis Le Tan and Joacim’s Full Circle on Crowdspacer
Making strong nods to the style pioneered, Fat Ronnie-style, by Vladimir Ivkovic, ‘Vol. IV’ builds up a stealthy head-of-steam with the screaming top lines and slow, jagged trance arps of ‘Alien Nation’ and with a more percussive emphasis in the B-side’s ’Shivering Shanti’ with its croaking acid riffs primed for slow-motion yoghurt weaving.
Contagious is the self-titled debut of Berlin avant-garde trio Andrea Neumann, Sabine Ercklentz, and Mieko Suzuki, produced by Rabih Beaini (Ra.H) and released via his newly active Morphine label.
Following from Beaini’s role in the more percussive, jazz-based experiments of Upperground Orchestra, he adapts his electronic palette to embrace esteemed improvisers, Andrea Neumann (Inside Piano), Sabine Ercklentz (Trumpet), and Mieko Suzuki (Turntables), as they probe fissures of electronic music, avant-garde noise, and free jazz on their debut volley.
Their dynamically massed sound harks back to the freeform styles of Italy’s legendary Gruppo d’Improvvisazzione Nuova Consonanza across 9 nine intrepid explorations that veer from aggressive yet spaced-out cosmic jazz in ‘Bearded Dragon’, to scratchy, insectoid rhythms and noisy abstraction in ‘Moon Wrasse’, and hollowed-out, creepy midnight styles in ‘Bluebanded Goby’, whereas ‘Peppermint Shrimp’ points to proper electro-jazz skronk, and and the collapsing drums of ‘Whiptail Lizard’ ultimately lead up to the gripping textures and lurking drones of ‘Banana Slug’ in a way recalling Emptyset’s recent, brilliant efforts in a similar, cranky headspace.
Mick Harris returns with his crushing first Scorn album since 2010; ‘Café Mor’ for his longtime gang at Ohm Resistance, featuring guest vocal by Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods)
While he’s spent the past few years hoping for tight lines and reigniting his Fret alias, many of Harris’ diehard followers have been eagerly awaiting the return of Scorn, possibly his best known project outside of his groundbreaking early work as drummer for grindcore originals, Napalm Death. Now is the time, dear lambs, for the beast to be unleashed across 8 tracks of his signature, gut-churning subs, death knell clangs and hard-bitten drums.
While the project initially foreshadowed aspects of dubstep, it ultimately faded away around the time that style took over, but appears to have skirted its event horizon and now manifests on the other side (was dubstep a manifestation of the singularity?) in 2019 with keeling level of pressure between the drop forge trample of ‘Elephant’, the slow rocking lurch of ‘The Lower The Middle Our Bit’, the lazed-guided electro-dub stinger ‘Dulse’, and even makes Jason Williamson sound dubbed-up and spat out on the swaggering halfstep Midlander bravado of ‘Talk Whiff’.
Leon Vynehall tends to his dark side with a trippy house blighter, spending the first 1/3 exercising his sound design skills to psychedelic effect before rolling out into a more conventional, if spaced-out, house hustle
Greek enigma JGD beautifully indulges esoteric dub urges and his own vocals for Berceuse Heroique following a string of celebrated experimental dub explorations for the house of Bokeh Verisons, Ectastic and The Tapeworm
Trotting on from his flips of Sade for BH, Jay Glass follows the ancient/futurist themes of his ace Not Glass collab with Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) across four tracks taking cues from ancient Greek mythology, German kosmiche longhairs and the wigged-out studio experiments of African Head Charge, all galvanised with the modernist efficiency that underlines all his music.
Whether lighting up the militant snares and cinematic strokes of ‘Das Ding An Sich’ with up-to-date flashes of trance pads, or cannily smudging and updating late ‘80s/early ‘90s “ethnodelic” ambient strains in ‘The Controversial Control’, he excels at making the familiar uncanny and vice versa. He spends the A-side priming this kind of inverted sound, readying the EP for a remarkable turn of Martyn Bates-like vocals on ‘Urged To Be Cleansed While Bathed In More Blood’, along with the psychedelic spy funk dub centrifuge of ‘An Ambivalent Path’, before his vocals appear again weft into the majestic swell of horns and beatific choral swells in ‘Atremes.’