Mix Mup and Kassem Mosse deuce down a trio of slompy, dish-rinsing house deviations on the 3rd TTT X Palace 12”, following there examples of Theo Parrish and Omar Souleyman X Rezzett.
We’re all over the A-side like last night’s dinner on unwashed plates, loving those sloshing, pitch-bent drums that sound like someone washing a Roland machine in a saucepan under a cold, running water whilst Laraaiji doodles in the background, or something.
Chorus Beach is it’s drier counterpart on the B-side: a squeaky fresh slow house swinger elevated with mystic, discordant pads; and Watching Gischt hustles a deeply rude and loose house style somewhere to the left of Theo P and STL.
Arch isolationist Thomas Köner thaws out with Tiento de la Luz, the follow-up to his icier Tiento de las Nieves album, also for Denovali Records, as well as 2015’s A/V mini-opera The Futurist Manifesto, and an amazing, frequncy-massaged remix of Ricardo Donoso.
“A tiento is a form of keyboard music that originated in Spain in the mid-15th century. Thomas Köner's first encounter with this musical genre goes back to a commission from Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Neue Musik, for which he chose to do an interpretation of Antonio Cabezon’s "Tiento del primer tono" (1570). He rearranged and performed the work with gongs, piano, and live electronics in 2012. "Tiento de la Luz" is Köner's second tiento, succeeds "Tiento de las Nieves" (2014) and precedes the upcoming "Tiento de la Oscuridad". While "Tiento de las Nieves" is a work for solo performer and live electronics, the instrumentation of "Tiento de la Luz" is expanded: in addition to Köner's distinct live electronics, there are two piano parts, percussion, and viola da gamba.”
Oliver Doerell and Roger Doering's revive their much-loved Dictaphone project, last active in the early-mid 2000s on City Centre Offices.
Joined this time around by Alexander Stolze on violin, they generate a lavishly cinematic sound, at times distinctly Continental, at others given a decidedly Arabic lilt, especially on the gorgeous 'Manami' and 'Soylent Green (1973)'.
There are echoes of the micro-level loop-finding experiments of Jan Jelinek, at others the midnight arthouse blues of Julian Neto, but Dictaphone have got their own thing going, and Poems From A Rooftop is an elegantly constructed work of modern electronic jazz, suavely bohemian without being flip, beautifully detailed without being over-fussy, and warmly recommended.
Joy O supplies 50 vocal loops and locked grooves to Overmono’s Poly Kicks series...
Following the lead of Haroon Mirza and Truss, Joy O’s edition revolves 50 loops for the crafty DJ, ranging from the core samples to ’Sicko Cell’ to snippets of Bernie Mac and stacks of diva stabs...
Finally, Hospital Productions unveil the long awaited vinyl debut from the elusive Salford Electronics, backed with killer remixes by Ancient Methods and Vatican Shadow. Tipped if yr into Burial, Regis, Silent Servant...!
Plucked from right under our noses, Salford Electronics appears to be a handle for David Padbury, whose credits for industrial units such as Death Pact International and The Grey Wolves stretch back to the ‘80s. Under the SE mantle however, Padbury pursues a stealthy, menacing blend of industrial ambient, rolling techno and even Burial-esque 2-step that cannily resonates with styles you’ll hear any given weekend at Salford venue, The White Hotel - aka the best (and coldest) venue in the world right now.
The Salford Electronics sound is every bit as grim as its moniker implies. Opener ’Shadowfall’ conjures imagery of light dying over Salford’s jagged squarewave horizon of high-rises, Satanic mills and media citadels, before that atmosphere bleeds into the stark negative space and clenched techno tumult of ‘Deconstruction’, streaked with shortwave radio chatter and unheimliuch proclamation from the murk, only to end with a dry echo of Burial’s melancholic 2-step in ‘Breakdown’. And yes, we’re as surprised as you are.
Flipside, the effect is compounded by killer Ancient Methods and Vatican Shadow remixes. First spotted in his RA.645 mix, AM’s take on ‘Deconstruction’ is insanely dead-on but pendulous, driven with hungrier bass and whelmed with waves of biting point noise, while Vatican Shadow comes into his own with a tract of zombied, blank-eyed techno gloom.
Exquisite bass clarinet nocturnes from Belgium, recorded in 2019 but feasibly coming from any point over the last 40 years - another boutique waffle off the Stroom griddle.
Comparisons between bass clarinet-favouring Ben Bertrand and Colin Stetson are perhaps inevitable, but where the Canadian often goes macho, Brussels-based Bertrand is ineffably cooler, and better considered along with sax player Alex Zhang Hungtai’s knack for huffably intoxicating atmospheres. A dark blue velvet tone links the Lynchian to both Hungtai and Bertrand, whose 2nd LP ’Manes’ offers the equivalent of a soundtrack and setting to a noirish stage-play or art house flick where you get to pick the cast and play your own role.
Hovering into view with the Deathprod-like haunted chamber piece ‘Morton And György In The Battista Mist’, the album unfurls at an opiated heart rate with solemn instrumental sighs and trembling string tones recalling a bolder Elodie, and the coy duet of wind and sine waves in ‘Incantation 3’ is just sublime. If you aren’t convinced by this point, the Aeolian-Reichian flutters of ‘Delayed Monologue’ and Coil-like massage music of ‘The Manmaipo’ are best left for everyone else, and you should just shuffle back to that ambient playlist on Spotify. Nothing to see here. But if you know what’s good this one’s quietly amazing.
Airhead comes off like PC Music doing jazzed tribal house and jungle with these two pearls for James Blake and Dan Foat’s 1-800 Dinosaur label
Stepping on from his ‘Kazzt’  ace for Different Circles, Airhead returns to site of his ‘Believe’ release with a cheeky glint in his eye and a wonky swagger on ‘Clatter’, winding up a carbonated and freaky sort of slosh-jack foe the A-side, before ‘Droplit’ straightens up yuh backbone on the AA-side for a wicked spot of tail-chasing jungle breakbeat chicanery.
Two years in the making, Ahwar (Arabic for marshlands) is an otherworldly record, not unlike an abstract mythological story-tale.
"Opening with the mangled and filtered vocals of the album's lead track Afqid Adh-Dhakira (I Lose Memory) like an alien dream, the drones of a bowed double bass lead us into a drum groove that lays the groundwork for El Shazly's sultry and captivating presence, singing: "(I am) coming, from a time far away. Going, escaping. Alone in the wilderness".The Arabic prose lingers over interjections of slap-back delayed guitar twangs and an avant-garde arrangement of dissonant winds, horns and seemingly random drum fills, ending with an eerie soundscape that wouldn't feel out of place in a Giallo classic.
A daring and potent statement that sets the foundations over which the rest of the album can unravel. Composed, written and produced by El Shazly herself in collaboration with The Dwarfs of East Agouza's Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi on co-composition and arrangement duties, the album was crafted across two continents, between Canada and Egypt, and features the crème of Montreal's contemporary-classical and improvised music scene, most of whom aremembers of Shalabi's own Land of Kush ensemble. In between El Shazly's five original tracks, we are treated to an abstract coverversion of Sayyid Darwish's classic Ana 'Ishiqt (I Once Loved). El Shazly's haunting vocal floats over broken Kalimba and Harp arpeggios which slowly intertwine with a free, bowed double bass improv to nestle within the breaks between Younes Al-Qadhi's early 20th century verses of love and betrayal.
More than that, it is difficult to really describe, but imagine the worlds of Nico, Björk and Annette Peacock with the Arabic language as their mother tongue, re-approached through acoustic avant-jazz harmony and re-constructed with a dash of Kamilya Jubran's modern styling of Arabic maqam and you may be somewhere close. Recorded and delicately mixed through miles of analogue cabling by Thierry Amar at Hotel2Tango and mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering in Montreal, the album is adorned with the surrealist artwork of Egyptian artist Marwan El-Gamal and designed with custom typography by Egyptian designer Valerie Arif . All editions come with dual-language booklets featuring the lyrics in Arabic with English translation by Nariman Youssef."
The fairer Kraus sibling, folk singer Sharron, melds tremulous vox and lilting psych-pop for Ghost Box’s Other Voices series, backed with a fizzing remix from Belbury Poly...
Sharron’s original ‘Something Out of Nothing’ is a pastoral folk beauty spiked with spiralling organs and shimmering patina of FX potent enough to make the world melt away for 4 minutes.
On the remix, Jim Jupp a.k.a. Bilberry Poly sounds as though he necked some special herbs before kitting ‘Something Out of Nothing’ with fizzing drum machine percolations for a more sizzling, even sexy effect - that is, if you tend to go on-the-pull in village halls and harvest dances.
After a series of increasingly inward-looking, conservative LPs since her stunning debut, Julia Holter finally unleashes her imagination in technicolour once again on ‘Aviary’, an expansive observation of the ratchet madness that makes up the world today.
“Aviary is an epic journey through what Julia Holter describes as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Out on October 26th via Domino, it’s the Los Angeles composer’s most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements.
The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a 2009 short story by writer Etel Adnan: "I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds." It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also a pretty good metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void
Aviary, executive produced by Cole MGN and produced by Holter and Kenny Gilmore, combines Holter's slyly theatrical vocals and Blade Runner-inspired synth work with an enveloping palette of strings and percussion that reveals itself, and the boundless scope of her vision, over the course of fifteen songs. Holter was joined by Corey Fogel (percussion), Devin Hoff (bass), Dina Maccabee (violin, viola, vocals), Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet), Andrew Tholl (violin), and Tashi Wada (synth, bagpipes).”
Gossamer dream-pop and wistful balearic strokes from Arturs Liepiņš and Anete Stuce’s Domenique Dumont for Antinote, reprising the midas touch of their acclaimed début, ‘Comme Ça’  with big highlights in the gently percolated pop of ‘Sans Cesse, Mon Cheri’ and ‘Le Debut De La Fin’
“August 2018: It’s already been three years since Domenique Dumont made its entrance in the music world with a debut EP named Comme Ca. Despite a seemingly very quiet musical activity (the opening song to Antinote’s compilation Five Years Of Loving Notes was the only song released by the band in 3 years) a few things have changed in-between these two summers: Domenique Dumont is no more the mysterious lone French producer we introduced last time but a Latvian duo, Arturs Liepins and Anete Stuce, which has been collaborating with “an enigmatic French artist whose existence cannot be confirmed nor denied” (sorry, but it sounds like there’s still some mystery in the air, and, again, we’re just as clueless as you might be), the duo have been touring live and, most importantly, they kept on broadening their musical palette experimenting in a definitely pop field. Eight of these experiments are now tied together in Miniatures de Auto Rhythm.
The record probably begins where Comme Ca ended: frantic but light drum programing backbones a solar and slightly melancholic melody on Le Début De La Fin (“the beginning of the end”). However, the scope gets enlarged as soon as one reaches the second tune, Quasi Quasi, or Quand, on the flip side, perhaps the most overtly pop-rock oriented song on the record with its Mediterranean guitar and emotional bridge.
The road towards the apex of the record, Le Soleil Dans Le Monde, is a narrow and windy one, punctuated by toy instrumentals like Ono Mambo Haiku or the Donkey Kong Country-friendly Message Of The Diving Bird; however it never departs from its original tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s quite pleasant to imagine these eight “miniatures” as field recordings from an enchanted world of pop music designed by some Pierre & Gilles’ disciples – or are there
musical interpretations of half-mechanical, half-organic creations from a certain Otto Rhiesem (who might have inhabited the Locus Solus villa)? There might be no definitive answers to this second set of riddles by Domenique Dumont.”
Rabih Beaini’s Morphine label rouses from a long hiatus with a killer blast of Sun Ra-skooled cosmic techno jazz.
Last spotted in 2017 introducing solo projects by Senyawa, who have gone on to worldwide acclaim, Morphine Doser doesn’t miss a beat with this immersive session of live instrumental and electronic jams recorded by Rabih Beaini and his pals, Piero Bittolo Bon, Tommaso Cappellato, and Alvise Seggi, in Italy during June of 2016.
Patently indebted to Sun Ra, the results gush in five parts ranging form the roiling, turbulent cosmic polyrhythms and haywire synths of ‘Kaigo’, to channel a sort of dark Middle Eastern jazz vibe in ‘Barene’, with the effervescent palate cleanser ‘Sinopia’ leading into more pastoral, spiritual styles spiced with funk drums in ‘Ghebi’, and a head-spinning whorl of splayed breaks and modular scree in ‘Hephaistos.’
MFM astutely highlight longstanding links between dance and electronic music with a prime first selection of obscurities taking in Gerard Stokkink’s lush electro-jazz-fusion, hypnotic percussive possession by Atlantis Transit Project, and the lilting 4th World trip of Ramuntcho Matta.
“This will be the first in a small series of EPs which will focus on music which was initially created for or inspired by dance and performance. Created as a dialogue with the avant-garde and highly experimental work in dance, theatre and art evolving at the time, the music was in turn at times greatly innovative.
That it was created for a dance or performance though means that such music was also often highly rhythmic and a number of pieces from this time stand out and seem greatly deserving of a new context.
Whether it’s more ambient or atmospheric works or whether it’s in the more rhythmic or percussive pieces, Music From Memory brings together a selection of tracks which aim to highlight this highly innovative direction in music.”
Berghain’s resident IDM/electronica specialist returns with a debut album full of crafty. intricate rhythms and enchantingly melodic synth arrangements for loved up neuromancers.
Following his two LPs with Andy Baumcker, and recent 12” optimised for peaktime, Barker’s solo debut LP ’Utility’ is given a perhaps ironically dry title for an Ostgut Ton release that’s more likely to serve its purposes beyond Berghain’s boom room.
In nine elegantly efficient and melodic pieces Barker’s clinical sound design chops come to the fore in minimal, tactile style, flowing from the lip-smacking trance fluff of ‘Paradise Engineering’ thru Second Woman-like hyper-dub-techno in ‘Posmean’ to pockets of lush ambient dub inversion on ‘Gradients of Bliss’ and ‘Wireheading’, saving a strong closing statement with what sounds like a lush and frivolous Dynamo or Various Artists workout in ‘Die-Hards Of The Darwinian Order.’
The American trumpeter and Norwegian percussionist run thru works by James Weldon Johnson and Thelonious Monk, and a tribute to Don Cherry.
"Recorded in Oslo’s small and intimate St. Edmund’s Church the 13th of December 2017, this LP features compositions by James Weldon Johnson, Thelonious Monk and Joe McPhee plus two by McPhee and Nilssen-Love."
Francesco Baudazzi (Obtane) turns back to his Violet Poison alias for a more nuanced approach to the no-mans-land between techno, dark ambient and abstract electronic spheres.
Voices From The Hell forms the first release on Dub Ito, a new label from VP’s native Italy, with six tracks cycling thru a shady spectrum of styles; gathering momentum in the concrète rattle of Beyond The Door and diffusing that energy into the broad, tumultuous techno dimensions of the title track and a glowering abyssal sound in Prussian Blue.
However, he really comes into his own on the B-side, arching up the neck-craning industrial scope of Like A Pandora’s Box next to the uncannily resonant and majestic synth arrangement of A Blade In The Dark, which ends up sounding like a stately Steve Hauschildt piece by the close.