Klaus regenerates his Tanum label with a trio of murky weightless glyders...
Taking in the Ben UFO-endorsed A-side Cry Tuff - as played in his warm-up for Jamie xx at Brixton academy - along with the subbass-buoyed, post-rocky atmospheres of Gus and the Burial-esque Bela.
Belbury Poly is Jim Jupp, co-founder of the Ghost Box label with Julian House and a notorious lover of analog electronics circa 60s/70s such as the Radiophonic Workshop or Raymond Scott.
'The Owl's Map' originally broke through the space-time continuum in 2006, setting another flag point in the development of Hauntological thinking. In comparison to the fractal sonic tapestries of Julian House, Jupp's sonics tend towards synth-driven sequences with slightly longer track lengths, we're not talking Tangerine Dream style side-long trips, but more commonly hovering around the pop-perfected 3 min mark.
In both it's aesthetic and sound, 'The Owl's Map' unnervingly harks back to the same kind of educational TV-for-schools programmes which were viewed by at least two generations of UK schoolchildren, programmes whose mystical/mythical undercurrents and fantastical subject matter were hugely reinforced by their accompanying electronic soundtracks.
For many UK children, these programmes were the first time we would experience electronic music placed in a context like this, and at such a formative age would irrevocably alter our relationship with music. This is the subliminal stuff that probably soundtracked many a nightmare/dream, which may go some way to explaining the huge impact it had on certain corners of underground music today.
Dimensions the festival expands onto vinyl with a diverse showcase of deep house, soul and tribal grooves
“Part 1 calls upon artists from different corners of the globe who share the similarity of undeniable soul and expression in their music. The EP has an earthy, worldly feel to it. From the Swahili sung harmonies on Mim Suleiman’s ‘Pole Pole’, to the afro influences of Swiss collective Alma Negra’s ‘Onga’, both tracks work raw percussion with just enough swing that either would sit comfortably within late-night UK dance floors or on the sun-kissed beaches of Pula.
Then there’s the jazz-tinted glow of Istanbul’s Kerem Akdag whose ‘Getdownsoclose’ deep roller makes use of lush pads and rushing snares. Closing is Maryland’s James Tillman, who’s soulful vocals on ‘Wander’ sit gracefully over transcendental keys and compellingly loose drumming, rounding off Part 1 with a cleanse of the soul.”
Featuring an all star cast of supporting musicians including Bill Laswell, Roger Eno, Steve Jansen, Jamie Saft, Merzbow and many others.
"Best loved and noted to date for his genre blending and high quality dub-centric productions, in MAGNETIC, GAUDI has shown us another aspect of his musical self, other ranges in his musical landscape and he has done it with an all star cast of supporting musicians.It is not a departure from the GAUDI we know and love, however... MAGNETIC is a celebration of bass in all its guises there are six world class bass players featured in the album and GAUDI’s roots as a pianist and self confessed lifelong synth junkie, come up fairly centre stage.
His use throughout the album of original, modular and analogue synths, from his big guns: the ARP 2600, Fender Rhodes, Minimoog, Korg MS20 and ARP Odyssey, to the diminutive but no less iconic Casio VL Tone, to his trusty vintage tape echoes and the 24 track analogue tape machine it was recorded on, give the sound an authenticity and integrity right down from the musicians to the mechanic..."
Von Spar’s wistful avant-dance-pop in full swing here, from chufty chamber prog efforts like ‘Metaxourgío’ to pointillist tribal patter on ‘Garzweiler III’ and triplet anchored dub house-come-trip hop with Burial-esque flourishes on ‘Omónia’
“Von Spar present their Garzweiler EP on Altin Village & Mine, named after the Garzweiler surface mine in the outermost western corner of Germany. Opener "Metaxourgío" features a futuristic atmosphere, which is most prominent in the fantastic and strange nucleus of the EP. "Garzweiler III" and "Garzweiler IV" are among the band's most abstract work in the past decade. Here, Von Spar realize a breezy, machinic anonymity to which any "human touch" is foreign and external. "Omónia" works as a sort of unexpected summary of the record transposed to the dancefloor, the urgency creating a grandiose, almost anthemic, finale.”
From Japan via A’dam, The People In Fog pursue a subtly groggy sort of deep tech house layered with keys and underlined by massive subs
Very DJ Sprinkles style, in Last Song, along with Villalobos style micro-funk in the elegant momentum of Get Funky, and a pendulous dub-house/broken-beat winner called Alright to shut it down in style.
Praise be to V-O-D, who’ve just answered our prayers with a proper pressing of Glowing In The Dark (1984).
Arguably one of the greatest synth-pop 12”s of the ‘80s - and we don’t use that lightly - Glowing In The Dark is a tried and tested ‘floor-filler which has been out of circulation on a quality pressing for waaay too long - hence the fact 2nd hand copies are now going for triple figures.
The glorious title cut of lustrous NRG arpeggios, soaring synth and ice cold vocal is charged to the A-side, coiling nine minutes of pure dancefloor class whilst the other side holds the more mellow élan of Love Changes and another fully fledged winner in The Mannequin.
Kinda unmissable, really.
Dimensions Recordings explores its darker side on An Introduction Part 3
"...with intergalactic oddities and twisted techno constructions, the release is definitely ones for the late hours. ‘Crosstalk’ from gear heads London Modular Alliance opens; a squelching, electro, hardware excursion demonstrating a small snippet of what’s to come from the talented trio.
Next, French artist, Upwellings steps up to demonstrate his purist approach as he unites elements of dub and techno to create the beautifully spacey ‘Soft Shadows’.
The third offering comes courtesy of Fachwerk label boss and prolific techno artist, Mike Dehnert; who presents raw but melodic track in ‘Tokio,’which maintains his minimal and stripped back aesthetic beautifully.
Chicago’s Steven Tang in his Obsolete Music Technology rounds off the release with ‘Comb Freq,’ a devastatingly powerful mix of acidic, bleeping dance floor energy!"
Clattering, bolshy house rudeness from Detroit’s Ali Berger and Bostonian, Deviere
Running knotted and frayed rhythms layered with cranky electronics and a pealing sax line in a sort of psychedelic raw-tech jazz fusion on Towards The Infinity, with a ruddier sort of acid canter full of spiralling whirligig synths and off-centre drums recalling Jamal Moss in the B-side’s Rakhar.
Micromanic is a colossal slab of percussive energy composed and performed by Berlin based Matti Gajek.
"Micromanic begins with tentative steps, which soon morph into a chattering electronic birdsong before giving way to an assertive, hammering bassline. The structure eventually crumbles into discordant noise and echoes, eventually giving way to something gentler and almost bucolic.
Gajek weaves a complex and varied narrative with absolute technical aplomb, resulting in an experimental and hypnotic recast of Krautrock. Gajek is signed to Monkeytown Records and recently toured with Chris Clark. He is also a member of the freshly formed New Composers Collective (NCC) together with Andi Toma, Jan St. Werner and Michael Rauter."
Another deep, rolling suite of techno this week from Mecial Records, following Martin Jenkins’ lead and looking closer to their Seattle home with Alex Markey aka Archivist’s bleeping, proggy trips Chutes and Ladders.
“Archivist (Alex Markey) is a producer residing in Seattle (Transfusions and Medical’s home). He is a member of the thriving and diverse Secondnature collective and is a prominent producer and DJ in the Seattle and surrounding scene. Archivist presents four new tracks that take his signature dense textural sound into somewhat new darker territory resulting in 4 excellent pounding cuts and superb DJ tools.”
All City’s Jheri Tracks delve into the swamp of other electro, house and its mutant integers with the 2nd volume of Jheri Tracks
Turning up claggy nuggets such as Lumigraph’s pendulous knocker, Smelly Rockers At The Gypsy Rose; the wayward ghetto-tech pressure of Metro Boomin (DJ Sewer’s Underground Classic); the aerated footwork percolations of Hardy by Mengetout; and the dream-house flow of Tyler Ambrosius’ Moongust.
Hard-bitten techno purity from Italy’s Dark Division
Testing out nuanced mutations of monotone and noisy techno that crosses liens between Monolake-like levels of crisp, spacious sound design in Optimal Configuration Daily, and grittily fluid role in Collage Voltage, plus a crushing piece of industrial rictus funk in Analog Automatism.
RAC returns with his new album ‘EGO’, Recorded between Anjos’ home studio in Portland and sessions in Los Angeles, inc collaborations with Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Rostam (formerly of Vampire Weekend), MNDR, St. Lucia, KNA, Joywave and Chaos Chaos among others.
"‘EGO’ is Anjos’ most ambitious, cohesive and personal work to date and chronicles his organic progression as an artist."
Dry pounding techno standards, Berlin style, from Kobosil on Ostgut Ton’s darker sibling, Unterton.
Nastiness guaranteed in the thistly noise and rock solid kicks of 40000 L, plus the girder-strength Bei Nacht H (178), and the shark-eyed drive of Derange.
The legendary Ron Trent gear up his 4th instalment of Humans Drums & Machines
...with devilish interplay of scissoring hi-hats, nagging Italo arpeggio and a phasing chord to lip-biting effect in Dimensions, and with some properly pendulous swang in the kiss-myself fleeced house of Beyond.
For the dancers.
Ah, The English Beach, where sewage meets our battlement-littered coastline and rabid fighting dogs shit on your sandcastle, where posh surfer boys frolic in churning effluence and sweaty burger vans flog choc ices to feral kids and their pished parents. A bounty of inspiration for Oliver Ho aka Broken English Club, then?
Now on his 2nd album under that moniker following Suburban Hunting  for Cititrax, with a handful of interim 12”s on Death & Leisure and his Jealous God co-op, this time he spreads the muck thick and sticky over two slabs, flinging us from the Genesis P-Orridge-as-lifeguard holler of Stray Dogs to the boy racer techno throb of Breaking the Flesh, taking in end-of-the-pub-crawl nausea with The Sun Rising, before drifting into Plague Song’s industrial scrublands where you’ll meet the priapic razz of Pylon and a salty lament named Rust Ballad starring Blood Flower.
By now you’ve definitely got sand in your crack and the panda pop’s kicking in, priming for the tribal fire dance of Wreck and the gothic EBM of Carrion, before Concrete Desert feels to emulate the sound of an arcade under attack from laser-shitting seagulls and the electrified Wire Fence gives access to the whirligig giddiness of The English Beach proper, and the seaside town zombies come out to play on Last Signal.
Put a f*cking flake in it.
4 hero’s Marc Mac reprises his Nu Era alias - first spotted on the Reflective label in ’94 - with four servings of signature hi-tech funk from the top drawer...
Taking in the hard-to-resist symphonic electro-jazz flow of Space Above Us, then a nimble stepper jazz-house swinger named ones Between Us, and saving room for the breakbeat hustler, Heartstrings and twanging DX7 funk in the cosmic geometries of Octahedron.
One of the earliest gestures of sound art as it has come to be understood, finally reissued by the excellent Blume label.
"When speaking of most artists, critical value is generally gauged by evaluating contributions to existing fields. Bruce Nauman is different. His influence is singular. The change his ideas provoked, unequaled. Since the mid 1960’s, he has laid the groundwork – in thought, context, practice, and materiality, for nearly every fine-artist that has followed in his wake. He is the towering pillar of conceptual thinking. Even those who do not directly draw on the ground he gained, must contended with a world in his image.
Initially issued by Tanglewood Press in 1969 - a component of the art multiples edition 7 Objects/69 (also including David Bradshaw, Eva Hesse, Stephen Kaltenbach, Alan Saret, Richard Serra, and Keith Sonnier), Soundtrack from First Violin Film is a crucial element in Nauman’s diverse the canon of contributions - bridging the emerging practices of performance, video, and sound. For an artist smashing boundaries and building anew, it is a near perfect work. Blume’s release, marks the first time this seminal work has been available to a broader audience, making it a historic event.
Soundtrack from First Violin Film, while resembling music, is one of the earliest gestures of sound art as it has come to be understood. It falls within Nauman’s larger body of solitary actions and performances. In 1968, the artist moved briefly to New York, occupying Jasper Johns’ then vacant studio in the Hamptons, beginning to build the body of work for his first solo show at Leo Castelli Gallery - documenting them in what became the very first works of video art. Within the larger body of effort, emerged a series of works featuring him playing the violin. It is from this world, that the LP Soundtrack from First Violin Film, with its disembodies sounds, grew.
Nauman’s violin works, as the exist in the world, are only distant cousins of performance and compositions. They are objects - doubling the signifiers of music and the body back upon themselves. Rather seeking entirely new and liberated sonic realms, they employ conceptual practice, instrument, and rhythm to strike direct confrontation - sculpting something far more challenging and difficult to define. These works resemble music, challenge expectations of it, but are not that thing.
They could be understood as a conceptual inversion of recordings by John Cage or of Musique Concrète. Rather than seeking to utilize non-instrumental sources to create music, Nauman used instrumental sounds and references to make something which is not music at all – the figuration of an idea - highlighting the dimensional possibilities of meaning, and the elasticity of language.
In addition to being seminal works of conceptual art, among the earliest gestures which propose sound as a singular material surrogate for painting and sculpture, Soundtrack from First Violin Film - which also includes the works Violin Problem Two (Playing Two Notes Very Close Together) and Rhythmic Stamping (Four Rhythms in Preparation for Video Tape Problems) is a member of the body of work which established the terms for nearly all Sound Art to follow. Often overshadowed by its creator’s astounding body of work during this period, when isolated, it is profoundly important gesture with the history of art and experimental practice."
Resonant Spaces is one of John Butcher's most ambitious, radical, and revelatory bodies of work. Recorded in the wilds of Scotland against neolithic standing stones, within an emptied oil storage tank, and caves, like all free improvisations, Resonant Spaces is a conversation, but one unlike others before.
"More than a half century into its development, free improvisation remains nearly impossible to define. Of course there are concrete definitions, canons, and well trod paths - familiar idioms, structures, relationships, textures, and tones, but by its very nature - something free, when practiced with faith, it is elusive - constantly shifting and reforming in the hands of those who call the art form their own.
Of the improvisers emerging from the remarkable European contexts over the last four decades, few demand the respect, or have plumbed the depths of the English saxophonist John Butcher. An entirely singular voice, since appearing on the scene during the late 1970’s and early 80’s, he has continuously defied and shattered standing presumptions of his form. Exemplifying this, there may be no better example than a series of solo performances recorded on a lonely tour of remote areas of Scotland with Akio Susuki during 2006. Entitled Resonant Spaces, the album stands as one of his most ambitious, radical, and revelatory bodies of work.
For a voice who has enacted so much change - entirely rethinking the possibilities of his craft, John Butcher’s career is a road less traveled, turned the right way - receiving his PhD in theoretical physics, before shifting gears toward explorations in sound. Across the 80’s and 90’s he performed with the lions share of Britain’s leading lights - Derek Bailey, Phil Minton, John Russell, Phil Durrant, Steve Beresford, and countless others, endlessly pushing toward the unknown. It was during this period that he began to develop the trajectories for which he is often most recognized - solo performances, capitalizing on resonance, overtone, and space.
Resonant Spaces is the fruit born of decades of work. A rare product of artistry, seeming to have simply appeared - an organic disembodied form. Astounding on nearly every count - miles from the social unrest from which this idiom was born - an uncharted meditative realm - a towering body of creativity and tone.
Where musicians working in ensembles and groups, shift, adapt, and respond to those with whom they share the stage, Butcher’s conversation is with the unexpected responses of a given space and the returned transmogrified body of his creative self. Issued for the first time on Vinyl, a shimmering world of resonance, ambience, structure, and craft. The outcome of one lonely tour, now rises among the most astounding and singular creative gestures in the history of improvisation - the realization of the quest for freedom, which began it all."
R&S dig into the Romanian tech-house underground with Ada Kaleh’s woozy, Villalobos or [a:apia:r]-styled jaunt on Palatul De Cleştar, which is given a slightly darker shake-up by Hungary’s Laurine Frost on the remix
The hypnotically contoured and sloshing form of Kaleh’s Devotare is recoiled as a surging minimal techno burner by Romania/Berlin’s Cosmic TRG.
The complete uncut soundtrack for Lucio Fulci & Bruno Mattei’s cult zombie-ploitation gem Zombi 3 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 aka Sanguelia 2, 1988) available on 2 different collector’s edition vinyls for the first time ever.
"Zombi 3 is the (unrelated) sequel to Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters aka The Island of the Living Dead aka Zombie aka Sanguelia, 1979), itself an unofficial sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (aka Zombi, 1978). This marvel of the VHS-era finds a group of super scientists working on a very secret biological weapon called Death One which mutates and kills living humans…and re-animates the dead! What happens when the lethal weapon breaks free into the world? More chaos than a possessed Martin Riggs on a suicide mission! Feared by critics and beloved by vintage exploitation fanatics, Zombi 3 has all the charms of the glory days of Italian b-horror, including a fantastic soundtrack.
Underrated composer and conductor Stefano Mainetti has done soundtracks for Italian sleaze masters Joe D’Amato and Bruno Mattei but also for Weekend at Bernie’s and First Blood’s director Ted Kotcheff and Russell Mulcahy of Razorback/Highlander fame. His resume includes badass actioner Strike Commando 2 (aka Trappola diabolica, 1988), exploitation horror flick Ratman (aka Quella villa in fondo al parco, 1988), and The Shooter (aka Hidden Assassin, 1995) with Rocky IV and The Expendables’ manly superstar Dolph Lundgren. Much like his Italian peers Fabio Frizzi, Claudio Simonetti, or Stelvio Cipriani, Stefano Mainetti can do it all: haunting synths à la John Carpenter, jazzy atmospheres, classical orchestrations, erotic funk, decadent fm rock, and the list goes on. His eclectic abilities and flair for 80s cinematic moods are well represented in Zombi 3: The Soundtrack."
From Antwerp’s Destination Earth collective, a hivemind-worth of skits and bubbling electronic mutations compiled into a real charmer of a set that sounds like a perfectly loose house party.
Counting 27 cuts from notables such as Floris Vanhoof, Francesco Cavaliere and Hantrax, while offering introductions to stacks of cats that we’ve never heard before, Destination Earth follows in a similar vein to PRR! PRR!’s madcap compilations with a skizzy logic connecting blunted downbeats to killer booty electro, ambient tone experiments and scrabbly ass electronics.
Bet their parties are great fun.
Jamal Moss aka I.B.M. puts all his chips on industrial red with devilish beatings of SPK, Nitzer Ebb and Severed Heads for the 2nd instalment of Medusa Edits - dedicated to an underage club he frequented (when also underage) in late ‘80s Chicago.
He fuses a few Nitzer Ebb workout classics into the ramrod of An Industrial Beating on top, then runs thru SPK’s Mouth To Mouth prancer and Severed Heads’ All Day Sins for the most insatiable bodies.
Frankly f*cking terrifying rhythmic noise assaults from Masami Akita aka Merzbow in full flight for Serbia’s Jezgro label.
The Torus EP trades in pure, inchoate rage and sensory saturation between he barrelling oscillators and radioactive distortion of Torus 1 and the collapsing gstructurw of Torus 2, with phasers set to absolutely maul your life in the horrors of Street Noise 1 and the throttling force of Street Noise 2.
Alessandro Cortini (NIN) and Japanese noise architect Masami Akita aka Merzbow elicit previously unheard voices from the classic EMS Synthi; a British synthesiser from the early ‘70s which has been extensively used by a panoply of prog rock legends such as Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Heldon during its influential lifespan. Trust that Cortini and Akita’s efforts sound absolutely nothing like the aforementioned and boldly put a bracing, refreshing new spin on its classic sound.
Making thorough use of the now rather rare and expensive classic model, highly regarded for its tactility and portability, the duo coax out a coarser voice than we’re used to hearing from the EMS Synthi, as though there’s a whisky swilling, 60-a-day roadie trapped in there since the ‘70s and they’ve only just realised how to get his voice out.
The result is a retching, sputtering beast of a record wresting jittery animations of white noise and spooling oscillators into chaotic briar patch of pure analog synthesis making the machine wail, buckle and cough up its least salubrious secrets in four extended parts.
If you’re familiar with each artist, respectively, you’ll find it perhaps leans closer to Merzbow’s putative aesthetics than the more layered appeal of Cortini, but when when it does congeal into more viscous puddles of bass and perceptibly sweeter harmonics, one can hear Cortini’s touch come clearer into play, but ultimately they’re both goading each other into a tornado of ferocity.
Another absorbing, colourful instalment from Chinatown, NYC’s Georgia duo, casting their stylistic net far and wide to achieve a lushly syncretic fusion of myriad genres and outernational vibes, a deeply respectful sort of 4.1 world music, if y0u will.
Capping their busiest year on record, which has already seen them issue great records for F T D and Kashual Plastik, All Kind Music is a typically elaborate tapestry of style ’n pattern executed with filigree, needlepoint dexterity in dazzling 3D geometries, succinctly incorporating vocals by Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Abang Essone Sarah Maya and India Menuez with the instrumental virtuosity of Mary Lattimore (harp) and Wednesday Knudsen (Sax).
Their recordings are the result of live jams, juiced in the edit for all the pulp and sweetest parts which are later shaped into these shiny prisms, capturing the expressive fluidity of digits-on-strings and skins and rendering those performances even more wonderful by binary process and diffraction.
The label behind the release, Palto Flats, point to apt comparisons with Jon Hassell and 23 Skidoo, and we’d add K. Leimer’s Savant, African Sciences and even Oliver Coates’ or his peer, Mica Levi to that list, particularly in terms of Georgia’s rhythmic suss, heady ambient space and dilated grasp of non-standardised scales and unique textures, at the least.
There are other, less mentionable names trading in this magpie-style, but few others do so with such jazzy looseness and skill, shaocased in their deceptively effortless ability to travel from frayed Eats African styles to gamelan funk and hyper footwork voodoo and free jazz flights without ever missing a beat.
Spain’s Pedro Vian enlists Inga Copeland and Pye Corner Audio to remix the latest, Black Toms, on his Modern Obscure Music label.
Vian makes a strong showing with the dancefloor-swimming deep and jazzy electro-techno of the title track and the cinematic, stygian drug chug momentum of Cops de Cap.
Remixing, Inga Copleand turns Black Toms into a boiling, tarry soup of reverse loops and banking drums, whilst Pye Corner Audio also upholds his end of the equation with a supremely heavy dark side disco wader remix of the latter.
Ethiopian Urban and Tribal Music is a fascinating field trip to a region rich in musical culture, offering dual perspectives on the sound of its capital, Addis Ababa, and farther afield on the borderlands with the Sudan and Kenya, all recorded in 1971 by Ragnar Johnson and Ralph Harrisson.
Amharic poetry and chants shoulder-to-shoulder with ritual dances and some remarkable, virtuosic instrumental performances such as the buzzing ‘Harp of David’ and the hypnotic, syncopated helixes of Fila Flute Dance
“Mindanoo Mistiru means 'What is the Unknown?' Gold from Wax refers to the layers of meaning in Amharic poetry.
Ethiopia has many languages and styles of music. These recordings were made in the Empire of Ethiopia in 1971. The music recorded in Addis Ababa uses masenko fiddles, craar and bagana lyres, washint flutes and kabaro drums. There is folk music played in Addis Ababa tej beit bars with vocals, craar, masenko, washint and kabaro, Ethiopian Christian songs accompanied by the bagana large 'Harp of David' and Mary Armeede's craar accompanied Amharic sung poetry. There are Afar chants and flutes from the Danakil Desert, Anuak thumb piano, Nuer harp, laments and drumming, a Konso dance and a Gidole flute dance from the Sudan and Kenya borderlands.”
Tumultuous techno topography - from full throttle pelters to rugged electro and barely there ambient pieces - from a L.I.E.S. regular moonlighting on The Bunker NYC
“The latest transmission from the world of Gunnar Haslam, Kalaatsakia wildly sprawls across the intersections of techno and more abstract sounds to take us on a wide-ranging journey from the subterranean to the coastal, from blown-out dub tones through fractured rhythms. An incredible work that is not easy to pigeonhole, Kalaatsakia is a full length album that navigates and sketches landscapes where new languages are created from old, dead ones to emerge as the lingua franca of interconnected immersive zones.
Haslam is an avid home listener of dub, dancehall and calypso, and that influence is quickly felt as Kalaatsakia launches with a tight electro snap and dubwise crash. Kalaatsakia advances and retreats seasonally, tightening up for the floor with the chrome-plated “Broadcast” and “Kjolle” while splintering apart on “Kalapuyan” and “nxbound”. Its constituent parts are often left to collapse in on themselves, smearing themes into residual trails. As the narrative of the album disintegrates and unfolds into more deconstructed territory, it stretches out even further with a striking skittering mental tease, settling into burbling sub-audible vocals and resonant spaces that all form a part of Haslam's self-created subconscious language.”
Elysia Crampton’s first move of 2017 arrives in form of a ‘sample pack’ revolving 8 concise Spots and six full length parts meshing central/south American club rhythms nodding to DJs Rodini and Sailer, and Mega DJs from Cochabamba, with collaged melodies and signature use of sweeping FX, including a big highlight in the nine minute Spittle (Safeway Parking Lot), referencing classical American composers such as William Gran Still & John Adams.
The eight Spots - each no longer than 16 seconds - are effectively discrete, GIF-like idents, the sort that might be looping on your desktop, stabbed into a commercial radio show, or emanating from a mobile phone computer game near you, right now.; each like a mini, but fully formed thing in its own right, though.
The other six tracks offer something a little more substantial in length, with highlights in the bombed out Battle & Screams, which sounds like frontline reportage from COD severely compressed to YouTube, and certainly in the psychedelic mixture of Bolivian folk melodies and electric shocks of Promesa (Placer County Pride), whilst the symphonic vignette Chuqui Chiunchay adapts exaggerated movie trailer voiceover style with poetic insight.
It really all comes together, though, in the denouement of Spittle (Safeway Parking Lot), where Crampton inverts her usual attention-span deficiency to stretch out on sliding, subtly augmented neo classical keys and daubs of synth in a way that perhaps reveals Elysia at her most stripped down, vulnerable and captivating, before shifting back to more familiar atmospheric collage with Sombre Blanca Misteriosa (y Rara).
NON agent Chino Amobi presents his engrossing soundtrack to minor matter, a performance piece by acclaimed choreographer, Ligia Lewis, that “deftly articulates an argument for minoritarian politics”. The work is released as part of the VF x CTM ‘Fear Anger Love’ vinyl series and relates to NON’s new multi-disciplinary piece, The Great Disappointment, which premiered at the 2017 edition of the CTM festival in Berlin.
If Chino Amobi’s widely acclaimed Airport Music For Black Folk  was a vital treatise on the way Black, Brown and Queer folk experience and navigate the interzones of airports - basically, a far more jarring and anxious experience that that induced by Brian Eno’s Music For Airports - then minor matter can be heard to explore that feeling beyond the airport, in the air and amid other de- and re-territorialised spaces.
Introducing itself with the nerve pinching synth high of Children of The World II the record pivots around Locus Of Control from Amobi’s original Airport… album, using its mournful strings and cold, hard realism as a mutual sore point of reference between the two projects. From here he spins out a tense and densely packed suite, reaching out from the prickling avant-electro of Sudan to the electrical storm shocks of Nymphieta II before scaling the jagged peaks of Hard Staccato featuring operatic vox by Embaci.
He then implores us to Disappear With Me in a maze of stark, looping corridors lit by crackling lightbulbs and the artist’s unambiguously unfriendly request, and finally calving off into what sounds like a tortured knot of Whitehouse’s Munkisi Munkondi voiced with distorted, over-the-shoulder lyrics by Chino Amobi.
It's a fascinating and visceral record, open and ready for your interpretation.
Beautifully romantic, skilfully ecstatic side of vocal studies and purring techno from James Place on Mexico City’s trustworthy Umor Rex label - home to aces by Kara-Lis Coverdale, Felicia Atkinson, Driftmachine - ushering in a suite of light-footed and high-register works using sampled voice, live percussion and machine manipulations to refreshing, head thizzing effect.
James Place uses a combination of fine grained, tiered tones and precision, pointillist arrangement to wistfully yearning ends in Voices Bloom, snagging the ear with incredible levels of detail that really seem to suspend time and allow the listener to get right inside and inhabit the vaulted dimensions of his work.
Hailed as “a distillation of cultural memory through electronic process”, the album unfolds in seven parts, departing from a line in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets that reads “the moment in and out of time” to effectively divine its own temporality within ultra-wide, subtly modulated spatial settings connected by a red thread of melodic logic.
The voice of James Baldwin opens with the LP with his query, “do you have the courage to ask, will you be my brother?” which lends its title to the melancholic determination of Courage To Ask, striking a course of percussive intricacy and flyaway voices as seductive as any intro you could hope for. Therein Robin Weep follows, recalling Visionist’s pitched vocal cut-ups but applied to a nimble tech-house shuffle underlined with swooping subbass and primed for sylvan raves in the forest.
What follows is best described as a dream sequence of events, from the way the vocal blooms into full body from wispy tones in the airy step of Move In Blue, thru the phoenix-like choral burn of Rumor and Choir, into the vast, spare dimensions of Theatre where earth and sky become uncannily inverted, to the MDMA-kissed trance eye flutter of Echo You, and finally emerging at the gates of Vangelis’s secret garden with the awe-inspiring, landscaped beauty and windswept percussive minimalism of Wild Theme Unseen.
We don’t want to over-egg it, but yeh, you really need to check this one - it’s a proper pearl for summer 2017 and beyond.
First ever official reissue of John Bender’s seminal sophomore LP, originally recorded 1979-81 around the same time as I Don’t Remember Now. A none-more-definitive slab from minimal wave/post punk’s most fecund period of innovation/exploration!!!
John Bender’s earliest output essentially forms a metaphorical bridge between the original templates of minimalist, industrial and punk music from Terry Riley, T.G. and Suicide in a way that was previously unimagined in 1979-81, or, at least executed with such acute, idiosyncratic vision by anyone else.
Originally issued on the artist’s own Record Sluts label, the first 1981 pressing of Plaster Falling was notoriously housed in sleeves that were hand-dipped in plaster and hermetically sealed in latex, meaning that lucky owners had to break open the box to get at the record inside.
What lies within is a true testament to following one’s instincts, which history has proven to be utterly fucking correct in its assertions that previously, mutually exclusive bedfellows, weren’t that incompatible after all.
It’s easy enough to say that in the non-linear flatland of 2017, but back when this record was made, nearly 40 years ago, this was a major achievement, picked up on by those few in the know, but largely reserved to fetishists and collector’s lists ever since.
A masterful balance of intuitive experimentation and avant-pop yearning lies at the core of its allure, deftly mixing drily sparky drum machines with off-kilter synth hooks and his own observational, lyrical abstractions delivered in a patented, droll and robotic voice in a way that, with hindsight, clearly predated, if not directly influenced, a whole wave of mimetic interpretations. But most crucially, they’re tunes! OK, albeit strange ones, but proper tunes all the same, and with devilishly strong grooves to boot.
Plaster Falling is the sort of record which didn’t exist before it was conceived, and not many since have topped it for immediacy and enduring effect. An essential addition to any electronic or weirdo music collection!!!
Stockholm native Demen delivers a striking statement of intent on this Kranky debut, coming across like a lost artefact from 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil at the height of their powers, and without doubt heavily indected to Cocteau Twins' masterpiece Head Over Heels.
This latest Kranky offering comes wrapped in mystery and elaborate intrigue, the Chicago label apparently receiving ‘Nektyr’ out of the blue several years after the elusive Demen first made contact with some anonymously-submitted demos. Seemingly based out of Stockholm, this most talented if slow-working of musicians has crafted quite the debut album, sounding more like a hermetically sealed archival discovery from the glory years of 4AD rather than any modern-day counterpart.
Listening to this album, it is clear Kranky have stumbled upon quite the musical talent in Demen, or Irma Orm as she is apparently known. Each track here seems to be telling its own story, and Demen’s supple mastery of understated composition and instrumentation is evident throughout. The way she creates drama through sudden silence and unannounced sonic swerves suggests the work of a seasoned professional musician.
It’s the interplay between this ghostly musical backdrop and Demen’s shimmering voice that makes this such a powerful listen however. An otherworldly and evocative whisper, Demen doesn’t form words, but rather intones emotion through sheer yearning power.
A gothic opera of the highest ethereal order. RIYL Cocteau Twins, Tropic Of Cancer.
Lifetime of Love is the debut album by Moon Diagrams, the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta.
"Gradually pieced together over a ten-year period, it finds Archuleta processing various stages of love, loss and regeneration via forlorn outsider pop, minimal techno and warm, weightless experimentation. Hymnal opener “Playground” has echoes of Eno and Grouper; lengthy workouts such as “The Ghost and the Host” recall long-lost Harmonia outtakes, or something from one of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence compilations; the bitter pill pop of “End of Heartache” has the scratchy guitar of New Order circa Brotherhood and the square pegness of Dazzle Ships-era OMD.
Several songs are instrumental, while “Bodymaker” features Sian Ahern (Eaux, Sian Alice Group). Subtly grandiose and quietly epic, Lifetime of Love really does live up to its title: a hopeful and curious beginning makes way for a morose middle, before a bittersweet, optimistic end."
Deluxe, expanded edition of Domo Arigato which followed on the heels of ambitious ‘modern classical’ album Without Mercy a year earlier, and saw composer/guitarist Vini Reilly and percussionist Bruce Mitchell augmented by John Metcalfe on viola and Tim Kellet on trumpet.
"Their show-cum-recital at the Kan’i Hoken Hall on 25 April was recorded digitally and filmed on two 35mm cameras. ‘Mixing down was fun,’ recalled Durutti manager/mentor Anthony H. Wilson. ‘We were on a flight out next morning so Nippon Columbia hired a mobile studio recording truck and we mixed from midnight to 6 a.m.’
In fact the group always considered this rather hurried mix imperfect, and therefore for this greatly expanded 2017 reissue Factory Benelux have returned to the original soundboard tapes and remastered the entire 90 minute performance, in the process restoring the original running order.
Disc 1 of the 4 CD set presents the original digital mix from 1985, while Discs 2 and 3 include the 2017 soundboard remaster plus a previously unreleased gig from Tokyo Loft Club on 29 April 1984. Disc 4 is an NTSC format DVD featuring a pristine transfer of the original Japanese laserdisc edition of Domo Arigato, which is the filmed version of the show with the 1985 digital mix.
A double disc vinyl edition is also available with a bonus 7" single, Dedications for Japan."
Ride release their first album in over twenty years, ‘Weather Diaries’.
“Produced by legendary DJ, producer and remixer Erol Alkan, ‘Weather Diaries’ is packed with all the classic elements that made Ride one of the defining bands of the early 90s. Trembling distortion, beautiful harmonies, pounding rhythms, shimmering soundscapes and great songwriting all combine to make an album that’s ambitious in scope, timeless and thoroughly addictive.
The album sees the band reunited with label co-founders Dick Green and Mark Bowen, who worked with Ride during the band’s early years on Creation Records. It also brings the band back together with mixer Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers) who mixed their seminal 1990 album ‘Nowhere’ and produced its follow up ‘Going Blank Again’."
A tasty morsel, this: Oliver Coates and Eliza McCarthy perform two works by pre-eminent composer Mica Levi aka Micachu, originally previewed on the Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill mixtape, respectively.
Mica’s first new release since her soundtrack to Jackie finds her working again with longtime collaborator, cellist Oliver Coates, following their Remain Calm  LP with Coates’ rendition of Peace - an intensely jagged and sore piece written for Mica’s mum, which was premiered on NTS in 2014 and re-recorded in 2016 for this release. the results are more gnarled than anything off their album together, and much closer to the almost vicious strings of her soundtrack work, with Coates beautifully channelling the piece’s searing emotion.
On the other hand, following her contribution to the Jackie soundtrack, Eliza McCarthy reprises her role as Mica’s favoured pianist with a tumbling rework of Harpo Dine, whose febrile cadence seems to capture a sense of being drunk on love or booze in its bluesy classical wooze.
J. Albert’s Exotic Dance Records catch DJ Osom debuting on the off-beat with four killer tracks of adroit, Afro-Cuban-informed house grooves.
Like the scuzzier cousin of DJ Qu, the styles inside exhibit a much finer grasp of rhythmic nuance than the legion wallopers in circulation right now, instinctively working off and around the kicks with a far more satisfying appeal to those DJs and dancers who can’t be arsed with ploddy line dancing.
From the top, he untangles a wild stripe of knucked tribal percussion and creamy acid streaks in Glued, eventually resolving with a much softer deep house shuffle, but the itch is back with infectious effect in the gear-slipping drum magick of In Case Of Emergency, before he gets down with a wicked, scratchy sort of Soca-house/UKF bump ’n roll in Chch, and then with a maaad Miami electro-bass mutation called Rubberman.
Seriously, this is a mint plate. Makes a lot of other stuff sound infantile and formulaic by comparison.
Making a smart move to Honest Jon's, Actress offers his first brand new material (discounting remixes) since his landmark 'Hazyville' album dropped in 2008.
The move signifies a subtle but essential development in his sound, preparing the ground for a hugely promising album with two mindblowing tracks. 'Paint, Straw And Bubbles' seemingly untethers his Detroit dream from terra firma, percolating his ethereal sound through a system of camouflaging filters until the joins dissolve and we're left with a remarkable feat of intangible spatial dynamics viewed with an incredibly unique depth perception. It's electro-acoustic mind-dance music for Afro-futurist stoners.
The near absence of any bass only enhances the weightlessness of the track, creating that heady sensation of an overcast day between pressure systems when everything doesn't feel quite as it should. 'Maze (Long Version)' is going to become a serious anthem. Here, Actress looks to early 80's synth wave and the cold industrial pulse of groups like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, pinpointing the influences of Detroit music from Model 500 and Shake which in turn so heavily informed his sonic outlook.
The warped, modern-day answer to John Bender and reams of early ‘80s freaks, Beau Wanzer rattles out a grotty lot of no wave machine misshapes on his latest self-released Untitled session.
This time out he expectorates 12 gobs of curdled electronics, barely getting into gear with the slurred, half-speed electro of Dr. Dre’s Smelly Feet - which sounds excellent on 45rpm, too - beside the V/Vm new beat styles of Front/Side View and other dank lowlights such as the blunt EBM slugger, Something Stinks and the keening hot stepper, Shock Therapy, leading up to dainty-but-fucked waltz of Happy Birthday To Me.
No doubts, this is the real deal dirt. Huff it.
Shifted gets into 2nd gear on his new label, Drifting Over
Coming with the foundation quaking subbass roll and superb depth perception of Gauze; a piece of Mike Parker-esque aquatic movement in Centipede; and, best of all, the brutally blinkered purity of A Way Beyond on a vintage Ø or Plastikman tip.
Misty-eyed deep techno missions from the Lord Of The Isles...
Minting the DFSANT label with a sublime three track turn taking us from classic Carl Craig levels of loved-up depth in B2B4, to ersatz exotic boogie in F.A.P., and filigree spring reverb control in the dusky electro of Rave May Four.
Berceuse Heroique dive into deep antipodean waters and pull out this pearl from Melbourne’s Leo James, melding latter-day Larry Heard vibes and grooves with early Autechrian synth strokes in lushest, languorous style.
Run-in to run-out this is some truly sublime gear: entering with crepuscular pads and purring deep Chicago bassline hingeing around glittering triangle and pointillist hi-hats in Event Horizon, James’ jazz-wise suss soon comes into play thru nimble but sweetly modest turns-of-phrase and infiltrating samples that will quietly catch you off guard at silly O’clock in the morning, sounding something like a billion thizz dreams distilled into one gently lustrous stripe.
The Surface follows at that pace, driven by purposefully robust kick/bassline into a sort of slow-motion Euro-house-garage groove licked up with the kind of bleating sax line that was allowed in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s and, thanks to its emotive sincerity, still works today. However, if you want the big highlight, that would be Centre Of Time, a 20 minute beat-less number cut to the B-side, where he coaxes out a plangent, searching lead synth line recalling Alessandro Cortini on holiday or Vangelis melting in a sauna.