We advise quickly stepping over the radio-friendly original of Go! to the Sally Shapiro-meets-Paddy McAloon-alike pop moment, Altered Love, and Animal Collective’s slow thrumming lazy day remix of Go!
Rolling electro-techno bleeps from Croatia’s Volster - responsible for the hydraulic warper Cyclic and the monotone pulse of Breakthrough - and UK’s Aubrey with the slippery, off centre dynamics of Rev It Up on a deeper Mike Dehnert tip, and the scratchy electro pulses of Downtown 66.
Sweepingly OTT piano + trance + avant garde collaboration...
“Cascades is the music collaboration between two Montreal-based musicians: neo-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais, and genre-defying Grammy Award-nominated electronic producer Mike Silver (pka CFCF).
Building off their sold out performance during the globally-celebrated Red Bull Music Academy in 2016, Cascades is a stunning 5-song, 30-minute meeting-of-minds that navigates spaces between the artists’ respective crafts and tendencies toward playful minimalism.
Featuring new recordings from the duo’s catalogues, a reworking of John Cage’s “In A Landscape”, and the classical-meets-trance original composition, “Hypocrite”, Cascades is a celebration of the traditional and experimental, dissolving the old into the new.”
Superb 2nd 12” from Montréal-based duo, Solitary Dancer; including anthem-in-the-waiting Emails 2 Myself feat. an instantly memorable vocal by Cititrax’ Marie Davidson.
Over all four cuts the duo play firmly into a classic electro-techno-disco paradigm, firstly nailing the robust but slinky throb and mesmerising top line of Anything into place, before testing out snappy, booming electro a la Cybotron with Losing Touch, before locking in the icy élan of Emails 2 Myself with Marie Davidson intoning the uncannily Kafkaesque lyric over perfectly poised throbs and posable lead hook - also available in its instrumental glory on the Out-Of-Office-Version.
Enchanting gem from the golden age of Malian music, featuring Mariam Doumbi’s soaring vocals set to burning Afrobeat funk grooves and harmonised chorales by pupils of the blind school, Bamako in 1978
“A classic and seldom heard LP from Bamako! Not just your average Malian LP, 'Le Tioko-Tioko' (aka 'Ampsa') features has to be heard to be believed organ, hypnotic guitar and amazing sweet vocals by Mariam Doumbia. A truly great LP and must have for fans of Malian music. A faithful reproduction of the original with the addition of liner notes by Florent Mazzoleni. A co-release with Sing A Song Fighter from Sweden."
Rampant, proggy synth missions for hirsute space cadets
“Fresh off his tours supporting Mogwai and S U R V I V E, Majeure returns with a blistering EP of seemingly limitless synth textures and seemingly endless drum fills. Majeure – the solo moniker of Zombi and Contact cofounder, A.E. Paterra – has built a reputation as one of North America’s most interesting purveyors of synth-based rock music. Often overlooked is the fact that Paterra is also one of the world’s premiere prog-rock drummers, a fact that is emphatically obvious on Apex. Over the course of three songs stretching nearly a half hour in length, Apex is an audacious, exhilarating exercise in maximum minimalism – a disorienting journey between dystopian reality and vintage video game illusion.”
Totally beguiling suite of pew-rocking Back To Church recordings, backed with two abstract Untitled parts mixing Ghanaian vox and abstract electronics, from Ghanaian Londoner Larry Achiampong.
As intended with the cover art - a photographic image of patterned textiles without any names or credits whatsoever - Achiampong’s 3rd LP is perhaps best approached with out any prior knowledge, so we’ve maybe already spoilt it for you, but with good intentions for anyone else curious who needs a bit more to go off.
Basically the front side is given to three recordings of the congregation at Christ Reformed Church in Peckham, singing in swaying harmony and accompanied by woodblock percussions and rattlers, which really pick a groove when they get going. It doesn’t appear that the relatively young artist is part of the recordings, and is possibly more an observer presenting an entrancing snapshot of the West African diaspora in modern day London.
In contrast, the flipside pairs starker, echoic vocals underlined with subtle synth work, oscillating between reverberant room recording and dense fluctuating waves of harmonised pressure in the first part, coming off like the mystic original B-side to Klein’s Only but performed and mixed by Áine O’Dwyer, a comparison which also serve to illustrate the proceeding piece of hazy organ cadence laced with almost doomy vocals, like Dean Blunt conducting a xanax’d Coby Sey and Alexei Tegin.
One of the maddest slabs we’ve heard in a minute.
The arch cranks at LSD whip up their 20th instalment of murky avant/disco/outsider provenance, parsing their shelves for those cuts which fall between the gaps of knowledge and land on the 3rd rail. If we’re not mistaken there’s a T. Kamada dub of Russ Abbott’s Mass in B Minor and the long sought-after Ghédalia Tazartès cover of Take My Breath Away in there, but then again, we haven’t a fricken clue. Expect IDs on discogs within a few weeks, though...
“What is love? we had away once then we lost it. So Russ told us we got to find it and Yazz said it was up but Elvis said it was down. The West went out and Harrods went in if only Essex could have shown us before Sid bloody murdered it. No matter. At Light Sounds Dark we like ours with Kurds anyway. Unequivocal love, 100% pure love love on top of love.. its hard.”
A crucial force at the core of experimental music, Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke present 'Behold', their follow-up to 'Indeed' (2011) for Editions Mego.
Recorded at the same Steamroom, Tokyo spot as their amazing live trio sets with Keiji Haino, this one finds them exploring the intersections of 4th world electronics, krautrock and classic minimalism in two extended and captivating widescreen tracts. With Ambarchi at guitar, drums (etc.) and O'Rourke on synth, piano (etc.), they oscillate earthly and kosmiche dimensions with free-flowing electronics, using field recordings to lend a sense of tangible gravity while their synths and guitars fathom the abyss of outer (head)space.
Ambarchi's tinfoil drum patter serves a metric anchor reminding of the unfolding repetitions of his Antipodean peers, The Necks, fleshed out with O'Rourke's deliquescent pads and harmonics in the motorik 'Behold One', whereas 'Behold Two' starts out quietly crepuscular, inquisitive, before blooming into a sublime night-flight with psilocybic kosmiche logic. Recommended!
Back in 2010 we said....
Ask us about Shangaan Electro a week ago and we'd ask you to speak slower. Ask us this week and we'll rave about one of the most astounding records we've heard this year.
The erstwhile and intrepid ears of Honest Jon's Mark Ainley and Hardwax/Basic Channel legend Mark Ernestus have been following this niche style from Soweto, SA, for a hot minute, long enough anyway to pick out twelve extraordinary examples of 180bpm, marimba-laden, afro-dance diamonds hewn from rickety drum machines and keyboards shaped into dazzling fillips of pure dance energy. We almost couldn't believe our ears on first listen, or the tenth. It was perhaps only when we witnessed the accompanying videos on youtube that it started to settle into place, watching liquid hipped Shangaan dancers scuttle and stomp like folk possessed by something untold but completely comprehendible.
It's not a large punt to draw distinctions between this and Chicago footwurk or Caribbean Soca styles, from the high tempo velocity to use of basic equipment all deployed with the intention of eliciting faster and more furious dance moves from the participants. Essentially this is a continuation of traditional styles, only plugged in at the studio of Nozinja Music Productions to become utterly electrified and electrifying. But these aren't simply instrumental rhythms, they're also songs with passionate, soul wrenching vocals and head-rushingly sweet synth melodies. Four exemplary contributions from the scene's lynchpin Zinja Hlungwani are worth the entry price alone; from the gripping hypertension of 'Ntombi Ya Mugaza' to the warbling duet of synthesized and human soul in 'Nwa Gezani My Love', or the alien harmonics of 'Nwa Gezani', you're paying to experience a mesmerizing sound that you simply can't hear anywhere outside of Limpopo or low-res youtube clips.
Nozinja is responsible for the breakneck speed of Shangaan Electro, responding to public demand for faster rhythms since opening his studio in 2005, even creating "boy bands" like the boiler-suited and clown mask-wearing Tshetsha Boys and producing for the rest of the artists included here. To be fair, this music is still a totally niche prospect, but initial reactions from friends we would never expect to like it have been as immediate as the music itself and there's no denying this will be one of the years most lauded albums among adventurous listeners.
This is genuinely some of the most exciting music you'll hear this year, and alongside the Footwork/Juke craze currently taking hold, you'll have heard little like it before.
First ever reissue of a pivotal Berlin new wave opus; Programm 1, the debut album by Gudrun Gut (Einstürzende Neubauten, Mania D, Malaria!) and Mark Eins’ Din A Testbild duo.
Formed in 1978 during the twilight years of the Berlin School of Electronics, Din A Testbild emerged as pioneers of Berlin’s new wave with the patronage of Berlin skool caretaker Klaus Schulze, who produced and mixed the duo’s debut at his studio, and also issued it on his Innovative Communication label in 1980.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can now hear that Programm 1 stood way out from the pack at that time, lifting slivers of American and UK new wave and licking them into a quintessentially forward, exploratory Berlin sound that would soon seep outwards into the cosmic DJ sets of Danielle Baldelli and DJ Mozart, as well as informing the aesthetics of swathes of Berlin acts to follow.
The variety of each track reflects the flux of style and pattern of that era, jamming from Devo-gone-motorik disco in Die Siebziger to pensive, zig-zagging industrial synth music in DNS of Time, and a jaw-dropping gem in the reversed loops and spindly guitars of No Repeat, which is almost worth admission alone.
Urwald-Liebe follows into a more smacked out sort of VU-via-Suicide worship spangled with Berlin-eyed synths, and Age Is A State of Mind opens a window of icily refreshing synth minimalism following the excesses of the ‘70s, whilst She’s So Nice also bridges the two eras, recycling elements of Schulze’s own The Looper Isn’t A Hooker into a trippier 5 minute avant-pop format.
You may think you’ve heard it all before, but this isn’t just-another-classic-synth-reissue; it’s a really killer record that stands up beyond the shelves of completists and neeks, and sounds as good as ever even 35 years after release thanks to a fine master by Rude 66.
Unprecedented, 21-track survey of ‘80s dancefloor juice from the Nigerian capital; the latest in a long line of invaluable and expertly-curated Soundway compilations. Whilst Nigeria’s ‘70s music has been covered in some depth thru various reissues, compilations and the enduring legacy of Afrobeat, it’s fair to say that the focus of Doing It In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980’s Nigeria covers a much less well-known sound that’s no less effective on the right ‘floors.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that much of the set was American productions as there’s hardly a trace of the psychedelia or politics of the ‘70s to these 21 songs. It’s all super slick and trim, tucked and cut at sharp angles rather than sprawling out over 10 minute+ jams, and tending to sing about going out, getting laid and showing off your money rather than the afrocentric politics which had previously dominated.
In line with the influx of oil money and the phase shift from in-house disco bands to DJs playing at clubs, the sound of these tunes had to be up to par with American imports, and clearly sounds like they achieved it.
Quite honestly there’s far too many highlights to mention them all, but we insist you clock the lissom glyde of Steve Monte’s Only You, and submit yourself to the cosmic boogie sensuality of Too Hot by Rick Asikpo & Afro Fusion, or the debonaire touch of Toby Foyeh’s Ore Mi, and definitely get on the rugged electro budges of Lexy Mella and Nkono Teles!!!
Haswell kicks it Coventry-via-Chicago style with this 11 minute belter written at Sweden's EMS for Editions Mego. Teasing the entry for his upcoming collection of bangers with Diagonal, 'Tongue Dancer '85' waterboards a welting kick/hi-hat kink with virulent SERGE modular signals for the good of your club. Perfect primer for his massive new album on Diagonal.
Achingly fragile, sublime folksong from Tokyo's Ai Aso - an occasional collaborator with Boris, and White Heaven members You Ishihara and Michio Kurihara.
Somewhat of an about-turn for Stephen O'Malley's notoriously heavy Ideologic Organ label, 'Lone' showcases Ai's exquisite, "whisper-thin acid folk" voice in a live setting at Daikanyama UNIT, Tokyo 3rd November 2012. Her performance is nothing short of captivating, accompanied by keyboard and guitar, she glides sylph like thru a suite of seven songs, each seemingly on the verge of evaporation yet delivered with an unwavering confidence that's almost stoic in its clinical execution and perfection.
We're most drawn to the magical atmospheres of standout 'Date' with its plinky, plaintive keyboard coda, and the floating chords of 'Most Children Do'.
Arch North American outsider musician, poet and orator, member of Lungfish and The Skull Defekts, recites from his book, The Fools Sermon, for Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ label
“Daniel Higgs once told me that the Earth is actually in its 34th life cycle. That everything has been conceived, created, grown, withered and ultimately been destroyed a grand total of thirty three times to date. As for quite how long this Ourobouros-esque pattern will continue, he never enunciated.
For enunciation is at the very heart of The Fools Sermon. Or I should say 'Ee-nun-see-a-she-on", as language in the hands of Higgs becomes a plaything; syllables coil and retreat as if in eternal competition over the course of this 35 minute address.
Anyone versed in Higgs' vocabulary over his 30 year-plus career as musician, poet and orator, The Fools Sermon will feel like a worthy distillation of his other-world view: a raw vision of the sacred and the profane, the physical and the metaphysical, The Proterozoic and the Present.
At points, the results conjure a Flannery O'Connor penned pulpit-bound preacher elucidating as a huddle of Tribe Records personnel channel Black Dada Nihilismus; at others the narcoleptic exotica of Eden Ahbez shakes hands with Blind Joe Death. One imagines Gene Roddenberry's Captain turning his attention to the Philosopher's Stone, to boldly go where no man and everyman has been before and forever will go again. - Anthony Sylvester, London, June 2016”
"'A History of Every One' by Bill Orcutt is an album of songs: holiday songs, hymns, marches, cowboy songs, Disney songs, work songs, delta blues.
The original tunes themselves are nothing special, well known, but not particularly well-regarded. Most would be filler on a mid-60's Doris Day or Burl Ives LP. What Orcutt does with them however is remarkable: expanding upon techniques developed on 2011's 'How the Thing Sings' and incorporating ideas forged since his recording of 'The Star Spangled Banner' last year, Orcutt interrogates the apparent banality of his material, subjecting it to discontinuity, disjuncture and a fractured repetition that is disturbing and revelatory.
Titled after a line from Gertrude Stein's 'The Making of Americans' and inspired by the scholarship of Elijah Wald and Eric Lott, 'A History of Every One' is a bold re-writing of an important historical thread, an interpretation of a lost text and a bewildering extension upon Orcutt's already singular language."
Lichen Gumbo is a lo-fi underground rock band from Finland.
"The whole album was recorded during a week of seclusion in a small cabin deep in the woods with no running water and at home during an exceptional heat wave hitting Finland in 2014, hence the Boilin’ title for this album of hazey tunes.
The selected songs range from Throbbing Gristle hits to a more noisy garage style. Mixing heavily distorted drums & guitars, vocals varying in style going from garage, no wave to totally deranged, and synth bubbles which sound like they’re recorded straight from the water surface of hot springs (or perhaps they just borrowed a moog from Acid Mothers Temple).
Lichen Gumbo are Olli Aarni and Ville Oinonen. Olli has been recording under his own name since 2011 and mostly works with electronic sounds, he has released music as Ous Mal and Nuojuva. Ville joins him for the lo-fi ride that is Lichen Gumbo."
Mannequin dig into the ruined foundations of ‘90s industrial rhythmic noise with reissue of Orphx’s debut cassette couplet and previously unheard 4-track tapes.
Scrolling back to early ‘90s Ontario, Canada - the site of Orphx’s first doings - Archive 1993-1994 reveals the noisy, abstract genesis of a unit who are maybe best known nowadays for their steely techno productions and valued modular synths skills, has released on Adam X’s Sonic Groove and heard alongside synthy collaborators ranging from Junior Boys’s Jeremy Greenspan to dark techno overlord, Dave Foster aka Huren in recent years.
Taking their cues from then contemporary European and Japanese noise scenes, Orphx hatched a feral and fucking busted sound that stirred improvised elements of power noise, electro-acoustic process and the notion of ‘death industrial’ into a crushing cacophony at their erstwhile member, Aron T’s basement studio named The Pit, wresting a guttural and unheimlich sound that wouldn’t be out of place on the Harbinger Sound catalogue or even Hospital Productions, who are coincidentally behind an expanded CD version of this collection.
The first disc of this set corresponds to their debut tape, 01 [Excretia, 1993], which was originally issued in edition of only 100 copies. It’s severely dank and distended stuff, akin to being pulped by a slow blowing sandblaster, prone to buckle and collapse under its own weight and undergo fits of spasming death gargle, with the’ rhythmic’ component pretty much reserved to the percussive detonations and metal-shearing screech of Excruciate and the bombed out hulk of Monophilia, which both make a mockery of much modern noise techno.
Disc two contains the gear off tape 02 [Excretia, 1994] along with unheard material, bookending the systematic immolation of Exposure and the very Prurient-esque Reservoirs of Infection with a much broader sound in the dive-bombing drone formation, Veil Of Dream and finally spewing up the black bile of the Wolf Eyes-like Beautiful Wreckage and a palpitating, cloven beast of Live Fragment 21/10/94, which is uncannily close to fellow Canucks, Wold/Black Mecha, but twenty years earlier.
It’s all basically as rare as chalky white dog shit (which we’ve not seen since the ‘90s; coincidence?!?!) and totally aches for the attention of noise grotbags everywhere.
Pretty much every few years Terrence Dixon announces that he’s going to quit making music, and then comes back stronger, tauter than ever with a blinder like this for Rush Hour or the recent Detroit City At Night EP for Metroplex.
In pursuit of Dixon’s Theater Of A Confused Mind (2014) LP for Rush Hour, the sleek, horsepowered momentum of The Move is built around strapping double bass vamps and a feathered 909 groove with details picked out by searchlight-style synth sweeps for that perfectly paranoid, furtive 313 vibe.
On the flip, a staunch supporter of that aesthetic, Orlando Voorn remixes The Move by tightening the screws of Dixon’s double bass to a wood-creaking tension whilst knuckling the kicks firmer into place.
Peter Broderick returns with Allred & Broderick – a duo project between him and his musical partner David Allred
"Armed with nothing but their voices, a violin and an upright bass, Allred & Broderick began their journey to create an album as minimal as possible. Recorded in Peter’s studio The Sparkle on the Oregon coast, the pair used this solitude to focus on creating something as raw and honest as possible, particularly in what some might deem unattainable during a time where complexity is sought most.
In a world full of noise and the anxieties of every day life, Find The Ways brings us together and reminds us to appreciate and confront the simple and fundamental facts of life, and that we as individuals will eventually find our way.
Words from Peter and David, January 2017:
“I sensed a truly unique character in David’s own music that is wonderfully heartfelt and sincere. With this recording David and I set out to make something raw which is an honest document of what we are capable of doing together at once, with just two acoustic instruments and our voices. The entire album was recorded live, with no overdubs and no edits. Just two guys playing together in a room. I have always dreamed of doing a project in which I only use my violin and my voice and David just plays upright bass and sings. It truly is a fifty-fifty collaboration.” – Peter Broderick
“It is such a pleasure to work with Peter. I feel that we're on the same page in more ways than one, both musically and non-musically. The making of this album was an incredibly fun challenge; writing music to be performed and recorded live with only violin, upright bass, and voices. It still amazes me that we managed to make a whole record with only those three elements. Over the years, I have felt a very strong connection to Peter's music and friendship, and I feel that this collaboration comes from a really good place. I hope this music gives the listeners a feeling of comfort, confusion and understanding.” – David Allred
First ever pressing of the elusive soundtrack to an arthouse film following Don Cherry around Paris, 1969 - taking in electrified skronk, primal free jazz and poetry readings from Anthony Braxton
“Reaching a near-mythical status amongst fans of free jazz's most worldly intrepid explorer, these seldom heard Paris soundtrack sessions known as Music, Wisdom, Love have evaded collectors' grasps and confused historians for exactly 50 years. Instigated in Paris in 1967 and filmed during Don Cherry's downtime on a visit to the Chat qui Pêche nightclub in March 1967, where he played with Karl Berger, Henri Texier, and Jacques Thollot, the bulk of this cinematic portrait was filmed on the streets of Paris under the direction of creative all-rounders Jean-Noël Delamarre and Nathalie Perrey, who, as their careers bloomed, would become pivotal figures in underground French cinema - straddling La Nouvelle Vague, adult entertainment, and cinema fantastique in what can only be described as speedball cinema.
As the supportive creative family that primarily played home to French vampire/horrortica director Jean Rollin, both Nathalie and Jean-Noël, his brother Jean-Philippe Delamarre and a small team of other fans of oblique media would be responsible for a vibrant micro-culture that awkwardly flourished on the outskirts on the Parisian new wave - combining comic book culture, Lettrism, sexual liberation, psychedelic rock, graphic design, and, with this record as prime example, free jazz and avant-garde music.
What previously might have been regarded as an unlikely coupling, with the benefit of half a century of archival hindsight, this release documents the essential cosmic collision of two fantastic planets. Available here for the first time ever and licensed from producer and director Jean-Noël Delamarre himself.”
Yorkston / Thorne / Khan release their new album ‘Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars’. It follows the band’s debut album - 2016’s critically acclaimed ‘Everything Sacred’
"It presents a confluence of currents, among them the north Indian sarangi; jazz-tinged bass reminiscent in places of Danny Thompson; acoustic guitar that owes a debt to Elizabeth Cotton, Dick Gaughan and Mississippi John Hurt; and three very different vocalists - James Yorkston (East Neuk of Fife), Jon Thorne (Isle Of Wight) and Suhail Yusuf Khan (New Delhi)."
Cyber-cerebral house shiners from Jimmy Billingham’s Holovr alias for Happy Skull; rendering the Actress-esque crystalline prismatics of Melody 4 Your Mind, and the B12-alike acidic lushness of You Belong 2.
On Arca’s amazing 3rd, eponymous album - his debut for XL - the Venezuelan/American artist reveals his vocals, guts and more (check the press shots; which, to be fair, aren’t a patch on E+E’s old Myspace pic) in a riveting suite of tortuous torch songs riddled with violent electronic tones and heart-wrenching levels of emotive pathos.
If Xen  was a chrysalis for Arca to nervously find his place in the world, and Mutant  revealed him shedding that exosleketon and becoming flesh, then Arca documents the preeminent artist coming to terms with his soul in typically unflinching fashion thru 13 songs about, well, we’re not 100% sure; but they’re detectably as heavy as your life and every bit as unnerving, compelling as the sore, longing face looking out from Jesse Kanda’s artwork.
After first coaxing his voice out on the Entrañas mixtape in summer ’16, it is now a fully fledged and confidently integral part of his music on Arca, and to the extent it’s now almost hard to imagine his sound without it. Ranging from quivering, castrati-style to richer, processed lows, it turns out to be the perfect foil for his plasmic electronic scales, serving to match and emphasise the operatic/cabaret dramaturgy of his arrangements with an effect at times as surreal as Julee Cruise’s performances in Twin Peaks, or one of Coil’s studio sprites come to life, or even like some Kaspar Hauser-esque R&B diva who just emerged from another dimension.
Lead singles Piel and Anoche set the scene for 43 minutes of the most arresting music you’ll hear in 2017, sweeping us thru the windswept crest of Saunter and the oily sensuality of Reverie to the pinched, curdled chamber music of Castration at the album’s agitated instrumental core, whose chaos subsides to make the appearance of his soaring vox in Sin Rumbo (a highlight of the aforementioned Entraps mixtape) that much more poignant.
Farther in, you can trust Arca’s visceral sound design skills are in cutting effect with Whip, used to beautiful effect framing rave horns and expansive swooshes around the naked, shivering but soaring vox of Desafío, while Fugaces sounds like Julee Cruise reworked by Elysia Crampton, and Child dances on your nerve endings like Drukqs-era AFX rescoring Vangelis for prepared piano.
Clark toys with the “most perfect synth” aka the human voice on his eighth and latest album for Warp.
Death Peak! Surely the recommended way to pronounce Clark’s latest album is with your very best Don LaFontaine voice. The Warp massive will be all over ‘Death Peak’ which further finesses Clark’s canny LP formulae of splicing multiple sonic DNA sources into his main molecular structure, ensuring the end result doesn’t lose its inherent Clarkness. The main difference to previous Clark albums is the introduction of vocals – thankfully not Karl Hyde’s, that’s right Warp and Eno we haven’t forgot – but rather implemented as an instrumental element by the producer.
Commencing with the spry, malevolent drama of opening interlude Spring But Dark, Clark leads all on a merry dance through nine tracks that touch on early Hessle wrong footers, post-trance digressions of Evian Christ or Lorenzo Senni, and the intricate sound design of Laurel Halo.
After spending the duration of the album exploring these ideas in isolation, Clark elects to cram several into the nine-minute closing suite Un U.K.
Sophomore side by mutant bass/pop/electronica whizz Slugabed - his debut for USA’s Anticon
“There's something nice about a duck, isn't there? Innocent, passive, kind of fuzzy... unable to trigger a global crisis or all-out apocalypse. The redheaded mallard on the cover of Slugabed's second album, Inherit the Earth, can embody whatever you want it to, but there's something in his downcast gaze that feels familiar, like watching the world burn while being powerless to quell the blaze. Or maybe it's just a dumb bird, but this London producer's new strange opus does indeed play, at times, like a dark-humored deadpan dystopia—more observation than statement, a rendering of our modern times in eerie atmosphere, rumbling bass, bright blips, laser jags, melodies that either creep or comfort, and all kinds of unpredictable, hypnotic rhythms.
It's going on four years since a Slugabed album, but the man's been busy—running a label, working with others, and making a two scrapped LPs' worth of cuts similar in vibe to the hyper-pop of 2014's Coolest EP—happier, forest-y, more "plinky-plonky." But none of those would-be followups began with a schoolgirl calling an arms dealer to buy a tank, as Inherit the Earth does. There's something in that moment of pretty innocence approaching the cliff's edge of utter chaos that's reflected not only in this set's title, which has been used by both the Bible and a '90s video game about talking animals who survive human extinction, but also in the first song "Stupid Earth." That dreamy scene, colored by warm sax and chill keys, is constantly warping just so, or being smashed over a hard beat and roasted with synth. Slugabed has long been an ace storyteller, even without words, and this is his most vivid, consistent work yet.”
One of the crankiest cogs in Manchester’s subterranean machine, Callum Higgins and John Powell-Jones’ Swaggerjack twist out their definitive magnum opus with Privilege; rendering the results of a month long residency for Samarbeta at Islington Mill, which they spent turning the bowels of the building into a resonant echo chamber where their clammy, burred guitar strokes, lower-case rustles and spiny electro-acoustic spectres could really take form.
Where their previous outings were presented on and perfectly suited to the tape format, they’ve really grasped the Privilege of working within such a unique recording space as ‘The Mill’, using canny microphone placement and a close knowledge of the space to coax out its accreted ghouls from its hundreds of years of history - from original use as a (doomed) mill, to its then-unprecedented fire-proofing, and post-modern use as an arts and music venue - and then really let them breathe thanks to Sam Weaver’s mastering and a minty vinyl cut which patently suits their subtly expanded sound.
The key to the allure of Privilege is the way they let their instruments converse with the space and vice-versa. Their simple gestures - half-lit guitar licks and piano board clangs - are allowed to ring out into the space with masterful, glacial discipline, deflecting off its uneven surfaces and foisty crannies and ricocheted into a primitive, plasmic dub miasmah across both sides; at once redolent of some jangling Jandek or a motion captured Derek Bailey performance as much as the elegant, angular punctuation of Korean Classical court music or even those deeply intoxicating Decimus volumes from a few years back, especially in the high-register, hyaline avian chirrups of the closing part.
This is properly liminal, outsider gear, and thoroughly conveys the sense of isolation and immersion that the pair went through to gain such eerie, unheimlich music, if you can even call it that. Cos it’s maybe better described in terms of EVP or paranormal phenomena? Whatever; it’s ace.
Düsseldorf's 2nd greatest band return with a new album of improvisational krautrock inspired by modern society’s plummet down the toilet.
Who would have bet on Düsseldorf veterans Kreidler to be among the first bands to do a ‘John Oliver’ and deliver a musical riposte to the unfolding Trump era? According to Bureau B, Detlef Weinrich and his fellow Kreidlerites had wrapped up a new LP early last year that showed a more playful and light side to the modern-day dark kraut-poppers. The ‘brutal shock of the US election’ left the band thinking this album wasn’t the correct message to send out so they swiftly set about laying down tracks for an all-new LP more in line with their trademark rhythmic dystopia.
‘European Song’ is the result of those swiftly-convened sessions, a five-track album rife with nervous energy that is all the more impressive for being improvised one take recordings. The politically-loaded inspiration doesn’t bear too much of a weight on the music though, acting more as spontaneous impetus to drive Kreidler’s refined chaos.
Fans of their classic 2010 album, ‘Tank,’ will love this new Kreidler set with both Kannibal and Radio Island bearing further traces of the band’s giallo love. The latter finds the band achieving a particularly devilish harmony, twisting abstract kraut rhythms with fluttered melodies over 13 intense minutes.
Jamie Saft has been a significant presence on RareNoiseRecords since the label’s inception
"As band leader on New Zion w. Cyro’s ‘Sunshine Seas’ (on piano, analogue keyboards, bass and guitar with percussionist Cyro Baptista) and on The New Standard (on piano and organ with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bobby Previte), on celebrated quartet collaborations with Wadada Leo Smith (Red Hill on piano) and Roswell Rudd (Strength&Power on piano), as well as on a number of deep free music collaborations involving Joe Morris (Slobber Pup, Plymouth, The Spanish Donkey, on organ and analogue keyboards).
Now, on Serenity Knolls,he stakes out some completely different territory. An intimate duo project with guitarist Bill Brovold, a former member of such New York no-wave bands as the Rhys Chatham Ensemble, the East Village Orchestra and the Zen Vikings, it features Saft alternating between playing dobro and lap steel on a set of 12 ambient type tunes with a distinctive heartland undercurrent to them. An accomplished keyboardist-composer who has been widely acknowledged for his work with various John Zorn projects, including The Dreamers, Electric Masada and Moonchild, the Queens native and current resident of Kingston in upstate New York has nonetheless has maintained a longstanding relationship with theguitar. Saft is paired with the legendary improviser, woodworker, instrument builder and leader of Larval, an influential Detroit improvising post-rock ensemble.
Recorded at Potterville International Sound in Kingston, New York and mixed there by Saft and his colleague Christian Castagno (the same engineer who co-produced and mixed 2016’s Sunshine Seas), Serenity Knolls carries a compelling vibe created by Brovold’s atmospheric guitar in combination with Saft’s melodic gems on dobro and lap steel. "
Mean and muscular fusion of free jazz honk, psych rock and bluesy swagger from the Norwegian trio of Axel Skalstad, Jørgen Mathisen and Tom Hasslan aka Krokofant. File somewhere in the gulf between Mahavishnu Orchestra and Peter Brötzmann
“Krokofant typify a new and invigorating movement currently sweeping across the Nordic region: hard boiled improvisation and strong instrumental personalities bolted onto rock beats and driving rhythms. Equally powerful on record and on stage, Krokofant pull no punches, sounding off like some unholy three-way marriage of early 70s jazz rock (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Terje Rypdal), the sprawling progressive odysseys of King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator, and the fierce heat of John Zorn or Peter Brötzmann’s harsh free jazz ensembles.
If their 2014 debut album was a fresh breath of youthful energy, the follow-up showed a trio more confident of their abilities after extended live work. Their third album in just three years follows in this tradition, with Mathisen’s fat syntheziser tones adding a new colour to the soundscape. They still ally a strong discipline with wide, exploratory arcs, Tom’s agile guitar and Jørgen’s snaking sax fighting to break out, just held in check by Axel’s tough, rhythmic tumble. Only 23 years old, the young drummer is something of a sensation, combining pure energy with superior technical skills.
This is a trio where you can hear the individuals pushing each other to new heights while keeping the solid group foundation intact.”
Dekmantel wrest an album of hard working techno from Anthony Parasole, a mainstay of the NYC scene for decades, proprietor of The Corner label, and more recently a regular figure on the decks at Berghain.
Building on five years of productions for Ostgut Ton and the labels of Levon Vincent and Marcel Dettmann, he ploughs out a haul of ruggedly hypnotic gear inside infrared Vision, with tuffened highlights in the spiny jacker, Explode and the reticulated swerve of So Alive, but also leaving lots of room for experimentation, most successfully with the slippery wormholes of Zenith and Bizarre Part 2.
Important electronic music pioneer Bülent Arel is subject of this crucial Sub Rosa retrospective, digging up some of his earliest works to present formative context for some of contemporary music’s most advanced operators. A must check for anyone who’s been snagged on the unique abstraction of early electronic music
"Bülent Arel's (1919-1990) work occupies a special place in the history of electronic music, with one thing being certain: Arel's work is still fresh, groundbreaking, and it always look outs for the next adventure in sound. Sub Rosa present a collection of his works here as part of their Early Electronic series. Bülent Arel was a Turkish-born American composer of electronic and contemporary classical music. He was also a devoted teacher, a sculptor, and a painter. From 1940 to 1947, Arel studied composition, piano, and 20th century classical music at the Ankara Conservatory. In 1959, Arel came to the US on a grant by the Rockefeller Foundation to work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center.
By that time the center had just started out under its director Vladimir Ussachevsky. During Arel's work in Princeton he also met Edgard Varèse, with whom in 1962 he worked on the electronic sections of Varèse's Déserts. Frank Zappa lists Arel as a key influence. Today's electronic music - whether it is Autechre's Confield (2001), Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Vol. II (1999), or Squarepusher's Do You Know Squarepusher (2001) - builds upon a solid foundation which Bülent Arel helped to pave."
Warp wrap up Gonjasufi’s salty af Callus album with a broadly compatible remix suite featuring various collaborators and mutual freaks, including a number of late ‘90s leftfield characters along with the LA beat scene and yung cats such as Moor Mother and Innsyter.
"The Mandela Effect is a recent phenomenon in which experiencers claim to be living in a reality slightly different from the one they remember. These differences, manifested in literature, movies, logos and even people themselves, constitute the evidence of an altered reality for ‘Mandela’ believers. The term was coined after large groups of people seemed to ‘misremember’ that Nelson Mandela had died during his imprisonment in South Africa.
Guests include Massive Attack’s Daddy G, Shabazz Palaces, Anna Wise, Ras G, Innsyter, Moor Mother, Perera Elsewhere, King Britt and a crew of Gonjasufi’s San Diego brethren."
Smart survey of postcolonial African music, covering thousands of miles but united in a sense of joy and optimism
“It was the most exciting period of recent African history. From the late 1950s onwards, one African country after another gained independence. Independence had its own literature and its own soundtrack. It was the dawning of the golden age of African pop music. In the 1970s and early 1980s, local traditions, modern western styles and instruments combined to create an exciting new sound that expressed the euphoria and pride of a newfound freedom. The Golden Afrique series dives into this vast musical ocean of and comes up with its finest, rarest pearls.
The series opens with music from Guinea, Mali, Guinea-Bissao, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Chad and Senegal – many of the tracks are available on for the very first time in a long time. Youssou N’Dour takes his first tentative steps, creating the mbalax sound that will later spread around the world, Salif Keita raises his golden voice, Baobab de Dakar and Bembeya Jazz National from Conakry take the big band sound to new heights, the Super Eagles of Gambia sing of African unity, the Amazones de Guinea form the first all-woman big band line-up, Miriam Makeba sings in her own language from her Guinean exile, Super Mama Djombo have to fly from Guinea to Moscow to make their groundbreaking recordings, Maitre Gazonga from Chad has a huge hit and disappears…”
Floating deep house suspension systems from Ron Trent, spelling out two gorgeous African Indigenous Rhythms for thumb pianos, hearty-thump kicks and cosmic synth pads.
The Dawn wakes the soul with decadent pads underlined by lithe and free thumb piano, transitioning into pealing horns and breathy coos made to melt the ‘floor and set yourself free.
Power Movement on the other hand, focuses on the subtleties of torque, reaching down below with writhing acid bass and scissoring syncopation that bui8lds the groove from your feet and hips up to the heady pads and shuffling percussive top lines.
Faded, surreal and fizzy dream-house snacks from Kai Hugo’s Palmbomen II, blessing NYC’s BIS (Beats In Space) with a heavy-lidded follow-up to his well-received, eponymous 2015 outing and a pair of interim team-ups with Betonkust.
Operating inside a now-crowded prism, Palmbomen II’s sound still sticks out from the milieu by dint of his sensitivity to textured grooves and a hazy lense of mixing trickery which frames a deeply nostalgic and melodic new age soul at its core.
“Kai Hugo eulogizes our dear Cindy through new Palmbomen II music and a surreal, neo-noir lens, chronicled over a series of four 12” EPs and public access television transmissions. Crack open a refreshing Apple Shorle™ and direct your remotes to channel BIS to experience an initial offering and explanation.”
File beside 1991, BoC, Iueke, Leonardo Martelli
Reissue/compilation of ‘A Return To Slavery’ and ‘The Hand Of Glory’ EP.
A stone cold Power Noise classic comes back to grate your grill on vinyl more than 30 years after the original recordings were made at IPS in Shepherd’s Bush and released on Gary Mundy’s Harbinger Sound. Yes, that is a dissected cadaver on the jacket. And yes, it sounds every bit as fucking brutal as that image might suggest.
For the purposes of these recordings, Ramleh were Gary Mundy (vocals, electronics) and Jerome Clegg (electronics, vocals). The original side of A Return To Slavery was backed with a one-off outing from Phillip Best in his Libertarian Recordings guise but, that side is now replaced by Ramleh’s The Hand Of Glory EP, which was originally recorded and issued separately later in 1983, and also sounds like drowning in a cess pit.
For the curious noise layman, it’s possibly difficult to distinguish between the various mutilations of that genre. However there’s no such problem here, as it’s clear as mud that these are utterly ferocious, unrelenting examples of Ramleh at their most forceful and unforgiving.
Bathe in it.
This is our cup of tea: shivering and emotionally damaged/pointed synth-pop from Norway 1981; properly sepulchral and wallowing in the space between Berlin-era Bowie, Vienna and pre-echoes of earliest, grimacing black metal atmospheres. Get hooked on the cold talons of Pictures And Paintings, the icy élan of Search, and the arresting bleakness of Can’t Go To Sleep, then you’ll know what to do…
“Espen Beranek Holm is a Norwegian musician and comedian, born 1960 and began his music career as a clarinetist. Inspired by early synthesizer bands Kraftwerk and The Residents, he began making experimental pop music. His debut single “Dra te’ hælvete” was released in 1981 and was immediately banned by national TV/radio channel NRK due to explicit lyrics. This gave the young artist tons of publicity, helping the single spend almost 6 months on the national charts.
Beranek returned to the Starholm Studios in Oslo from June – September 1981 to record nine new compositions. His debut album, “Sound of Danger”, was released on Mind Expanding Records in November 1981. Nowhere near as accessible as the previous single, the album fared poorly commercially. Withdrawing from the single’s fun, kitsch pop, the album is cool and static, driven by thin rhythm boxes, cold synths, and glacial guitars.
Taking heavy cues from David Bowie, all of the songs are sung in a nasally English accent, a rare occurrence in Norway at the time. The lyrics are melancholic, but tinged with paranoia. There are also upbeat tracks that evoke a prog or glam sensibility a la King Crimson, Alan Parsons, or Roxy Music.”
Clap! Clap! and Nikitch on the buttons for remixes of DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko’s party-ready rhythms.
A-side: Clap! Clap! does his sprung tribal funk thing with Bognya, flinging you from the village to the savannah and the coast in the first half before cutting loose in the city with sweaty samba chords and jungle rushups.
B-side: Nikitch jumps on Lenke with a flighty fusion of chanting vox and footwork/jungle rolige dipping from halfstep to rattlesnake breakbeats.
Oh Dark Entries, how we adore thee! At long last San Fran’s finest pull out one we’ve been waiting for; a comprehensive collection of Night Moves’ essential Trance Dance power play, containing the original and sought-after UK mixes plus the New York Disco Mix and GC1 Version, all on the same platter, for the first time. Swoooooon.
Hailed as an (un)common root of debonaire ‘80s UK, Euro, Chicago and NYC disco scenes, Trance Dance is patently a total and pivotal anthem, favoured by everyone from London’s New Romantics to Larry Levan, Ron Hardy and Tony Humphries for its ineffable style and finesse.
Aside from inferior bootleg pressings, the original pressing have been hard and/or damn expensive to pick up, so it’s an absolute pleasure to finally cop full fat versions of the searing New York Disco Mix and the totally proto Dopplereffekt vibes on the GC1 Version, and likewise clasp clammy palms on the later 1983 (Robot Rock) UK Club Mix with its heaving bass, or the beautifully gaunt UK Disco Mix on the flip.
Sadly the release is tinged with sadness as it also doubles up as a tribute to the dancers and crew who perished in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire on 2nd December, 2016. Their memories will live on in the best record bags and shelves around the world.
Norway’s André Brattan steps off like DJ Stingray on one with the Analord (or, Bjarki?) in this off-the-cuff missile recently salvaged from an old hard drive.
Valve is fast, slippery and analogue, and with shadowboxing beats warped on the weave with ghostly voices and Braindancing synth tang. Bjorn Torkse gets his fingers in there on a more messed up Megamix on the flip, yielding a more chaotic bit of Detroit-style electro pneumatics wildly shifting gears between 150bpm, 115bpm, and out into unmetered ambient space.
Best hip hop album of the ‘00s, anyone?!
Pusha T and Malice’s coke rap classic gets a re-up on white wax for anyone who missed out on a line of its 2014 pressing, slanging some of the most addictive, raw and uncut rhymes and double, even triple entendres about that yayo ever to come out of Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. Of course, those bars wouldn’t hit as hard without The Neptunes’ stellar production, which sounds just as box fresh now, ten years later, as it did back then.
“Atypical six members Brussels underground band, mixing rock, new wave, psyche, kraut, experimental and repetitive music.
Ji Ameeto is the 4th album of Babils. From the duet formed in the late 90s by Gabriel Séverin and Michel Duyck, opening out over the years, the five current members of Babils meet monthly at the Central Laboratory to improvise freely, without any restraint. All the sessions are recorded and archived. The very first album of Babils, made of a selection of improvised and reworked tracks, came out in 2007 on the label Stilll and was very welcomed by underground newspapers and many American universities radios. This CD was nominated for the Qwartz, awarded by Radio France.
In 2009 Stephan Barbery sees his friends on stage at Ancienne Belgique. Expressing his enthusiasm, he is invited to join the crew. The band, then made of six members, will release two CDs: QTAB in 2011 and WAH! in 2013 (Camera obscura D001). Alas, they will never play six on stage. Michel Duyck, after suffering, passed away on November 8, 2014. Ji Ameeto is the first album of Babils without Michel.”
Circle was a band on fire with creativity. Chick Corea and Dave Holland had just left Miles Davis’s band, keen to explore all parameters of new music in an improvised context.
Anthony Braxton, equally inspired by Stockhausen and Coltrane, brought in new directions from the AACM. Barry Altschul’s resumé included extensive work with Paul Bley. Together they were, for a while, matchless. Corea called the Paris Concert (recorded 1971) the realization of a dream.
Melody Maker: “Paris Concert is evidence that here was one of the most excitingly talented bands of recent years, for these 94 minutes of music simply burst with vigorous invention.”
Personnel: Anthony Braxton (reeds, percussion), Chick Corea (piano), Dave Holland (double-bass, cello), Barry Altschul (drums)
First ever vinyl reissue of a totemic avant garde/minimalist classic.
The maestro Charlemagne Palestine’s seminal and sought-after Strumming Music is finally made available on vinyl for the first time since its 1974 pressing on the legendary Shandar label, returning one of thee most hypnotic iterations of ‘70s minimalist avant garde composition to its original format.
Originally issued in the same year as the entrancing Four Manifestations On Six Elements, Palestine’s Strumming Music is a work developed over the course of five years utilising a note alternation technique with the sustain pedal of the piano constantly depressed. This technique allows the undampened strings to resonate and compound with each other creating complex mixtures of pure strummed sonority and their overtones, no electronics or special tunings are utilized; only the finest instrument available, the Rolls Royce of pianos, “Bosendorfer” of Vienna.
The result is a sublime cascade of keys that swells with an infinite, transcendent majesty, making a clean break with practically most piano pieces before it and seemingly releasing the instrument from its harmonic shackles thru a deceptively simple gesture. Or in other words; a breathtaking and spine tingling 55 minutes of the most beautiful music one could ever hope to hear. We’re melting right now.
Lip-biting, eye-fluttering Dream House Tropicana styles from Yorkshire:the Larry Heard-toned blissness of Breakfast Club by Deep88; a canny electro-breaks depth charge called Refresh Your Hair and the trilling percolations of Tap4 by RNR.
Rootsy, jazz-skooled house and rolling swing joints from Dublin’s David Kittser aka New Jackson, taking his low key party to All City after turns with Hivern Discs, Major Problems, Permanent Vacation and Cin Cin.
Uptown on Anya’s Piano he strokes a wide, reverberating double bassline into a nimble electro-house groove framed by fluttering flutes and underlined by tuffer drums until a trumpet line blares in screaming Croatian beaches at dusk.
Downtown, night falls and In My Room weaves a line between Jacques Greene-like tech swing and Mano Le Tough-style proggy disco vibes, then depositing you at the Balearic chug and coy vocoder of Leave Me Making,.