“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.
Mondo celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Contra franchise with the premiere Vinyl release of the original soundtrack to the 1992 Super Nintendo sequel: The Alien Wars.
"Set 3 years after the original, Red Falcon and his legion have returned to Earth, this time with the intent of launching a full-scale war against it's inhabitants. It's up to Bill and Lance, our heroes to scale walls, ride motorcycles, and even cling to soaring missiles in an attempt to defeat the onslaught.
The music of Contra 3: The Alien Wars is epic to say the least - the looping sequences of each level are longer, taking full advantage of the new audio capabilities available to the composers on the Super Nintendo. In some instances, like with 'Battle Runner' which operates on-the-rails for large stretches, it affords for the composers to have some sequences to go nearly two minutes before a single loop. The sweeping scope of these tracks leads to a chaos absent from the previous chapters of the run-and-gun series, while still obeying the structures and pacing of Video Game music... Just with more complex time signatures, and percussion patterns."
One of UK D&B’s darkest new lights mounts a killer debut album full of innovative swerve and carefully constructed atmospheres for his peers at UVB-76 Music.
A natural extension of his clinical, minimalist styles explored over a run of some dozen 12”s in the last five years, Smoke Signals forms one of the most absorbing LP excursions that we’ve heard from the scene in some years - heck, since Breakage’s This Too Shall Pass , at the very least - and offers a definitive taste of that sound for 2017.
Twysting cues from classic Source Direct, Doc Scott and Photek with an appreciation of technoid tone and minimalism that places his music almost as close to Raime as to the likes of Pessimist, Clarity or UVB-76 Music label owner, Ruffhouse, Overlook has place a distinctively taut spin on familiar tropes and wrested something fiercely compelling and properly satisfying for lovers of late ‘90s darkside styles and contemporary grey area explorations in the process.
Body Boys mint the Civilised Life label with a lush haul hovering on the edges of ambient techno after releasing a fine run of gauzier, shoegazing albums for Opal Tapes.
The gauze is strong with this one, too, but applied to a a firmer rhythmic ballast stepping between half-time, ‘up’ and jacking modes with a crafty sleight of hand throughout H; initially hingeing on the downstroke with Damn before 2-stepping like the garage sibling of Lee Gamble into he misty eyed reverie H, then steering the vibe to vape-chonging R&B with Imprint and out into nerve riding ambient techno on Speed (Recut) and the scratchy thump of Ξ.
The Arms of Someone New was formed in 1983 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois by Mel Eberle and Steve Jones. Steve managed and helped record Mel’s band The First Things; while in the studio to demo some of Mel’s songs, they started collaborating.
"Both grew up around their families’ pianos and got into psychedelic rock drawing inspiration from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, taking their name “The Arms of Someone New” from a line on a Beatle’s X-Mas Fan Club Single. They modeled their sound after the melancholic side of Factory Records, The Cure’s “Faith” period and The Teardrop Explodes. Between 1983 and 1985 they released four cassettes, one 7”, and one 12” EP.
In September 1985, the duo self-released their debut full length ‘Susan Sleepwalking’ on Office Records. To They drafted locals for the album’s recordings, including Lynn Canfield, Henry Frayne, Brenden Gamble and Joe Strell (all of the group Ack-Ack!) as well as Nick Rudd. Equipped with Casio keyboards, drum machines, and jangly guitars, The Arms Of Someone New provided an American take on English folk, ambient, and industrial music. Over the album’s ten tracks they paint pictures of stillness with sparse instrumentation and simple chord change. Psychedelic vocals add a dream-like veneer. The Arms of Someone New fearlessly mix genres without sacrificing the unity of their vision. “’Susan Sleepwalking’ could as well be retitled ‘Music for Interiors’ – both architectural and of the mind” – The Michigan Daily 1985.”
A masterpiece of African music with it's fluid afro beat grooves and spaced out Moog synthesizer sounds...
"Here is an excerpt from the liner notes written and researched by Uchenna Ikonne: "Prince Bola Agbana might hardly be the most immediately recognizable name in the constellation of Nigerian music stars, but for a significant portion of the last half-century he labored in the shadows, dutifully serving as one of the key movers in its development: An in-demand session musician. An early and respected exponent of funk. A catalyst in the retrofit of juju into a modern pop genre.
Most of all, though, he is recognized as the founder, leader, drummer and principal vocalist of the SJOB Movement. SJOB: Sam, Johnnie, Ottah, Bola. For a moment in the mid-1970s, they were le dernier cri in modern Nigerian music, representing the next step in the evolution of afro rhythms, and a new paradigm for the band economy. Their first album, 1976’s A Move in the Right Direction, was a minor sensation and was swiftly followed by Friendship Train in 1977. Then it appeared that the movement stopped moving, and SJOB disappeared from the scene."
Smart and trippy electro wrigglers from Design A Wave, channelling the melodic sensitivities of his previous form for Alter and No ‘Label’ releases into a mesmerising session for Dublin’s Major Problems outfit.
In all three parts Design A Wave trades in fluid, needlepoint grooves, weaving quick and slinky 808 patterning with more glacial and introspective chords, fluffy bleeps and aquatic background disturbances in Trick State Gesture, before wrapping strange purrs and glassy chimes to the stepping electro crack of Bum Schema with dreamy effect.
Flipside he stretches out on Mediator, rolling out gloopy square bass with more swinging drums programming like a thizzy DJ mixing two Other People Place and Irdial records very slightly out of synch, and holding them there for the duration.
“Following the success of their acclaimed RareNoise debut, 2014’s Jü Meets Møster (a killer collaboration with renowned Norwegian saxophonist Kjetil Møster) the experimental Budapest-based trio of guitarist Ádám Mészáros, bassist Ernö Hock and drummer András Halmos once again bridges hellacious free jazz, throbbing hardcore rock and spacious world and ambient music on their ecstatic, envelope-pushing opus, Summa.
Alternately calm (the 12-minute “Jimma Blue”) and crushing (“Mongrel Mangrove,” “My Heart Is Somewhere Else” and the blistering title track), Summa stands as another powerful manifesto against complacency by the renegade trio.”
Deep rolling breakbeat house subtleties from Edmonton, Alberta’s Khotin aka Waterpark for the first release on his eponymous label.
SpeedLine Connect grasps that woozy feeling of cooled-out stasis while moving at speed, marrying train chug kicks and breaks with hovering chords in a wide, spheric and hypnotic sound.
Likewise Sun Runner belies its title with a lush sense of travelling without moving, holding the groove to a warm centre ground but tugging at the edges with radiant chords pointing towards hazy days.
Craftily tempered artpop ecstasies underlined with post-techno pulses, from Berlin’s Golden Diskó Ship.
“Golden Diskó Ship is Theresa Stroetges, a Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist and video artist who performs live as a one-girl orchestra. Her imaginative soundscapes, shifting from delicate melodic lines steeped in nostalgia to the feedback arcs and textured distortion of machine abuse, evoke lucid dreams and have won critical praise for their fresh, eclectic collages of electronic and acoustic sound. Her debut solo album, Prehistoric Ghost Party, was produced at the legendary Faust Studio, home of the Klangbad label, and her tracks have also been released on Monika Enterprise’s City Splits # 1 and The Wire Tapper’s June 2012 compilation. (CTM concerts)
On her 3rd album Berlin’s Golden Diskó Ship enlargens her pop / experimental sound cosmos for a new component: Bass. In consequence, Imaginary Boys was mixed by Schneider TM and Rashad Becker took care of mastering and the vinyl cut. The album was conceived during her stay in Lisbon in the summer of 2015 where the multi-instrumentalist found plenty of inspiration in traditional and experimental music. These elements left their traces not only as field recordings but also led the classically trained musician to re-consider the use of her former main instrument viola which is more present than before. One dominant compositional element of Imaginary Boys is a deliberate use of time, influenced by the perception of electronic music and techno. (Karlrecords)”
Unique edit heat from the far east; Osaka’s Mori Ra charges The Brasserie Heroique Edits Part 3 with four mongrel, wigged-out flips of obscure disco and frankly fxck-knows-what for Berceuse Heroique.
A-side rocks the rootsy, tumbling drums and ribboning rhythmelodies of Kanwaxa Cross on a boogie downstroke spliced with wicked jaws harp and ruddy bass riffs, before dipping a hip into honky disco blues with the lushly messed-up swirl of Calf Dance.
He also keeps the madness ticking over on the B-side, kneading the tempestuous loops of Stormy Weather to precipitate a proper saxy disco drenching, then kisses off with a simmering, glowing synth-pop charm.
Sub Rosa’s invaluable Early Electronics series presents its first offering by the venerable Luc Ferrari; two tracks from a forthcoming 3CD box set devoted to his music for film, revealing the crucial connection between avant garde music and cinema, TV media between the fruitful period between the ‘60s and ‘80s.
Tinguely  is Ferrari’s surrealistic cut-up of recordings made by the composer in 1966 at an exhibition of kinetic art by Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely. In key with the artist’s Dadaist notion of metamechanics, Ferrari’s piece mirrors the unpredictability and chaos of Tinguely’s machines in a 12:40 disarray of polymetric clangour and ephemeral oddness peppered with samples of dialogue, sometime unprocessed and at others looped up in spluttering gasps. All very disorienting to say the least.
On the other side Dernier Matin d’Edgar Allan Poe  is Luc Ferrari’s musique concrète soundtrack for a short 33mm black-and-white film by Jean Barral. It revolves some 17 minutes of resonant scrapes, clanks and almost jazzy perfussion interwoven with sylvan string shimmers and hushed electronics in the kind of poetic tapestry that widely admired for.
Head of Atlanta’s Harsh Riddims dispensary, Ryan Parks a.k.a. Fit Of Body takes to Ransom Note with the most substantial showcase of his house and faded pop hybrids, backed with remixes from ATL’s Divine Interface, and European artists; Helter-Skelter and Timothy ‘Heretic’ Clerkin.
Sounding very much like the White Material label gone down the coast, the Healthcare EP mixes the syrupy drawl and slug of southern hip hop with the haziest house themes in five parts, at best in the percolated drums and keening chords of Ridin 2 That Trap or Die, the gritty greaze of Antonio Girl and a real late night gem called All This Time (Since).
Trust Divine Interface to keep it properly ATL with the heat-cracked downstroke of his 56k remix, whereas Helter-Skelter gives the same cut an infectious lick of wavey EBM synths and kinky drum machine trills, and Timothy ‘Heretic’ Clerkin reminds us of long nights at dodgy acid techno raves
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.
Whities introduce the distinctive voice and music of South London’s Coby Sey with a debut volley of cranky textured and sluggish ruggish solo cuts following his low key collaborations with the likes of Micachu, Tirzah and Klein (he’s credited on the Only LP) over the last few years.
Blunted and oblique but riddled with direct, gritty grooves, Whities 010 reveals Coby as an artist who dares to not so much go against the grain, but traverse it in his own way in search of a sound he can call his own.
In a sense, he’s effectively, understandably arrived at similar conclusions to his aforementioned collaborators, Micachu, Tirzah and Klein; realising an urge to twist the templates of hip hop, soul, jazz and ambient musics into something more personal, dreamlike, and relevant to him and his peers more than anyone else.
At the top, Active (Peak) drops in with a eviscerated take on UK Hip Hop, burying introspective vocals at the centre of arid, ghosted drums and establishing an aesthetic that runs thru the EP, again framing his languid, multitracked delivery in All Change with inverted dub groove and empty belly tones, before Vestry dips on a one-leg-shorter-than-other shuffle and Seeds (Our Cells Meet) explore avant, jazz-wise dimensions as close as we’ve heard to the vibes on Klein’s amazing Only album, which brings us full circle to Ticket, the first track he started recording way back in 2008, and a captivating example of his melancholy, grungy London beatdown style.
RIYL Micachu, Funkineven, Brassfoot
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to Future Islands last album, ‘Singles’.
"Recorded in Los Angeles with Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton at the legendary Sunset Sound (where everyone from The Beach Boys to Prince have laid down masterpieces), ‘The Far Field’s twelve chest-pounding love songs and odes to the road brilliantly express the central themes the band have been exploring for the last decade: that there is power in emotional vulnerability, that one can find a way to laugh and cry in the same breath - and be stronger for it."
After dispensing albums by Berlin’s Shed and Fjaak, Monkeytown pull out a fine 2nd LP from the UK’s Dark Sky, who swerve the vocal heavy styles of their debut, Imagin in favour of demonstrating their melodic virtuosity and detailed production arrangements with Othona.
Placed at the intersection of big room posh trance and more rugged, mongrel British and outernational bass musics, Othona does its thing with surefooted moves; getting down to a hunched hustle from the front, and soon enough teasing in the chromatic lightshows that elevate each cut to festival and big room-ready convenience, from the spiralling heights of Domes thru the broodingly wide and synthswept downstrokes of Cyan and the rolling African drums of Angels to the post-rock/indie-pop temperament of Badd and the curdled peaks of JJJ, and what sounds like classic Border Community styles in The Walker, and a rush of Clark-like feels in Field Tower.
Kiki Hitomi follows her killer solo debut, Karma No Kusari with a whole new project produced by Shigeru Ishihara a.k.a. DJ Scotch Egg, Waqwaq Kingdom, where the Japanese cyber-dub-pop sprite really lets her imagination run away with itself.
Shinsekai is a sprawling, humid ruck of ideas rent in dazzling colour and density by its operators, intersecting Jahtari’s usually economic aesthetic with a far more animated, layered and piquant electronic style that’s definitely more Japan than Jamaica, but serves well to highlight the links and differences between their shared dub cultures.
It’s maybe best to compare the sound with, say, the psychedelia of Liverpool’s Naffi Productions or some long lost On-U Sound session discovered and updated by The Bug and Disrupt; diffracting dub’s roots thru a far eastern lense and fusing those strands with traditional melodic scales, taiko-style percussion and advanced electronics, resulting stellar gems such as the weightless stepper Blow It Up and the very King Midas Sound-ing Koko Says, plus the delirious colours of Love Game and imagining what Kate Bush might sound like if she fancied a Scotch Egg in Waqwaq Dream and Bird.
Optimo Trax go to the technical birthplace of acid (R.I.P. Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi) for an opulent two-track demonstration of the TB-303 in full, feathered flight; taking in the hair-kissing keys and perpetual bassline modulations of Hiroshi Watanabe’s soaring Infinity Sign on top, and Kuniyuki’s trim, brooding and Taiko drum-inflected Acid Air on the other side.
Pulverising techno from Mord’s Dutch stronghold, spitting out six cuts of masticated gristle and slogging drums from a possessed UVB, who rejoins the label after his Life album in 2015 and a slew of slabs for Body Theory over the interim.
This shit’s got teeth, we tell ya; Intolerance clamps down a down brawler’s groove built to raze the room, whereas Least At Last pelts out some mean Brummie tang and We’re All Responsible harnesses some thunderous ballistics in cavernous dimensions. Join In The Ranks feeds some rictus EBM funk into the mix, and Head For Head gets buck wild with the application of visceral, Ancient Methods-esque noise on the groove.
One of the shining, pivotal lights of Germany’s early ‘80s NDW movement, Din A Testbild are subject to a reissue of Programm 3 , which originally arrived 2 years after their seminal debut couplet of electronic explorations for Klaus Schulz’s Innovative Communication.
Headed up by the band’s one constant member Mark Eins, Din A Testbild also includes Ziggy Schöning (keyboard, sequencer programming) and Gina Faust (vocals) amid their “fluctuating conglomerate” for this session.
It’s arguably more whacked out and druggy than it’s predecessor’s zippier avant-pop bits, tracing a wonky late night line from the K-Hole descent of The Person (part 1) thru the clipped machine funk and whorl of smudged porno samples in No Satisfaction, before a very GPO-sounding Mark Eins joins in on vocals and some of thee most messed up synth squiggle you could hope for, and it winds back to pure sleaze in The Call OF Lust.
On the other side, the keening dissonant lather of Naked Beach sounds like a template for so many messed up electro experiments to come, and the slithering loops of The Person (part 2) and the screwed slug of Going Tutu are effectively squalid bedroom/basement music, best known as trip hop, come 20 years early.
First ever release - on any format! - of Din A Testbild’s rejected and long-lost, but totally amazing, 4th album from 1983, engineered by Manuel Göttsching and sounding like a Drexciyan prototype....!!!
Mannequin Records have gone above and beyond to pluck out Din A Testbild’s previously unreleased and never-before-heard Programm 4, written and composed by Mark Eins in West Berlin near the Wall in 1983, all engineered by Manuel Göttsching and with tapes newly “imported and processed” by the group’s one time member Frieder Butzman. If that sentence doesn’t whet your whistle we simply can’t help you!
Slotting a once mythical piece of the NDW puzzle into place, the frenetic and blinding Programm 4 was initially deemed too “synth/punk/techno” by Klaus Schulze’s Innovative Communication and bafflingly remained on ice until Alessandro Adriani convinced Mark Eins to relinquish what turns out to be the fastest, maddest number in the DAT catalogue, over 30 years later.
The four A-side tracks are just astonishing, working with the same set-up as previous records, but turning in what sounds like a set of Detroit electro prototypes between the hard-stepping funk of West Berlin/Tegel Airport and the chaotic chromatic propulsion system of Cold War, whilst Frontstadt veers off of a wild tangent of tangled arpeggios and and orgiastic noise animations that’s just left us gawping, saving what sounds like a long-lost Drexciya missile with West/Berlin Underground just to show off. Oh yeh, and not to mention an 18 minute B-side track that sounds like Krautrock drained of all colour and fed to a pit of rabid, snarling drum machines and phet-riddled punk gremlins in Ost/Berlin.
Fuuuuckkk, this is soooo goooood!
Bass Clef’s back on Trilogy Tapes for his 2nd shot of 2017.
A-side he locks deep into JA/UK dub traditions with the barrelling subs and messed-up, spooling steppers’ drums of Interform, then maintains that sense of undulating turbulence into the off-centre lope and skank of Untunnel like N.M.O. on a sun-dazed mission to West Africa, climaxing by driving over the edge into a febrile descent of dubbed-out and cold-sweating darkness.
From the Arizona desert via San Fran, Berlin and London, Avalon Emerson presents a driving, dreamy sound with her strongest EP to date following 12”s on Icee Hot and Shtum over the last couple of years.
Her debut for Nic Tasker’s Whities sub-label of Young Turks spells out the cranky, flailing techno groove and elegant alien synth vortices of The Frontier up top, backed with a lop-sided, shoulder-droppin’ sort of Afro-beat-meets-electronica style with the breezy atmosphere and grubbing shuffle of 2000 Species of Cacti, complemented by the sweetly beat-less section, The Frontier (High Desert Synthapella).
It had been preceded by ECM duo albums with Barre Phillips and with Derek Bailey as well as the cooperative band Circle’s great Paris Concert, but Conference of the Birds, recorded in 1972, was Dave Holland’s first album as a full-fledged leader.
"An album of driving, progressive jazz it is also of historical significance as the only occasion when Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton, two of the music’s most strikingly original saxophonists, recorded together. Inside Dave’s compositions they could meet – if briefly - and share ideas. This summit meeting received raves from the press.
“If you’ve found the new music lacking in swing, cohesion and variety, get to this album,” insisted DownBeat in a five-star review. “It’s Holland’s date but each man contributes equally. The six Holland tunes offer great improvisational frameworks, and his bass playing, both arco and pizzicato, couldn’t be better… Don’t miss this one.”
Personnel: Sam Rivers (reeds, flute), Anthony Braxton (reeds, flute), Dave Holland (double bass), Barry Altschul (percussion, marimba)
The Survivors’ Suite, recorded in 1976, is the crowning achievement of Keith Jarrett’s “American Quartet” with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, and one of the all-time enduring masterpieces in the ECM catalogue.
Melody Maker: “The Survivors’ Suite is a brilliantly organized and full-blooded work which provides the perfect setting for all four talents. This is a very complete record. It creates its own universe and explores it thoroughly, leaving the listener awed and satisfied... An unashamedly ardent album, Jarrett's very finest.”
The Wire: “The labyrinthine composition seems to redefine ‘intensity’ each time it turns a corner. The drive toward the climax of Side Two is among the most moving in modern music, Dewey Redman absolutely titanic over the surging rhythms.”
Personnel: Keith Jarrett (piano, soprano saxophone, bass recorder, celeste, osi drums), Dewey Redman (tenor saxophone, percussion), Charlie Haden (double bass), Paul Motian (drums, percussion)."
Matthias Bouaziz aka Vicram and brother of Joacim embarks his first solo mission with the wobbly, metallic 303 drive of Squirrel Acid, which teeters across the A-side like some fancy collaboration between Luke Vibert and Michael Mayer on the front, and then like a Bochum Welt bit in the cute bobble of Ballad 303, and with a weirdly spaced-out electro-acoustic sphere within Colibri Dance.
Recorded in 1977 in Oslo, Places was an important album for Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, and – with its stellar line-up including Americans Jack DeJohnette and Bill Connors – one that also drew significant attention in the US.
“How does Garbarek set up his floating dreamlike moods?” asked Down Beat, and proceeded to itemize components of this “eerie, desolate, bleak” music: “John Taylor plays sustained legato chords, much more like Lutheran church music than, say, Jimmy Smith. The organ provides a backdrop of shifting sonorities…DeJohnette’s playing is airy, concentrating on cymbals, creating shimmering webs of rhythm. Up front is Garbarek, the only real solo voice. He speaks slowly, with attention to detail. He has a fine sense of pitch, so that when he ornaments a note with a bend, a slur or a grace note, it is done precisely, consciously…”
Personnel: Jan Garbarek (tenor and soprano saxophones), Bill Connors (guitar), John Taylor (organ, piano), Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Solstice, recorded 1974, belongs to the great early production projects of ECM, with a new band formed in the studio. It’s the first of Towner’s recorded encounters with the European players, and this US-Norwegian-German quartet has a character all its own.
Perfect Sound Forever: “The LP is not only one of the moodiest ever published by ECM, but by anyone.” Ralph’s synthesis of classical guitar technique and jazz improvisational skills inspires all participants on now-famous tunes including “Nimbus” and “Oceanus”. (Many future associations grew out of this meeting, including the Garbarek/Towner collaboration on Dis, and the integration of Eberhard Weber into the Jan Garbarek Group, and of Jon Christensen into Weber’s Colours band.)
Personnel: Ralph Towner (12-string and classical guitars, piano), Jan Garbarek (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute), Eberhard Weber (bass, cello), Jon Christensen (drums, percussion)
The Corea/Burton duo was brought together by producer Manfred Eicher, and Crystal Silence (recorded in 1972) brought a new chamber music sensibility into jazz improvisation, distinguished by an effervescence of melody and countermelody, with synchronized cascades of sound in continually changing harmonic movement.
“It becomes a little magical,” said Corea. Stereo: “Crystal Silence is an album of extraordinary musicianship and rare beauty. Rarely have two musicians been so perfectly matched and rarely do we hear an album of such consistent excellence and originality.”
Personnel: Gary Burton (vibraphone), Chick Corea (piano)
E-Beam deliver that boom boom shit that makes the kids hype with Storage Media’s 001-4 EP; slugging stentorian kicks, thistly breaks and flash boogie chords on 001; percolating some jittery, caffeinated Maxwell House in 002; and coming with something a little subtler in the wavy chords of 003; and the airy swang of 004. If you like that boring Winona 12” you may like this one, too.
Last year, Music From Memory released a brilliant retrospective of Vito Ricci. Music for Amiga is Ricci’s first vinyl record of original music in decades.
A Symphony For Amiga is an immersive, imaginative suite of ambient themes made using Laurie Spiegel’s Music Mouse software, by Vito Ricci - the celebrated downtown composer whose Music From Memory (1985) LP lent its title to the eponymous label, and was subject of their 2LP retrospective, I Was Crossing A Bridge in 2015.
It’s the response, or result, of a commission from Sanna Almajedi and Invisible City’s Gary Abugan to participate in the exhibition, Intelligent Instruments, which places a necessary focus on the Commodore Amiga PC’s history and influence over a whole generation of artists working with electronic music in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Laurie Spiegel’s Music Mouse software was written with a “built-in knowledge of chord and scale convention and stylistic restraints” which was meant to allow the user a more intuitive compositional process and place more “focus on the other aspects of music in real time”, effectively freeing the user for improvisational purposes.
In Vito Ricci’s hands, the results of his time spent with Spiegel’s gadget sweetly live up to her intentions, offering 12 succinct yet dynamic pieces riddled with Ricci’s painterly flourishes and invitingly warm melodies, flitting between quick osinatos, Nancarrow-like discord and tonal depth with seemingly effortless ease and agility.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial LP for Honest Jon's. This album signifies two important points; firstly, the fact that Honest Jon's are putting this out at all acknowledges Mr Cunningham's place in the lineage of potentially classic Afrofuturistic music, from George Clinton through Prince and Shake Shakir, and secondly, a major maturity and cohesion in his sound. Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be. From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul. After that, we're cynically dumped, cold post-sex style into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, the man is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Which is never a bad thing. If you want music that enhances or removes you from your own reality like the most visceral sci-fi novel or confirms that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of too much modern music, this is just absolutely vital listening.
In anticipation of the 35th anniversary next year one of electronic music's most influential recordings, the legendary E2-E4 gets an official rerelease by Manuel Göttsching on his own Label MG.ART...Carefully overseen by the man himself.
An epochal classic, most readers of these pages will know the story, but to indulge you with a recap, Gottsching emerged from the midst of electronic krautrock heroes Ashra tempel and in 1981, off the back of a Klaus Schulze tour, sat down one evening and dropped a continuous piece of music which was eerily to predicate the arc of dance music for a quarter of a century.
Early adopters in the Chicago and Detroit warehouses and mediterranean pleasure palaces must have thrilled to the balanced and continuous surging flow of the hour long piece - even over two sides the mix is perfect for building a club atmosphere and suggesting avenues for mixing, whilst using merely two chords throughout. the minimalism offsets the percussive splendour perfectly - several years later the tune was rediscovered and co-opted into the huge italo house smash Sueno Latino, which cemented its foundation in the burgeoning balearic scene of the time and proceeded through several spells of rapturous revival throughout the nineties, not least when figures like Carl Craig and Basic Channel issued their own radically different reshapes and remakes of the piece.
Very satisfying then to have this Gottsching sanctioned edition, where the game might truly be said to have begun in earnest. As they say on the august walls of the Hardwax emporium - buy or die.
Jahilliya Fields and Patricia reprise their Inhalants duo for a 2nd dose of freeform electronic/house chaos and infidelity on L.I.E.S.
Deep Florida is a swampy, humid no-mans-land taking in cranky horror score electronics (Chasing the Dream) murky modular alchemy (Worry Cry Venus) and nocturnal radiophonic techno treks (Humid Widow) along with parched drum machine and synth abstraction (Weed Etiquette) and, right at the colon, some seriously dark techno voodoo (Deep Florida). Good stuff this...
Yes, Young Marco! The cultishly appreciated Dutch DJ and producer traces the links between Lowlands wave oddities, EBM, disco and US house in a prime double pack for Dekmantel’s Selector series.
We just came over all funny after seeing Force Dimension 200FA (Extended Mix) on the tracklist, which turns out to be Marco’s own edit of this stone cold ’89 EBM peach, and to be fair the original would cost about the same as this whole LP, so you’re winning from the start. You can trust he’s done a smart job on the edit, too!
The rest of the compilation is great, too: the percivals keep coming in the form of Green Baize’s slunky ace Spick and Span; Personal FX’s treacly roller Objects In Mirrors; a wavey late ‘80s Belgian beauty Televisiewereld by Gerrit Hoekema; and overlooked Larry Heard diamond, Dolphin Dream, a.o.
Breathtaking new album from Max Richter, presenting Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works, his score to Wayne McGregor’s award-winning Royal Ballet production Woolf Works, inspired by the eponymous author and, quite remarkably, featuring a snippet of the only known surviving recording of her voice.
Richter plays right on the heart-strings here, offering a score worthy of both the author’s literary significance and the prestigious Royal Ballet, that extracts and weaves the themes, character personalities and atmospheres of her three works; Mrs Dalloway - which opens with the sound of Big Ben and Virginia reading from her essay Craftsmanship for the BBC in 1937; Orlando featuring the same text read in the modern day by Sarah Sutcliffe: and The Waves, which rather crushingly features Gillian Anderson reciting Virginia’s suicide note to her husband.
Some two years in the works, it’s a staggering feat of emotive triggers and dynamic, innovative movement that puts Richter’s (nearly) 30 odd years experience into practice over 16 parts broken down to three movements, almost seamlessly switching back and forth between acoustic and electronic sources, recorded in orchestral, chamber and studio settings, and beautifully used to illuminate and drive the dancers as much as stimulate your own thoughts in far removed different settings.
If the virtue or skill of a composer lies in their ability to convert or alchemise text, feelings and imagery into a format interpretable by instruments, then Richter surely proves his innately humane sensitivity and distinguished breadth of vision with this recording.
New, unreleased and scarce tracks pulled from Harbinger Sound's diverse roster of artists, feat exclusives from Sleaford Mods, Consumer Electronics, Steve Ignorant's Slice Of Life plus tracks from Pain Jerk, Sudden Infant, Phil Julian and load more...
Goldfrapp’s 7th studio album is arguably among their most potent, poignant to date, and that’s no mean feat for a band approaching their 20th anniversary. This may be due to the input of fresh new hands such as Bobby Krlic (The Haxan Cloak) and Leo Abrahams on a number of tracks, or simply down to Goldfrapp assuming their mantle as one of the world’s best-loved and persistent synth-pop units, but either way they’ve cooked up a goodun with Silver Eye.
Where their previous outing Tale Of Us  dabbled with pastoral indie pop alongside the usual smoky, noirish themes, they’ve returned to what they do best here; slickly glam and sensual synth pop proper, illustrated in glossy, sweeping DX7 synth contours and gilded with Alison Goldfrapp’s timeless grasp of impeccable, romantic songwriting.
The mingling of fresh young blood with Goldfrapp’s anachronisms makes for a record that could have been released at almost any point in their catalogue but somehow sounds very now, in a sort of ‘90s-referencing way - which we’d largely put down to the input of Bobby Krlic on four tracks in particular; on the glam stomp of opener Anymore, suggesting NIN meets Taylor Swift, in the sublime DX7 strokes and shoegaze guitar burn of Tigerman, and thru to the biting point crunch and detached vocal processing of Become The One, or the way how Moon In Your Mouth somehow sounds like a beautifully hyper-stylised version of Dido - and we mean that most respectfully.
The rest is sterling, too; highlights also to found in the lip-biting darkroom greazer, Systemagic; the perfectly curdled chords and Alison’s dry ice poise in Faux Suede Drifter; the Fever Ray-like techno-pop thump of Zodiac Black; or the misty-eyed beauty of Beast That Never Was, featuring Slip associate and Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams.
A packet of mesmerising and wincing off-road house and electro wigglers from Bobby Birdman, who is either BREW proprietor Robert Bergman in disguise, or feasibly Bobby Birdman from NNF. We’re not sure but it doesn’t matter.
Vibes are slack and endearingly messy, colouring out of the lines with the zig-zagging synths and percolated perfussion of Nancy’s Theme, then getting salty on the beat with the clattering Faded, and winding up at the cosmic noise tunnel of Mind Taker and sloping off on the hypnojacker, Wildin’ Out.
If you like Beau Wanzer, RB, the rawest L.I.E.S.; you might like this, too.
Patiently awaiting its go on the reissue carousel ’til now, Die Tödliche Doris’s inspiring, Blixa Bargeld-produced debut LP “ “  turns up on Superior Viaduct’s excellent États-Unis series to help join the dots and plug a gap in myriad NDW, art-punk and experimental collections - especially considering that original, 2nd copies have long been unaffordable. This is real art brut punk music; feral, playful, freakish, anti, immediate, subversive and oblique. A must-check record if you’re into anything from Mars to Frieder Butzmann, Malaria or Wolf Eyes!
“Die Tödliche Doris was born out of West Berlin's lively post-punk community in the early '80s. Along with Einstürzende Neubauten, Malaria, Sprung Aus Den Wolken and Frieder Butzmann, Die Tödliche Doris ranks amongst the Geniale Dilletanten – which roughly translates as "ingenious dilettantes" – who sought to democratize cultural productions beyond the grip of both Western capitalism and GDR socialism. The Geniale Dilletanten became synonymous with a free-for-all approach to music, film, painting and performance where participants encouraged raw expression through provocation and experimentation.
Wolfgang Müller and Nikolaus Utermöhlen founded Die Tödliche Doris in 1980, presenting the public persona of Doris as a constantly shifting entity that deliberately engaged the contradictions of the human condition. The band often referenced themselves in the third person singular, alluding to Doris as a fully-formed female character with explosive, colorful emotions.
For her debut album – originally released on Zickzack in 1982 and playfully titled " " (that is, blank space surrounded by quotation marks) – Doris most closely entertains the notion of a typical rock band with drums, bass and guitar. Produced by Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld, the thirteen songs presented here are disquieting lullabies of profound anxiety, savage and primitive deconstructions of German polka and manic lacerations of punk minimalism: all reflections of the many and fractured personalities of Doris.”
Although the Animal Collective's first 'proper' releases only started showing up in the mainstream in 2003, the band had been performing together for quite some time and refining their other-worldly blend of folk and experimental electronics. In fact, 'Hollinndagain' was released by Secretly Canadian sublabel St. Ives in 2002 but since it was limited to only 300 copies, it didn't last long and those Animal Collective folks have taken it upon themselves and their Paw Tracks label to re-issue the long forgotten recordings. The album was recorded live when the band toured with Black Dice, and understandably is rather noisier (and rather more like Black Dice) than you might expect from the now perfectly toned Animal-like fellers. Looping up shards of guitar, screeching wildly and hammering mercilessly on their percussion it sounds like the gigs must have been a truly invigorating experience, yet it does struggle to come together on cd. This sort of experience has clearly got to be heard 'in the flesh' as such, and although there are moments of greatness on the album (the beautiful Radiophonic experimentation of 'There's an Arrow' or 'Lablakely Dress' for instance) the release as a whole can be difficult to get through in one sitting. In conclusion the record works far better as a museum piece or oddity than a fully fledged album in the way that 'Feels' or 'Sung Tongs' was, where those albums felt lean and perfectly formed and kept their rampant individuality well toned, 'Hollinndagain' comes across as more of a stepping stone before they reached their zen-like area of focus. Without a doubt interesting to hear, but don't be expecting the Beach Boys comparison to be raised when listening to this particular Collective release.
The Cohelmec Ensemble celebrate above all the pleasure of collective music-making. A group without a designated leader, they base their approach on reciprocal listening and equal responsibilities.
"This is reflected in their name, created from the first syllables of the founding member’s names, which would remain unchanged in spite of the subsequent personnel changes: COH as in Jean Cohen (saxophones), EL as in Dominique Elbaz (piano) and MEC as in the brothers François and Jean-Louis Méchali (respectively, amongst others, bass and drums), Evan Chandlee joined them after they had already been playing together for a while, at the time they recorded their first album. The follow-up (appropriately named Next) saw the original pianist leave, to be replaced by guitarist Joseph Dejean, who had already played with the Full Moon Ensemble, known for having accompanied Archie Shepp at the Antibes Jazz Festival in 1970.
In spite of the personnel changes the understanding and cohesion remain total within Cohelmec. They also maintain their trademark ambitious mix of written and improvised material. From this point of view, Next is even more audacious than its predecessor Hippotigris Zebrazebra. Relatively brief tracks follow hot on the heels of one another bolstered by a poly-instrumentality which stands out even more than in the past, giving the album the feel of a contrasting suite. There is a lot going on, leading to evocative atmospheres in which rigour and fantasy go happily hand in hand.
Which is enough to say that this album should please fans of a style of free (chamber?) jazz which includes intelligent composed structures, a form in which French musicians have always demonstrated a personal approach, as in the example of Œil Vision by Jef Gilson in 1964.
Profoundly original and, it has to be said, seminal!
The Cohelmec Ensemble celebrate above all the pleasure of collective music-making. A group without a designated leader, they base their approach on reciprocal listening, but also on a dialogue between written and improvised material, in which all members have an equal responsibility whatever their instrument.
"This is even demonstrated in their name: COH as in Jean Cohen (saxophones), EL as in Dominique Elbaz (piano) and MEC as in the brothers François and Jean-Louis Méchali (respectively, amongst others, bass and drums), joined for this album by Evan Chandlee, known for his participation in Love Rejoice by Kenneth Terroade, and accepted, of course, as a full group member.
Fitting together like hand in glove, the five musicians build something together, rather than trying to destroy an established order, as was the done thing at the start of the 1970s, leaving the expression of an openly political agenda to others. In France there was a tendency to explore an imaginary folklore which allowed certain elements of free jazz to be circumvented without being ignored. Which is why we can be reminded of, in the melody of Hippotigris Zebrazebra when played with collective intensity, the best of American cosmic jazz, while also occasionally hearing McCoy Tyner or even Cecil Taylor under the fingers of Dominique Elbaz, or the vibraphone of Walt Dickerson evoked by Jean-Louis Méchali.
Globally, however, their identity is original (even seminal), a fact which was to be confirmed by their next two recordings. For the record, it should be noted that the first album by the Free Jazz Workshop (from Lyon), another French group with a similar approach, would only be published two years later."