Italian composer Sandro Mussida follows up a pair of probing Mark Fell collaborations with the exquisitely enchanting minimalist Classical suite, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili - translating to Twenty-One Invisible Constellations in english - offering a beguiling, meditative iteration of 21st century Italian avant-garde as the debut release on Alfredo Scotti’s Metrica label.
Making up the first record with Mussida’s name at the top, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili ventures a beautifully suspenseful play on perceptions of time and space rendered in two distinct, electro-acoustic pieces, each making sublime use of an ensemble comprising the artist as director and looping strings, alongside Enrico Gabrielli (clarinet), Yoko Morimyo (violin), Susanne Satz (piano), Alessandra Novaga (electric guitar), Giulio Patara (triangles, celesta, tam tam), Sebastiano De Gennaro (triangles, glockenspiel, chinese gongs), and Giovanni Isgrò (sampler).
In both parts the piece references a graphic score which looks like the schematic for a teepee, but in fact describes a “transfiguration of perceptual time” in its triangular design, prompting the performers to play pitches at differing speeds, with musical “cells” generated by the rotation of triangular figures in time and space. While we may not be able to correlate exactly what we’re hearing on the record, it’s at least easy enough to see where the precision of its underlying structure stems from.
In the first, ten minute instance, this manifests an incredibly delicate display of pointillist percussions and levitating, sustained string tones which establish the spatial parameters, before shards of guitar and piano light up the space with a pensive emotional ambiguity which reveals itself as increasingly blue, melancholy and strung out by the pinch of the closing notes. In contrast, its 14 minute counterpoint is more radiant, but not necessarily optimistic, striking a balance of nervous tension and chiming harmonic resolution that soon enough slips into something like a lucid dream state with an almost theatric interplay and agenda that crosses soundtrack, avant-garde and classical sensibilities in a mannered, poised way that’s key to so much of the strongest Italian music, clearly inheriting from the likes of Giusto Pio and Franco Battiato, and cleanly resonating with modern works by Oren Ambarchi or Elodie.
All that said, there’s something totally captivating about this LP that can’t be explained in terms of its technique or theory. It’s a record whose crafty metaphysics encourage a sublime, unknown state which must be experienced to be understood.
Reissue of this kicking split between Jamal Moss (The Sun God/Hieroglyphic Being) and his accomplice from The Dirty Criminals, Daryl Cura. Originally released in 2004.
As The Sun God, Moss beams two of his more romantic workouts with the humping kicks and lush harmonic chaos of Show Me Love, then on slightly slower bent with the psychedelic bliss of Galaxy (Theme from SunRa).
Daryl Cura keeps up his end of the bargain in fine style with a sleek and deep Chicago swinger called Contigo, plus the Gemini-style bustle of Operator
'Echos Pastoraux' documents the enchanted first meeting between Timo van Luijk and Andrew Chalk under their Elodie alias.
Introduced to us in the same stroke as their most recent - and relatively moodier, nocturnal - side, 'Traces Ephémeres', this one is blissfully pastoral and wishfully oneiric, framing a natural ecology of field recordings, strings and wheezing, far-flung folk drones across its 13 tracks. Rather than many pastoral-minded releases which can be located by their musical make-up, 'Echos Pastoraux' seems to convene a sort of pan-pastoral aesthetic, hinting at stately Korean classical strings, as well as what we'd possibly identify as eastern gypsy music or Klezmer tones, along with wistful baroque and raga-like drones.
The common, unifying aspect is a hazy sense of shared space and intention, resulting a richly enigmatic trip that's meant to be absorbed deeply and slowly, preferably with the windows open and birds joining in from outside.
Mystic midnight tones from Andrew Chalk and Timo van Luijk's Elodie.
Summarised by their Belgian label, La Scie Doree as an "Eclectic ensemble of 18 instrumental arrangements evoking an epic and existentialist soundtrack determined by the power of momentary destiny and reflective sentiment", the album unpackages a gauzy sequence of strung-out spectral nocturnes incorporating the clarinet of Jean-Noël Rebilly with piano and koto by Tom James Scott.
They're considerately succinct pieces, oscillating dreamily between diaphanous chamber drones, ghostly guitar passages redolent of Loren Connors, and fragile string loops recalling the melancholy of William Basinki, with their pensile effect beautifully enhanced by a sensitivity to space and timbre that leaves notes almost tingling on the tongue or tickling the nostrils. It's genuinely magickal stuff, bound to be loved by many romantic nightowls.
DJ Sotofett and Finnish electro duo Jesse entwine pineal visions of psychedelic electronic dance music on Twotinos, their collaborative debut for Sähkö’s sister label, Keys Of Life.
Like the breezy DJ Sotofett mix of Jesse’s Pohja for Wania which preceded this LP, Twotinos unfolds a freestyling mix of loose percussion and synth fondlings swept up in seductively wide, wandering sound designs. However, with much more room to manoeuvre in here, they take the magic carpet much farther out from the blissed cosmic dunes of Fear Mix (Fearmix) and the intoxicating disco nightflight, Orga Fit to the mazy byzantine dub trip(tych) of Autiomaa and a hard-to-resist Indo-Afro-disco-psychedelic beauty called Kuume (Last Gitar), with the cradling dub tranquility of Puhallus (One Mo, Pad Conga Vocoder Mix) at its conclusion, likely to leave many hankering for another chapter of this saga.
Timedance task Beatrice Dillon and Peder Mannerfelt with remixing Ploy
Resulting in a sublimated, weightless inversion of Footprints In A Solid Rock from Beatrice and a rolling, monotone Rock Solid remix of the same elements from Mannerfelt that prangs out with nutty metallic rave breakdown and a caustic 2nd half.
Partner to DJ Harvey’s The Sound of Mercury Rising mix for Pikes Ibiza, this 12” cuts off some of the mixes highlights:
Namely the Italian charms of Tony Esposito’s Danza Dell Acqua ; some beaming flamenco disco vibes from Denmark in Tore’s She’s A Lady ; with he symphonic hustle of Abran Paso - Ahoa (Enrolle) by Elkin & Nelson; and one exclusive number, Spanish Boogie from Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony.
The Desdemonas are a 4-piece band, fronted by Aguayo (who sings and plays a variety of instruments).
"It’s also a fictional story about a group of teenagers in a dystopian world (the story will be told in the lyrics, and in cartoons and videos based on Aguayo’s drawings). And it’s of course an album, in which Matias digs deep into some dark forms of rock music which inspired him as a teenager, and brilliantly revisits them in a moody, compelling, post-electronic 2017 style.”
The wonderful Bokeh Versions present outernational, radiophonic dub excursions from Osaka’s 7FO. Imagine Delia Derbyshire on a scuba-diving holiday in the Caribbean with Joe Meek; this is what they might make during nights ashore. Francesco Cavaliere features on Water Vapour!
“BKV013 is infectious, Osaka-matured, aquatic dub from 7FO. 7FO-san has been in touch with Bokeh for over a year and kindly showed them round Kyoto on the BKV Japan world tour (we ate a baby squid that had a boiled egg where the brain used to be - crazy).
This is 7FO's first proper wax outing after homegrown albums made local waves with his fusion of Japanese new age and dub miniatures. Previous albums also had mastering credits by Bokeh alumni and Osaka mixing desk alchemist Kabamix.
2016 saw 7FO reach wider audiences with Water Falls Into A Blank, a cassette and multi-media project via RVNG Intl's Commend See series. Bandcamp user Standard Greysummed it up best:
If Joe Meek lived on to collaborate with Harry Hosono and Inoyama Land and make idiosyncratic dubbed out Japanese Minyo and off-world colony exotica...
'Water Vapour' features the enigmatic Sea Urchin - the duo of Francesco Cavaliere (on FX) and Leila Hasan (on otherworldly vocals). They've released an LP for Belgian imprint Kraak and Francesco notched a 2016 highlight with his solo LPs on Hundebiss.
These is the 4th Bokeh release to come out of Japan…..”
Dusky, balearic-tinged acid house depth from Marlon Hoffstadt
Percolating the ’89-faced 808 State sweetness of Floating the fluttering fluff of ARP+ on the A-side, and the ruddier, US-styled p[ressure of Batavus on the B-side, next to Scott Fraser’s nimbly whisked Sunrise Mix of ARP+ on a metallic MayDay tip.
Eccentric, polymetric polyphonics from inquisitive Australian sound artist Ross Manning, returning to Lawrence English’s Room40 with a scattershot batch of pots ’n pans rhythms and noise. Sometimes sounds like a rabble of thumb pianos, at others like a flock of pigeons in Harry Bertoia’s studio, or a Bruno Spoerri installation, but all played by motorised instruments striking strings and harmonically interesting objects.
"in august this year, ross manning opened his first major survey exhibition, dissonant rhythms, at brisbane's institute of modern art. as part of the exhibition a monograph and lp edition, titled reflex in waves, were prepared to celebrate this milestone. reflex in waves brings together a series of sonic approaches manning has been developing for over a decade. specifically, manning's work is concerned with waves and the impacts of their resulting vibration. quietly producing audio works out of his studio in yeronga, on the south side of brisbane city, manning's works are based on a series of deeply personal instrument designs, tape manipulation and other exploratory approaches. his instruments, which are often percussive, use harmonically related materials that are activated by motor-driven strings. the resulting sound is a chaotic but pulse-like cluster of harmony. developing sets of uniquely pitched materials, manning's instruments each maintain a distinct quality. no two instruments sound alike and although the way in which they are 'performed' may be similar, the resulting sound is anything but familiar."
Höga Nord release the new Andrew Weatherall album Qualia.
"To pin down and value Andrew Weatherall’s musical deed takes more space than available in a press release text but here is some of many highlights. As a producer, Weatherall has since he first shook the foundation for modern pop music with ground breaking and genre bending remixes of Primal Scream (Loaded), My Bloody Valentine (Soon) New Order (World In Motion) and many other influential acts, continued to push sounds in to unknown territories. His importance as a musician is as big, with bands like the iconic Sabres Of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen in the 90’s and top quality solo records from the 00’s up till today.
With the above In mind, This album fits perfect in to the Höga Nord – Catalogue, which shows clearly already from the opening track Evidence The Enemy. This song is a monotonous yet uplifting piece of music, a case that holds for the album in full; Weatherall lets the melodies, built on a deep tradition of classical music and later developed by bands such as Kraftwerk, go in major scales, which lets fresh air in and creates a feeling of freedom. The music put you on top of Mont Blanc to overview the complete European music history. Qualia is soothing, harmonic and transporting. Within his framework, Weatherall knocks those frames out of place from time to time. When a song goes to much in one direction a new melody or a new instrument steps in to redirect and surprise the listener. This album is the perfect soundtrack to a road trip inside your own, ever-changing inner landscape."
Sickly sweet neo-soul/lo-fi nocturnes from members of the Young Echo crew
“Blackest Ever Black presents Sleep Heavy, the debut album of broken-hearted, downtempo R&B/street-soul and supremely atmospheric, introspective electronics from Jabu: a trio comprised of vocalist/lyricists Alex Rendall and Jasmine Butt, and producer Amos Childs.
The group was born out of Bristol’s Young Echo collective: an ecosystem unto itself which has birthed and nurtured a number of other notable soundsystem-rooted projects and artists to date including Kahn & Neek, Sam Kidel, Ishan Sound, Ossia, Asda, chester giles (the title Sleep Heavy comes from a giles poem) and Killing Sound (Childs with Kidel and Vessel).
Jabu’s previous 7” singles, though arresting, barely hinted at the level of accomplishment and emotional heft that Sleep Heavy delivers. It’s a future Bristol classic with a universal resonance, with songs that are highly personal but deeply relatable, and tripped-out, time-dissolving sound design that both haunts and consoles. It is, first and foremost, a meditation on grief, on loss, making sense of separation and death; but it also looks forward to what might come after the aftermath: healing, acceptance, the chance to begin again.
Childs is one of the most gifted producers of his generation and his work here, grounded in hip-hop but floating free, is a thing of sustained wonder: crepuscular, melancholic – funereal, at times – subtly psychedelic and heavily dubwise, but always concise and purposeful. Stitched together from deep-dug and beautifully repurposed samples, it draws on influences from US R&B to Japanese art-pop minimalism – Mariah to Mariah Carey, if you will – and a rich seam of underground UK soul, boogie, DIY/post-punk, library music and lovers rock; refining and reconstituting these inputs into powerfully immersive, emotionally ambiguous soundscapes as eloquent and engaging as they are understated and bottomlessly mysterious.
There is also of course a distant connection to the Bristol blues of Smith & Mighty and the sultry urban gothic of Protection-era Massive Attack, but Jabu’s orchestration of womb-like ambiences, cold synth tones and brittle beats feel entirely sui generis. They provide the perfect setting for Rendell’s wounded, imploring and carefully weighted vocals, which are no less extraordinary: nodding to giants like Teddy Pendergrass and The Temptations in terms of phrasing and front-and-centre vulnerability, with something of The Associates’ Billy Mackenzie in there too; defeated but defiant. Meanwhile Jas’s heavenly interventions, sometimes leading but more often parsed and layered into tremulous, gossamer abstraction, draw a line between the Catholic choral harmonies of her childhood and the ethereal, oceanic sweep of Cocteau Twins. Oceanic is the word: this is music to drown, and drown gratefully, in.
By its end, Sleep Heavy’s world-weariness is intact and scarcely diminished, but some light has been admitted, and is visible from the sea-floor. A chance, not a promise. Something to swim towards.”
Latest limited edition 12" pressing from Daphni on hiw own Jiaolong label.
There's a tracky flex with off centre kicks and watery hardcore stabs on Hey Drum, then brings the floor up with proggy early ‘90s Sasha vibes in the chord-driven canter of The Truth.
Reissued just after the 30th anniversary of its cinema and LP release, Angelo Badalamenti’s classic soundtrack for David Lynch’s surreal small town crime thriller Blue Velvet is now placed back in circulation via Fire Records.
All the hallmarks of Badalamenti and Lynch’s soundtracks are here, from orchestral string arrangements such as the magisterial Mysteries of Love [Instrumental] and Julee Cruise’s sylvan synth version, thru to Isabella Rossellini’s smoky blues cover in Blue Velvet/Blue Star - Montage and ’50s/’60s influences from Roy Orbison and Bill Dogett, with a choice piece of surreal Lynch/Badalamenti collage in Lumberton U.S.A./Going Down To Lincoln - Sound Effects Suite to boot.
Jezus the Julee Cruise piece is just golden...
At bleeding’ last, Raime commit their 2nd album to Blackest Ever Black, and it’s every year worth the wait.
Tooth is the result of a fastidious refinement process, chipping away any extraneous elements in order to drill right down to a personalised, uncompromising truth: respectfully consolidating a hive of reference points - the finest filaments of grime, jungle, gothic film soundtracks, and rocking industrial sci-fi - but always with a deeply unique style and pattern.
Hewn from a trad set-up of hacking guitar, samples, and heavily processed drums (from source by Valetina Magaletti, who also played on Quarter Turns…), all helmed by asphyxiating bass pressure, the results were subsequently rinsed in post-production to an inch of their lives. The result is a future-proofed and achingly taut sound; one that acknowledges any flaws in their previous efforts and ascetically twists the screws to a water-tight, rasping, tongue-in-groove finish.
Its eight unyielding tracks render filigree variations on that central theme, each focussed on a subtle yet keenly twisted sleight of syncopation from the opening Om-meets-Mala meditation of Coax to the rictus chatter and gasping stabs of Stammer at the final run out.
The effect is wickedly jarring yet hypnotic, sustaining a vicious, duelling tension between fight or flight between those points; lulling us in with Sun City Girls-like mantra and Jah Shaka-style sub massage in Dead Heat’s arabesque whorl, before ratcheting the tension with a slow, tendon-twitching panic like Albini-meets-Source Direct in Hold Your Line, to lend a sense of temporary resolution with the glinting pads of Front Running.
With Glassed they plumb the sweetspot between Rhythm & Sound, Senking and earliest Swans, but to be honest it all feels like it was leading up to the denouement of Cold Cain, arguably their master opus, parsing the gothic shiver of The Cure ('81 vintage) thru the gullet of ‘05 grime, buoyed off by thee sickest subs to effectively bury this sound beyond the reaches any comers.
We can nary think of another contemporary band whose impact is so directly disproportionate to their empirical output as these arch, vantablack neeks: a lesson that could well be learnt by so many others.
Tooth is a unit; a measure of beauty; an irregularity.
Eomac’s Eotrax shift dimensions with Lair’s haunting debut EP of processed overtone singing and etheric rhythmic experiments, backed with two subtle techno and ambient augmentations from Rrose.
The air-curdled tone of opener, Invoke immediately recalls Akira Rabelais’ use of the Argeiphontes Lyre software - as used on the eternal classic Spellwauerynsherde - but also strangely recalls Underworld’s Karl Hyde in parts, so there you go. Meld sustains that sound in more reverberant yet still static space, whereas Searching In Circles embellishes the same elements with sparse but dynamic pulses pinging around the soundfield like searching radar bleeps, and Incant seems to invert the effect to cavernously, gaunt and hollowed effect.
Rrose treats the material with a faithful hand, leading the ghostly silhouette of Meld to the darkroom on a pulsing string of pearls leash, and then freezing the same elements in a keening microtonal Distillation recalling work by Eliane Radigue.
Frank Maier’s always amazing V-O-D spy a comprehensive overview of Marc Barreca’s probing early phase with his first two tape albums Raw Fish and Green Tea / Surrogate religions  and Currents  made available on vinyl in their entirety for the first time.
There’s material strewn across both plates that appeared on Tape-Recordings 1977-1983, but the vast majority is practically unheard by anyone as the originals were issued in super limited quantity and are nigh-on impossible to track down 2nd hand. If you were seduced by Barreca’s Twilight  reissue on his Savant bandmate K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, then this one’s a reel must-have.
Perhaps best described as more stripped down and off-kilter than the material on Twilight, Barreca’s Recordings 1978-1979 demonstrate his solo sound taking gaseous shape inspired by the Brian Eno school of ambient minimalism. In the Raw Fish and Green Tea / Surrogate Religions recordings hear him mashing Eno’s inspirations with simultaneous influence, as the title may suggest, from far eastern modes of tuning and spiritual thought, resulting a spaciously but elaborately textured side of frolicking rhythmic electronics and cascading, bittersweet tones swept with glowing chimes and lush microtonal arpeggios, at best in the extended closing whorl of At The Carnival.
The wistful Eastern motifs also percolate into Currents  which again, as the title implies, is all about a natural chi or flow of energy nodding to Eastern schools of thought. Here the music is detectably more layered and frothing with an aesthetic that would later come to the fore in Twilight, making for remarkably sublime moments on In Far Cathay’s spiritualised swoon of flutes and bubbling electronics, or recalling OG Oblique Graph as much as Dopplereffekt in the sheer contours of Duet, and Franco Falsini’s sky-licking kosmiche on Visitors Part III, one of three bonus pieces not found on the original tape (which is impossible to find anyway!).
We've been waiting for this one for a while being the Hood obsessives that we are, and here it is - the new album from Chris Adams, aka Bracken.
Day-dreaming dub, ambient pop and downbeats are the order of the day, wrought with that melancholly vibe Adams has been doing so well for over 20 years now.
If you're into Hood, or any of its many offshoots and inter-related projects, or indeed the likes of Moon Wiring Club or Animal Collective, this one comes with our highest recommendation...
Alternately guttural and ecstatic electro-acoustic invocations from Dais Records co-founder Ryan Martin and the restless Joachim Nordwall ov iDEAL, recorded over a couple of cold nights in a Brooklyn basement, late 2014.
Trance Below The Streets courses an effluent route underneath the same, sputum-tiled streets that we’d imagine influenced Ron Morelli’s Spit, pursuing a toxoplasmic muse that resonates in the air, sliming from the ceilings and coating the walls of their recording space and channelled right onto the wax. If it was a scratch and sniff record it would smell of mould.
However, for all the clamminess and cold, ceramic finish, there’s soemthing hypnotically magnetic about the way in which the duo musically converse; neither trying to outdo the other, rather allowing the other room to manoeuvre within the frequency spectrum, from the sludgy gathering of energies in Exposing the Absurdity of Superstition to the ecstatic vocal charge which soon calves away to an oppressive, greying battery in of Retrace/Reverse, before the elegant, sashaying repetitions of Ricochet Around The Triptych lure us into a deeply somnambulant headspace with only the slight hint of violence lurking bedside.
Thanks to engineering by Kyle Keays Hagerman and cold mastering job from Kris Lapke (Alberich), Martin & Nordwall’s music is subtly petrified, pensile, frozen in place as a special document of that night in the basement.
Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen, Dirk Dresselhaus (Schneider TM) and Oren Ambarchi break down to the soul of noise with a new album dedicated to Mika Vainio. If you’re into Vainio, KTL or Ilpo’s brilliant solo work under his own name or as Liima / Piiri, this one's a doozy.
Collectively, die Angel model a complex physicality through raw, elemental inputs, exploring a flux of reactive feedback processes and mutating, unstructured sonic states generated from crackling fusions of electronics, drums, electric guitar and field recordings warped and riddled with FX. They basically sound like Pan Sonic at their most intricate and visceral.
The opening Roha transcribes barely-perceptible shifts in the stereo field with the kind of molecular detail you’d expect to find on a Rashad Becker production, before Terminen Kevat and then Kitka plug into a more amplified dimension that recalls Stephen O’malley at his most contemplative and motorik.
Silvaticum harks back to a classic Pan Sonic sound - at once primitive and somehow transmitted from the future - but it’s the sloshing brownian motions on the brilliantly towering 15 minute Entropia North that tips us into billowing, white hot feedback with scintillating effect.
The amorphous results document and describe a freeness of energy travelling from body to machine and diffused across alternating acoustic environments. Each of the players here works as controlled, external variable interacting with the different acoustic conditions to tempestuous impact, convulsing between squashed, recursive diffractions to sublimated jazz drums and feedback chaos without pausing for breath...
R.I.P. Mika Vainio.
Pete Swanson and Jed Bindeman's Freedom To Spend label return with probably our favourite on the label thus far (and that really is saying something - each one has been a peach) - Richard Horowitz’s incredible suite of electro acoustic 4th world music, ‘Eros In Arabia’ ; written for flute and Prophet 5 and rife with mercurial, avian flights of fancy. This one is a proper find - especially if you’re obsessed with Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s more or less peerless Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar, or indeed Byrne & Eno’s ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ or Craig Leon’s ‘Nommos’.
Horowitz has had something of a dual career - on the one hand via this little known but pioneering kind of work, and on the other scoring films in Hollywood (including work on Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky). The cinematic quality of his material is evident here, but the subtle interweaving of Eastern influences with Western production techniques is incredibly rich with detail and imbues proceedings with an alien, fourth world quality that’s hard to place. Just like Dolat-Shahi managed to intersperse traditional Persian instrumentation with modular overlays in a way that didn’t ever feel contrived, Horowitz’s application of technique comes across as completely intuitive. As the label explain:
"Working in natural succession from end to beginning, “Elephant Dance” demonstrates the central synth and ney node to explore energetic sound patterns Horowitz imagined to be played in the 16th century on the island of Java, around the time Sufi’s may have arrived in Indonesia. Delicately trampling the twenty minute mark, the piece offers an immersive climate of microtones that might, with the primordial matter of love, alter DNA. “Baby Elephant Magic” is “Elephant Dance” but sped up— producing digital baubles that sound less like an Indonesian forest, more like an urban hive of mechanical insect interaction.
The piano on “23/8 for Conlon Nancarrow,” with John Cage technique at play, is played “as fast as possible by a human.” The sounds are driven to derail from the space time continuum. On “Never Tech No Foreign Answer,” a cheap cassette recorder microphone captures the Prophet-5 left to the devices of its master’s inner clock, taking on a frenzied sound form that vibrates in place before bouncing off the tape case walls. Chaos is concentric.
“Queen of Saba” incorporates the vocals of long-time collaborator, Sussan Deyhim. Described as one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile, Deyhim’s work is in both the tradition of Sufis and the late feminist poet, Forough Farrokhzad. Recently Deyhim and Horowitz worked together on a multi-media performance based upon Forrokhzad’s Iranian New Wave film, The House Is Black. Here Deyhim performs a taḥrīr where vocals go low to high without any semantically meaningful words. Horowitz’s associations with great cultural icons of the Middle East, like these women, soften (in)appropriations.
Less aggressive than its predecessors, “Eros Never Stops Dreaming” introduces the bendir frame drum, the feathery wind of the ney floating above its bowing rhythm with effortless mathematics. “Bandit Nrah Master of Rajasthan” begins where the album ends, an ode to Shakuhachi flute players known to indulge in both trance-inducing circular breathing and espionage.
Horowitz is linked with the worldly sound seeking circles of minimalist and avant-garde New York City musicians, especially Lou Harrison and La Monte Young, with whom Horowitz shared Shandar as a record label momentarily. He recorded and toured with Jon Hassell and collaborated with David Byrne and Brian Eno, Jean-Philippe Rykie, and Bill Laswell. Along his travels he befriended Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles, the latter whom mentored Horowitz over decades of correspondence, some of which documents the making of Eros and comes quite literally with this edition.
A record of physical and intellectual love for Arabia, FTS extends this flowing forward and backward – a shimmer that reverses the backward spelling of Ztiworoh. Eros is presented in the ever present. To borrow from a song title, Horowitz remains gainfully employed as an “inter-dimensional travel agent.””
The amazing Sandro Perri brings the likes of Brandon Hocura (Invisible City Editions) and various Constellation personnel on board his Off World vehicle for the 2nd part of an ongoing, esoteric saga which started with the Rashad Becker-meets-Pekka Airaksinen styles of 1.
This time it feels like they’ve located and touched down in the goldilocks zone of some distant solar system, reflected in their turn toward a sort of amorphous space age exotica and kosmiche folk for a whole other notional species.
Clad again in Karl Sirovy’s evocative artwork, this time dating to 1923 and 1931, and geared up with banks of vintage synths including Juno 106, VC-10, EMS Synthi and the krautrock staple, a Syntorchestra farfisa organ, among lots more, the eight players and engineers of Off World generate a sound quite literally dripping with classic reference, tended to with an economy and sound sensitivity that means it could have feasibly been made any time between the late ’60s and modern day.
Out of time and place, the squad embark on recon missions in teams of no more than four on any of the album’s ten tracks, returning with vivid, if abstract, descriptions of imagineered landscapes and cultures that resemble familiar earthly tropes, but somehow different, each according to stranger hybrid scales and rhythmic syntax that fluidly defy our meagre homo sapien powers of perception.
We recommend any daring or budding space cadets simply sign up for a one-way ticket andOff World’s uncanny parallel dimension open up before your keen ears.
Teklife’s DJ Manny steadily ups the footwork ante on his 4th album
Swerving from soulful samples and sweet vibes in Way You Move, to a rush of jungle footwork zingers in You Looking Good and the rumbling torque of Like That, thru intense hyperboogie pressure on Zancrash with DJ Taye to a scintillating 2nd half rush of fresh styles, most notably in the stark darkside flex of Ghost Out and the curdled chromatic warps, Life In This Bitch and If U Want It.
Proper club ammo.
Blasting outta Berlin, Ziúr reps a new wave of artists claiming the ‘floor as a space for freedom and experimentation. It’s a sound that would broadly fall in with an ‘anti-banger’ aesthetic, meshing cues from brooding post-rock electronica, snarky punk and J-pop with spare, deconstructed, spasmodic rhythms nodding to the ghetto styles of Lisbon as much as club music’s avant grade. In effect it’s more like a smart drug than traditional dancefloor/drug analogs; alert and focussed, assuaging ‘easy’ rhythmic gratification or the psychedelic sensuality of rooted dance music which preceeded it.
“Ziúr is one of the most exciting producers to come out of the fringes of Berlin club music in the last few years. A new generation is breaking out of the techno mould and creating in a spirit of freedom and experimentation, taking seemingly incompatible influences and balancing them into a new and exciting sound. Ziúr is also the founder and resident DJ of 'Boo-Hoo', a night championing diverse lineups, reflecting it's creative audience, bringing through the cream of the experimental dance underground. Planet Mu are proud to release Ziúr's debut album 'U Feel Anything?' in collaboration with Objects Limited, a label run by Lara Rix-Martin which releases music by women and non-binary people.
For someone who has previously released just two EPs, the vision of Ziúr's music is advanced and precise. It's music which beckons you into an alternate world; wonderfully alien pop music that eschews conventions. She creates eldrich atmospheres that balance gentle melody and warm pop, in which strange elfin voices sing from other worlds and spiralling rhythms feel like entire structures moving. In the latter half of the record these harden into a pounding, martial symphony of steel, and introduce the kind of rough electronic riffs and guitar samples that betray her background in punk.
'U Feel Anything?' was written as a way to think about music as a tool of enlightenment, a de-conditioning force and the kind of yin and yang that can be summed up in the title of one of the songs 'Laughing and Crying are The Same Things', a track which features Swedish pop singer Zhala, whose vocals straddle twisting beats, space and staccato strings. The album also features a collaboration with Aïsha Devi on the epic 'Body of Light', in which Aïsha's vocals are pitched up and down, manipulated and distorted into wispy angelic tones, setting the tone for the first half of the album. There's a process to Ziúr's music that's informed by this wish to get beyond the small things. She says Putting a relation on what's big and small and certainly meaningless behind our existence; how nothing is everything at the same time etc... it's something that I try to explore again and again by putting myself into a thought process, rather than having everything already formulated.
It's a record of powerful, emotional twists and turns and mind-flipping contrasts that resonate with depth. As Ziúr says I believe you can only tell that something is harsh when you have a soft side to compare it to. If everything is amazing then nothing is, right?”
It’s been four years since Zach Saginaw, aka Shigeto, returned home to Michigan from a stint in Brooklyn, NY, and since then, the musician has become a part of Detroit’s music scene.
"While always having a personal approach to his projects, Saginaw’s influences for his third album, The New Monday are more about the community of Detroit than anything else. Named after a weekly DJ event called Monday is the New Monday that Saginaw does at the unassuming Motor City Wine with a group of friends, The New Monday is the result of Saginaw diving into the city’s deep record culture, where there legacy of artist’s of the past help Saginaw embrace his own contributions.
“It’s focused on a couple things and they all kind of come together to represent different things,” explains Saginaw. “My time back in Detroit, back living in Michigan and spending time with a lot of kind of original people who have always been here, learning from them, hearing stories from them, being influenced by them, and inspired by them.”
While, in the past, projects like Lineage or No Better Time Than Now were rooted in strong personal messages, family and relationships respectively, The New Monday represents a communal eort where solidarity is the key. Going for a simplified approach of just trying to make good tracks, The New Monday is diverse in its styles leaning more into a dance music direction – new ground for a Shigeto project. A new air of confidence in Saginaw has expanded his horizons since his return to Detroit, but traces of his past work will continue to be present.
“I don’t want people to think I’m leaving anything,” says Saginaw. “I’m still me. It’s a result of me being immersed in the culture, and inevitably making music that is influenced by that culture whether it be house, techno, jazz, rap. It doesn’t matter. It’s all coming from what I love about Michigan.”
While The New Monday still features the jazz textures long associated with Shigeto projects, the varied elements that make up the album cohesively come together to show the distinct inspiration that Saginaw has drew from since his return home to Detroit. Like on “Barry White”, which features Detroit hip-hop artist ZelooperZ (a member of Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade crew who Saginaw also has a side project with called ZGTO), Saginaw captures everything he’s been doing all on one track. As much as it’s hip-hop influenced, it’s a mutant that encompasses elements of dance music, jazz, and ambient sounds
Throughout The New Monday, Saginaw poignantly references the musical influences that have either always been with him or newly discovered. It is Saginaw’s interpretation of Detroit’s rich culture of innovative artistry, but done so with respect for the history and to contribute, not disrupt.
“I think over the past four years, I can confidently say that I found my place here,” describes Saginaw. “I’m happy here and I feel that I have the respect from the people I need respect from, that I want respect from. It’s all of the result of embracing it and embracing, not Detroit, but embracing community, embracing family, being closer to my parents, being closer to my oldest friends."
RIYL Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ryley Walker, Itasca, Bill Callahan, Joan Shelley, Kurt Vile, Angel Olsen & Joni Mitchell.
"On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date. The most fully realized statement to date from Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence. “I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The result is a spirited, frequently topical tour de force that declares its understated feminist politics, and its ambitious new sonic directions, from its first moments.
Opener “Free,” with its jagged distorted guitar, is wryly anti-freedom—how very un-rock-and-roll!—in response to mansplaining chatter: “Was I free as I should be, or free as you were? Is it me that you’re talking to? I never could stand those simple words.” Lindeman’s songwriting has always been deconstructive, subtly undermining the monoliths of genre with her sly sense of complexity and irony. She has generally been characterized as a folk musician, and yet with its subtext of community and tradition, the term “folk” has never quite fit The Weather Station’s work; the songs are too specific and lacerating. So appropriately, Lindeman’s so-called “rock and roll record” suspiciously stares down those genre signifiers—big, buzzing guitars, thrusting drums—and interweaves horror-movie strings and her keening, Appalachian-tinged vocal melodies. Reaching towards a sort of accelerated talking blues, she sings As she hits the climax of “Thirty,” a poignant, bittersweet story of a passing crush, you realize she has been singing incessantly forthe last two minutes, with nods to gasoline prices, antidepressants, a father in Nairobi—how she “noticed fcuking everything: the light, the reflections, different languages, your expressions.” On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories.
The characters of The Weather Station are navigating the unknowable, the frontiers of anxiety, empathy, and communication. On “Power” Lindeman expresses desire for strength and control as decline rather than ascent. “Black Flies” conjures a natural world as discomfiting andforbidding as the distances between us: “Straight line of horizon, and the ocean painful wide … Every crooked wordspoken still ringing in your ears like the whine of mosquitoes.” Heatstricken “Complicit” raises the specter of climatechange; as “all the hot winds blow,” and her guitar knots itself into a helical riff, Lindeman reminds us, “you and I, weare complicit” in the escalating disaster.After two records made in close collaboration with other musicians Lindeman self produced, taking full creative control for the first time since her debut. The band comprised touringbassist Ben Whiteley, drummer Don Kerr, and disparate guests, including Ryan Driver (Jennifer Castle), Ben Boye (Ryley Walker), and Will Kidman (The Constantines). The cover of Loyalty memorably featured the back of Lindeman’s head. On the cover of this record, by contrast, shestares directly into the camera, insouciant in blue jeans, frozen in an artless, almost awkward pose. The Weather Stationis her most direct and candid record, and the first one to include tracks one might characterize as pop songs. Throughout, the record grapples with some of the darkest material Lindeman has yet approached: it is, according toher, the first album on which she touches on her personal experiences of mental illness. And yet the gesture inherentto the record is one of unflinching embrace. Despite it all, the characters “fall down laughing, effervescent, and all overnothing, all over nothing.” “Well, I guess I got the hang of it” she sings wryly, “the impossible.” By saying more than everbefore, The Weather Station seeks to reveal the unnamable, the unsayable void that lies beneath language andrelationships. It’s willfully messy and ardent and hungry. And that, perhaps, is very rock and roll, after all."
A new name on Livity Sound
I-III plays deep into the label’s signature, rolling style with the rippling, Afrocentric drums, Detroit chords and subtle electrical disturbances of Dolce designed to enhance your hustle, then Bun So Nude heads down a slippery wormhole of almost Indian-sounding drum cadence synched to proper, bulbous subs and not much else, but that’s all you need!
Dmitry Evgrafov makes a captivating vinyl debut on Fatcat’s 130701 label with Comprehension of Light following his label debut Collage  and the digital release of The Quiet Observation . Fans of label alumni Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dustin O’Halloran or Hauschka would be remiss to sleep on this one!
Notably accompanied by Abul Mogard on one piece, and Iskra String Quartet (The xx, Radiohead, Jóhann Jóhannsson) for half of the album, with Benoit Pîoulard adding atmospheric detail, Evrgrafov works to the full extent of his still nascent but impressive talents, presenting what he sees as “…a chance to manifest my deepest and strongest belief - the inevitable necessity of some inner moral law that is meant to guide us through daily hardships and make us grow, better, stronger, kinder and smarterer”.
Taking that into account, and the fact that his previous LPs were perhaps better regarded as collections of unconnected material written for commercial purposes - adverts, film, TV etc - it’s therefore best to consider Comprehension of Light as Evgrafov’s definitive artistic statement, displaying the full spectrum of his palette, from grained ambient noise thru rustic string orchestration and feathered solo keys to subtle electronic treatments, all following a redemptive narrative arc that feels like the first proper step in his young oeuvre.
Kiasmos return with a new 12” EP.
“To write new material felt like a new beginning for us after two years of touring. The plan was to write something a tad darker than our previous stuff. Spring in Reykjavík had other plans though, as this turned out to be our brightest release to date.” — Janus Rasmussen
“Stimming was one of the reasons we started making four-on-the-floor music and we have been listening to Bonobo since we were young, so it was a great honour that they wanted to contribute remixes for the EP.” — Ólafur Arnalds
The EP closes with remixes from British producer Bonobo and German electronic musician Stimming, taking tracks Blurred and Paused into different coloured realms.
The cover art featuring the Kiasmos symbol is by long-time Erased Tapes collaborator Torsten Posselt at FELD."
Oren Ambarchi puts a quid in the jukebox for a 2nd session of Stacte Karaoke, catching the esteemed guitarist riffing on classic rock - and we’re talking Classic, yeh.
A ‘mare for some, manna for others, Stacte Karaoke II is like walking into a outback bar in a parallel dimension, where the jukebox doesn’t glitch but actually starts riffing on and recomposing whatever tune you dial in.
It’s a madness, we tell ya.
Theme plumbs the grey area between dub, D&B, and techno in eleven parts for Samurai Music, site of his Theme EP and Scenes 1-4 back in 2014-15. Trust there’s no major change in his sound, just gritty, moody variations on a Theme, with highlights for fans of FIS, Pessimist or Felix K in ‘Passage 2’ and ‘Passage 10’
“With a sum total of 2 12”s released for Samurai Horo and Red Seal, Theme has a sparse but vital discography. Fusing Dub Techno, Ambient and Half Time Drum and Bass, the Theme style developed as a uniquely Berlin influenced take on 170 BPM’s post autonomic developing progression.
Following a 2 year gap since the last release, the Theme debut LP ‘Passages’ builds on this style by accentuating and extending the ambient ‘passages’ and experimenting with beat structures to create an intricately constructed and textured journey. There is nods to the form that has made the Theme style stand out (Passage 6, 8, 9), beautiful ambient tracks that soothe and guide (Passage 1, 4, 7, 10) but the glue that affirms Passages as an accomplished long player comes from percussive workouts that hover around various BPM’s and genres (Passage 2, 3, 5).
Passages should really feel like the pinnacle of a journey for Theme, but instead it feels like the start of an all new chapter in musical form for a musical nomad who has found solace in leaving behind any constrictions and templates.
If you listen closely to Passage 11, you hear the sound of a new life beating from the womb of it’s mother, a fitting metaphor for the birth of the new Theme.”
"I try to perform as honestly as possible" — the soundbite borrowed from late dancer Dudley Williams for this record's second track could have been uttered by The Mole himself.
"It's this candor that has allowed us to bear witness to a very marked and very audible transition from his days as a producer in Montreal to becoming a part of the Berlin scene. And what we have here is one result of that very explicit sonic metamorphosis.
De La Planet is our dyslexic subject's third studio album, one that stays true to his ethos of weird above all in the best possible sense. And yet it feels like something distinctly new. Tapping his enormous reservoir of vinyl and sampling the odd film have acted as complement to the jaw-dropping arsenal of synthesizers at de la Plante's disposal—a battery of machines he's been quietly improving his skills on during the past few years. Or not so quietly, perhaps. The man himself would probably say "I'm coming out of the woodshed", and go off on a tangent about Sonny Rollins and his saint of a wife. But that's a story for another sheet.
While the days of Franco-Canadian dollar-record digging are behind him, this album is nothing if not quintessential Mole. And the opening Harmony Day makes sure to let us know we're in for a beautifully strange ride. But not without a dance floor throwdown first—by way of the symphony of pleas, bargains and one-line artist manifestos that is Going With The Hat Man. From its own dizzying heights through to the sci-fi inflected thumps of Braineater Returns, all the way to He Frank's earworm of a wonky cowbell, it's a charter through seldom explored lands. After The Hat Man gets the instrumental treatment, we proceed to Sandwich Time Is Coming, which sounds like a sonic wink at the portrait of Prince presiding over Colin's turntables—or is it the Klee illustration of a man expelling a smiling turd right next to it?
Either way, this one smells like it's 4:20. Which makes sense, as just one track later we get "I like to get high. So what? Don't you?" And there's no arguing with that thick percussive groove. The cinematic ambiance of Soft Translation and esoteric ripples of River Highways round out the trip, before Time Out sends us on our way with an early-aughties beat to march along to. Ding ding, time's up. This trip through La Planet is completed. Though we're tempted to jump the fence, relax and stay a while.
But wait, there's more. Call now and you'll receive a modular-only bonus track harkening straight back to the 80s. That's right, this underwater love song goes out to all the Elle Macphersons formerly populating those teenage bedroom walls out there. Romantic, eh?"
Larry Conklin bought his first guitar, a Gibson J-45, in 1970, after he got out of the army. "I taught myself to play. I wrote songs and instrumentals (at that time Bert Jansch was my guiding light). I listened to a lot of people - Leo Kottke, John Renbourn, Django Reinhardt, Lonnie Johnson, Robert Johnson - and especially Rev. Gary Davis, who played only with his thumb and index finger as I did."
"Larry's first record, Jackdaw was self-released in 1980 and includes beautiful solo 12 string acoustic guitar tracks, as well as gentle acoustic duets with violinist, Jochen Blum. Larry met Jochen in Florence, Italy, in 1980 and commented that "his violin playing put excitement into my music. It was special. I pressed 300 copies and sent them out into the world."
Larry wrote "The Diamond Cutter" in 1978 while going to Seattle Community College, in a creative writing course. The inspiration for the song, according to Larry "was a girl who wrote a poem to a departing lover - You only deal with cut glass. I deal with diamonds. I introduced myself to her as the Diamond Cutter." In 1985 while living in Berlin, Larry got a letter from a woman in Seattle who informed him that Charles Royer was running for a third term as Mayor of Seattle and that "The Diamond Cutter" was being used as a campaign song. Royer won, November 5th 1985.
Post-Jackdaw, Larry moved to Europe and in 1987 began recording for Tukan Records. In the 21 years that he lived in Europe, Larry toured and recorded with John Renbourn as well as blues artist Sidney ,Guitar Crusher, Selby. Larry returned to the United States in 2002 and now lives in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. "My ambition these days is to work up the perfect set list, an evolving challenge, but on any night when I am playing in Hilo I will play "The Diamond Cutter". It's on my set list. It somehow led me here."
It’s All True is an opera-in-suspension from New York ensemble Object Collection based on the complete live archives of iconic underground band Fugazi.
"Grounded upon the DC post-hardcore outfit’s 1987-2002 Live Archive series, composer Travis Just and writer/director Kara Feely’s work uses only the incidental music, text and sounds, none of Fugazi’s actual songs. An obsessive leap into 1500 hours of gig detritus – random feedback, aimless drum noodling, pre-show activist speeches, audience hecklers, police breaking up gigs – is the foundation of an ear-body-and-mind-flossing 100 minutes for 4 voices/performers, 4 electric guitars/basses and 2 drummers. It’s All True is overloaded, maddening, mundane, properly funny, and a radical incitement to action.”
Bottin crafts propulsive, disco-laden scores for films not yet made, and introspective, mind-expanding cuts designed to ensure that people who want to dance never get caught up in conventional experiences.
"Each moment with Bottin is a memorable one. One thing that sets I Have What I Gave apart from his pioneering Horror Disco and much-loved Punica Fides LPs is that this time around Bottin didn't see to it to create a concept-album structure. Everything came at once during the writing and recording process, which no doubt gives the album its intensity and sense of immediacy.
But even if the album didn't come about in a series of tightly crafted experiments, it doesn't sound messy or chaotic. It's just the opposite. Bottin has managed to take bits and pieces of sounds, some short loops and orphaned arpeggios, and a handful of vocal samples, and put them t ogether into an album that unifies 10 songs of divergent trajectories into an outstanding body of work that absolutely kills."
“On Mikrojazz, their cutting edge joint project for RareNoise Records, German saxophonist Philipp Gerschlauer and guitarist David Fiuczynski explore the world of music that falls between the cracks of the tempered scale. Joined by jazz drumming legend Jack DeJohnette, fretless electric bassist Matt Garrison and microtonal keyboardist Giorgi Mikadze, this daring crew creates dreamy, otherworldly soundscapes on tunes by Gerschlauer like aptly-titled Hangover and LaMonte’s Gamelan Jam along with a swinging microtonal tune “Mikro Steps“ and other originals like Fiuczynski’s MiCroY Tyner, Zirkus Macabre and Lullaby Nightmare.”
Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) embraces the lush maximalism of ‘70s ’Process Music’ and mannered ‘80s pop minimalism as Beast, making a radical but logical departure from his atomically-detailed modular synth recordings released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex over the past decade.
Joining the Pre-Echo label for this stylistic change of wind, Holtkamp presents the most rhythmically focussed material in his catalogue of solo and collaborative works. The dreamy fluidity of his more granular, diaphanous sounds is now shaped into cascades of mind-melt harmonic contours urged by piquant, pointillist patterns with mesmerising results.
This change in direction stems from a finer realisation of live light-to-sound techniques, using 3D lasers to represent every aspect of the performance - from modular synth to VSTs and the shifting patterns of his “Color Phase” light installations - in a way that artists have been pursuing since Tony Conrad’s earliest experiments and far beyond. However, it’s really only now that Holtkamp has managed to exert such a filigree level of control over his instruments, and with deliciously, synaesthetically sound effect.
On the first of two Beast volumes we hear this ‘Process’-oriented approach at its rawest and most hypnotic in three parts edited from real time performance; firstly in Yesterday with a gloriously effervescent yet precise side of chattering Reichian percussion and brownian electronic squabble that precipitates Can-like rolling breaks and beautifully moody bass synth swells with ‘floor-reedy urgency, then with the more pastoral swell and bustle of Today, and in a duskier projection of creamy harmonic washes and needling rhythmelody called Tomorrow which distinctly resonates in the air with Crepuscular ’80s belgian pop-classical gestures.
There’s no doubt Holtkamp is entering a crowded field with this sound, but the clarity of his execution and naturalistic development of each piece’s symbiotic, synaethestic bind of rhythm, harmony and spatial dynamic is little short of breathtaking and self-evidently worthy of your time, even if you think you’ve heard it all before.
On the 2nd of two entrancing Beast volumes, modular maverick Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) further distinguishes his new, rhythmelodic velocity in four studio-based iterations, making a subtle contrast with the live performances of Volume 1, and beautifully exemplifying the distance travelled from his earlier works released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex since the late ‘00s.
Hemming the finest line between the ‘Process Music’ approach of ‘70s minimal/maximalists Jon Gibson and Steve Reich, and the kind of breezy, lush pop minimalism gestured by Wim Mertens, Holtkamp has conceived a wonderfully absorbing bind of rhythm, melody and harmonic dynamics that seems to defy gravity and may even suggest dancing for certain souls, which is something we would never have remarked about his earlier, tonal-based compositions.
Like Volume.1, this 2nd LP derives from Holtkamp’s audio-visual performances centred on the physical properties of light via 3D laser projections. Using a system that models the sonic syntax of his modular synth and VSTs in constantly shifting projections, he has arrived at a richly synaesthetic bind that takes the early A/V experiments of Tony Conrad and many others since into his own, unique world.
The four parts of Volume. 2 were generated and edited in the studio and are arguably bound tighter than their predecessor, resulting more crystalline structures and a more pinched, puckered sort of elegance that subtly contrasts with Vol.1’s free-flowing blooms. That’s clearly in effect with the lissom curves and clipped, airborne waltz of Look Out, while the glittering cascade of Chase Scene sweetly define that paradoxical feeling of poised stasis within a rapid flux, harnessed only by its dembow-like rhythm, before the lofty brass of False Bottom seems to describe a sea cruise where you see the cosmos reflected in a nocturnal lagoon, and Taipei Hideaway gives breathlessly ecstatic close recalling the black MIDI rushes of TCF or Lubomyr Melnyk meditating on a particularly strong swedger.
It all adds up to an impeccable example of that rare effect when listening to electronic music, of glimpsing an underlying code or pattern of transcendence that’s pretty much life-affirming in its revelation. Proper trance music, in others words.
If Colleen were a painting she'd undoubtedly be a George Morland, combining a sense of the innocent and rural within a broader, more wraithlike landscape.
Her second album for Leaf, 'The Golden Morning Breaks' sees Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) furthering her beguiling strain of purely instrumental, folk-speckled psychedelia.
First up is the welling instrumentation of 'Summer Water', a fuzzy hearted collection of ethereal melodies structured in a style very similar to that of Russian composer Petrovich Mussorgsky. The muted mood continues on the rimy 'Floating in the Clearest Night', a song so fragile and diffused it's almost not there, whilst 'Sweet Rolling' brings to mind warm winds and falling blossom.
Possibly the stand-out moment on 'The Golden Morning Breaks' is the haunted music box and backwards tape effects of 'I'll Read You a Story', where heavy harps are plucked ominously against a brooding, yet effervescent, backdrop. It's almost inevitable that comparisons will be made with 'The Golden Morning Breaks' and Mum's first album, but whereas the Icelandic quartet relied on elfin whimsy too often, Colleen is a far more textured and complex artist who will reward repeated home-listening.
Torske & Thomas chase up their Square One collaboration with Arpe
Hustling classic synths and swinging krautrock disco beats on the 12” version, along with a more disco-dedicated and acidic remix, and the swaggering star of the show, a 12 minute Drum Version thats all about the percussion and nowt else, and that’s all you need!
Sub Rosa tend to Belgium’s punk roots with a 1st ever vinyl pressing of Digital Dance 002, the originally self-released tape of skeletal no wave grooves starring a handful of influential notables such as Stephan Barbery (Snowy Red), Jean-Marc Lederman (Fad Gadget, The Weathermen), and Alain Lefevre (The Durutti Column, Blaine L. Reininger).
Raw and uncut, as opposed to the studio-buff sound of their Total Erasement LP, Digital Dance 002 renders a survey of the band going thru swampy, jangling motions in 1981, taking in sludgy jams of lo-slung bass revs and primitivist drumming interspersed with more angular and opiated concisions, all sounding like the work of a pretty stoned gang feeling out their instruments.
It’s all remastered from original master tapes, which were presumably a bit knackered, so you’ve gotta allow for a lot of tape hiss and scuzz, with results recalling an adjunct to the nascent output of Spain’s Xeerox or NYC’s DNA.
Walter Gibbons was a crucially important figure in the history of dance music, one who has become particularly renowned for his pioneering of the remix as an art form.
In addition to taking up residency behind the turntables at New York's Galaxy 21, Gibbons was among the first artists to make his own reel-to-reel edits of tracks, extracting the maximum dancefloor potential from the source material. He's also gone down in history as the first DJ to be given access to multitrack tapes, and his resultant remix of Double Exposure's 'Ten Percent' in 1976 might be regarded as the point of genesis for the remix as we know it today.
The tag 'Jungle Music' was given to Gibbons' work due to the DJ's tendency to extend tracks to the ten minute mark with prolonged percussion sequences and tribal breaks. Across this double disc collection, the good folks at Strut have set about compiling Gibbons' key works through the 1970s and 1980s, taking in material from Gladys Knight and Bettye Lavette, but also the next generation's house, electro and post-punk, with works by Arthur Russell, Dinosaur L and Strafe among others.
Under his guises Blessed Initiative and Ketev, as well as his own name, composer and sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman has explored extended techniques and processes to forge new sonic textures and musical forms. Compound picks up where the previous solo work under Glotman’s own name - 2015’s Études - left off. The acoustic sound palette has now expanded from solo contrabass into a trio including pianist Rieko Okuda and percussionist Marcello Silvio Busato.
"Glotman guides the trio into utilising sounds from the edges of their instruments’ abilities - arguably mere byproducts of harmony - and through improvisation, repetition, and post-production, conjures new sonic bodies over two sidelong pieces. His guidelines for each improvisation gave the players autonomy to emphasise the microscopic details of certain sounds: the shudder of a piano key, the hum of a cymbal, the incidental click of a plucked contrabass string. The recordings were then layered and reformulated by Glotman into two separate structures to complete the composition process. Both ‘Veil’ and ‘Revelate’ utilize the full spectral potential of each instrument, revealing new rhythmic patterns and harmonic content in the process.
Taking Glotman’s microscopic focus on instrument noises he put began on Études as a starting point, the trio on Compound ultimately bring into question both density and contrast, rhythm itself losing its stricter structures and becoming a purely pattern-based driving force in the music. The resultant unit contradicts and opposes itself, all sorts of clashing rhythms and melodies coexisting within the body of the two compositions of evolving sonic architecture.
Based in Berlin, Yair Elazar Glotman is a classically-trained musician and sound artist. Besides previous works on Subtext including Études, a collaborative score with James Ginzburg experimental film Nimbes, and the eponymous debut of his Blessed Initiative project, Glotman has released music via Opal Tapes and others under the nom de plume Ketev."
Munich-bassed rave hooligans Ruffhouse drop their 1st plate, loaded with tracks and dubs by Pastiche, Top Shotta x Danny Scrilla and SCNTST, after a pair of well-received label compilations.
Copenhagen’s Pastiche boots off first with the Jersey-meets-grim hybrid 122 Eden Beach, which is duly tweaked as a sort of bleep techno/grime thing by label boss Sverre aka Top Shotta with Munich’s Danny Scrilla.
Solo again, Pastiche plays like Burial’s distant cuz in the nocturnal ambient jazz panorama, Street Lights, rearranged by SCNTST as a pitching sort of break step garage swinger.