Echovolt’s reissue series turns up a clutch of early ‘90s Italian deep and dream house gems by Don Carlos, all drawn from his illustrious catalogue of more than 25 years of productions.
It’s well worth checking for the NYC-spirited flutes and pads of the introductory Inspiration, and not least for the chiming, metallic calypso motif that opens and slinks thru Moment, especially cos it sounds like a dead ringer for the lick from Para Noise’s rare New Beat classique, Incantations.
Uncompromising minimalism from the Bristol underground courtesy of Emptyset and their long-awaited debut full-length.
The duo have been exploring brutally reduced techno styles over the course of three 12"s for Caravan and Future Days since 2007, aligning the bass heavy sound of their Bristol heritage with the streamlined and linear structures of Berlin's Sleeparchive or Marcel Dettmann. For their self titled release they've extended the concept to a full album, allowing themselves to move away from strictly dancefloor functions and experiment with merging drones and gruff tonal textures into their oblique rhythms.
At times there are hints of inspiration from Alva Noto, in the caustic digital textures, or even glimpses of isolated Deathprod bliss, but the closest comparison may be to Dubstep's noise mongers Cloaks, who also stoically mix noisy textures with repetitive beats inherited from the dancefloor. Very good indeed.
South London soundman Parris stacks up four signature cuts of low key, crackly, sub-heavy vibes on his subtly probing debut with The Trilogy Tapes after really coming into his own over the past few years via 12”s for Ancient Monarchy, Idle Hands, and Hemlock, plus the ace TX280916 / TX111116 mix for Keysound.
The 2 Vultures EP catches Parris at his idiosyncratic best, hustling an early hours-of-the-dance feel that works beautifully well at setting mutable, plasmic pressure for heavier things to come, or just as well for eazing off in the comfort of your own space.
EP opener Lionel’s Dub is one the most orthodox, classically-rooted dubs we’ve heard from the guy, something like a dusty echo of Adrian Sherwood at his most red-eyed, whereas Hot-Blooded gets down to some Farben-esque micro-house with added steppers bass pressure. 2 Vultures then follows a masseur path into melting, brittle dub architecture, leavened by genteel jazz touches, and Hanging With The Birds can’t fail to leave you beaming its feathered confection of bird calls, bobbling bass and Mario power ups.
Oliver Ho aka Broken English Club is the latest consort to Jealous God, the beautifully curated label administered by James Ruskin, Juan Mendez and Karl O'Connor.
Miles away from Ho's best known output as Raudive and under his own name, his 'Jealous God 04' dices with depressive and awkward post-punk, new wave and industrial memes over five icy cuts laced with speed-tweak noise and his own, blunted vocals. From the primordial no wave dub beginnings of 'A Square Shaped Room' the session takes shape with the drugged, sluggish electro-wave ace 'Boxes' and the dry, rasping delivery of knowing vocals and dissonant drones in 'Birth Control'. B-side, 'Casual Sex' is the record's most obvious dancefloor tune, mustering a muggy but lucid chug hypnotised with adder-charming whistle and Genesis-aping vocal beside the suffocating, skin-crawling atmosphere and malformed wriggle of 'Plastic Bag'. Best Jealous God yet? It's a toss up with the Powell remix…
Banlieu bossman Benoit B offers a string of pearly, Far Eastern-facing vignettes on Berceuse Heroique in Japonaiserie, so titled in tribute to the term Vincent Van Gogh used to express the influence of Japanese art.
With a similar lightness of touch and colour applied in delicate strokes, Benoit B’s music lives up to the title in eight parts of almost weightless tonal structure and skittish rhythm, embellishing and adding to a long-standing sino-euro route of influence which is arguably at the crest of a wave right now with the swell of reissued electronic delicacies from ‘80s Japan.
RIYL Visible Cloaks, KWC, Japan Blues
It’s all back to Sam’s for a slice, a beer and a bit of a shuffle on the laid-back Pizza Party, Samiyam’s 2nd album for Stones Throw following Animals Have Feelings  and previous projects with Flying Lotus for Brainfeeder.
The sort of slab one can toss on deck and let play while one builds a zoot or something equally creative and useful, Pizza Party plays it slow and low in 12 well-measured parts, sequenced to suspend your stance somewhere between vertical and horizontal in its viscous whorl of woozy chords and slompy bass peppered with subtle trills like lighters sparking and vibes eazing like smoke in the air.
There are big highlights in the heavy-lidded lean of Jerky and the squashed synth jabs of Pizza Party, plus some proper chunky butt strut in Ruff, and Jonwayne lends a hand on the faded bump ’n shuffle of What Can I Do.
He’s drilled right down to what matters on this one. Primed to play over and again.
Crackshot collection of junglist killers for Keysound.
It's a straight-up and highly effective exercise in recreating the sounds he heard whilst a wide-eyed raver chasing and buzzing off free parties back in the early '00s, and a damn fine stab at reviving that sense of youthful optimism.
Much like HATE or Zomby's 'Where Were You In '92?' album, he fetishises that vintage sound, but in stark contrast he's really gone all in to recreate the lush textures, atmospheres and complex dynamics of '94 jungle, rather than rudimentary, raving 'ardcore templates. In that sense it owes much more to Steve Gurley, Omni Trio or Dillinja than 2 Bad Mice or Manix, giving up seven sterling, emotionally-wrought constructions supplemented with Logos' sublime Vapour Dub of the title track.
To be fair, it's clearly nothing new, but the concision, efficiency and undeniably potent effect of Sully's sound here is just incredible. Well recommended.
We Play House mark ten years in the game with four unreleased cuts from San Soda, Lemakuhlar, FCL and Dektro made available for the 1st time.
A-side, San Soda links with Sean Haefeli & Mculo for the smoothly earthy vibes of Freedom Music, where they hold off the kick drum for as long as possible, then bring it with some funked up swerve, before Lemakuhlar unfurls the trim percussion and languorous synths and balmy bassline of Zjillow.
B-side, San Soda gives up his Panorama Bar Acca Version of FCL’s anthem, It’s You - surely one of WPH’s finest moments - and Dektro plays out the breezy swang and raved-up parry of Clifford.
A super lovely side of acoustic guitars songs written at the height of Kenya’s independence movement. For good times, look within.
"Omutibo, a uniquely Kenyan style of acoustic guitar music, was invented by George Mukabi in the late 1950s, and quickly adapted by his neighbors ia region that proved truly fertile for guitarists.
In 2016, Cyrus Moussavi (Raw Music International) set out along the banks of the River Yala to document the songs of the old days. Recorded on location in homes and yards, these are the songs and stories of a golden era Kenya on the brink of Independence, beautifully resurrected by the songwriters themselves over 50 years later.
Featuring performances by Johnstone Ouko Mukabi, Shem Tupe (Tube), Fanuel Amimo, Jimmy Bongo, Sukuma Bin Ongaro, Peter Akwabi, Zachariah Omufumbwa, and more.”
American ambient architect K. Leimer presents his most significant work in years; a faithful tribute to - and update of - classic german kosmiche music, blooming tape loops, Moog tones and electro-acoustic sources in lush permutations of that style. It’s much more conventional than his exploratory early work, but still riven with curiously organic or “alive” details and quirks of electronic music
“Inspired by a longstanding respect for the pioneering sounds of Cluster, Neu!, Harmonia & John Foxx, the legendary K. Leimer fuses tape loops, Moog tones and a variety of real and imagined instruments into an immersive journey brimming with electronic emotion throughout this homage, ‘Mitteltöner.’
A key figure in America’s musical avant garde, Leimer’s experiments with tape manipulation, fractal loops and textured ambience have been well documented in recent times, with RVNG and VOD both offering excellent and exhaustive retrospectives of the artist’s seventies and eighties output. Tracing Leimer’s discography from 1979’s ‘Translucent: / Memory’ to 1983’s ‘Installation View’, via the dislocated rhythms of the Savant project, these archival releases detail a move from the pastoral synthesis of kosmische into more angular, experimental territories. Simultaneously looking to the past and the future, this Origin Peoples release is both a return to Leimer's earliest stylistic explorations, and his first vinyl release of original work in twenty five years.
Oddly for such a sonic outlier, ‘Mitteltöner’ (midrange to non teutophones) takes its conceptual cues from the idea that the midrange contains all the core information. Over ten tracks, Leimer employs subtlety and skill to navigate the emotional depth of the kosmische genre while maintaining the focus and detail which has remained constant in his work.
Opener ‘Dunne Luft’ owes as much to post rock as krautrock, evolving from chiming harmonics and understated rhythms into an optimistic roar of motorik percussion and towering guitars. From there, ‘Webermelodie’ dives into crystalline calm, tracing delicate arps around a processed groove before ‘Anode’ sends us skywards, drifting through glistening piano refrains and hypnotic sequences. The dramatic ‘As Long Ago As This’ glides through a deserted city of metal and glass leaving the measured ambience of ‘Entferntemusik ’ to close out the side in a swell of static.
Leimer shifts tone as we move onto the flip, segueing the stomping, cybernetic Sturm Und Drang of ‘German Defaults’ into the propulsive electronics of ‘London Interiors’, a dynamic sample-topped suite in the tradition of Bill Nelson. The addition of graceful piano motifs and swathes of hazy synthesis lends a tranquillity to the pulsating bass of ‘Auf Einem Fahrrad’, while ‘SHM’ marries soothing melody and crunching rhythm into a thoroughly medicated experience. Finally, ‘Café Florian’ pays homage to Schneider or Fricke with a euphoric fusion of metallic percussion and esoteric energies.
Far from a simple homage to the electronic idols of his youth, ‘Mitteltöner’ finds K. Leimer reimagining their nuanced sonic framework through a lifetime of musical experience and experimentation.”
Philly psych se’ers Bardo Pond project a headful of pluming cosmic riffage on the back of yer eyelids. They take it right out there on the B-side-spanning ‘And I Will’, where Isobel Sollenberger’s vocals just about keep earth in view as the rest of the band reach skyward
“A euphoric transcendental journey to a mountain top nirvana, a psychedelic tapestry that slowly unwinds as they travel onwards into the inner mind.
A 40-minute opus delivered from a hail of reverb soulfully caressed by a ceremonial flute, that makes way for a shroud of ‘Weld’—era Neil Young fog.
Bardo Pond is your rather ruffled tour guide to this far off place, this distant sense of wonderment at the crossroads with bewilderment.
Loved and lauded by the late Lou Reed and his wife Laurie Anderson, Jesus & Mary Chain, Mogwai and many more.”
Great sliver of electro-pop audnuss from Belgium’s Dr C. Stein (aka Dutch minimal waver Hanjo Erkamp ov Doxa Sinistra and Ende Shneafliet), whom you may remember from the Selected Works 1983-1988 collection released by Jj funhouse / Trumpett in late 2017.
Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance label is behind this one, giving both sides a super crisp 45rpm cut to best present their fine binds of stepping electro with slippery accordion (?) lines and mad vocoder in nervy, sprung dynamics.
The A-side’s La Bombe Plastique (Original) works at a clean-heeled 140bpm clip, balancing the speed with more romantic synth and vocal cadence, whereas the B-side’s Edit is slower, working at 126bpm in a more spaciously timed and kerned rearrangement.
Hobie mounts his début drop of ambient toned deep house with the Espresso Depresso EP on Seb Wildblood’s All My Thoughts label.
A charmingly off-centre and playful record, revolving the stoically instructive vocal samples, warm chords and loping disco-bass groove of Do You Remember The Joys of Lace and the Theo Parrish-like funk swag of Stray Dog Strut on top, then coming from more layered, jazzier angles with the blue-tinged Still Dewy From the Danzig, before the wooden knocks and whimsical keys of Luck Both Ways, Dunham Palace evokes dusky bayside strolls and low-key good times.
Parisian A/V artist Alex Augier gives precedence to his audio praxis in Germination, his first LP for Franck Vigroux’s DAC, including a superheavy remix deconstruction by Roly Porter.
That sleeve image of a model-looking Swiss city should be enough to entice the aesthetes, but dive into the music and you’ll be faced with gaping black holes of polychromatic sound in Augier’s three original works, ranging from the tonal growth and spasmodic rhythmic release of Germination to the more portentous, Amon Tobin-like dynamics of The Selfish Gene and the bilious shape of A Chance To Proliferate Is A Chance To Mutate.
The Roly Porter remix of The r/K Strategies is the one for us, though, pretty much emulating a recording of an oil supertanker crumpling from the inside. Or at least it does to our ears.
Antinote’s electro specialist swerves back with a follow-up to Menti Singole, which totally captured the dancefloor’s heart back in 2015.
Three years, an album and 2 EPs later, he’s back on that grittily raw but fluid style of electro pressure in Vol.2.
Kicking off with the sweet ’n sticky blend of Rephlexian acid and Detroit pads in Micaela, he cuts layers deeper with the hypnotic swang and harmonic keys of Alice, neatly packed with his signature turns of phrase and infectious drum programming.
On the other hand, Laura cuts a fine figure of late night electro-soul with charming chord progression and adroit 808 patter recalling The Connection Machine, before heading perpendicular with a lo-fi, clipped flip of Biggie Smalls in the wayward Sofia.
Available on vinyl for the first time, rousing recordings of spontaneous or “heterophonic” Gaelic Psalm singing. Lapsed Catholics should probably avoid for fear of flashbacks. Otherwise, ethnomusicologists, diehard folkies, Celts and football Hooligans will get a good kick out of this one!
“The recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing presented in the release are among the best ever captured. They document a living tradition, a form of religious singing from the Hebrides in Scotland, which is still practiced in Lewis. In Gaelic psalm singing, a precentor leads, and from here voices follow, moving together in great swells like the murmurations of birds.
These recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing were originally made over two evenings in the Back Free Church on the Isle of Lewis in October 2003. The singing was spontaneous and totally unrehearsed. The recordings are here pressed to vinyl for the first time.
This is music that is transcendent and together, about the individual and the earth, movingly spiritual with or without belief. The sound comes in great waves, swells of sound that break and roll around the space. The texture relies on the individuals: this is group singing where the individual is preserved, elevated, but together.
A precentor leads off with the first lines of a psalm, and the congregation follows, some faster than others, and each one remains discernible. In his notes to the original release, Calum Martin writes that the form, called precenting (where one person puts out the line and the congregation responds) while not exclusive to Gaelic free church traditions, is in Lewis particularly influenced by the pibroch style of free ornamentation. It’s through this, he says, that the distinctive emotional swell of sound emerges. The sound relies on the congregation’s individual responses to the melody and the individual precentor’s leading. The musical term is free heterophony.
Arc Light Editions has worked directly with DR Macdonald at the Bethesda Hospice and Calum Martin on this release, and we thank them for their time. A portion of the profits from this release go directly to Bethesda Hospice, in accordance with the original release.”
Further to his For Paris album, Levon Vincent cuts off one LP track, Baseball, backed with the dry pounding drag dynamics of War (Dub), exclusive to this 12”.
Baseball is cut in the dub-wise, chord-driven mould of Levon’s classic material, seemingly sculpting a massive gut-thump bass, heaving subbass and flickering hi-hats from a block of alabaster.
The A-side works fine enough as a tool, but for us the B-side carries the 12”. On War (Dub) he works out a rolling triplet techno rhythm doused in volatile distortion, nudged with spring reverb and flanged to fxck for intensely hypnotic impact.
Detboi chases up his straight aces, the Joyride and Secrets EPs, with a 3rd bewt for Metalheadz.
The lavish keys, strings and choral voices of Blood Drops give it a classic Metalheadz intro, calving into tuff, techy styles with a big highlight in the hardstep rager Ice Cold (Blood On The Lines), then pulling a smart handbrake turn into 125bpm pressure on Groovedigger and Beast.
Belfast’s S>>D kicks it for the old skool Skam heads with a heavy batch of technoid hip hop beats landing square between Made’s Untitled album, VHS Head, and classic Gescom. Listen out for highlights in the mission sequence Devil’s Tower, the Dopplereffekt-meets-Black Zone Myth Chant arpeggios of Silver Shamrock Intermission, and stealth mode electro of Cell Intruder.
“S>>D aka Sean Dorris from Belfast delivers his debut album 'Co Intel Pro' on CPU. Refined sampling alongside hip hop influenced breaks sees S>>D operating in a similar dimension to VHS Head. Reminiscent of 1980s sci-fi soundtracks interwoven with IDM-tinged electro, haunting atmospheres prevail throughout with hints of a genre that has yet to emerge.”
Grade A, live improvised guitar and drum roil from the inimitable Bhutanese string picker Tashi Dorji and superb, free-limbed percussionist Tyler Damon. It can be such a fine line between embarrassing onanism and anticipation-baiting, edge of seat improv, but luckily this pair fall squarely in the latter category. Feral, biting, wickedly unpredictable stuff on Loren Connors’ label.
"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself." - Shunryu Suzuki
As live albums go, Tashi Dorji and Tyler Damon nail it down. No matter the crowd -- head thrashers, Instagram zombies, shaken jazzniks -- the shadow lines of feedback and bombastic percussive bombs are always at peak intensity. Through telepathic engagement the Bhutanese-born guitarist Dorji and Midwestern drummer Damon act with one-mind destruction as Leave No Trace: Live In St. Louis perfectly captures. It’s a pure sound for these disruptive, politically tumultuous times. Or Marc Masters describes it as -- a power lurching at you “in ways that feel dangerously uncontrolled, like someone playing with a plugged-in toaster over a filled-up bathtub.”
Mackem pop-funk marmite with added flute, piccolo and flugelhorn. Sounds a bit like it was based on a Vic Reeves sketch about Steely Dan
"The two years since Commontime have been strange and turbulent. If you thought the world made some kind of sense, you may have questioned yourself a few times in the past two years. And that questioning, that erosion of faith - in people, in institutions, in shared experience - runs through every song on the new Field Music album.
But there's no gloom here. For Peter and David Brewis, playing together in their small riverside studio has been a joyful exorcism. Open Here is the last in a run of five albums made at the studio, an unprepossessing unit on a light industrial estate in Sunderland. Whilst the brothers weren't quite tracking while the wrecking balls came, the eviction notice received in early 2017 gave the brothers a sense of urgency in the recording of Open Here.
There probably won't be many other rock records this year, or any year, which feature quite so much flute and flugelhorn (alongside the saxophones, string quartet and junk box percussion). But somehow or other, it comes together. Over thirteen years and six albums, Field Music have managed to carve a niche where all of these sounds can find a place; a place where pop music can be as voracious as it wants to be.”
The kinetic chromatic techno chronics of Karen Gwyer’s Rembo album come under remix fire from Via App, Ron Morelli, E Myers and M//R for DBA.
Via App pursues Karen’s The Workers Are On Strike along twisted vectors similar to her BANK Records NYC and 1080p releases with wickedly discombobulated results. L.I.E.S. C.E.O. Ron Morelli runs He’s Been Teaching Me To Drive down a long techno tunnel.
E Myers does his retro-vintage Chicago house thing with a touch of jazzy class on his take of It’s Not Worth The Bother, and M//R reworks Why Does Your Father Look So Nervous as a deep, sidewinding sort of electro-techno meditation.
Super colourful and richly patterned pop music from Morr Music's earliest operative B. Fleischmann, working healthy inspiration from classic Afrobeat, highlife and modern Afro-pop into his joyfully optimistic and evergreen style of pop songwriting
“B. Fleischmann, the longest-tenured solo artist on Morr Music, returns with indie-spirited, electronica-enhanced moments of bliss on his new album Stop Making Fans. Recorded with a little help from friends including vocalist Gloria Amesbauer, Markus Schneider (guitars), and Valentin Duit (drums), it's a two-part reflection on artistic self-reliance vs. fame-seeking conformism, another deeply personal, utterly idiosyncratic album by the indie-tronic trailblazer.
"Stop it and just DO", Sol LeWitt once wrote to sculptor Eva Hesse -- and listening to B. Fleischmann's new album, he indeed does both: He slams on the brakes and stops looking at what anyone else is doing, stops pleasing, stops being restrained, and at the same time he floors the accelerator and delivers the kind of high-paced work that bursts at the seams with polyphonic energy and an urgency unique to his music.
Arriving with interlocked bleeps, the hustle and bustle of an invisible grand station's atrium ("Here Comes The A Train"), Fleischmann's trademark vocals serve as a gentle reminder to resist the siren calls, to not trust the latest hype. Energy levels remain high throughout the first part of the album -- whether it's the mumbling, personal stocktaking of what feels like an underwater hymn ("There Is A Head"), the robotic, immodest pop tune "It's Not Enough" (featuring Gloria Amesbauer) or the return to light-speed mode on "Wakey Wakey" -- the first half of this album is indeed all about letting off some steam.
After the collected canter of seven-minute instrumental "Hand In", the multi-instrumentalist and his studio mates kick off the slower-paced part two with the title song: it's a sonic tapestry that's impossible to compare or pigeonhole when he changes the rhythm in mid-track and turns yet another corner when you thought there was a fixed pattern. Guest singer Gloria Amesbauer returns for soothing tunes "The Pros Of Your Children" and "Hello Hello". B. Fleischmann guides us to his almost jazz-tinged "Little Toy", and leaves behind an "Endless Stunner" -- another typically dense and shape-shifting stream of harmonies.
Stop Making Fans, Fleischmann's his first full-length release in five years, is another totally unique, and thus potentially fan-base enhancing release.”
Dan Abrams' Shuttle 358 is responsible for one of our favourite electronic albums of the early 21st century - 2000’s ‘Frame' - a masterpiece of Ambient music that recalls everything from Brian Eno to SND. Not the most prolific of artists, Abrams’ has only had a handful of releases credited to Shuttle 358 in the intervening years, so it’s a treat to see him back with a new full length for Taylor Deupree’s 12k.
Effectively a comfort blanket of chords and gossamer timbres held together with fizzing filaments, Field extends Abrams' beautiful signatures into more diverse terrain, working with ostensibly redundant sonic data - the sound of CPU’s booting up, dying, coughing - and the inherent grain and colour of early DSP algorithms - to creates vivid, living and breathing imaginary spaces.
These unpredictable digital behaviours suggest a ghost in the machine, a rarified personal spirit that perfuses the arrangements with an emotive mutability, diffused thru their midnight, jazz-wise hazy maze of fractured rhythms in a way that resonates deftly with his earliest gestures.
In a sense, Abrams is like a digital candle flickering at the core of Shuttle 358, quietly catalysing the atmosphere in myriad, microscopic chain reactions that shift across the ears, emulating imaginary space and teasing our 6th sense of perception with uncanny, but never invasive incision.
If you’re into SND, Jan Jelinek, or The Remote Viewer - this one's well worth checking out.
The chance to see Masahiko Satoh with The Akira Sakata Trio (with Chris Corsano and Darin Gray) was truly the most lightning fast processing of information I have had the honor to witness in years. NUTS. — Jim O’Rourke
"Proton Pump is a milestone achievement in the winding career of alto saxophonist, gibberish shrieker and jazz legend Akira Sakata. It’s a lightning-fast, real-time cut-up of melody and bare-knuckle action that swings between the avant-garde and hardcore be-bop. Sakata is backed by his famed rhythm crew Chikamorachi -- drummer Chris Corsano and acoustic bassist Darin Gray -- and joined by composer and pianist Masahiko Satoh.
Sakata and Satoh emerged out of the late-1960s Tokyo jazz scene -- Satoh already releasing albums and Sakata soon joining the famed The Yamashita Trio -- and while they’ve since become uncompromising pillars of free music and vision this marks their first proper album together.
On Proton Pump’s four pieces, Sakata is absolutely on top form on alto saxophone and clarinet -- blowing bold melodies with unstoppable momentum and also injecting deep textural fields with his startling vocalizations. Satoh’s piano is hyperbolic throughout as he splatters counterpoints and brilliant tones at dizzying speed.
Recorded before a jaw-dropped audience at Pit Inn, Tokyo in October 2015.”
The Soft Moon come over all EBM and NIИ-like in their 4th album for Captured Tracks.
Touted as “…the most self-reflective work to date by the industrial/post punk mastermind…” it tallies up his signature snarlers and leather-clad antics with more forays into decidedly ‘90s style of gothic synth-pop and steaming cyberpunk slammers. It’s a ravishingly dramatic and erotic record - one for the darkrooms, moist teenage bedrooms and grimacing headphone commutes.
“‘Criminal’, The Soft Moon's fourth studio album, is a confessional work. Through the stark lens of shame and guilt that has followed Luis Vasquez since a violent childhood growing up within the humming ambient sprawl of 80s Mojave Desert, here he documents the gut-wrenching sound of going to war with himself. Battling with his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement and grappling with the risk of these things transforming him into a person he despises, Vasquez has laid his feelings bare with this: his confession and most self-reflective work to date.
“Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty” Vasquez reflects. “The concept of ‘Criminal’ is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me.”
German Army fully tilt into Muslimgauze or Mutamassik-styled noisy drums and atonality on More Bitter Fruit manoeuvres for Discrepant. Don’t leave without checking their dense roiling rager Dessalines - Christophe - Backwards Habit, the head-spinning clatter of Silencing The Past, and the properly blown-out dub terror of Duvalierism (u) at the very least.
“South Californian dons of occult electronics, German Army return to discrepant with their first solo vinyl outing LP for the label after an inaugural tape back in 2015 and a split collaboration with Old Komm in 2016.
Taking the events described in the 1982 book of the same title, the CIA coup in Guatemala in 1954, the duo eloquently translates this textbook case of bullying relationship between the United States and the Third World. Using some of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA agents they go deep in the Guatemala jungle through their trademark use of guitars and electronics drenched in echo and reverb of times past.
Another mysterious entry from the shady San Bernadino duo, showing their interest and research in poorly documented history of the 21st Century.
“German Army could end up winning an Oscar for soundtracking a particularly dark war film or dying in the gutter when none of us are looking. Let’s hope they keep delivering the heroin highs, and lows, we’ve come so accustomed to nodding off to.”
Zov Zov is the alias for Oliver Ho’s most phantasmagoric, esoteric, invocational sounds and vibes. Since his Ruin Lust 10” for Shifted’s Mira label in 2013, the Zov Zov alias has run concurrent to Ho’s usual techno output and other action as Broken English Club, while this LP also introduces his Desert Burials alter ego on a bonus 7”.
In Fata Morgana he pushes off into the depths of his imagination with a free-roaming style that vacillates gamelan clangour on Casting with more bass-driven, sloshy swag ’n drone in From The Ashes, plus Cut Hands-esque percussive terror on Burning, and a wicked slice of Muslimguaze-style drums and ‘tronics nodding to middle eastern traditions in The Sands.
On the 7” he introduces Desert Burials with the serpentine post-punk dub Cages, and a starker percussive ritual called Clonk reminding of Bourbonese Qualk. We’re not too sure why he’s separated the projects like this, they sound so similar, but whatever, fans of Demdike Stare, Shackleton, Cut Hands will get a good kick outta this package.
Post- his Paradygm Shift album, Robert Hood gears up a 3rd EP specifically crafted for the DJs, dancers.
On Red Machine the Detroit captain harnesses some serious velocity from steaming acidic drones and pounding, rounded kick drum pressure tempered by white noise surges.
In contrast, Transform is more hypnotic, deeper, rolling Basic Channel-esque bassline and his patented, singing hi-hats up to a stealthy, chord-driven peak.
LA’s Ahnnu lets his mind, and now yours, wander among the smeared dream sequence of Special Forces, his 2nd album for NNA Tapes and the follow-up to a pair of albums with Leaving Records.
Grubbing around the liminal edges of hip hop, ambient and electronic jazz frameworks, he yields a frayed patchwork of ideas best suited to low volume listening as a sort of Satie-esque wallpaper music, finding contemporary parallels in the faded designs of Huerco S’ Pendant output, or the dusty flickers of Bellow/Giuseppe Ielasi.
It’s a sound to put on in the background and quickly forget you did so, allowing it to perfuse your listening space like some experimental olfactory sonics or a series of subtly morphing screensavers for your living room.
After nearly three years of releases, Swing Ting serve their first vinyl release with Alexx A-Game’s Braver backed with their gorgeous instrumental version. It’s no less than a momentous occasion for the deeply rooted Manchester club night, and hopefully the first of many more vinyl releases from ST!
If you’ve stuck around for the lights-up section of any ST over the last 12 months, it’s likely that you’ve also been sent home glowing to the romantic keys and weightless bass pressure of Braver, which appears here on the A-side in original form, while the flips gives Samrai & Platt room to flex their instrumental chops, one man fondling the Rhodes and the other louchely stroking the chime tree, presumably winking at one another and occasionally raising and chinking glasses.
After issuing a string of records heavily indebted to Rephlex Records, Nina Kraviz gets her hands on the real thing with Aleksi Perälä’s Paradox album for her трип label.
Playing to the colundi scale, Perälä pounds, pinches and plasmogrifies techno and electro with Braindance virtuosity across all ten tracks of Paradox. Like his recent Simulation LP for Clone Basement Series, the tracks here are curved for the ‘floor, and maybe more specifically, Nina’s ‘floor - ready for dispatch in sweaty clubs and mammoth festival stages alike.
We recommend checking it for the whirring calculations of GBLFT1740072 (Original Mix), the percolated instrumental synth-pop brilliance of GBLFT1740067 (Original Mix), and the trancey élan of GBLFT1740068 (Original Mix).
Finders Keepers unveil a real pearl from their stewardship of Ciani Musica Inc.: presenting Suzanne’s ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’-like electronic score for Gian Carlo Menotti’s satirical opera for children; ‘Help, Help, The Globolinks!’
“As faithful guardians of the Ciani Musica Inc. studio vault, Finders Keepers twist the key and return to their collaborative series of previously unreleased music from one of the most important and influential composers in multi-disciplinary electronic music, Suzanne Ciani. This electronic soundtrack for an operatic, ecological, scholastic, science fiction theater production for children of all ages not only further reveals Suzanne's vibrant and versatile skills as an experimental musician and narrative sound designer, but also highlights her European heritage -- working to the script of Milanese librettist Gian Carlo Menotti and a cast of forward-thinking fellow Italian-American creatives (including Giorgio Armani and Fiorucci in the wardrobe department).
Originally written and performed in 1968, and gaining worldwide acclaim throughout the 1970s, Gian Carlo Menotti would update and revise his play for the turn of the '80s which called for a new approach to the music and sound effects -- all of which would make their world premiere in New York high school theaters in April of 1980. Suzanne on the original: "The original production had been in 1968 and I felt that the electronic music component could be more playful and less abrasive than the original production." For Help, Help The Globolinks!, Ciani would give Menotti's well-traveled aliens a brand new voice and with reinvention she communicated with a young audience keen to hear the genuine sounds of the future while retaining melodicism and personality. Unlike many successful electronic composers, Suzanne managed to evade the obvious typecasting of her music through the medium of shlock sci-fi cinema; within the realms of opera and education Suzanne found her perfect channel -- scratching her other cosmic cinematic itches with android music in The Stepford Wives and as "the first female composer to score a major Hollywood movie" with The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981).
Furnishing a plot of an ecological alien intervention worthy of a Magma youth starter pack and realigning early pioneering electronic operas such as Karl-Birger Blomdahl's Aniara or Remi Gassman's Electronics (CACK 004B-LP), this virtually undocumented work by the hardest working woman in VCO business is finally preserved after just a handful of exclusive theatrical airings over 35 years ago. Ciani's combined roles as an abstract artist and an astute technician are in equal measures here, a rare duplicity which is essential to The Globolinks!.”
A striking proposition for fans of Maja S.K. Ratkje, Meredith Monk, Hildur Guðnadóttir, this new release on Sonic Pieces features a stunning clutch of stately, oneiric neo-classical, avant-garde and electronic gestures by Denmark’s experimental quartet, We like We - revolving Katrine Grarup Elbo (violin), Josefine Opsahl (cello), Sara Nigard Rosendal (percussion) and Katinka Fogh Vindelev (voice).
Like their debut A New Age of Sensibility  for The Being Music, which was also mixed by Jacob Kirkgaard, the all female quartet dash genre distinctions with a totally beguiling sleight-of-hand, with each member putting their classical training at the service of freedom of expression and playfulness, rather than stifling themselves into convention.
The result is a haunting, at times surreal, and often unpredictable clash of traditions and energies perhaps best described in terms of its vivid colours, volume changes and proprioceptive and temporal chicanery. The four proceed to converge, swarm and disperse across ten pieces with preternaturally organic dynamic.
While opener I’m Not For More gives the LP a hushed, folkwise beginning, then seamlessly melded with electronics, they continue to defy expectations at each turn. Whether shimmering like some Far Eastern ambient fantasia meets Maxwell Sterling’s Hollywood Medieval styles in Endless Harmonics, or turning inwards to focus on Spunk-like extended vocals and instrumental techniques in Distance, which acts as prelude to the almost ‘marish flares of Forest Sketches, or then probing the limits of spatial and tonal perception, Ligeti-style with the air-curdling, hair-curling tension of Time Is Local - Seventeen Days, you can call us captivated, to say the very least.
Yet another beauty from Sonic Pieces. If you were into their sublime Jasmine Guffond side or the recent slices by Christopher Berg and Otto A. Totland, your time will not go amiss here as well!
Oooshh! this strange, funky devil is a rare-as-owt gospel soul oddity from Detroit circa f**k knows (maybe late ’70s?), now newly dug out and dusted down as Jazzman’s 26th Holy Grail release. If those quizzical faces or masked dude on the cover haven’t piqued your interest, the music surely will
“Known in the record-collecting world as an incredibly rare album with just a handful of known copies, Jazzman Records present for the first time the full-length album reissue of the Two Sisters From Bagdad album as performed by LaVice & Co.. Originally intended to be sold alongside performances of LaVice Hendrick’s ambitious but ill-fated musical theater production, the album’s scarcity was swiftly ensured as Two Sisters From Bagdad ran for just two weeks at Detroit’s Bethel A.M.E. church amid poor attendances due to scant promotion. With only a handful of copies sold in that brief window, many of the remaining copies were subsequently destroyed in a basement flood, meaning that until now few people have ever heard the album in its entirety.
A varied set of jazz and gospel infused funky soul, Two Sisters From Bagdad was composed and orchestrated by two precocious young talents, E.J. Garrison and Rhodia McAdoo. It’s an album full of surprises, and is notorious for the heavy funk workout Though’s Were The Days. Not only have Jazzman Records unearthed and faithfully reissued this true obscurity as the 26th part of their ongoing “Holy Grail” series, but through interviews with Garrison and McAdoo themselves, they have uncovered the beguiling back story to the music, the play and the life and times of its original creator, the late LaVice Hendricks. As always the detail is revealed for the first time in Jazzman Records’ extensive new sleeve notes.”
Collaborative album of Sin Fang, Sóley and Örvar Smárason of Múm and FM Belfast. It combines the individual strengths of three acclaimed musicians, blends folk sensibilities with futuristic pop beats. It’s an emotive ocean of sound, melodies and miniature stories that gently washes over you. And it’s easily one of the best albums the three Reykjavík artists have been involved in.
"Imagine you commit to writing and releasing a song as fast as possible within a few days. And repeat this routine each month for one year. Doesn’t sound very promising or enjoyable, does it? You would never believe the immense beauty and intriguing shapes of these 12 songs are the result of said silly idea, a fun project basically. „I remember driving to the countryside just after finishing my last album,“ Sin Fang recollects how „Team Dreams“ came about. „My album took a really long time to make and some of the songs on the album were two years old. I thought: Wouldn’t it be fun to write a song and release it the day after? So I talked to Örvar and Sóley and we all agreed to make a song in three days every month.“
The three share quite a history together, as well as with Morr Music. Years ago, Sóley joined Sin Fang’s indie folk band Seabear, before both started out solo and regularly featured on each other’s albums. They were surely inspired by Iceland’s electronica icons múm, co-founded by Örvar Smárason, who already toured together with Seabear in the past. For this record, everyone brought their distinct sound and musical ideas to the table. There is Sóley’s ethereal presence and fantasy-tinged songscapes, Sin Fangs ability to craft powerful pop anthems and Örvar’s experience with translating emotions into heartwarming sound. Songs like „Tennis“ wander between bonfire intimacy and slow-paced beats that echo cutting-edge R&B and club productions by artist like Jam City and Kelela. The album is filled with this kind of calm eclecticism, but also leaves room for the pureness of piano ballads like „Wasted“. It’s almost like you can feel the air around you glowing and vibrating. It is a friendly reminder that quiet might still be the new loud.
Although the album might sound quite seamless, like a well planned affair, it certainly wasn’t for the trio. Sóley says for her it was about freedom and taking a welcome risk: „I thought it was a great idea when Sindri (alias Sin Fang) asked if I wanted to join him and Örvar for a collaboration. I thought the idea of not being stuck to one sound or genre was really interesting. I think differently when I make a song for this project and it has taught me a lot. Making a song just because you have to is a little fun. It might work, or it might not.“ It certainly did. This „monthly dose of subtle mayhem“, as Örvar called the songs, was destined to become a bigger whole."
Slide guitar maestro Mike Cooper expands his personalised world of abstract ambient exotica with this live recording made at Controindicazioni festival, Rome, October 2003.
Like a sort of grandpa to Spencer Clark’s improvised new age meditations, Mike Cooper has been sensitively appropriating elements of Pacific music and its environments into his music since emerging from the British blues revival in the ‘60s.
The four parts of Reluctant Swimmer were originally recorded as a seamless performance and are broken in two here, segueing from a swirl of what sounds like prepared guitar rattle pinged thru an FX pedal, to coalesce at a cosmic country cover of Van Dyke Parks’ Movies Is Magic as you’ve never heard it before, then melting out into Virtual Surfer’s humid canopy of location recordings and radiophonic chaos, and fading back into view with a take on Fred Neil’s folk rock classic The Dolphins swaddled in discordant electronic feedback.
Really can’t think of many other 75 year old guitarists whose music still feels somehow relevant thru it’s sheer, expressive abstraction nowadays. And this recording proves; Mike Cooper is pretty special.
Over the last twenty five years Robin Rimbaud – Scanner has traversed the experimental terrain between sound, space and image, connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres – a partial list would include sound design, film scores, computer music, avant garde, contemporary composition, large-scale multimedia performances, product design, architecture, fashion design, rock music and jazz.
"Fibolae is his first studio album since 2009, released via the independent label run by Anna von Hausswolff, Pomperipossa Records. With a catalogue busy with commissions, soundtracks and strange projects this is the first studio album since 2009’s Rockets, ‘Unto the Edge of Rockets’ (Bine Music). In this time much has changed – he lost his entire family and left the comfort of a familiar city, London, to live in a former textile factory in the UK to re-invent his life.
‘Fibolae’ offers up a world that splinters between melancholia and penetrating energy. Combining digital technologies, software and live instrumentation it is both a rhetoric of mourning and a celebration of music to empower. Warm, organic, sensual, passionate and frequently angry, it’s an album that radiates with possibilities.
As to the meaning of the title, ‘Fibolae’? There is none. It was a word that appeared to Scanner in a dream, at a time of great challenges in his life. The fact that his unconscious mind could conjure up such inventions that offer no history and context was appealing and yet it was suggestive, playful and open."
A sublime addition to Sean McCann’s Recital Program, This Floating World is Roger Eno’s first solo LP in a decade, following on from Anatomy  and a split LP with Plumbline in 2013. Mostly solo piano expressions, but with a few intriguing embellishments of electronics in Garden, vocals on Empty Room, and sonorous chimes in Riddle, saving the detuned pearl of Out of Tune, Out of Time, Out of Here for dessert.
“This Floating World holds rustic and melancholic piano works, as grey and mossy as a country cottage. I hear the LP chiming from the dark corners of a pub, soaking in the damp wood like spilled ale.
I first fell in love with Roger’s music through his 1985 debut album Voices, which cradled many rainy and caffeinated mornings when I was living in San Francisco years back. He played on the infamous Apollo, Music for Films vol. 3, and recorded a theme for the Dune soundtrack. String pads and veils of reverb pour through those processed tracks.
I later rediscovered Roger Eno in a different light with his 1997 album The Music of Neglected English Composers. A playful and beautiful album of chamber pieces guised as the works of forgotten (and fabricated) composers from the past century. His compositional sensibilities remind me of my favorite recent English composers… Hobbs, White, Bryars, Skempton, etc.
This Floating World feels like a hybrid of these two styles, a melding of both his ambient and ‘prelude’-esque compositions. Warm and feathered furniture music.
In our communication Roger has been a real charmer, ending every email with “Roger and out.” A curious fellow, with a knack for tracing the understated beauties of this world.
Featuring Flowdan and Killa P / Irah, The Bug releases a new big hittin’ double header. Following last years D Double E / Riko Dan face-off, ‘Box’ / ‘Iceman’ - The Bug has invited Flowdan, and Killa P & Irah to get grimey on their respective Riddims.
"'Bad’ sees both Flowdan and The Bug stretching their parameters and turning up the heat, with Flowdan summoning a fresh singjay style, the most glaring indication of his fam's Jamaican roots as he echoes Cham's classic 'Ghetto Story' with his intimate tale of growing up in "East London". The Bug also unusually constructed the whole Riddim from the manipulated layering of a single Soviet drum machine, tweaked and drenched in FX til' it rumbled heavily.
'Get Out The Way' is the first collab The Bug has conducted with Killa P since the mighty ‘Skeng’, with Killa additionally inviting Irah, from his Killaz Army crew, along for the ride. Built on The Bug's love of the Junglist / Dillinja inspired Reese bassline, it's a saw tooth exercise in dancefloor destruction, as the two MCs get lethal with the threats and intimidation.
Both tracks are already receiving some heavy dubplate slayin', with the likes of Mala, Kahn, Spooky, Pinch and Mumdance all smashing them in their sets. ‘Bad’ has already been chosen by Elijah (of Elijah & Skilliam / Butterz) as one of his Grime tunes of the year."
Reissue of a Polish new wave rocket originally recorded in 1986. Remastered from original analog master tapes by Damian Lipiński
"Sieikera were at the forefront of Poland's post-punk movement, and thus, are one of the most beloved bands. Formed in 1983 as a more straightforward hardcore punk band, the band honed their craft for three years before cutting their first record. By then, the band had begun experimenting with cold synthesizers and bleaker textures, tapping into the same sonic template as Killing Joke and Joy Division. Pushing their sound further and deeper against the backdrop of Poland's desolate and isolated Cold War exterior, the results were incredibly powerful and influential. Nowa Aleksandria is still regarded one of the most cherished records of the post-punk underground, featuring incisive guitars, buzzing synths, and fast-paced, blistering energy. The LP remains one of the most important recordings from the era, and continues to inspire and influence to date.
Despite its darker tone, Nowa Aleksandria was successful, with two tracks appearing on the LP3 top ten. The record would sell 50,000 copies worldwide, earning the band a respectable local following. As such, their cult expands past Poland, with countless fans across the globe. The band would split very soon after the release of Nowa Aleksandria, but over 30 years later, their tracks can still be heard in clubs in Europe and the US."
Lynch and Badalamenti would go on to become synonymous with one another but at the time these pieces were written their collaboration was still in its early stages.
Even so, Badalamenti pulled together music which absolutely mirrored the images we were seeing on screen from the incredible theme song to the unforgettable 'Audrey's Dance'.
A totally haunting song about and for a dead horse, performed at the site of sacrifice, as protest against the Vietnam war.
“On January 30, 1970 Henning Christiansen and Bjørn Nørgaard - a figure nearly radical as Christiansen himself - hit the Danish national consciousness when a large portion of the Danish population watched a TV broadcast performance piece in protest to the Vietnam War. Hesteofringen (The Horse Sacrifice) features the work Min døde hest (My Dead Horse, 1970) OPUS 55 for piano, voice and violin (green), a beautiful haunting fragile song featuring a poem written by Bjørn Nørgaard and performed by Lene Adler Pedersen, accompanied by Nørgaard and Christiansen on piano and (green) violin. Laden with metaphor, this beautiful, sad lullaby, is as simple and unusual as anything in Christiansen’s output. Previously unreleased.”
Arriving in the wake of his superb Transformations hookup with DeepChord, K. Soublis aka Fluxion rolls solo with a subtly diverse trio of deep dub house variants.
The powerful kicks and warm, storm-brewing chords of En Route make up the straightest and perhaps most effective track for dancefloor play, but to be honest we’re more attracted to the others, following him off road in a mix of glancing, SND-style swingers minimalism and trickling marimbas on The Place, and right down into the shuddering subs + smudged chords formula of Flick.
Death Is Not The End, following their cassette reissue of Harry Smith's Anthology, present a collection of recordings of Sacred Harp singing (a traditional sacred choral music with origins in the American South) taken from the late 1920s through to the late 1930s.
Necessary vinyl edition of Death is Not Final’s I’m On My Journey Home, Sacred Harp Singing, 1928-1934, a collection of recordings of Sacred Harp singing (a traditional sacred choral music with origins in the American South) taken from the late 1920s through to the late 1930s.
Chunky, disco and Afrobeat-leaning house tools from Rhythmic Section and 22a’s Henry Wu & Earl Jeffers ov the Ten Thousand Yen fam.
A-side they burn up roving boogie-disco bass under warm Rhodes vamps and ascendent synth FX to a class broken beat breakdown, as in proper give the drummer some - then back to the deep house hustle.
B-side they stick to a smooth but bumpy sorta Afrobeat-meets-deep house bustle in the string and piano-led heat of Hi-Life.
Another Japanese ambient holy grail is ticked off the wants-list with a first ever vinyl pressing of Midori Takada & Masahiko Satoh’s Lunar Cruise following the widely celebrated reissue of Takada’s Through The Looking Glass earlier in 2017.
Flanked by YMO’s Haruomi Hosono and jazz player Kazutoki Umezu, Takada & Satoh’s original recordings of Lunar Cruise richly resonate with the preceding ten years of digitized 4th world innovation as well as traces of Badalamenti and Lynch’s synth parts from Twin Peaks of the same year, all while clearly pre-echoing the reverberant synthetic spaces of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST. Even 2nd hand CD copies of Lunar Cruise are trading for a pretty penny, so this vinyl edition could hardly be more welcome right now.
Working deep into the modern ambient zeitgeist, Lunar Cruise’s charms sound as appealing now as ever, catching up with Takada’s sound seven years after her debut percussive masterpiece, Through The Looking Glass to find her working with a broader, worldly instrumental palette inspired by her 1989 tour with Satoh thru Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The pieces alternate super sparse and enchantingly cybersensuous states of mind with more urgent, pealing jazz and free experimentation that breaks far out of the ambient mould into sufi-esque dervishes and rippling dance studies recalling Steve Reich in full flight.
The effect is overall more crisply urbane, angular than the pastoral tranquility perceived in Takada’s better known precedent. From the names of its bookending pieces of Iron Paradise, also reflected in their tensile nature and construction, thru to the ten minutes of stoic tonal experimentation in Chang-Dra, and driving dervish of A Vanished Illusion, a sense of urgency and control is paramount to Lunar Cruise in a way that wasn’t there in its forerunner, pointing to a tightening and vivification of Takada’s ideas that perhaps reflected the increasingly cybersensual world around her and Satoh, as opposed her earlier new age influences.
Highlights belong to In D’s precise, vivid percolations of woodblock percussion and the wistful temperament of Madorone, underlined by Hosono’s quizzical fretless bass probes, but if there’s any one definitive moment, it comes in the gently pealing gamelan and breathy synth voices of Ancient Palace, which really freezes that cusp-of-the-’90s ambient shiver somewhere between new age optimism and the numbness of cybernetic sensuality.
Berlin’s Don’t DJ does gamelan techno for Berceuse Heroique, backed with Dreesvn’s seductive Italo/Detroit-house remix and arriving weeks after his excellent Authentic Exoticism with SEXES.
Gamelan techno is a concept we can totally get behind and Don’t DJ nails it here, working with a glancing moire of interlocking, chiming tessellations and roving bass shapes to sound something like a syncopated Sleeparchive or Charlemagne Palestine doing tribal minimalism. It’s a proper, leftfield club jam.
On the remix buttons, Dreesvn makes it slightly more centre-aligned, juggling a fine mix of Afro-cuban shuffle and sublime, slyding harmonic pitches to sound like some lost Transmat or Red Planet number.