Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto share recordings of their show at Sydney Opera House in 2018, yielding 80 minutes of sublime, glassy electronics; minimal but full of that light-handed emotive brilliance Sakamoto seems to always supply so generously, and with such little effort. Gorgeous, moving music.
“Last year the duo undertook a series of live events entitled ‘TWO’ at Berlin’s Funkhaus, Barcelona’s Theatre Grec (closing Sonar Festival’s 25th Anniversary), London’s Barbican Centre and Melbourne’s Hammer Hall, before culminating at Sydney Opera House, where their two hour set was recorded and edited down, forming this album.
“’TWO’’s pulsing, immersive live performance melded electronic and analogue instrumentation with striking visuals to create one of the most precise, beautiful and challengingly magnetic pieces we have ever had the privilege of staging. That Sakamoto and Noto are pleased enough with the recorded result to share its continuously unfolding, sinuous, questioning music with others is as singular an honour as it was for Sydney Opera House to host them." Ben Marshall - Head of Contemporary Music, Sydney Opera House.
Sharing a deep simpatico synergy, Alva Noto’s abstract electronic formalism contrasts and compliments Sakamoto’s exquisitely elegant piano finesse, which incorporates an individualistic take on classical, contemporary, minimalism and even a touch of jazz. At points melodic, atmospheric, gently rhythmic, textural and spatial, audio headspaces range from intimate and serene womb-like flotation, infinite fathoms of dark metaphysical expanse and moments of devastatingly poignant beauty.
The sparing, subtle use of parts populating the mix belies a deceptively effective whole, which indicates two masters’ skill and confidence in being able to say something profound with an intentionally restricted sonic vocabulary. At all times the album maintains a calm poise, and despite its improvised nature withholds an innate harmony and graceful order. Like two aural architects free-drawing, this is sound design for better living.”
After seven years, the second release of Max Loderbauer on Non Standard Productions arrives again in his style of post - german - electronic - avant garde.
“Donnerwetter” is the perfect blue print of modern reduced electronic adventures. Carefully chosen out of a pool of recordings produced by Max in the last years, slightly edited and arranged into a full length album."
Prequel Tapes is Marco Freivogel - a producer, DJ and live performer who’s been making electronic music since he was a teenager. What began with an accident and the rediscovery of some lost DAT tapes, has become the driving force for all his creative expression in the last few years.
"To many people the concept of Ruin is fearful, depressing, dark - conjuring notions of decay, fallen morality, or tragedy. But to others, the idea of Ruin is of hope for what may come after - opportunities to rebuild, rethink and challenge. Ruin may be the only chance to stop the passive march towards the destruction of the feral human spirit, the failure of our imagination to the homogenising power of capital. Both the music and the artwork reflect the artists long-held view that art should challenge, jarr and provoke. Offering the balance of what’s dark and disturbing to appreciate beauty and the light. Rejecting a world where the uncomfortable is covered up with plastic veneer and platitudes as a vital artistic expression.
Using a highly personalised setup of hardware collected over many years, Prequel Tapes wanders through concrete mazes and dark forests with infinite curiosity. In these cold empty spaces, Ruin oscillates freely between sunshine and shadows, where grit and gravel pay homage to the industrial anti-melodies of the 80s, appearing as earworms after the rain. The sonic DNA of teenage dreams are central to the aesthetic aspirations of Ruin, as are the sparse minimalist frameworks of composers like Arvo Pärt.
Drawing upon the stains of his musical history, Prequel Tapes merges each drop into an honest, singular sound, honing in on decades of love for abstract electronics with a profound emotional sensitivity. References may reveal themselves on close listen, but never command space, serving instead as subtle threads woven carefully into a tapestry of synthesis; aware of its past but firmly grounded in the present."
Two mystic and burning cuts from Angel Bat Dawid following in the glistening wake of her hugely acclaimed debut album ‘The Oracle’
‘Transition East’ sees Angel’s brooding clarinet soloing with a close, conversational mood that fleets from sorrowful to angry and meditative over a bubbling machine beat that could almost be a more opiated and blissed take on Throbbing Gristle's 'Distant Dreams (Part Two)'.
‘No Space Fo Us’ erupts into sight with cacophonous, Ra-esque intro before locking into and increasingly intense, angular and bittersweetly discordant groove that resolves with her particularly sort of cathartic climax.
yeah this is the shit.
Having recently retired from his most prolific moniker Gonzo, Gonçalo F Cardoso keeps busy and plowing ahead into an ominous 2020 with the second tape from his new concept: Prophetas.
"Inspired by visionary/paranoid cult figures, modern/new idiosyncratic figures as symbols of hope/despair for the uncertain times of the new decade.
Where the first tape compilation (Reveal, Accept, Remember, Forget) revived mid 50’s ideas (UFO sightings, suburbia, space race) this new work reshuffles the now established paranoia to new heights by positioning itself in early 90’s disillusionment: mall culture, X-Files, rampant consumerism and late night cable TV.
The new past/present memories finally laying the groundwork for the ubiquitous fake prophets of the 21st century: silicon valley types, Apple, Google, Facebook – the new cults – all filtered through an overused 90’s fragmented lens."
Sean Canty and Andy Votel explore new territory within the realms of broken music, mechanical composition, spoken-word and noise collage with the help of multi disciplinary artist and longtime cohort Rick Myers, feeding Pre-Cert's gothic ambience into more unnerving corridors. We’re very here for it.
Myers is Votel's longest running collaborator (and co-author of his very first releases in the mid-90’s) and alongside Sean Canty the trio find a genuine and naturalistic plain to create some of the collective's most bizarre and beautiful installations yet. Devised fast and loose via cassette overdubs between Manchester and Massachusetts, and further expanding the syncopated vocal work found in Myers' very limited "Obstacle #69: Sentences In A Magnetic Field" from 2019, the two longform pieces that make-up this release are narrated by Myers in a way that sounds like a forlorn John Cooper Clarke riding some abstracted, unheard and unfathomable b-cinematic sound design.
Inspiring an ongoing practice of automatic non-musical sound composition while drawing long term influences from lesser known sound-art projects, such as Milan Grygar's Acoustic Drawings in Prague or Hungarian sound poet Katalin Ladik, and Swiss-German mainstay Dieter Roth, this first soundset reduces the trios reactions with dense and elongated results, piloting this ongoing series under the name HUMAN ENGINEERING. This limited cassette release, housed in artwork based on Myers personal work, proceeds an upcoming vinyl project under the same name, while providing a welcome addition to each members catalogue via Pre-Cert, Popular Mechanics, Demdike Stare, Cacophonic and Rick's own printed work for Primary Information in America, Neives in Zurich and his own Northampton MA based Editions Muta forgery.
Mule Musiq push off a promising new reissue label, Studio Mule, with 13-tracks of Japanese disco, boogie and soul music collected on Midnight In Tokyo. Compiled by Toshiya Kawasaki. Mastered by Kuniyuki Takahashi.
"At mule musiq, we've focused on shining light on the many aspects of what electronic music can be, putting out house, techno and ambient releases on our main label, while releasing alternative-leaning dance music through our endless flight imprint. but with the launch of our new label, studio mule, we are stepping away from electronic club music for a bit. the label will not be tied to a specific genre, as we will instead focus on releasing any kind of music that we feel is a little bit different and interesting, but somehow make sense in this day and age. for our first batch of releases, we will be focusing on japanese music.
To be honest, i have been watching the recent rise of global interest in japanese musicwith a skeptical eye, not sure of how to feel about all these labels overseas licensing great albums that were birthed in our country. but then, i was told by somebody i greatly respect that i should do something similar with mule, and put our own spin on it, which sounded like a good idea to me. after a period of procrastination, i finally got around to doing it. we are starting things off with a compilation of japanese disco, boogie and soul music that we selected from a modern dance music perspective - the kind of songs that we feel would intrigue music fans across the world.
The compilation starts off with the Afro disco classic "Mi Mi Africa" by harmonica player Nobuo Yagi. "Silver Spot" is a jazzy fusion disco track taken from composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Nobuyuki Shimizu's first album (1980), released when he was 19. The track features singer Epo. "Samba Night" is by vocalist Keisuke Yamamoto and his band Piper, from their masterpiece second album Summer Breeze (1983) -- a delightful city pop number for fans of Tatsuro Yamashita. "Akogareno Sundown" is a Japanese soul classic, sung by singer Haruko Kuwana (sister of Masahiro Kuwana). Produced by Mackey Feary Band, known for the soulful classic "A Million Stars". "Koiwa Saiko (I'm In Love)" is a mellow and groovy track by singer Aru Takamura, the great-grandchild of sculptor Kouun Takamura. It can be thought of as Japan's answer to Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real". "What The Magic Is To Try" is a cult electropop track by Honma Express, a project helmed by producer Kanji Honma. Hailed as Japan's Trevor Horn, he is also known as the producer of legendary techno pop band TPO.
"Colored Music" is a song by Colored Music, a duo of pianist Ichiko Hashimoto and her partner Atsuo Fujimoto. Taken from their sole album (1981), the Japanese rare groove treasure is a mesh of new wave, synth pop, and jazz influences. The dubby electronic new wave disco "Electric City" is a B side of pop idol group Shohjo-Tai & Red Bus St Project's debut 12" single. "Love Is The Competition" is a breezy disco jam by Okinawa-born bilingual artist Hitomi Tohyama, originally featured on her album Next Door (1983). Taken from Mariah project's diva Yumi Murata's first album (1979), "Krishna" is a funky and soulful rockin' disco cut. Reminiscent of Chaka Khan's "I Know You, I Live You", "Live Hard, Live Free" is a song by jazz vocalist Eri Ohno who is known for her work with DJ Krush. "Rocket 88" is a melancholic disco number by singer Minnie originally released through Sapporo's independent label Paradise Records. Closing out the 13-track compilation is Japanese disco staple "Tokyo Melody", sung by Shoody and backed by Tetsuji Hayashi's disco band the Eastern Gang.”
In 2018, the idea was introduced by Jeff Mills to address the lack of artistic collaborations within and from the city of Detroit/USA. The city had always been an engine of new innovative ideas related to music, art, dance, poetry and all other arts. It was thought of as a way to demonstrate the commonality people possess from various art forms and that by mixing ideas visions and perspectives together are might produce unexpected and often provocative results.
"The project started when Mills reached out to one of Detroit Techno's founder and legendary DJ/Producer Eddie Folkwes. Though the two are known and connected to Detroit Techno and knew each other for decades, they never worked together so the first few meetings and conversations were marked with finding all the common links that have built both of their careers. During this time, Mills wanted to find a third person for the project, one that was from Detroit, but not a musician. His idea and theory was that by engaging two other creative thinkers would most likely produce something unique as emotions would become linked together to find that common, but higher level. While browsing the web, Mills discovered a post that featured the Detroit-born poet Jessica Care Moore. Struck by her words and the energy she mastered to say them, Mills knew immediately that she would be the perfect artist to approach for this creative venture. As with most artists that grew up in Detroit, they immediately opened up the links in their past, present and future outlook. He presented the case and explained to her how he thought it might work. She liked the idea and agree to join."
On the cover: Marisa Anderson. On the bonus CD: Beatriz Ferreyra, Max Eilbacher, Tolouse Low Trax, City , Goodiepal, Sheng Jie, Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers and more.
Inside: Cosmic Guitars: A ten page survey of the state of de- and retuned fingerpicking guitar music, featuring Marisa Anderson by James Toth, Robbie Basho by Jennifer Lucy Allan, Davey Graham by Val Wilmer, C Joynes by Bruce Russell, Sarah Louise by Abi Bliss, Gwenifer Raymond by Claire Biddles, and Glenn Jones on the key matter of tuning. Invisible Jukebox: Caroline Kraabel × John Edwards, plus a feature on Lonnie Holley, a primer on DJ Tools amnd loads more.