Nina K’s трип present a wormhole like introduction to the stellar electronic work of Sigurbjörn Þórgrímsson aka Biogen; an icelandic artist at the core of his country’s electronic music scene since the early ‘90s, back when he can lay claim to working with Goldie in his nascent Rufige Kru guise, and was responsible for co-founding one of Iceland’s best regarded techno labels, Thule Records. Sadly , Sigurbjörn passed away in 2011, but evidently left an impressive body of work which many listeners will only now be made aware of.
Compiled by Nina K from DATs collected by Þórgrímsson’s pal, Jonas Gudmundsson aka Ruxpin, the set covers 13 parts of virulent acid, breakbeat and “sofa-trance” mutations which effectively bridge the gap between the label’s rather obvious obsession with Aphex Twin and their series of contemporary productions by Bjarki, which have so far taken up most of their catalogue numbers.
The vibe is mostly optimistic and utopian spirited in that classic early ‘90s sense, shot thru with pangs of melancholy that may be attributed to the artist’s struggle with manic-depressive disorder, and likewise understood by anyone who enjoys going thru the usual seesaw of emotions that come with hardcore weekends and mid-week recompense.
It’s the kind of unconventional, twysted and lush gear you could easily imagine turning up on Rephlex or Planet Mu any time over the last 20 odd years, launching listeners from cryptic monologues to HangableAutobulb style electrocutions in Lag 38 and the shelter skelter velocity of Borealis and levitating chromatic harmonics in Autofloat - and that’s only the first side; with the rest taking in slamming Universal Indicator acid on 160 techno; quicksilver electro in Lag 9, epic ‘sofa-trance’ (his own term) in Bliss; dextrous braindance in 303 Ambient,; and a beautiful beat-less kiss off with Halogen Continues.
The second part of the Jacob F. Desvarieux anthology on Endless Flight.
"Sika" by Georges Décimus, bass player of Desvarieux's band Kassav, features outer-national synth works driven by salsa-like percussions and sweet steel-drum melodies. It appeared on Décimus's solo debut La Vie (1983). "Avèou Doudou", written by the former Kassav keyboarder Jean-Claude Naimro, was released in 1985. His tune spreads feathery synth-laden Caribbean boogie vibes. "Do Bay Lan Main" comes from zouk pioneer and former Kassav singer Patrick Saint-Éloi. Japanese producer Kuniyuki delivers a unique edit of "Sika”.”
Chunky electro and acid house flavours from Justin More, chasing up his outings for HNYTRX and The Bunker New York with some equally raw and ‘floor-ready styles.
He tees off for the deep end with the hypnotic canter of Flirt, and brings it down to 303 root with the zig-zagging jacker, Outsider (BK Acid Mix). Turn over and he pushes the acid into sleazier situations with Duck Hunt and climaxes on a friskier acid number named 11:11 Live.
Pure Berlin-school bliss from synthmeisters Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss.
"Synthwaves pays homage to the masters of the past, yet feels fresh and enchanting. Crisp, interlocking patterns are modulated and mutated with mathematical precision into eight pieces of pristine, post-kosmische sounds to float away to. During two intense weeks in Berlin, Quaeschning and Schnauss – both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese – locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analog sequencers and drum machines, and the result is a gorgeous set of purely electronic music.
As the title suggests, a bit of tongue-in-cheek playfullness was allowed during the process – however, all of these pieces sparkle with real emotion and warmth. As with the finest Tangerine Dream soundtracks it's the kind of music that paints vivid pictures on the canvas of the listeners mind: synth plucks hang in the air like glaring neon in metropolitan dusk, and zero-gravity pads hover like ghostly morning mist travelling over empty coastlines. Poly-rhythmic patterns are allowed to build - slowly but steadily - bar after bar, until synth-Satori is reached. By the time the last track on this
album runs out, it's obvious these two producers have themselves become masters of their craft."
Der Plan’s first new album in 13 years. Every bit as zany as you’d imagine
“The defiant title of the new album translates as "Uncapitulable!" and signalizes both continuity and unbrokenness. That's hardly a given when three musicians have gone their own separate ways for a quarter of a century. As is often the case, an external occasion provided the spark for the idea of a comeback: as the birthday band at Andreas Dorau's 50th, the band discovered that they could still have fun playing music together – and so did the audience, with audible results. So the band collected sketches, fragments and ideas that had accumulated over the years and produced
"Unkapitulierbar" in three weeks at Pyrolator's Ata Tak Studio Berlin. Moritz R: "It worked incredibly well". "This time the music was created on the basis of ideas and lyrics. Earlier, we often played improvised sessions and later added lyrics to it. One could say that in the meantime we have become something like songwriters," explains Reichelt. And "Der Plan 2017 is no longer so angular and swings better." But the music still sounds psychedelic: mild and sunny, as in "Es heisst die Sonne", "Come Fly with Me" or "Was kostet der Austritt?" or dark and eerie on "Ich kann die Stille hören" and "Gesicht ohne Buch". There is a kind of electronic shanty – "Wie der Wind weht" – and a pop song with "Lass die Katze stehn". On "Man leidet herrlich" – and not for the first time – reggae and dub references are apparent.
When writing a press release like this one, one often tries to draw comparisons to other bands. Any such attempt is impossible with DER PLAN because DER PLAN is DER PLAN! And "Unkapitulierbar" is a melodic, electronic, brightly colored kaleidoscope of an album. DER PLAN in 2017 sounds as timeless and modern as you might have hoped for. Buy this album and don't forget: "Wear the sun in your heart – and a funny hat!"
One more question to Moritz R.: "Is there any special situation in which you would like your audience to listen to your new album?" - Reichelt: "YES!!!”.
Philippe Halais (Low Jack) greases up and goes hard in the paint with a sorely f*cked up EBM sound as B-Ball Joints for his hardbod buds at Brussels’ PRR! PRR! label.
The snap of latex and the squeak of leather is bent to his weirdo taste in 12 spurts of sawn-off EBM, industrial and knackered darkroom boogie littered with haywire samples and screwball FX.
From the first instance of Assimilate, tracks are prone to fracture, bifurcate mid-cut, perhaps emulating the effect of being super-fucked up in the club, or like an ADHD DJ scrolling thru a folder or YouTube playlist, flinging bodies thru the manic matrix of Song 6 to the warped cut-up of Parade Ground via a number of natty little mess-ups, before grappling with proper grotty darkroom substances in Rejekto Teknoclub and the shuddering edits of Leather Gym Joint, and hopping like a bunny at the chemsex rave in B-Ball Juice - Rejekto Power! (Quid Edit).
Ras_G keeps the freak flame burning for House Shoes’ Street Corner Music, serving a stoned chop and splice session generated from the gospel section at the “WreckaStow” where he works (and smokes big blunts) in LA.
As loosely raw, tripped as anything else from his smoky echo chamber, The Gospel of The God Spell gives it up to the big one in the sky (any of ‘em, take your pick) with a thoroughly enjoyable session of MPC-sawn samples looped up and embedded in heavy shag ferric noise.
For us in the UK, it’s like the equivalent of some instal-copped moonrocks imported from the West Coast; an intoxicating dose of sun (and halogen) fuelled rudeness that you huff up and let it get in your eyes, up the bones, probably bringing you into close contact with your sofa or the nearest bit of grass.
With Dilla departed and Madlib effectively AWOL, this is your best best, and maybe only, spot for this ruff cut quality of sound right now.
Next in the upswell of posthumous, Coil-related reissues, their sought-after Electric Sewer Age collab with John Deek of Divine Frequency is placed under the spotlight, serving something of a cryptic epitaph to the loss of Peter ’Sleazy’ Christophersen, whose untimely death in 2010 followed not long after the project was revealed to the world at large under the tagline, “an infinity of Sewers thrown open beneath the Threshold House.”
As far as we know, Moon’s Milk In Final Phase features some of the final work written by Sleazy prior to his passing. It was executed with trusted band-member and engineer Danny Hyde and quite possibly includes the presence of Jhonn Balance somewhere in its keening, off-kilter matrix of ambient, modern classical and avant-garde electronics.
In four quarter turns relating to lunar phases, Moon’s Milk traverses from curdled chorales and pointillistic tangles of strings and gamelan reminding of The Threshold HouseBoys Choir in Moon’s Milk (Waxing), to the queasier cadence of elliptical strings and synths in Moon’s Milk (Waning) recalling moments from the ElpH project, whereas Moon’s Milk (Eternal) follows with a more sprightly display of pizzicato notes and frothing bleeps buoyed by almost lyrical flutes into the creemy echo chamber of Moon’s Milk (Dark Passing), where its possible to locate some of Coil’s most indelible late period sensations.
Fiends, do your thing.
New Deutsche Grammophon Edition of Max Richter's collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor for the Royal Ballet.
Premiered at the Royal Opera House in November 2008, the piece was put in the spotlight by a BBC documentary around the same time before resuming its run at Covent Garden. Richter's soundtrack is an absorbing blend of shortwave-style droning transmissions, beautiful string ensemble pieces and piano compositions.
Compared with his solo studio albums, the format of the score seems to permit Richter to shift into a more abstract mode at regular points over the course of the album, dissolving orchestration into airwave-cruising static for introductory piece 'Infra 1' or exploring a dulcet ether-dwelling hum on 'Journey 2', but over the course of the album you'll hear plenty of this composer's more conventional neo-classical writing too: 'Infra 5' is vintage Max Richter, developing a sumptuous, yet repetitive melodic theme and laying a shifting chord sequence beneath it.
The results are typically emotive and by the conclusion ascend to a kind of urgent crescendo while blistering radio noise begins to swell in the mix. A quick glance at Richter's IMDB page suggests that we can expect more collaborations and soundtrack-style projects from Richter in the months and years to come; already he's scored a slew of TV projects, along with notable films such as Waltz With Bashir, and recently the Blue Notebooks piece, 'On The Nature Of Daylight' played a prominent role in Scorcese's gothic schlock-fest, Shutter Island.
Infra proves Richter's versatility and searchingly experimental drive as a composer, pitching that ideal balance between ear-bending soundscapes and all-out heartbreak. Highly Recommended.
This one's a bit special, the debut release from Cy An, a crucial member of FKA Twigs’ band and production team since LP1, making a highly impressive maiden solo voyage with a slab of self-released sublime tension for his own label, lighting up heady noumenal space somewhere between 0PN and Visionist, or Arca and Kuedo.
It feels like another piece of FKA Twigs’ tessellating 3D puzzle falling into place, as you begin to grasp a sense of the other personalities and sonic traits that were subsumed into what is arguably this decade’s definitive (avant)pop project.
K gives the EP a nervously tentative start, all fluttering high register tones anchored only by strokes of sweeping subbass, establishing massive spatial dimensions where brassy notes freeze at the top and wilt like metal petals thru the mix between piped choral voices and post-junglist glitches, then MINUS ONE firms up, alternating tightening and loosening the screws of footwork-trap-trance convention to unfold and morph like an origami’d smack foil.
Turn the page and Sprawl Monolith farther belies Cy An’s murky sci-fi roots in a vertiginous piece scaling cinematic heights of cascading arpeggios and over swirling, Reese-like basses in weightless, OOBE style, and Azrael Rotor closes the chapter with a teasing sense of modern classical ambiguity, leaving us on tenterhooks for more.
Vlek return with a smartly contrasting side from Simon Hold, taking the city of Brussels as his muse for a pair of alternately lush and impending analogue electronic expressions following from the label’s issue of Yann Leguay’s Headcrash.
A-side yields the arabesque beauty, Maqam Bruxelloise, as heard on Vlek’s Label Of The Month mix for RA in 2016. A mesmerising, improvised moire of microtonal vamps and the kind of scuffed dancehall shimmy you might expect to hear on a Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe record, Maqam Bruxelloise can be heard as an impressionistic study of Brussels’ overlapping multi-cultural patchwork, meshing Arabic modes of improvisation with gear and tones maybe more commonly associated with classic cold wave or some early Sub Rosa oddity.
In a stark contrast of mood, the B-side’s Dhajij Doux hammers out a tense, pounding proto-techno tattoo comparable with Suicide or Powell, layered up with salty noise and a bleep cadence hanging between melancholy and panic, owing to the more hostile and turbulent aspects of the same city.
Jamal Moss aka I.B.M. manhandles some proper ‘80s EBM and wave hits that were big at Medusa’s underage club nights in Chicago some time c. late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Overage and average people may apply to this one, though.
Uptown you’ll find Bigod20’s Belgian EBM girder The Bog chopped and spliced for the rabid wallbangers with unrepentant force and intention.
Downtown, there’s a slice of PiL’s Metal Box extracted and shaken up with demanding Chicago audiences in mind, before he gets the most out of Kissing The Pink’s lesser spotted march, The Last Film.
Necessary reissue of golden Chicago house music from Marcus Mixx, including the hugely sought-after Ron Hardy mix of Liquid Love (Chicago Mix).
At the top of many wants lists for a long time, the original Liquid Love cuts were collected on The Best Of Ron Hardy Volume I for Trax subduable, Streetfire Records, and have long been the most in-demand of all Marcus Mixx and Gitano Camero productions.
The lush male/female call and response vocals, moans and requests to “lick it” turn the Larry Heard-style square bass and chords into a veritable orgy in the New York Mix, and the Larry Heard vibe is tweaked deeper into stripped down bass and bleep combo of the Can U Feel It Mix.
The Chicago Mix, mixed by Ron Hardy, is the one for us, taking its time to get us right inside the groove, gliding with its whistles and hypnotic vocal froth.
All time peachiness guaranteed.
Frayed and smudged ambient-pop and modern classical intimacy, informed by shoegaze and pastoral toy-tronica.
“Bristol-based solo electronic producer LTO returns to Injazero Records following his (and the label’s) debut, 2015’s No Pasa Nada EP.
While plaudits for LTO have tended to focus their praise on No Pasa Nada’s tense and eerie programming, its deep sonics and waves of static, Storybook gives us access to the beating heart within the machine. It is an album not purely of mechanics, but also of human warmth, formed with a colour palette of equal digital and organic materials. There is expression and articulation, delicateness of performance, voices both natural and treated, piano and brass, all deftly placed about a canvas of electronic fabrics.
LTO first made waves as part of mysterious electronic collective Old Apparatus. Their music - anonymous, dark, ghostly, subterranean - was reminiscent of garage and grime scenes, but sheened with a nocturnal miasma and a fierce intellect, obfuscated by deliberate myth-making. And while LTO as a solo producer retains elements of this darkness and beguiling sound-design, Storybook sees him let the light in.
A vision is laid out by album opener ‘Change’. It combines gentle, dulcet synthesis with a percussive line made of table-tennis recordings and Spanish-language voices that softly echo in and out of the space, like Katie Gately remixed into Brian Eno’s ambient records or the poise of Max Richter filtered through Chris Clark’s production lens. These themes wander and weave through the record. They comprise willfully corrupted notions of the ‘single’: broken, distorted vocal pieces that never quite move as expected, yet somehow remains approachable and deeply touching. They comprise fluidity and elasticity, a human-ness that enwraps the mechanical parts, in the same sense as Holly Herndon or Nils Frahm. A highly accomplished pianist (indeed, a piano teacher in his civilian life), LTO’s astute musicality is the foundation stone beneath the magic and abstractions of Storybook.”
A kinky dinner party measure of ‘Palais Pop and Locarno Latin’ picked out by Jonny Trunk and Martin Green, sequenced and mastered by Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle).
“Another superb adventure in the Britxotica! series, looking into rare and amazing exotic British recordings. For this exciting installment, Trunk waltzes to the British ballrooms for charismatic cha cha chas, magical mambos, and a whole set of floor-filling fun! Britxotica! (pronounced "Britzotica") neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers, as well as unknown singers and bandleaders, threw convention on holiday and went wild. Put together by Jonny Trunk with DJ/tastemaker and smashing nightclub legend Martin Green, these groundbreaking compilations shine new light on lost and forgotten corners of British culture and sound.
For Strictly Britxotica! Palais Pop And Locarno Latin, part four of Trunk's planned Britxotica! series, they head to the now defunct British ballrooms for a set of dynamic and often extraordinary dance numbers -- charming cha cha chas (including "Cha Cha Pop Pop"), lively Latin, and some fabulously freaky foot tappers, including a classic version of "Cerveza". Composers and artists include ballroom band legends such as Edmundo Ros, Ted Heath, and Stanley Black, but Trunk have also found work by lost geniuses such as John Graven and John Warren who are very much worthy of reappraisal. In short, this is another crazy and charismatic compilation of British music so obscure and rare that only Trunk Records could find and package it so superbly, and with such effortless and comedic style.
Also features: Boyer And Ravel, Joe Loss, Johnston Brothers, Tony Scott, Tony Crombie, John Warren Orchestra, Martinas And His Music, Phil Tate, Dave Lee, John Graven Quintet, Don Carlos, Chaquito, Jack Parnell, Eddie Calvert, and Victor Silvester. All cues mastered and sequenced by Jon Brooks, AKA The Advisory Circle.”
‘Halt And Catch Fire’ captures the rise of the PC-era during the early 80s and the technology revolution. Acclaimed for its exceptional soundtrack by former Tangerine Dream musician and award winning composer, Paul Haslinger has created a period-appropriate synth score that admirably sets the mood and tone of the bygone era.
"Revisiting his time in the pioneering electronic band during the mid-80s, the Austrian composer writes with a uniquely knowledgeable yet less overtly nostalgic ear that keeps the show’s current audience in mind. Acknowledging the time in which the series itself has been created alongside when the show is set, Haslinger’s bold and innovative scores have seen his Hollywood career escalate over the last two decades. The man behind the music for Blow, Resident Evil and Death Race has become one of the industry’s most sought after composers."
Killer compilation ocumenting the groundbreaking maloya scene on Réunion Island from the mid-‘70s, as Western instrumentation joined traditional Malagasy, African and Indian acoustic instruments to spark a whole era of new fusions and creativity. Compiled by Réunionese DJ duo La Basse Tropicale, ‘Oté Maloya’ follows up last year’s acclaimed ‘Soul Sok Séga’ release on Strut.
"Traditional maloya, originally called “séga”, described the songs, music and dances of slaves on the sugar plantations of Réunion Island in the 17th Century – maloya ceremonies paid tribute to ancestors and mediated between the living and the dead. The music and culture began to be more widely accepted by Réunionese society from the 1930s as folklorist Georges Fourcade began to play maloya songs. By the ‘50s, maloya tracks were appearing on 78rpm releases and, in the ‘60s, it was used as a form of cultural protest music.
In the mid-‘70s, a new generation began exploring new directions in the music, using Créole language; many were self-taught and learned their craft in 1960s dance band “orchestres”. André Chan-Kam-Shu’s Studio Royal in the south of the island became the main hub for experimentation and collaboration. Most notably, the band Caméléon honed their sound here – with maloya legends Alain Peters and vocalist Hervé Imare involved, Caméléon became the leading collective on the scene, using poetic lyrics and creating their own potent fusion of maloya, jazz and psychedelia.
‘Oté Maloya’ tells the story of this fertile period in Réunion Island music for the first time and features the full spectrum of maloya styles. From Caméléon’s genius to the teenage Michou’s classic ‘Maloya Ton Tisane’, Daniel Sandié’s breakbeat sleeper ‘Défoule 3e Age’ and more traditional styles from Maxime Lahope and Pierrot Vidot, this is an essential trip through a lost era of Indian Ocean blues and soul."
Penguin Cafe and Japanese producer Cornelius’ mutual admiration for one another led to them joining forces for this four-track ‘Umbrella EP’. The pair reworked and reimagined existing tracks of their own, alongside two new Penguin Cafe songs.
"Penguin Cafe was founded by Arthur Jeffes in 2009, bringing together a diverse and disparate group of musicians from the likes of Suede, Gorillaz and Razorlight, initially to perform his father Simon Jeffes’ legacy of world renowned Penguin Cafe Orchestra music, ten years after his untimely death in 1997. Arthur, a composer in his own right, quickly began to create new and unique genre-defying music, with the spellbinding philosophy of the Penguin Cafe always in his mind.
The project has evolved into something at the hands of Arthur who utilises many different instruments and influences including elements of African, Venezuelan, Brazilian, bluegrass, classical, avant-garde and minimalist music — using a variety of instruments from strings, pianos, harmoniums, slide guitars, cuatros, kalimbas, experimental sound loops, mathematical notations and more. To date, the new Penguin Cafe have released two albums of fresh, innovative and beautiful music, developing from the traditional folk and jazz heritage Penguin Cafe Orchestra is known for into another realm of blissful ambience and dance music, recreated using strictly acoustic elements."
Sizzling mutations of shaabi, or Arabic pop music, from Beirut’s Raed Yassin and Swiss multi-instrumentalist Paed Conca. Imagine Mutamassik, Muslimgauze and Konstrukt on the lash after a wedding with Omar Souleyman Band, and someone’s spiked the punch… Check for maddest highlights in their dizzying harmonic swirler, ’The Odyssey of the Blue Flies’ and the intoxicating swagger of ‘Hatem Imam the Love of the Millions’
“Founded by Lebanese visual artist and musician Raed Yassin and Swiss musician Paed Conca in 2006, Praed is a band whose musical oeuvre can be described as a mixture of Arabic popular music, free jazz, and electronics. Over the years, the duo has collaborated with renowned musicians from across the globe, including Axel Dörner and Johannes Bauer from Germany, Hans Koch from Switzerland, Takumi Seino and Maki Hachiya from Japan, and Stéphane Rives from France, among others.
Praed's body of work explores the terrain of shaabi (Arabic popular music) and its interconnectedness with other hypnotic music genres. Since its inception, the duo has shown a keen interest in this music as a medium that reflects Egyptian society's complicated fabric. Through their research and thanks to numerous concerts in various Egyptian cities, Conca and Yassin discovered a strong cultural connection between shaabi sounds and the mouled music played in religious trance ceremonies. The hypnotizing psychedelic effect embedded in this genre incited Praed to explore other popular music from around the world that also employs forms of sonic delirium, such as free jazz, space jazz, and psychedelic rock, among others, and effectively incorporate these in their own musical concoctions.
The Fabrication of Silver Dreams is the duo's fourth album and their second for Lebanese independent music label Annihaya Records. Paed Conca: electric bass, clarinet, electronics, percussion; Raed Yassin: keyboards, electronics, vocals. With: Fadi Tabbal: electric guitar; Sharif Sehnaoui: electric guitar; Khaled Yassine: riq. Recorded and mixed by Fadi Tabbal at Tunefork Studios, Beirut. Mastered by Stefan "Lopazz" Eichinger at Mixmastering.”
'To Where The Wild Things Are…' is a perfectly measured emulation of '60s/'70s soundtracks, library music and French Ye-Ye
Exactly the kind of gear that gets beardy Finders Keepers types and fans of Broadcast/Stereolab/Mazzy Star rubbing their cords threadbare. Soft-focused around core duo Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, they tick off a vintage studio's inventory of vinbraphone, mellotron, tremolo guitar and Moog to make a sedated sound that's easy to fall for and hard to rouse from.
Jamal Moss aka I.B.M. manhandles some proper ‘80s EBM and wave hits that were big at Medusa’s underage club nights in Chicago some time c. late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Siouxsie and the Banshees’s oft-sampled Happy House is given the Jamal Moss treatment, deferring the drop until its totally necessary, and The Psychedelic Furs’ Heartbeat is reduced and whipped into more tracky, jacking form.
The one y’all need, however, is the edit of Fad Gadget’s Collapsing New People, accentuating the groove’s sleazy vocal and atonal stabs with wildly freeform, expressive chops.
Discwoman co-founder Emma Olsen aka Umfang makes strong moves with the raw, etheric techno fundamentalisms in Symbolic Use Of Light; the Brooklyn-based artist’s 3rd album and first for Technicolor, placing her in good company amidst the label’s roster of Peggy Gou, Jay Daniel, Hieroglyphic Being a.o.
Across Symbolic Use of Light she weaves and delineates her sound in two distinct strands, teasing oscillating piquant, weightless arpeggios in Full 1, the frothier pulse of Path, and the hazy, levitating organ tones of Full 2, whilst merging those strands with variously graded degrees of techno pressure elsewhere, at best in the pensile pulses of Weight, with the power dome slammer, Where Is She, and a light-headed touch in the spare dimensions of Pop and the shimmering Wingless Victory.
Matador Records present Algiers’ second album, ‘The Underside Of Power’, recorded largely in Bristol and produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant and mixed by Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))), with post-production by Ben Greenberg (The Men, Hubble, Uniform).
"Touchstones on the uncompromising and impassioned album run from Southern rap to Northern soul, gospel to IDM, industrial to grime to Italo.
More pertinent than ever before, ‘The Underside Of Power’ follows Algiers’ 2015 eponymous debut which received praise from the NY Times, Pitchfork, The Quietus and others.
The record touches on oppression, police brutality, dystopia and hegemonic power structures. Its fiery lyrics encompass TS Eliot, the Old Testament, The New Jim Crow, Tamir Rice and Hannah Arendt, while carried by soulful and visceral songs, meditative moments and personal reflection. Now a four-piece, with the addition of Bloc Party founding member Matt Tong on drums."
Grime-smeared steel city clangs and ratchet club tension from Lloyd SB, building on the promise of his Boida Flare EP and cuts for Boxed and Sound Pellegrino with some more of that hyper chromatic and high-wire dancing structures for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper.
8ths, 16ths serves a pretty demented, schizoid swerve between messed up weightless grime zones taking in flattened Trap tics, bolshy brass and strobing electronics in a way that recalls BLOOM’s dizzying constructions as much as Mumdance and Logos’ rave suss and the playful twists of Tarquin. It’s a bit of a showstopper.
On the other hand, we could also apply all those analogies to Princess Anna, but again the appeal lies in the idiosyncrasies of his take on Eski tropes, full of slicing edits and chromatic vamps delivered with devilishly proprioceptive design.
As previewed on Part 5 of Twin Peaks: The Return, this 7” features the nicotine and whiskey-fuelled swagger of Snake Eyes by Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches), Riley Lynch (sire of David), and Dean Hurley’s Trouble.
A-side they roll the dice on a killer noiR&B hustle lit up by blaring sax and chipping guitar from Hungtai and Lynch, driven by Hurley’s pendulous drums. It’s properly cocksure and sultry business for the Bang Bang Bar lizards.
Turn over and you’d be mistaken for thinking the trio were replaced by Bohren Under Der Club Of Gore on Mother’s Gone, plating to the flipside of the coin with a sense of sizzling menace comparable with that look in Agent Cooper’s eyes.
We can only cross our fingers in hope for a release of every track from the series…
The world’s direct line to Africa’s recent past dials in this bouquet of peaches from 1985 South Africa
...turning up what sounds like a fructose-injected, sun-baked take on Candi Staton’s You Got The Love with Say You Love me, plus the simmering charms of Make Me Your Lover, beside what sounds like a Paradise Garage classic in the debonaire boogie percoaltions and vocoders of Crosslines, plus the purest slow-motion melter vibes of Enjoy It.
Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed!
Primal motorik rhythms, the rush of white noise and post – punk angles; an aural onslaught played out on homemade log synths, electrified guitars and sticks beating hell on taut animal skin.
"Since their move to the city, the woodwose have gorged on cinema and left this gleaming carcass. The EP opens with motorik fuzz epic ‘Jonny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin’ , its title taken from Greta Garbo ’ s 1924 big screen debut The Saga of Gosta Berling . The track draws heavily on Jean - Luc Godard’ s nightmarish Weekend , in which an excursion to the countryside ends in revolution , the collapse of bourgeois society and cannibalism . The circle of life.
What follows is a kitchen sink post - punk one - two in ‘Fukushima Failure’ and ‘Director ’ s Nostalgia’ . Knotted and contagious . Snatched lyrics about nuclear disaster and barely coherent rants about art house cinema over clattering ramshackle rhythms that will lodge themselves deep in your brain long after the screen fades to black . Mark E Smith is lost in the forest and picking fights with the trees. As the credits roll we ’ re played out with the soundtrack to some forgotten 1970s Italian road movie in ‘Wendy’ s Road Rage."
Tightly coiled and skewed art school electronics from members of Glasgow’s experimental dance music fraternity.
“For The Modern Institute’s self-titled first vinyl document, the practices of audio technicians Richard McMaster, Laurie Pitt and James Stephen Wright are brought into sharp focus, the initial analyses of a project which examines the rituals of performance, the signifiers of bourgeois culture and the absurdities inherent in the middle class art gaze. While undoubtedly disturbing in execution, it’s a succinct reminder of the tension between lazy, electronic music tropes and the essential, quizzical attitude frequently lacking in the technoid culture yet abundant in Glasgow’s agent provocateurs. Seen through the frame of primary music generators McMaster and Pitt’s previous music projects – Golden Teacher, General Ludd – The Modern Institute’s recorded output is an oblique, strategic examination of rhythm and the spaces between. Rhythm is often re-defined and re-formed through out The Modern Institute, with the easy 4/4, communally cohesive beats of the Teacher and the Ludd some way off.
Opener Black Blood is a case in point, with a elusive pattern providing a warped, skeletal framework for Wright to smother. The atmosphere is austere, aggressive, clinical as a gallery wall after the exhibition has failed. The yawning, sub-bass of False Beards and Diamond Hooves hacks at the exhibition floor opening up punishingly alien chasms. The narrator’s deadpan poesy, battling against the brutalist backdrop, reminds the listener of early industrial pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, not least in the unmistakably northern accent. Side A closes out on the first attempt by The Modern Institute to break into a recognizable pattern, though rendered on Destroy Logic as a dry destruction of a Bashment rhythm. Arabic Eight is nightmarish, a Normal deconstruction of art music. A nonsensical, dadist mutation of electronic dance music, Intelligent Dance Music with no intelligence, dance or Music. Wright intones “when I was younger you used to say you weren’t in it for the money,” taking down conceptions of artistic integrity, inspiration and muse. On Springloaded, we’re still deep in an alien lifeform’s insides, viewing the tropes the art industry uses to sell itself, splashes of digital distortion and burps crossfiring across the stereofield. Shiver And Quiver ends The Modern Institute, sounding like all the cities’ alarms simultaneously set off to the beat of the LPs only 4/4 beat, here juddering and unnaturally fast. Ask questions, just don’t ask for answers.”
Odion Livingstone present another essential reissue from the Nigerian archives, the first ever international release of The Apples’ essential Afro-funk LP rarity ‘Mind Twister’.
"As part of the St Gregory’s student band scene in Lagos during the late ‘70s alongside Ofege, Grotto and more, Apples were picked up and produced by legendary EMI Nigeria producer Odion Iruoje who added overdubs to the album at Abbey Road in London with Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman.
The band met and formed in Lagos. Bandleader Frank Ikpefuran teamed up with Georges Vieira from the American School and brothers Clifford and Gerard Nagi who were studying at “St Greg’s” in Lagos, and remembers, “I must have been 19 years old when I met Clifford. We used to hangout on Victoria Island, watching bands play and jamming with them. That’s how we met Georges. We all listened to Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Idris Muhammad and the Beatles.”
“We started jamming with Clifford on the guitar, his brother Gerard on the bass and Georges on the guitar. We chipped in with song ideas, with the group contributing arrangements and refining things until we were satisfied. The band had a natural sound, which stemmed from the chemistry we had. It was a strange chemistry, we were an odd combination from different backgrounds but when we played, something happened…”
After landing a residency at Tee Mac’s club in Surulere, Apples auditioned for Odion Iruoje who arranged recording dates and cut the record. For a young band, Iruoje was surprised by the quality of the band, adding in extra keyboard parts from Lemmy Udofia and Francis Monkman, founder of Curved Air and session man for Kate Bush, Sky and music libraries like BBC Music, Bruton and KPM. Iruoje remembers, “their playing added a layer of sophistication and sheen without encumbering proceedings.”
Rescued from relative obscurity by DJ Amir’s 180 Proof Records, BBE present a gem from the tiny yet highly influential catalogue of Strata Records. Preceding New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s original Strata label issued only a handful of underground titles in the early 70’s, making it a ‘holy grail’ imprint among jazz lovers and record collectors the world over.
"Released by Strata in 1974, Bert Myrick’s ‘Live ‘n Well’ was originally recorded by Strata founder and former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox at a concert which took place almost a decade previously, at the student union of the University Of Michigan back in 1965. Led by drummer Bert Myrick, the album highlights a quintet of highly talented players at the height of their powers. Featuring Will Austin on bass, Kenny Cox on piano and Ronnie Fields on tenor sax, the performance also stars George Bohanon, a nowlegendary player who spent 7 years with Motown Records as lead trombonist before being named "Most Valuable Player". by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Probably best known for the iconic 14 minute epic “Scorpio’s Child” (composed by Strata owner Kenny Cox), ‘Live ‘n Well’ captures tour de force performances from a collection of Detroit’s finest musicians, destined to go their separate ways soon after the recording was completed. Legend has it that Bert Myrick was inspired to pursue his passion for the drums by friend and mentor Elvin Jones (the drummer on John Coltrane’s classic ‘A Love Supreme’), who would open windows at his shows so that Bert and his friends could enter without paying. This kind of heavyweight tutelage would certainly explain Myrick’s impeccable, highly expressive playing on ‘Live ‘n Well’. Remembered fondly for his powerful hands and gentle demeanor, Bert Myrick passed away in 2010 at the age of 80."
Mysterious french outfit, The Dead Mauriacs, return to discrepant in full exotic wind force after their sell out cassette, ‘’Un Cocktail pour la fin des temps’’.
"Beauté des Mirages picks up on the same themes of frantic, abstract exotica and concrete cocktails the French act is known for. Running amok for two long 18min sides full of fake(?) vintage atmospheres and armchair jungle hallucinations.
An abstract journey into a beautiful (and sometimes scary) world of mirages.All perfectly illustrated by yet another mesmerizing artwork collage by US artists Evan Crankshaw..."
Electronic producer Max Cooper and ambient master Tim Hecker rework Ben Lukas Boysen on his new EP Golden Times 1
"Boysen’s Golden Times 1 forms the very heart of his new EP with the same name. Boysen entrusted none other than Max Cooper and Tim Hecker to meticulously shape and lure the title track plus second single Nocturne 4 into two entirely separate territories, yet never drifting too far awayfrom their original soundscapes. With Evensong the composer himself contributes a previously unreleased piece. It is yet another example that Boysen is still opening new and unexplored doors in a bid to challenge the existing realm of contemporary music he is very much a part of."
Beach House release ‘B-Sides And Rarities’ via Bella Union.
"From the band: “When we announced that we were releasing a B-sides and rarities album, someone on Twitter asked, ‘B-sides record? Why would Beach House put out a B-sides record? Their A-sides are like B-sides.’ This random person has a point.
Our goal has never been to make music that is explicitly commercial. Over the years, as we have worked on our 6 LPs, it wasn’t the ‘best’ or most catchy songs that made the records, just the ones that fit together to make a cohesive work. Accordingly, our B-sides are not songs that we didn’t like as much, just ones that didn’t have a place on the records we were making.
“The idea for a B-sides record came when we realized just how many non-album songs had been made over the years, and how hard it was to find and hear many of them. This compilation contains every song we have ever made that does not exist on one of our records. There are 14 songs in total.”
Soul Jazz Records' new Space, Energy and Light is a collection of music by early electronic and synthesizer pioneers (from the 1960s through the 1970s), mid-1970s proto-new age gurus and 1980s guerrilla D-I-Y cassette-era electronic artists, spanning in total over a near 30-year time frame.
"All of these artists used electronic advancements in music technology as a means of exploring not only space and the idea of the future, but also of looking inwards to the soul and of creating music in harmony with the natural world. From computer software and hardware experimentalists and sound pioneers such as Laurie Spiegel and Kevin Braheny, as well as Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company - the first synthesizer ensemble created in collaboration with Robert Moog - through to the earliest musique concrète experimentation of Tod Dockstader, the album shows how technological advancements and creative artistic expression went hand in hand.
In the mid-1970s artists Steven Halpern and Iaxos were instrumental in creating proto-new age music, experimenting in both the healing properties of sound and its relationship with the natural world. These artists also pioneered a new self-contained and underground D-I-Y approach to music, creating their own record labels, forming new distribution networks (with albums sold in meditation centres, health food stores and ashrams) far away from the commercialism of the mainstream music industry. In the early 1980s after the revolution of punk, these D-I-Y attitudes and ideas appeared once more in the growth of the distinctly anti-commercial and underground cassette-only careers of artists such as Germany's Stratis and Carl Matthews in Britain."
New short film and soundtrack, featuring entirely new and unheard compositions - Reflections - Mojave Desert. The film, in collaboration with director Anna Diaz Ortuño, finds the ensemble in a sonic exploration of environment under an endless desert sky.
“Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us - the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment.” - Sam Shepherd, Floating Points
The first in a planned series of environmental recordings by Floating Points to be filmed and recorded at different locations around the world; the recording was made last year, as Floating Points travelled to the Mojave to rehearse in between US touring. Immediately struck by the distinct sonic tapestry created by the rock formations and valleys, Sam and the band set up a recording operation and filmed this new work at the base of the natural sculptures they encountered. The music of Reflections - Mojave Desert mirrors the landscape: soaring and vast, dynamic and intimate, centred around two longer works and shorter pieces that create a singular and seamless experience.
Reflections - Mojave Desert begins with chords played on a Rhodes Chroma and recorded with a surround sound microphone. Throughout the filming, microphones were placed throughout the landscape to capture the natural sonic textures of the desert: the undulating sound of wind, a bird call, the rustling of bushes and more created a backdrop on which much of the record rests. The music softly shifts from the Fender Rhodes introduction to ‘Silurian Blue’, an expansive full band piece that balances refined restraint with explosiveness. In one scene, ‘Kites’, Sam Shepherd walks through a valley with a super directional microphone, swinging it back and forth as a synthesiser loop gets faster to showcase the natural reverb and shifting phase of sound waves. ‘Kelso Dunes’ signals the film’s final act: the sky grows dark, lasers flash, the band and rocks gleaming in the pitch black around them."
Henrik Schwarz and !Khave started a brand new label called Between Buttons, curated by Henrik and focused on acoustic sounds and contemporary compositions.
"Mixing up old and new technologies, experimental and more classical approaches, the label will see Schwarz forge new paths in his own work, as well as curating material from the peers he has worked with over the last 15 years. Mainly made up of acoustic sounds, piano, string quartets, self-built instruments, percussion and intriguing classicist elements with a modern twist, there will be EPs from piano virtuoso Bugge Wesseltoft, as well as other electronic producers wanting to show themselves in a different, more 'unplugged' light.
“In these times of constant turbo mode, likes and thumbs-up, we need to go back to basics,” says Henrik. “We want to move away from the idea that relentless hasty productivity is a must, and instead take time to create space, to let deas mature and to focus the mind on subtler sounds.”
Works Piano will be a four track mini album that uses a Yamaha Disklavier as the starting point and reimagines it, reworks it and alters it with various digital and recording technologies. One track is a created with a reactive algorithm and one is composed purely from altered and processed piano sounds."
The Golden Ravedays is an epic album of 24 tracks that was released in January 2017 and is stretching over 12 respective chapter albums during a one-year period.
"The sixth piece of The Golden Ravedays puzzle will be released on Hippie Dance in June 2017. Number 6 of the series introduces two further tracks of the sound adventure that Superpitcher is taking us on this year.
Side A features Protest Song. If music is a way of transporting us to other places, Protest Song takes us to a desolate, scary and loveless environment, a burnt-down, burnt-out place where the flesh of its former inhabitants is smouldering, void of goodwill and kindness in a cloud of toxic and greedy smoke. It’s all Kafka and Orwell and Suffering - the most twisted and eerie track so far in The Golden Ravedays saga. What is undeniably clear is an acute sense of regret and loss - a warning that it could have been avoided, had we only listened to our hearts and protested.
In the same vein on Side B we hear powerful Resistance. Produced after the Paris attacks of 2015 Superpitcher outdid himself with this strong message of Resistance. Where Protest Song paints a picture of under-worldly doom, Resistance’s techno beat and insistent refrain sweeps us to the surface of the muck of hatred and intolerance we’ve politically been dumped in."
Posh Isolation’s core duo - Loke Rahbek (Croatian Amor) and Christian Stadsgaard aka Damian Dubrovnik - arch up a volley of bittered power noise outbursts with Great Many Arrows, marking 200 releases for the label they started with Songs For Loviatar in 2009. Myriad solo and collaborative projects have followed over the interim, plotting out a sprawling constellation of ideas and gestures, and perhaps all preparing us for this, their most riveting vision of bloodied noise romance.
Taking its title from a historic archery competition in Kyoto, Japan, in which archers would shoot as many arrows as possible for a 24 hour period, Great Many Arrows hits its target with frightening accuracy, packing the spectacle and ferocious intensity of their ritualistic live performances into a studio context where they can utilise and manipulate a greater array of acoustic instrumentation - organs, cellos, wind and others - against more typical electronic backdrops and processing.
If their previous releases often took cues from Prurient releases, Great Many Arrows is again pretty much a conceptual re-working of Frozen Niagara Falls, where, like Dominick Fernow, they embrace an expanded palette of tonal colours to better realise their personal vision. The results are most bracing in the opening Arrow 1, which also recalls the blistered strings of Deathprod, but shot thru with fire-breathing exhortations, while making sterling use of lacunæ and piercing distortion in Arrow 2, and beautifully summing it all up in the cinematic elegance of Arrow 6 with its steepled pads and wistful accordion cadence.
Perfectly faded ambient nostalgia hailing from modern day Russia. A lush dream sequence of airy atmospheres and simmering krautrock pulses evoking hair in a gentle breeze, dry ice swirling over standard soviet issue trainers, and drifting along the River Neva in mid-winter. One of the best NNF instalments in ages...
"St. Petersburg seeker Vladimir Karpov coaxes hushed auras of keys, metronomes, fog, and feeling to evoke hazed and isolated realms, traced in altered states. His latest collection – and vinyl debut – maps the maze at “the bottom of self,” subterranean consciousness manifested from decaying synthesizer and shadowed pulse: music for fading torchlight. Labyrinth leads through six misty, mystic chambers of dreams, drones, delirium, and phasered percussion, spiraling in slow, sacred arcs, in quest of “the inner world.” Tosya Chaikina’s ghost vocals on “False Angel Lullaby” and “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors” bring a whispered hymnal mood but otherwise the LP is ambient and abandoned, obscure meditations along corridors of candlelit runes, “to find the right path, to find the true answer.”
Bristol’s Hodge chases up that ace Peder Mannerfelt collab with three loose-limbed tribal tricks playing deep into the Livity Sound aesthetic on No Single Thing. For our 2p, like the aforementioned 12”, it’s some of the best work in his arsenal, exchanging stodginess for something more agile and making us itch for the dance in the process.
The swingeing polyrhythms and screaming harpies of No Single Thing suggest a parallel dimensional link-up between Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and Shackleton c. 1990/2785 (do they even have linear time in this dimension?), whilst Light waves pinches between he eyes with pealing bleep patterns and fully pendulous drums accentuated with proper, bulbous bass (allow that Casualty-theme coda) and Joe Likes to Dance adds some salt to the dish with tart groove and dissonant nasal drip synth tang destined for smoke filled warehouses ‘round are (our) way.
CPU slice off two slo-mo highlights from Nadia Struiwigh’s debut album, Lenticular onto 12”, including the brooding mass of the title cut and her swampy midnight trek, Trip In Fiction.
The Rotterdam-based artist’s follow-up to 12”s with Rosedale Records and ADRO Records pursues an atmospheric line of enquiry on Lenticular, with grumbling bass and spidery trills elegantly carrying a top heavy payload of keening, bittersweet pads and gauzy choral work into a smudged, impressionistic space between early B12 and Æ.
Flipped she rolls on a purring slo-mo engine into awning ambient realms recalling the vibes of Joey Beltram’s Aonox album or ambient early-mid ‘90s Plastikman, but with a smudged, gauzier resolution that time-stamps it to 2017.
Drily funked-up, low-key but lush minimal house swingers from Area, getting into a Matthew Herbert like moody groove with rlgl and heading somewhere more introspective in the gauzy atmospheres and hiccuping bump of Notice.
“Idle Hands strides towards the summer with a transmission from a kindred spirit across the pond. Area, sometimes known as m50, has been flying the flag for forward thinking electronic music in Chicago for a long time. His radio shows on WNUR have a distinctive quality one step to the side of the music his hometown is best known for, while his label Kimochi Sound has released incredible music from the likes of Benjamin Brunn, Strategy and many more besides.
As a producer Area has been equally prolific since first emerging in 2007. From Ethereal Sound and Steadfast to UntilMyHeartStops and Sequencias, his various approaches to rhythm and texture are all bound together by a meditative quality that feels like a perfect fit for Idle.
On this single, both sides of the 12 continue the theme of dusty, dusky 4/4 Area is most widely known for, locking on to a house groove while sporting the abstract atmosphere of techno. Rlgl is an understated, emotional heater that uses looped up fragments as a counterpoint to the more lilting strings and static that bed the track. Notice takes a more overtly melancholic approach with its lingering, heavily processed keys that drift in between a tough set of drums. There's a punch to the track that will translate beautifully to a big system, even as the melodics spell out a more intimate listening experience.”
If Conrad Schnitzler and Lorenzo Senni soundtracked a new version of Jodorowsky’s thwarted Dune, it may well sound something like JG Thirlwell aka Xordox’s mind-bending Neospection.
In coining his Xordox alias, the legendary sound designer/producer embarks a thrilling new trajectory, aided here on his first mission by the glittering processed guitar of Sarah Lipstate (Noveller) and stunningly animated in-the-mix at Lazer Studios by Al Carlson (who works extensively with 0PN).
Adding yet another string to Thirlwell’s cosmic bow, the results feels like he’s trapped in a mad time-warp connecting Schnitzler’s early pulsers with the mutant noise-techno dimensions of Carlos Giffoni and the Lorenzo Senni’s PointillisticT aesthetics, yielding a trip that maybe never reaches its unknown destination, yet flings up some extraordinary sights and sensations along the way.
It’s all probably best described in terms of arithmetic calculations and quantum physics, but my burner phone’s calculator is bust so you’ll just have to use your ears or take it on trust that there’s some really effing wild things going on inside - especially with the curdled cosmic EBM of Corridor in the final stages of descent, whilst Alto Velocidad steps on the acid booster with epic, cheek-pulling G-force and the final couplet of Destination: Infinity and Asteroid Dust’s decimated diamond contours should be checked by fans of S U R V I V E’s Stranger Things score.
An intimate investigation of the japanese Shakuhachi flute performed by virtuoso player Clive Bell, a regular contributor to the Wire Magazine.
“Asakusa Follies is a luminous scene of interplay between melody, breath, and the shakuhachi flute.
Following on from the initial triptych of electro-acoustic releases on the Cuspeditions imprint, Clive Bell’s Asakusa Follies shifts the listener away from the studio and toward the player himself. Breath is a central theme in the album where a punctuation of purring, spitting, flicking and gasping intersects the tones, overtones and noise of the shakuhachi.
The opening composition Ultramodern Variety makes it immediately apparent that this is no traditional exploration of the Japanese bamboo flute but something altogether unique. Bell’s personal shakuhachi technique is highlighted in the four solo pieces of the album, and reveals a revisionist approach to the instrument which still honours it’s traditional elements. The distant low of the album opener flutters with multiphonics, deep in tone and subdued. Golden Bat Cigarettes celebrates the meeting of breath and bamboo where the mouth and hands on wood buzz then snaps in exhale before drifting toward eerie overtones hanging amidst silence.
The two closing pieces, Five Story Pagoda and Idle Reminiscence, explore the shrill upper registers of the flute that keen in and out of silence, melody and breath-noise shifting the ears from inside Clive Bell’s mouth, to hearing from somewhere afar. A trio of shakuhachi flutes interweave to create Silk Factories, which float gently in and out of unison. Pi-Saw is double tracked on The Red Sash Society where chords abruptly drop into one another, wavering in modulation.
The Scarlet Gang is a resting point and site of contemplation. Hmong Khene is here warm and melancholic and gives the listener a moment to bask in a sensitive cycling sequence of chords. Erotic Grotesque weaves more overdubbed shakuhachi, overblown and textural with two distinct melodies intertwining as lovers in dark and empty space.
The album takes inspiration from Yasunari Kawabata’s 1930 novel The Scarlet Gang of
Asakusa. In Kawabata’s novel, the reader is lead through the vibrant and hedonistic Tokyo district by a wandering narrator, and this sense of wandering is captured in Bell’s improvisations :the shakuhachi is a restless and shifting path to follow toward contemplative calm in the bulbous swelling of reeds.”
Expanded 21st anniversary reissue of of Regis’ game-changing debut album, considered THE Brummie techno blueprint, re-built from original stems & including new studio versions and unreleased sequences, remastered and packaged with new artwork.
For this edition the Brum techno overlord has revisited the scene of the crime from original stems and salvaged 8-tracks tapes. The unyielding results effectively present a doctored version of his seminal - some may say game-changing - record, featuring new studio versions and unreleased sequences. It’s basically a stronger, fitter version of his most prized LP, loaded with sounds as brutally functional as the city which birthed them, but redrawn with sharper edges and elbows for 2017 dancers and DJs.
Originally recorded in September 1996 in Room 406, Digbeth, Birmingham aka Scorn’s studio - sandwiched between Tony De Vit and Broadcast’s recording spaces - Regis used 1 drum machine, 1 synth, and 1 FX unit to nail home a back-to-basics approach to techno; one inspired as much by the direct immediacy of Chicago house as the febrile DJ sets of Jeff Mills, but also drawing a crucial X factor from his background as a bit of hooligan, with form in a number of post-industrial, EBM and punk units.
When Gymnastics first hit the ‘floor it was considered shocking anathema to the swell of manicured, proggy arrangements which were by then dominating the spotlight of British dance in clubs and the media. It was loopy, stripped to the bone and shark-eyed, always moving forward and without the faintest recourse to melody or harmony - simply revelling in the gnashing tension and swerve of raw, clattering drum machines and monophonic synth jabs. Big Beat or trance it fxcking well wasn’t.
As a sound it was arguably responsible for a whole sub-genre’s worth of imitators who never quite reached its Kwik Save milk ailse levels of cold harsh reality, mainly thanks to Karl’s sly, kinky refusal of funk - doing it so dry that it actually came out so stiff it popped, just like Kraftwerk, but if they could only modulate one syllable in a Brummy accent.
21 years later its lip-biting force is now felt stronger than ever. From the grumbling refusal of We Said No and the austere wall-banger Allies that boot off the album, thru the 16th note nag of Translation to the rictus jag of Sand and The Black Freighter’s metallic bite, this is timeless, primal dance music that still causes friction wherever it’s deployed.
James Brown is dead. Long live Regis.