Deca (Federico De Caroli) is a composer and musician who has for over 30 years been a protagonist of the Italian electronic and experimental scene, as well as an involvement with theater, multimedia and television.
He began playing in 1975 and in 1983 bought his first synthesizer starting a long process of creative evolution, playing in bands that were inspired by the British new wave and studying the dynamics of synthetic sound.
In 1985 he began his solo productions based on linear sequencer and minimal compositions that refered to already famous authors for electronic music like Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, and Vangelis, but also the Kosmische of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze.
"MASS" was produced in 1987/1988 with a Roland synthesizer and was only distributed on cassette in a limited run. It is a more rhythmic album than his other works of the time, and ranks alongside the hugely collectable "Alkaid" (1986) and "Synthetic Lips" (1987).
Kondi Band, the inspired Afro-electronic collaboration between Sierra Leonean kondi (thumb piano) player Sorie Kondi and US producer / DJ Chief Boima, who himself has Sierra Leonean roots.
"The album follows the release of 2016’s Belle Wahallah EP, which spawned a #1 Spotify Viral Chart hit in the form of the track “Yeanoh (Powe Handa Blingabe)”,” as well as The Freetown Tapes, a free collection of Kondi’s solo work in the early 2000’s, mixed by Chief Boima.
According to Boima, the new album “forges a direct link between techno born in the black cities of the American Mid-West, where I grew up, and roots African music. Sorie Kondi may be playing an acoustic folk instrument from Sierra Leone, but he thinks about music as if he were a techno producer.” It’s acoustic dance music that creates a sound as full and dynamic as any club track and, through Boima’s intricate production, the album subtly and skilfully integrates contemporary electronic sounds, keeping the simplicity and space in Sorie’s music.”
Studiously feral and swaggering glam-punk/post-punk.
“Since their first demo in 2013, the Austin expats in Institute have edged their raw anarcho punk blitz into something much more expansive and nuanced. 2014’s Salt EP marked the beginning of the band’s working relationship with Sacred Bones, and it explored longer, more experimental song forms. Catharsis, the band’s debut full-length, was another huge push forward, with a slightly cleaner production and some krautrock influence creeping in around the edges.
Subordination sees them push themselves further out of genre, incorporating hard rock and glam and writing some of the most diverse material of their career.”
Taut, punchy, high-velocity UK jungle-meets-US footwork presha from London’s Touchy Subject.
Synchronisation sets the tone with classic ragga jungle vibes pinched and transposed into footwork framework, but definitely retaining that UK sound. Free expands on that style with more abstract dubbing and clinically tight steppers flux, then tagging in Dark Futures on a rolling, tumbling, sparking remix of Junior Dread’s No War, and packing head-twisting levels of micro-rhythmic detail into Creationz.
RIYL Fracture, Moresounds, Etch
Japan’s Jun Kamoda chases up his 12”: for Mister Saturday Night with a flush of three tribal house budges, cut-rug from he calypso hustle of Blind Disco to Salsoul flair in Ramen Funk, and the line-dancing stomp of Savanna on the Palm.
New Euro emo house from Denmark’s Central, with a little bit of assistance in-the-mix from Young Marco - an esteemed connoisseur of such stuff.
Pillow Peace delivers more than your RDA of melodic optimism with a very Fatima Yamaha-esque demonstration of twirling leads and line-dancing euro-house bump.
Flipside, the Andet mix leaves the beat behind to wander off into the clouds with updrafts of sweetly messier synths and silvery strings recalling something from ICBYD-era AFX.
Solo debut suite of cinematic contemporary classical themes.
“!K7 records’ contemporary classical imprint 7K! release ‘Endless’ – the new album played entirely by Luca D’Alberto – the Italian composer who counts Wim and Donata Wenders, Peter Lindbergh and Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa as fans. Driven by pristine piano and rich strings, ‘Endless’ is sonically opulent with vivid, wonder-evoking pieces conveying wintry, widescreen panoramas and a propulsive arpeggio-fueled energy. Luca composed, arranged and played all instruments on ‘Endless’ himself – the violin, viola, violectra, cello and piano.
It was produced by Martyn Heyne (who has worked with Nils Frahm, Lubomir Melnyk, Peter Broderick, Tiny Ruins and The National), with additional production by the lauded DJ/musician Henrik Schwarz. D’Alberto graduated ‘summa cum laude’ with a Ministerial Mention at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali G. Braga in Teramo, Abruzzo, where he was born and raised.
He has performed at prestigious events including the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Germany for the ‘Pina40 Festival’, and has worked with various influential figures in the Italian movie and theater world: These include ‘Lampedusani’ - a film-based art project by Luca, the award winning director Costanza Quatriglio and the renowned novelist/poet Erri De Luca, whilst orchestration and full scores were provided by D’Alberto for films including Giorgio Albertazzi's 'Giacomo Puccini', Michele Placido's 'La Scelta', plus 'Sembra Mio Figlio' and '9X10 Novanta' by Costanza Quatriglio.”
Natty electro-dub taster for Paul Blackford’s Light Years LP, squeezing off the ambient hip hop/digi-dub bogle of Light Years on top, and a cooler Miami-styled slow/fast ace with Necessary Evil recalling classic Push Button Objects.
Subterranean UK lynchpin Webstarr crops a killer 2nd clutch of grime X UKF x Techno hybrids following a dank debut, Aegrus / Clocked  for Beneath’s Mistry. Three years on his sound his sound is now galvanised by an industrial impetus to driving effect with We Can’t Have Nice Things.
The title track circles the A-side with shark-eyed fervour, dialling in panicked bleep patterns over woodcut drums and needling hi-hats in a hydrollicking measure of current UK bass pressure. Warsaw cools out on the flipside, dragging down the pace to a lumbering industrial swagger bullied with clonking drums and scowling pads, but our favourite is saved for last in the rolling mutation of Exit, where he spins darker EBM techno tropes on a pendulous UK axis built to twist out the late night dancers.
Mellow ambient boogie and pastoral tones from the land down under...
Ken Oath Records have drafted Moontown Records head honcho and field recording specialist Low Flung in for two tracks built around found sound and cloudless Balearic rhythms.
On the A-side, Low Flung, who runs the weird and wildly prolific Moontown out of his bedroom, delivers the upbeat “Coastal Garden”, a gentle stepper that forms bell-like synth’s around a playful baseline, hand claps and the background chirp of birds. “Grey Foliage” rounds out the B-side in a more meditative fashion, building itself on looping synthesisers, a calm tambourine and a comforting wide-eyed stare.
Another blink ’n miss bewt from Japan’s City-2 St. Giga label; following Buttechno’s lead with four smart and diverse plays by Caveman LSD - a DJ producer from Chicago / Detroit who’s variously known as DJ Paradise, ion, and Ryan Fall.
A-side sports a seriously seductive twist of Afro-Cuban electro-acid, then some grainier inter dimensional transmission; flipside sinks into murky monotone techno dub, and drifts off in an opiated haze.
The debut LP of this collaborator with Rhodri Davies and Chris Watson, evoking the knockabout, visionary, English humour of Jeff Keen and Bruce Lacy, spiked here with massive, steaming dollops of contemporary political outrage and disgust.
"'Sounds are slurpy, runny, fizzy, spongy, hard as rock,' says the label, 'recalling long improvisational sets, floor-sucking dubwise psychedelia, plunderphonics and tight GRM-era electronic sound design.' Released to coincide with BD's summer-long exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in east London, nodding to everyone from Busby Berkeley to Max Ernst."
Militant jazz, fusion, funk and soul from mid-seventies Manenberg, outside Cape Town, with a set of roots in club dance traditions like ballroom ('langarm'), Khoisan hop-step and the whirling 'tickey draai' ('spin on a sixpence') of the mine camps; others in jazz-rock and the New Thing, from Santana and Chicago to Shepp and Coltrane.
Mike Dunn whips his scalpel out on four disco classics for his We R Tuesday Nights series.
Hands-up, we don’t know any of the originals, but we can see them going down a treat in certain quarters.
Intrigue & stuff is high on this shot out of the grey area from Separation Anxiety, a new addition to the Horo family of D&B and techno mutants.
Four tracks flex out between roiling nastiness recalling Demdike Stare in Barbwire Blindfold, to the depth charge skank of Boutique Erotique on the A-side, then from the barrelling hulk of Vices, to a dry pounding ace called Voyeuristic Tendencies at the final stretch, lodged somewhere between Peder Mannerfelt and Powell.
A profound, ravishing, spiritual-jazz masterpiece from mid-seventies South Africa, with some attitudinous funk, delicate Cape swing, and sublime acappella.
"The opener is a first-round knockout: moody and hurting, soaring and visionary, with him-indoors Dollar Brand threading electric keys through the free-fall, doubled-up, deep-funk drums and bass. Then some delicate Cape Town swing, featuring Basil 'Manenberg' Coetzee on flute; and finally Sathima herself alone at land's end, like a bird.
Originally released in 1976 on Rashid Vally’s As-shams label, this is a long overdue revive, perfectly realized."
Luca Lozano dips on that breakbeat house hustle in devilish style for Pelvis Records, backed up by his tighter Nu Groove style version, and a synth-riding electro mix from Luke Eargoggle and 240 Interceptor.
Helm, Icon Template, Black Rain, Prostitutes and Svengalisghost line-up to remix Orphan Swords’ License To Desire EP  to accompany its new 2017 reissue thru London’s Aurora Borealis.
The grim thump of Hooker is seemingly pumped thru a soggy sock and left to fester in its juices by Helm, whereas Icon Template laces it with a proper monotone techno pounding and Svengalisghost takes it to the darkroom for a thoroughly messed up industrial spanking.
Black Rain treat Asmoday more cautiously, resetting its off-kilter axis to a more lumbering, booze soaked swagger, and Prostitutes hammers the same components into a dry bucking and wretched industrial groove.
Contrasting sides of classy deep house and techno from Bristol’s Kemback with DJ Bone’s Differ-Ent on the remix for Don’t Be Afraid’s 10” Dubs series.
Up top Cardeulis plays into that ruddy Bristol boogie sound with balmy synth licks and floating keys made ruder by a swanging rubbery bassline, all tucked well in-the-pocket.
Down below, DJ Bone licks it up for the Detroit crowd and beyond, pushing up the tempo and pinching the groove to a rumbling, jabbing EBM drive with thizzing jazz-techno keys.
Music For Memory stun again with a first-ever reissue/compilation of The System’s sublime new wave pop; immaculately conceived in Birmingham, UK, 1983, but clearly overlooked ever since.
The System EP is set to seduce all comers to its incredible, prototypical pop charms and exquisite production, which yet again makes us question how much uncovered gold is still out there, or at least awaiting a 2nd wind in MFM’s Amsterdam bank.
Featuring three cuts from The System’s sole album, plus a previously unreleased gem, this is a first class example of early ‘80s pop at its most refined, emotive and technically progressive, largely thanks to the skilful studio chops of producer Bob Lamb, who’s hailed in the promo text as a “somewhat cult figure in Birmingham’s music history” who, perhaps unsurprisingly - when considering the strengths of these tunes - also worked on the earliest releases from Duran Duran and also produced UB40’s debut album.
Bearing all that in mind, it’s a wonder that The System are so unknown, but it also explains why original copies of their only LP now trade for a lot of money 2nd hand, especially once you’ve tasted the divine pleasures of Almost Grown or danced to the remarkable proto-Detroit-meets-Junior Boys dream pop of Vampirella.
For this who missed out 1st time - Belgium’s Weyrd Son Records give up a necessary repress of Perte D’identité ; the debut side by pre-eminent synth-pop mistress Marie Davidson. If you were also smitten by her exquisite LPs for Texan imprint, HoloDeck (S U R V I V E) and Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax, we assure you this one is a must, too!
The montréalais poet, singer and producer’s debut echoes a cold, glazed aesthetic with spellbindingly classic yet contemporaneous takes on darker synth styles, slickly intersecting the sensual élan of Chris & Cosey with a more cinematic appeal at times recalling her HoloDeck label mates S U R V I V E.
It’s a quintessentially adult synth-pop sound, one full of sweeping contours and wipe clean textures dripping with plasmic tones and, most prominently, Marie’s own vocals which are no doubt one of its most distinctive attractions.
In the course of her six original tracks she owns each style she touches on, from stark nocturnal panoramas such as Prélude and the soured tang of Vie Et Mort D’Un Ego, to the ‘floor churning chaos of sparking drum machines and starburst synths aided by the legendary David Kristian in Abduction, or to ice cool degrees in the title track and The Mole and Par Christobel’s remix of Shaky Leg’s pert pop.
Tthis really is one of the strongest synth-pop sides we’ve heard in years, big recommendation!
Restless beatings from “Italian beat randomiser” Herva,
Going hard and wild with Braindancing convolutions of breakbeat science and barely-hinged electronics and chucking up some choice highlights in the Shajke-meets-Soundhack jitters of Afro Sweep, some Macc and dgoHn style breakbeat jazz fancy in Smania, and the avant funk of Wavtobin, which sounds kinda like Powell duking it oot with a jazz drummer during a mushie session.
PAN lead on from the sublime Mono No Aware set with Stack Music; an enchanting demonstration of Jörg Hiller aka Konrad Sprenger’s computer-filleted electric guitar parts, rendering the bewildering results of his studies into rhythmic patterns based on the Euclidean algorithm. Fret not though if further maths boxes your brain a bit like it does mine - just imagine Jim O’Rourke processing John Fahey improvisations in real time and you’ve got a good grasp of the bittersweet, bluesy, worldly beauty consolidated inside Stack Music.
In solitary pursuit of a shimmering harmonic geist that evades digital music, Konrad Sprenger’s first new album under that moniker since 2009 follows his more recent credits as Jörg Hiller on the 41’ 36” compilation for Hamburg’s Sky Walking label, and his Motor Guitars on Oren Ambarchi’s Hubris album, in a lush development of his studies of mechanical instruments such as the Pianola and Orchestrion, and the way they effectively worked like early computer systems for creating unique combinations of pitches.
Applying a scientific approach to modified electric guitar parts, Sprenger effectively uses the tactility of his instrument, in conjunction with the spatialising and tuning possibilities of a computer and informed by the history of 20th century experimentation, to create a contemporary antecedent of those early musical machines’ complex harmonic voices, effectively yielding a microcosm of uniquely scaled tunings that magnify and patently recall the efficiently expressive strokes and nuanced infidelities of early American folk music as much as the keening cadences of spiritual jazz, the all-encompassing purity of sacred minimalism, and the transcendent pulses that connect krautrock to techno.
Stack Music documents his research and technique in action during a number of residences and live performances in recent years, unfolding in a palindromic suite bookended by two shorter part - the spiralling meditation of Opening, recorded at Phill Niblick’s Intermedia Foundation Loft, and which transitions from almost baroque pointillism to see-sawing blues via Krauty flight; and the whirligig lushness of Largo’s passage from fairground to the cosmos - while two 18 minute parts, Finale and Rondo cover sweeping landscapes that condense vast geographies and time frames into staggered, avant-orchestral movements with an astral railroad travelling momentum.
Big French have returned, following up their maverick 2013 debut LP Downtown Runnin with Stone Fish, a 16-track sophomore full-length that sees bandleader Quentin Moore’s energetic bursts of post-punk composition transformed by boutique, reel-to-reel production to fantastic ends, filtering established pop sensibilities through eclectic idioms of free-expression.
"On Stone Fish— the band’s third release for Wharf Cat Records— Moore shares co-production credits alongside longtime collaborator Zach Phillips (Blanche Blanche Blanche, OSR Tapes) and orchestrates electric performances from band members Colin White, Adam Steck, Jo Miller-Gamble, as well as a cameo appearance from Austin Julian (The Sediment Club, Sunk Heaven).
Assembled primarily from tracks recorded to tape at Phillip’s Manual FX Studio in Brooklyn circa 2015 / 2016, the sonic framework of Stone Fish swerves through the gamut of emotions while being united by kinetic arrangements of layered madness revolving around Moore’s instinctive, delicate vocal melodies and his asymmetrical guitar leads. Virtuosic grooving and free-improv rooted leads power the songs forward. Rocking hits like “I Wanna New Rome”, “Words Appear”, and “Rush Morgue” speed by, (nearly every cut is less than 3 minutes long) striking the listener with concise declarations, intended to both be familiar and at the same time to shock and to never resolve vis-a-vis the expected trope. Tracks the likes of “The Troll”, “Fly Like A Bird”, or “My Angel” gracefully deliver subdued melodic content over stream of consciousness harmonic turns. Throughout the record musical ideas jump in and out of focus redirecting the ever-changing cacophony of plucked guitars and jarring rhythms: Zach Phillips Wurlitzer might creep in with an enharmonic lick, reel-to-reel manipulation may distort the drums, sending a noisy crash through the channels. With multiple listens, Stone Fish revels itself as more detailed and exciting each time, existing as smart reorientation of the boundaries of pop music’s comfort zone.”
Conscientious retro-chic pop music steeped in ‘80s synths, balmy tropical influence and wrapped around pointed lyrics. RIYL endless Swedish reverb and diamond cut hooks.
“That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilsson has surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining a better world. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let others in, her 8th studio album Imaginations sees Nilsson directly engaging with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in. Imaginations dreams big, recasting storming, stadium-sized pop into the internal language of the solo auteur. Imaginations is not escapism, it’s a kaleidoscope and an alternative view, an agent of change.
Opener Tender Surrender encapsulates Imaginations, a tango on the ruins of the past, like many of Nilsson’s best songs a collision between the political and personal. Though potentially a love song, there’s a glowing anger in the lines “I want your ruin, I want destruction, I won’t be through until we mend this…” this is rapturous transformation, order and chaos. Molly has built an almost 10 year career on perfectly summing up how we feel and this is no different… Who else could write a song about privilege (Let’s Talk About Privileges) and make a heart-rending chorus of “It’s never being afraid of the police, it’s expecting every thank you, every please.” The artist’s vision on this album is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of previous album Zenith, at times exemplified on songs like Memory Foam, a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Molly alone can make us feel so welcome in loneliness. If there’s overt anger in songs like Money Never Sleeps, an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia if ever there was one, there’s also seams of optimism sewn into the album’s genetic code. Any revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing - Nilsson’s mission on Imaginations is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. Not Today Satan is a song about accepting love as the agent of change; “Don’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving in to love, that’s just how we’re winning the fight.” Love can be visceral, a weapon with which to fight the power.
On Imaginations Molly is recasting her interior monologue as a prism through which to see the world, a means to live differently and to reject the status quo. We can Think Pink, change our destiny together. This is an optimism about the future when we need it the most. “New boys, new girls.. give me your smile and I’ll give you mine” Clearly, we are living through a transformation but with alchemists like Molly Nilsson, we’re never alone in the process.”
Penultimate Press go back to church with Pancrace’s Music for pipe organ, Bird Calls, Baroque Violin, Tin Whistle, Boîtes à Bourdons, Landscape Piano, Motorised Bow, Standuino Pi Synth, Microphones, Hurgy Toys, AM radio, Church Bells, Uilleann Pipes and Hulusi...following the label’s vinyl releases of Áine O’Dwyer’s amazing Locusts and Gegenschein recordings.
Whilst there are obvious similarities to be drawn between Áine’s LPs and this one, Pancrace have many more hands and instruments on board - Prune Bécheau, Arden Day, Julien Desailly, Léo Maurel and Jan Vysocky accompanying the organ with baroque violin, tin whistle, boîtes à bourdons, landscape piano, motorised bow, Standuino Pi synth, mics, hurgy toys, AM radio, church bells, uilleann pipes, and hulsi - and the results are therefore more elaborate, diversified, although also wonderfully spectral and psychedelic in nature.
Both the act and their debut recording borrow their name from the church in Dangolsheim, just outside Strasbourg, France, where the organ is located (that’s its name on a stain glass windows on the cover), and where the instrument inventor and group-member Léo Maurel is also based. As much as O’Dwyer’s LP, the space and place are integral to the recording. But where Áine’s side was defined by a sense of ghostly detachment, this one feels like a play or mass for ancient spirits, who dance and weave an inimitable array of tones around the central cyclopean figure of the organ to resemble some kind of arcane ritual or communion, rather than meditative loneliness.
In keeping with the arcane atmosphere, the session is prone to unpredictable, epiphanic peaks or collapsing drop outs, vacillating its flux of energies within a truly cryptic narrative logic, or as the label poetically put it; “a maelstrom of sound and song which see-saw between he harrowing and the sublime with incredible detail to sonic content”.
And that 2nd part of that statement is also key to the compelling appeal and uncanny ingenuity of Pancrace, as the group’s instrumental dialogue appears to divine, with a real clarity, a range of unique tonal definitions which add up to a sum much greater than their already fascinating individual parts, especially when combined with the incidental rustles and sounds of children and birds outside.
We’re feeling pretty dazed and disoriented after ingesting this one - just as any experience involving a church is supposed to impress, we guess - and recommend it to anyone who knows what we’re talking about there.
Christian Löffler is co-founder of Ki Records and well known for his intense, deep moving sound with melancholic undeones.
"He started to play music at the age of 14. But living in a secluded region near the Baltic Sea, without a m usical surrounding, he had to teach himself the essentials of making electronic music. After several stunning releases for Ki and Orphanear, the imprint of Dial’s co-founder Pawel, his debut ‘A Forest’ is now being released through Ki. His music signifies an upward curve of rising intensity from which everything non-essential drops away. Whereat essential is meant in the sense of introspective. If the kick drum thuds along reasonably unassuming in the beginning of a track, it is already withdrawn into itself. Dancing, sure, but with one foot in a dream.
There is the always emerging crackling, surrounding the arriving and surrounding what has been, floating, like almost absent into each other collapsing chords, circling around a sphere which is nearly beyond the music – a sphere that only pertains me, the listener, and which I hadn’t known without this music. And these like seagulls chopping hi-hats, or like a heavy sea beating bass lines, rolling back and forth in almost oblique of beauty hanging clearings."
Like his peer Jeff Mills’ recent Planets suite, Carl Craig continues to pursue a consolidation of electronic and classical composition with Versus, which was initially a live performance and now becomes a studio project adapting his techno for an orchestra.
We can’t really see the classical crowd getting excited for this, so it’s effectively just techno for people who can’t be arsed getting their handcrafted leather trainers mucky in the club.
One of Constellation’s most pivotal contributors, Canadian violinist Jessica Moss, takes the solo spotlight to afford a stunning glimpse of her personal sonic weltanschauung in a rare, captivating away day from the GY!BE, Vic Chesnutt, Black Ox Orkestar, A Silver Mt. Zion and Carl Bozulich ensembles that she frequents.
It wasn’t until 2014, when Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra went on hiatus after years of touring, that Jessica began to tend to her solo work properly; resulting a self-released album, Under Plastic Island recorded by Guy Piccolo (Fugazi) and released in 2015. Maybe understandably that one flew under many folks’ radars, but the febrile dreams of Pools Of Light warrants and deserves much wider attention to its glorious swells of dissonant, coruscating strings and plangent, effected and multi-tracked vocals, all blossoming from a finely honed matrix of distorting and harmonising pedals, loopers and samplers - with no software plugins used whatsoever, we’re promised.
In the two longform pieces of Pools Of Light we hear Jessica channel years of live performance service on stage with an almost ineffably masterful control and vision, presenting a sound clearly anchored with the patience of someone used to holding their own in the eye of a storm, and instinctively operating at the intersection of myriad styles - neo-classical, improvisational, avant-folk and electronic - with a sure-footed sense of navigation that’s decidedly non-academic, but surely guided by emotion and the impression of the world around her, as she puts it in the liner notes: “Feeling love in a melting world”.
Dive in. Roll around and soak it up.
A bridge between free-jazz worlds, John and Alice Coltrane’s ‘Cosmic Music’ pairs two pieces recorded by John’s quintet in 1966 - a year before his untimely passing, aged 40 - with the first two pieces recorded by Alice as bandleader, six months post- her husband’s transition to the next dimension. Housed in gatefold jacket. Highly recommended!
“John Coltrane transformed the inner architecture of jazz throughout the mid-1950s and 1960s and long after his premature death at age 40 in 1967. No other American musician could be said to be at the spiritual center of the '60s musical universe as Trane influenced Albert Ayler, La Monte Young, Jimi Hendrix and everybody in between.
Cosmic Music, originally self-released by Alice Coltrane in 1968 and later issued by Impulse!, features two tracks ("Manifestation" and "Rev. King") by John Coltrane's legendary final quintet that were recorded in San Francisco on February 2nd, 1966 and two more ("Lord Help Me To Be" and "The Sun") from Alice Coltrane's very first session as a bandleader, recorded six months after her husband's passing.
"Manifestation" opens with the group already in mid-flight: Trane's fierce tenor leads the way with Pharoah Sanders' blistering sax and Alice's powerful chords hearing his call. On "Rev. King," Trane introduces a lyrical theme and then the composition erupts into fiery incantations, while Jimmy Garrison's bass throbs alongside the propulsive, gravity-defying drumming of Rashied Ali.
Foreshadowing her majestic debut, A Monastic Trio, "Lord Help Me To Be" brings Alice's celestial piano playing and inspired improvisations to the foreground with Sanders, Garrison and drummer Ben Riley rumbling in tow. "The Sun," a meditative ballad with subtle urgency, perfectly closes the album's contemplative circle.
As John Coltrane recites on the final track, "May there be peace and love and perfection throughout all creation."
The soundtrack to the much maligned Fire Walk With Me, a film which divided opinion at the time but which has gotten considerably more impressive with age - and another standout, smokey soundtrack from an Angelo Badalamenti at the top of his game.
We didn't know what to do at the time, but looking back now at the film and it's clearly a work of twisted, unpredictable genius - hinting at the sort of heady weirdness Lynch managed to achieve with Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive later on.
The soundtrack, as usual comes from Angelo Badalalmenti, one of our favourite composers, and in true Badalamenti style he revisits the soundtrack that made him a household name and reworks it into menacing submerged jazz. The soundtrack is also notable for showing many of us the incredible 'Sycamore Trees', a track which almost sums up everything David Lynch is about; distant, haunted strings and a vocal (from Jimmy Scott) which sounds absolutely out of time and out of place.
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Tape Loop Orchestra) presents his striking first works for dance with Pose Plastique; an unrequited musique concrète score to choreography by Belgian dancer Anaïs Ureel. Hugely recommended if you’re into anything from Tony Conrad to Demdike Stare, GRM or Emptyset.
Pushing himself beyond his usual comfort zones, and using a kinetograph score of movements which was effectively illegible to him, the results of Pose Plastique reveal a keen sensitivity towards supple and super spacious sound design, eschewing any sort of ‘incessant pounding’, as he initially feared he was supposed to, in favour of a series of diffused rhythmic triggers and physical gestures that mirror elements of Ostgut Ton’s Masse works for dance as much as Jeff Mills’ most abstract techno navigations and the plonging, weightless meters of Bernard Parmegiani’s seminal GRM works.
As these things go, the commission never fully manifested. Anaïs ended up disenchanted by dance (not due to Andrew’s music, we might add!) and eventually moved to New Zealand. Fast forward a few years and Andrew made the decision to edit the recordings for this extended release, simultaneously offering encrypted instructions for movement to any willing bodies, while its free-floating sequence of rhythmic and tonal structures act as a hugely absorbing listen in their own right.
It’s perhaps testament to Andrew’s gifted, mutable compositional skills and musical vision that Pose Plastique works in its own right, he’s clearly attuned to the integral connection between living bodies and machines, and the way they’ve become conditioned by electronics ever since the explosion of avant-garde electronic music in the ‘60s, to the impulses of disco and new wave, and its contemporary application.
Gorgeous, absorbing music.
Peder Mannerfelt and soundtrack composer Malcolm Pardon reprise their acclaimed cinematic duo, Roll The Dice for a 4th album of moving, widescreen electro-acoustic sound design, ambient and rhythmic noise themes. Huge recommendation if you're into Peder's solo material or indeed Colin Stetson, The Haxan Cloak, John Carpenter, Deathprod, Willie Burns...
It's an intensely physical yet starkly spacious suite of stone cut electronics and frozen instrumental timbres that in the space of ten sensually riveting and often punishing tracks wrest a poignant, timely sense of emotion from oblique, shadowy structures and burning tonal textures.
Issued on the duo’s newly minted label, The New Black, and incorporating the vital input of Per ‘Ruskträsk’ Johansson’s beastly saxophone animations, the results pursue Roll The Dice’s two soundtrack contributions - for the Blanck Mass-curated score to Belgian horror movie The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears , and their score/end credits for The Last Panthers - into more visceral psychoacoustic space where there’s scant chance of escaping their gloaming tonal apparitions and tensile, bony percussions.
The set is less a mannered symphony, like Until Silence, and more an urgent, angry clash of duelling jazz noise cyborgs, rendering their sound in sharply angular, convulsive spasms of vacuum-packed wind, wood-on-skin, and black cloud palls whose semi-organic nature is belied by the dry punch of air-tight studio production. The results are more pummelling and angered than anyone has previously heard in their music, forging a much harder nosed, anxious aesthetic whose intent resonates with contemporary political pressures.
In between the muzzled grind and bark of album opener The Derailed and the depressive grip of it’s closing statement, Broken In Time, Mannerfelt and Pardon’s dissected instrumentation is tweaked to aching levels of tension, sometimes a sublime tension as with the wilting keys and weightless bass jabs that support Under The Arches and The Kronos Quartet-like pits of Coffin & Nails, or equally with a death-drive fury in the condensed Faust-meets-Tony Conrad impact of Cannonball, the nerve-biting burnout of Bright Lights, Dark Hearts, and yoked tight into Locked Hands’ breathless escalation of arid white noise and thorny pulse.
By straying from the lighter sensual relief conveyed in their earlier releases, Born To Ruin manifests Roll The Dice’s riskiest but arguably most successful move in ten years of producing together, one which pays off with deeply bittersweet appeal though intimate investment and focussed reception.
Diverse dish from Esa Williams, fronted by the Gqom-Inspired killer, Blast in collab with Narch Beats and Pendo Zawose, and backed with more sultry, swinging house treats.
It’s really about Blast - a 105bpm beast introduced by a head-turning wail from Zawose and reared on a searing, unrelenting lead line bound for havoc in the dance wherever it’s played.
Lutto Lento realises his Dark Secret World with a playfully trippy collage of frayed styles, textures and themes in his debut album for Where To Now?, exchanging the more frivolous, party-ready palette of earlier releases for a crankier set of sawn off but deftly arranged drums and patchworked samples.
At the risk of sounding UK-centric, we’re definitely picking up an eldritch aesthetic from Dark Secret World that recalls the work of Shackleton and Moon Wiring Club in its strange mosaic of gurning and kerned rhythms and suggestive gestures, but then again, maybe they all share some roots in a pan-Euorpean subterranean syncretism?
“Where To Now cordially invite you into Lutto Lento's 'Dark Secret World'. After a string of releases on labels such as FTD, Proto Sites, DUNNO Recordings and ourselves, we now find Polish artist Lubomir Grzelak ready to present a fully realised, full-length distillation of his distinctly exuberant and unique electronic narratives.
'Dark Secret World' takes it's cues from a ridiculously diverse palette of influences... from Dancehall, Jungle, and American Sacred Hymns to more abstract influences such as Goosebumps, Caribbean magic beliefs, Rudolf Steiner, and Disney's 'The Godess of Spring'. Upon initial digestion of these influences your initial reaction is probably that this is an amalgamation of voices which appear too diverse to entwine, but for those who know Lutto's work will also know that it's exactly this psychedelic and wild stirring pot of source material partnered with Lubomir's precise percussive and improvised sample led persuasions that make him stand out as a unique and flourishing figure in electronic music.
'Dark Secret World' is certainly a mystical trip, with Lubomir conversing with and pooling from a sampled palette that is ultimately a deep, personal, dark and twisted tale of horror and intrigue, melding this gambit with his signature air of light & wildly percussive beat led playfulness has allowed him to create something wholly other. 'Dark Secret World' stands as an expertly and clearly painstakingly crafted 43 minute movement through ethereal & fantastical unfamiliar realms to sudden sweeps of the totally familiar where rewinds, heavy breaks, bass waves, whistles, airhorns, sirens, etc weave together to form an album which is both extremely odd yet totally cohesive and absorbing.”
London Modular Alliance member Pip Williams squeezes off a volley of squelch acid-electro aces on Sheffield’s CPU.
You’ll find some seriously stylish, latinate swerve recalling B12 at their slinkiest on Outer Limits, and more bitter, acrid acid tang in the Skam-like tweaks of I Was All Alone, whereas Cutty Told Me heads uptempo for a Stingray-compatible rinser, and the unstable Bitty Ends unknots itself in loose freeform fashion held together with gorgeous pads.
Robert Hood yields a powerful, sleek brace of Detroit techno bangers on Dekmantel following two 12” EPs in 2016.
Paradygm Shift documents the celebrated producer at his most direct and devilishly detailed, exploring the idea that “we can become so complacent; we are so comfortable with our surroundings, I think this is the time for electronic music to find a new mindset.”
To be fair that statement reeks of time-honoured techno rhetoric, but no matter whether you buy into it or not, there’s some serious dancefloor pressure inside; pursuing a classic Detroit techno spirit from the hypnotic M-Plant style minimalism of Idea to the nimbler statement of I Am, to the suspension device of Solid Thought and the spiralling gospel organs that spin off Pneuma to perfectly slippery chromatics gear shifts in Pattern 8 and an extended album version of the cantering bleep mission, Lockers.
Royal T, DJ Q, and Flava D present their passionate love note to British dance music with ukg for Elijah & Skilliam’s Butterz; refracting a spectrum of 2-step, 4 x 4, Bassline and all that good stuff which emerged from OG US garage-house styles around the mid ‘90s in English towns and cities with strong, rooted Afro-Caribbean communities, and beyond.
You get the feeling that this is a special project for all involved, effectively taking the classic forms and subtly redressing them with elaborate, spacious new production and wavy chromatic garms both as a personal endeavour, and to give the yungers something better than the reams of ‘future garage’ tosh found in circulation during this decade.
It features the crowd favourite bassline killer, Vibsing Ting, alongside a ruck of new material written post- their 25 date UK tour in 2016 at Q’s studio in Leeeds. Best among them is the lushly weightless and beatless feminine pressure of Three Eyes right at the end; the super wide 2-step bubbler, Touch; and the indomitable Yorkshire-to-London styles of A Letter To Ez .
Sludgy electro and warped, wrong-speed vibes on Disco Del Quebranto, the yung subsidiary of London’s Brokntoys label.
Australia’s Colours Of Infinity aka Kloke takes the A-side from knackered, booming electro crack recalling Pametex in The Gate, to a coil of muggy, creeping half-speed techno with Replicator (also works on 45!).
Blackmoon77 follows a similar course on the flip, trading in the drowsy half tempo slug of Intention2Work on a sort of hobbled Shackleton flex, then with a wobbly EBM velocity in Experimental Disorder, making crafty use of a sample from Led Er Est’s Doctor Green to sound uncannily like something from that band’s Shawn O’Sullivan or fellow mutant Beau Wanzer.
One of the earliest Tin Man EPs comes back around on Keys of Life for its 11th anniversary, reminding go Johannes Auvinen’s near-peerless way with a TB-303 squelch box.
The results still sound timeless, conjuring a beautifully heady atmosphere from finely layered and dubbed out elements in the brain soothing and curdling Life Is Acid; getting in your bones, twisting the belly with Tip The Acid’s fluidly latinate elaborations; drawing big grins with merry AFXian tweaks in Drifters Acid.
Back in circulation: Traumprinz’s dedication to classic, diva-driven house music
Rolling from the strapping bassline and Black Box stabs of Good Vibrations (kasha’s main Vocal Mix) and its Levon Vincent-Like Instrumental reduction, to the muscular Italo arpeggios and head-high strings of N.Y. Diva Has Been Set On Fire (Kasha’s Short Vocal Mix), and something for the darkroom in Set Your Lovin’ (Kasha’s Bad Romance Short Mix).
Not an entirely enticing proposition I suppose: songs by the mass-murdering renowned psychopath Charles Manson.
You can set your mind at rest to some degree however, as the proceeds for this dubious collection go to the son of one of his victim's, so at least no money goes to the man himself. In fact, let's try to separate the music from the man (if that's ever at all possible). Taken on its own merits, Manson's writing is actually pretty impressive, and significantly these songs were gaining some degree of recognition long before he himself acquired notoriety.
In 1968 The Beach Boys recorded a lyrically modified version of 'Cease To Exist' under the title 'Never Learn Not To Love', and indeed the album's recording was facilitated by fellow (more successful) musicians who gave Manson access to their Beverley Hills studios to produce the record. All these years on and he's still something of a fascination for contemporary artists having been most notably covered by Guns N' Roses, and even Devendra Banhart, who has been known to perform 'Home Is Where You're Happy' intermingled with Lauryn Hill's 'Doo Wop (That Thing)'.
There's some worthwhile material here, and while you may feel the very idea of an ESP issue of this (originally in 1974) is surrounded by the faint whiff of exploitation, at least the money isn't going to the wrong place.
One of FACT’s 10 Club Producers to Watch in 2016 debuts on Kuduro stronghold, Enchufada with an infectious grip of ice cool, heat-seeking riddims compatible with your Príncipe, UKF classics and Azonto collections.
Make sure to check for the Ghanaian Azonto moves of Sentah ft. Bryte on mic; likewise for the Roska-meets-Yonurican soul of Circles ft. Lorenzo BITW; and the balmy Caribbean dancehall swagger of Only ft. Cratus.
RIYL Swing Ting, Palmistry, sunny raves
Tape saturated 7th wave Scandinavian vaporwave compatible with 1991, The Skaters, Sand Circles
"Europe By Night. It's 4 AM in the city. 2017. Or is it 1987? It's 2024. Who really knows these days? Ski masked graffiti writers calmly throw their tags up in the streets, railcars and train station platforms of Europe's capital cities. Berlin. Paris. Rome. Stockholm. Trouble lurks around every corner and dark clouds follow you overhead. The ominous sensations are impossible to shake.
People silhouetted by the shade of the night wander the streets. Some are in love, holding hands. Others, hopelessly lost in the sea of reality (which frequency is it, anyhow?) in search of something or someone. Most are consumed by their own thoughts, trapped in their headphone world, blocking out all external sound stimuli, enraptured by frequently un-pocketed, brightly lit, ever lengthening smart-phones and phablets.
Nobody makes eye contact, especially at this hour. A foreboding unknown threat is palpable, and everyone is on edge. You should really get back home soon. It's too late to be out all alone. Across Europe, refugees shuttle themselves across borders, in attempt to secure peace and safety from their previous nightmare realities. In these grim times, hope is the only way out. Through this all, Metro Riders shines a light in the dark of night, guiding the way.
Europe By Night is the gripping and intoxicating debut album by Stockholm, Sweden based Metro Riders (real name Henrik Stelzer) and the first release on newly minted contemporary global imprint Possible Motive. Employing outdated software and now obsolete analogue recording equipment, Metro Riders conjures a suspenseful and gloomy, true to the era re-imagining of lost sounds. A real labor of love, Europe By Night encompasses a very niche palette, everything from the prophetic visions of John Carpenter, to the warbled world of Troma films, to Italian horror flicks, Euro-crime and the cybernetic sewers of The Skaters.”
Kenny “Moodymann” Dixon Jr.’s remixes for Pollyn, given a plate to themselves for the first time, cut a side a piece for the DJs and optimal dancefloor pressure.
The loose-limbed swang of his take on Sometimes You Just Know owns the front with darting bass swerve and dabs of crowd noise livening up and cooling out Pollyn’s disco-pop original.
On the flip you’ll find KDJ’s sublime, sensuous rework of Too Late To Change The Past, taken from their Distress Signals  album and smushed with an amazing, oily bassline and impeccably ‘90s-sounding pop vox - think Opus 3.