Earthen Sea follows the lead of his Mi Ami bandmate, Ital, into the deep and dub techno end of the dancefloor pool. RIYL The Sight Below, Varg, Marconi Union
“Jacob Long’s newest recordings under the Earthen Sea moniker deepen his compelling synthesis of shadowy rhythms and opaque atmospherics, drawing on the most potent qualities of melancholic ambient and dub techno. An Act Of Love follows 2015’s Ink, released via Ital’s Lovers Rock imprint, and was inspired by internal tribulations and the experience of exploring an empty nocturnal metropolis.
Careful waves of tones drift and decay; beats materialize and pulse across twilit landscapes; a noir mood reigns. Given Long’s background as bassist for revelatory tribalpunk trio MI AMI, this album showcases a musician in the midst of transcendent redefinition, crafting an immersive language of texture and motion.”
Overproof Italo and Coldwave disco hybrid from 1985, buffed-up for 2017 peacockery by the gold folk at Dark Entries: includes all the pomp and handsome blue key changes of the original vocal mix and its strapping instrumental.
B12 actually on it this time with the best results of their return to the fray since 2016. All four tracks hinge around a tucked, quicksilver slow/fast temporality displaying their patented drum programming and atmospheric modelling at its most adroit and effective.
Check for strong highlights in the pendulous heft and sky scraping synth strokes of Last Man Standing and the full sunken, queasy shuffle of Experiment Camp Alpha.
Signature M>O>S style Detroit and Chicago tributes from Andrew Red Hand on return to Aroy Dee’s label with four classically schooled cuts taking in the aching string swoon of Lonely Heart, some square-bassed acid depth in Sleepless Nights and Mom’s Spirit, and the darker, rugged measure of Dry Tears.
For the ‘90s electronica die-hards, B12’s Steve Rutter pushes on with the 3rd release for his FireScope label.
Expect clinically crisp, nimble and spacious acid melancholy on Indeterminate Path, and squashed, off-key downbeats in Core Meltdown, followed by authentic AI feels with Carriage 12, and neck-snapping acidic hip hop on MoonStruck.
Tempo dos Mestres (Time of the Masters) is the second album from the tireless, young Brazilian guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento. It finds its roots in the depths of the Amazon rainforest, passed down through generations of native Brazilians, and is imbibed by the Afro-Brazilian culture that arose after Portuguese colonization.
"This blend is not new in Brazil, and is represented musically by great Brazilian musicians both known and celebrated - the guitarist Baden Powell and catalyst Hermeto Pascoal, both direct influences on Do Nascimento - and less exposed, like the experimentalist Carioca, one of Do Nascimento’s mentors, and the Brazilian psychedelic pioneer Lula Cortes, whose album Paebiru rewrote Brazilian rock’s history in 1975. It is the third Brazilian album released on Now-Again, following Seu Jorge and Almaz and Do Nascimento’s debut Dança dos Tempos. Do Nascimento's is joined on Tempo dos Mestres by his long time percussionist, Ricardo "Tiki" Pasillas on trap drums and percussion, and Sam Gendel on saxophone and flute. Vocals are performed by Thalma de Freitas and Carla Hasset.
These tracks were recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, straight to 2” analog-tape, and only sparingly mastered to focus on the subtleties of the performances. Do Nascimento’s fans include legendary percussionist Airto Moreira, who recorded Dança dos Tempos and can be found playing live with Do Nascimento. "He’s Brazilian but (his mind is) from a place in Brazil that is not common.” Moreira states. “Fortunately, we still have some musicians who like to play music and who like to touch the instrument and who like that energy!”
Do Nascimento takes his music, and his place in Brazil’s lineage, seriously, and he often travels the vast country, spending time in the rainforest, living life as it was lived in the distant past, while studying with still living masters as he searches for new directions of the path trod by the geniuses whose influence abounds in contemporary music, but whose names are still unfamiliar. “Being a musician - feeling, studying, experiencing, living music -this comes first, right?” Do Nascimento questions. “ Second, we hope that the depths of knowledge in the music from the masters before us can be shared more, each time, to the younger generations coming.” In Tempo dos Mestres Do Nascimento answers himself with a beautiful entry into the evolving language of timeless Brazilian music."
David Moore's minimalist collective jump ship to 4AD for their third album of contemplative modern classical.
Multiple jaws dropped when RVNG Intl quietly unleashed 'Tomorrow Was the Golden Age,' the second album from previously unheralded microtonal ensemble Bing & Ruth, back in late 2014. After a subsequent RVNG re-edition of their debut Bing & Ruth LP, lead pianist and writer David Moore aligns the collective with British icons 4AD for their third studio album ‘No Home of the Mind.’
Shaving off a few musicians for a five-strong unit, Moore’s latest iteration of the perma-shifting Bing & Ruth conjure a becalming 10-track suite of transcendental compositions based around the piano, woodwind, tape delay and upright bass.
‘No Home of the Mind’ is smartly sequenced, compositions either blend into one another naturally or offer a brief silence that is swiftly punctuated by a burst of Moore’s piano. Commencing with the delicate flourishes of Starwood Choker, the album once again portrays Moore as a confident conductor, equally happy to take the lead with his limber piano playing or descend into the shadows as the entire ensemble combine for an opaquer delivery.
The movement from Scrapes into Chonchos is an early example of this and highlight of the album overall.
Valuable reissue of an Italo-pop/wave strike from 1991. Original copies are hard to find. Includes at least a few belters in Ice Of Fire, Privacy and Blue!
“East Wall was an Italian electronic dark wave band started by Fabrizio Chiari (ex keyboardist of Kirlian Camera) and Wilma Notari in 1982. After a series of demos and live performances, the duo recruited Angelo Bergamini of Kirlian Camera to help with arrangement and synthesizers. They released their debut single “Eyes Of Glass” in 1985 which had huge success in Germany, leading to a deal with ZYX.
By 1991 the band consisted of Fabrizio Chiari (Synthesizer, Electronics, Keyboards), Tiziana Wells (Vocals, Synthesizer) and Angelo Bergamini (Synthesizer, Piano, Arrangement). At the beginning of the year, they recorded their next batch of songs at Prominence Studio in Cremona and A Love Sound Studio in Piacenza. “Silence” was self released by the band in 1991. The lead track “Silence” was a left-over song by Kirlian Camera recorded in 1985 with vocals by Simona Buja under the alias Lorenza Larini. It was recorded largely using a variety of now-classic Roland, Yamaha, and Oberheim synthesizers.
The album displays East Wall’s maturity and unique aesthetics, with instrumental pieces reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti’ Twin Peaks score. Tiziana Wells sings with pure emotion, hypnotic at times, upbeat and carefree at others. Frankie Teardrop (of the Wierd party and the Systems of Romance blog) describes this album as “possibly the closest thing to darkwave freestyle that exists.” We decided to expand the album, releasing it as a deluxe double LP cut louder at 45 RPM. We have also included an unreleased extended version of “Ice Of Fire” and the bonus track “Intro”, found on the DAT tapes Fabrizio Chiari sent us.”
Your mum’s favourite DJ, Gerd Janson cues up two remixes of cuts from Prins Thomas’ Principe Del Norte album for the chuggin’ crew. Original versions feature on the B-side.
The Prinspersonation mix holds to a slompy jack riddled with nagging arpeggios and hingeing right on the tightest dub-disco-chug flux, whereas the Riddim Version strips back the shinier bits to let the groove work itself into a tracky sweat.
Shamrock grew up in the township called ‘Kwathema’, In the east of Johannesburg. He has being crazy for music since he was a young child, and at primary school he sang as the soloist in the choir.
"Everyone now knows that South Africa is the house music capitol of the world! Most young upcoming producers look up the American and European producers, But Shamrock’s sound is standing out from the rest, as he’s been digging into his African roots to come up with his own style of music, working with mainly South African musicians, only using the computer to record the audio.
On this album he’s also featured international musicians Han Litz,Flutist from the Netherlands, Asali, vocalist from Kenya, Andy Compton, from the UK, and Jimmy Gabriel on Sax from Nigeria.
His first releases came out on a South African label in 2014. He’s well known in South Africa for his live guitar shows, normally jamming with DJ’s. This is how he first met Andy Compton, and secured the Peng connection.
Shamrock was a main writing contributor for the fantastic ’Sowetan Onesteps’ project, and after that success he knew the home for his album would be on Peng, which offers his sound to a worldwide audience. So here it is! Enjoy the African rhythms and sun drenched music!”
Joakim’s cover of Neil Young’s On The Beach in a slow-cooked techno remix by Superpitcher; tinted for shades-on early hours dancing in the stealthily paced A-side, and fathoming a 20 minute Under The Sea ambient mix on the other side.
Contemporary soul and hip hop from Al Dobson Jr, Strange U, Hubert Daviz and more, showcasing the tastes of Leipzig’s VARY label on their very first release.
It’s all about variation and mutation under that theme, cutting from Al Dobson Jr’s warm, woozy beatdown piece Best Wishes at the record’s front, to the chunky electro of Esgar’s Yo! by the end, taking in old skool UK dad-hop from Strange U, house pleasantries from Tito Wun, and some jazzy breakbeat hustle by Salomo in between.
Rebekka Karijord´s sixth studio album, Mother Tongue, largely written following the traumatic arrival, three months early, of her first baby. Its eleven songs track her experience with honesty. Like a collection of short stories, it chronicles the events surrounding her pregnancy and the agony of nearly losing her daughter, but it’s much more than an album about childbirth. Mother Tongue is about instinct, about belonging, and about finding one’s own emotional language.
“I never know what my records are about until they´re almost done,” Rebekka Karijord admits of Mother Tongue’s provenance in a typical, if wry, display of candour. “It´s like a subconscious collecting process, shooting arrows into the dark and then getting out there to see where they have landed. This time, however, it was a bit different…”
The album was recorded in Hawaii, Stockholm & Oslo during 2015 and 2016, and produced, arranged and edited by Karijord with help from Elias Krantz as technician, co-producer and mixer.
Other contributors include Mariam Wallentin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums), Linnea Olsson and Nina Kinert (vocals) Jacob Snavely (bass and electronics), Christopher Cantillo (drums), Joe Williamson (upright bass) and regular contributor Anders Scherp (drums & tuned percussion).”
A Manchester ting: Madam X loads up Walton’s Taiko EP for the next release on her Kaizen label after rude shots fired by Silas & Snare and Biome.
The duppies of dubstep, UKF and early grime come out to play on this one, casting a slinky shadow that twists from snake-charming hooks, Bristolian synth pads and clipped Japanese drum punctuation in Tensions to the SP:MC-at-130bpm styles of Taiko on the A-face, then sidewinding around the rim of Black Hole to the ambient singularity of Zen.
Deadly double-header from the iDEAL ranks, pitting Dungeon Acid in a split face-off with the maelstrom hisself, Russell Haswell. Expect deep-raved techno and n0!se of the most potent order, delivered in ‘floor-sized portions!
After a run around the houses of Fit Sound, Börft, Stockholm LTD, Klasse Wreckes and Ufo Station Recordings over the last six years, Jean-Louis Huhta nails his strongest Dungeon Acid sound in both parts here: going deep and long with the stealthy modulations and grittily fluid, almost proggy drive of Acid Moments In Time And Space, and then like some long lost Mike Dunn or KMS banger with the shivering rimshots and thunderous acid undertow of Youth Against Fascism (‘cos everyone knows Nazi’s can’t dance).
Switch to 45rpm on the flip and you’ll find R. ‘aswell on filthy good form in both parts: stewing some proper acid n0!se reflux in the gut-kicking iDEAL tape try (take #2), before the gloves come off for the unmetered squabble of iDEAL n0!se for tape, where his fascination for high freq Japanese power noise really comes to the fore with excoriating effect.
Featuring Oren Ambarchi, Crys Cole, Mark Fell, Will Guthrie, Arto Lindsay, Jim O'Rourke, Konrad Sprenger, Joe Talia, Ricardo Villalobos, Keith Fullerton Whitman. Mastered & cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin, April 2016. Photography by Estelle Hanania, Sculptures by Daniel Druet, Design by Stephen O'Malley.
With shark-eyed vision and momentum, Oren Ambarchi pursues the technoid krautrock themes of his last few studio albums into the elliptical, tumultuous structures of Hubris, along with that notable list of collaborators. It sounds something like Silver Apples of the Moon played by Can.
“Hubris continues the exploration of relentless, driving rhythms heard on Ambarchi’s Sagittarian Domain (2012) and Quixotism (2014). Where those records looked to Krautrock and techno for their starting points, the sidelong opening track here begins from the perhaps unlikely inspirations of disco and new wave, drawing particularly from Ambarchi’s love of Wang Chung’s soundtrack to William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. Leaving behind the song-forms of these reference points, Ambarchi weaves a sustained and pulsating web of layered palm-muted guitars from which individual voices rise up and recede, eventually setting the stage for some lush guitar synth from Jim O’Rourke. Arnold Dreyblatt collaborator Konrad Sprenger contributes overtone-rich motorized guitar, pushing the piece into a satisfying intersection of shimmering minimalism and rhythmic drive that smoothly builds up until the entrance of Mark Fell’s electronic percussion in its final section.
After a short second part, in which Ambarchi, O’Rourke and Crys Cole pay tribute to the skewed harmonic sense of Albert Marcoeur with a track built from layered bass guitar figures and abstracted speech, the long final piece pushes the concept of the first side into darker and denser areas. Joined by electronic rhythms from Ricardo Villalobos and the twin drums of Joe Talia and Will Guthrie, the layered guitars of the first piece are transformed into a raw and tumbling fusion-funk groove that calls to mind early Weather Report or even the first Golden Palominos LP. As this stellar rhythm section rides a single repeated chord change into oblivion, a series of spectacular events emerge in the foreground: first, aleatoric synthesizer burbles from Keith Fullerton Whitman, then slashing skronk guitar from Arto Lindsay, until finally Ambarchi’s own fuzzed-out guitar harmonics take center stage as the piece builds to an ecstatic frenzy. Few artists could hope to include such an incredible variety of collaborators on one record and still hope for it to have a unique identity, but Ambarchi manages to do just that, crafting three pieces that emerge directly out of his previous work while also pushing ahead into new dimensions. Francis Plagne”
Laraaji’s sublime zither improvisation, Celestial Vibrations (1978) forms nothing less than an early archetype for new age ambient music. It was originally issued as a privately pressed meditation aid and sold in limited numbers around NYC until, that is, Brian Eno famously stumbled across Laraaji doing his thing, and the rest, as they say, is laid out in the ambient history books.
That fateful meeting with Brian Eno - interestingly enough in the same year that Eno compiled the definitive No Wave document No New York - led to Eno producing Laraaji’s Ambient 3 (Day Of Reckoning) in 1980 and subsequently cementing his place within the emergent ambient sphere.
Yet Celestial Vibration is far from a historic footnote, and still resonates deeply with listeners - especially these ears - ever since it reemerged circa 2010 on its first ever CD pressing and vinyl reissue through Soul Jazz Records.
Now nearly 40 years old, and future-proofed by its timeless sense of expressive minimalism, Laraaji’s fluid, rhythmelodic flutter and reverberant harmonies have lost none of their ability to enchant, soothe and transcend the consciousness of all who cross its path.
Consider it a household staple for those times when you just need a streak of unadulterated, weightless positivity to brighten up your life.
Self-taught composer and sound-designer from Kyiv, Ukraine, Oleg Shpudeiko presents a new solo LP as Heinali, an evocative avant-ambient journey through what he describes “a period of recovery from an emotionally dark place...a kind of personal therapy.
"Anthem is rich with timbral abstractions, combining breathtaking beauty with an esoteric otherworldliness. Crushing waves of distortion that bring to mind Ben Frost or Oneohtrix Point Never surround radiant sound-design in the mould of Jon Hopkins or Andy Stott. Pulsing, fluttering synth-worlds like those of Emeralds or Popol Vuh orbit through a galaxy of texture not unlike Clint Mansell’s Moon score. The ghost of piano-and-string chamber music is apparent through the record as a haunting melancholy, though minimal in its corporeal presence. The emotional deliverance of film score is felt here as a dark and cathartic resonance, its swells of orchestral lushness created by vibrant layers of electroacoustic sound rather than multiple musicians. Shpudeiko also constructed the soundtrack to PlayStation’s 2016 videogame Bound, and echoes a similar sense of digital storytelling in Anthem.
The album’s stylistic and compositional elements - sometimes familiar, sometimes alien - are the results of years of sharpening, a new meeting point of Heinali’s creative voyages. Shpudeiko has sailed through a multitude of musical ports in his previous works. Much of his commercial and commissioned work for film, television and dance (dating back to 2009) evokes the string-orientated subtlety and tenderness of Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter or film score great Hans Zimmer. But by the mid-2010’s Shpudeiko felt Heinali had completed the “shift away from the modern-classical aesthetic”. His output now embodies as much processed-sound electroacoustic explorations as gentle solo piano; as much challenging music as sombre or serene music. In November 2016 his score - described as “a stunning electronic soundscape” - for A Thread by choreographer Jean Abreu was performed at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre.
Oleg produced and recorded Anthem in his own apartment in Kyiv over a period of a few years, using a substantial arsenal of hardware and computer processing, ranging from heavyweight Korg and Moog gear, to the beloved and vintage homemade SoundHack and AudioMulch software, to “old Soviet digital effects, glitchy as hell.”
Suave Detroit house from Planet E’s go-to keyboardist and singer, packing co-production by Carlos Nilmmns and a slinky Santiago Salazar remix for the ‘floor. P’raps one for the more mature, soulful dancer, or young ones in cashmere rolls necks.
Wonderfully wistful, pastoral kosmiche and underwater jazz themes from Danillo Plessow (MCDE) and Marcus Worgull in sanguine Balearic mode as Vermont
“Following their much-acclaimed surprise debut album VERMONT from 2014, Motor City Drum Ensemble’s Danilo Plessow and Innervisions' Marcus Worgull reunite for more synth daydreaming on the suitably titled “II”. The new outing continues where the first full-length left off, strolling further down the luminous and undulating path that the duo turned into, influenced in equal measures by kosmische, krautrock, minimal wave and synth soundtracks.
This latest batch of instrumental cuts opens with the strictly balearic vibe of NORDERNEY, a softly swinging, light-footed recording with a keen sense for structure. Featuring a guest performance from Robbert Van Der Bildt (aka Kaap) on guitar, it’s a telling starting point for the album that - similar to Vermont’s self-titled debut - successfully navigates between economic, careful studio arrangements and playful, incidental exploration further pushing into jam session territory. Van Der Bildt's guitar returns on the plucky, curious UFER, where Vermont showcase a renewed sense for jazz-like improvisation - same as on the cuts DSCHUNA, CHANANG and WENIK, which also include contributions from Dermot O'Mahony and Tadhg Murphy on strings.
Still, Vermont's synth contraptions remain the album's main attraction, with the extensive array of gear encompassing an entire panopticon of analog bling - from Arp Oddysey and Moog Prodigy to Fender Rhodes, Juno and Prophet, list-studying gear heads will find lots to drool upon. Consequently, tracks like CHEMTRAILS, UNRUH or GEBIRGE err on the machine side of things, expertly interweaving arpeggiated sequences for maximum atmospheric effect. Foreboding, slightly menacing synth motives as on SKORBUT or CHEMTRAILS are perfectly balanced with the casual ambient of HALLO VON DER ANDEREN SEITE and the nostalgic warmth of DEMUT - while the gentle push of the masterful KI-BOU even carries a whiff of classic deep house, linking the Vermont project to Plessow and Worgull’s main careers as dance floor movers and shakers.
Continually intriguing, immersive and texturally rich, each one of Vermont's new pieces betray the experience, precision and determination of the producers involved - while opening up Worgull and Plessow'a vocabulary for patient experimentation and subtle discoveries. A musical treat for synth aficionados - and everyone else, if you ask us.”
Jlin returns with the first fruits of her new work since last years ‘Free Fall’ EP.
One of the most crucial producers around atm, Jerrilynn Patton a.k.a. Jlin, rejoins Planet Mu with a pair of inimitably infectious footwork-not-footwork twysters following her weirdly overlooked but excellent remix of Factory Floor.
On The Escape Of The Blvck Rxbbit, Avril Stormy Unger provides vocals, cut into urgent stabs, nursery rhyme cadence and raving R&B vamps synched to some of Jlin’s most gratifying, gravity-defying grooves and laser-guided synths. We seriously can’t get enuff of those bandy-legged triplets!
Ever exploring, she operates in a double refraction of rhythmic genius from Illinois to Africa with Nyakinyua Risa, turning the groove absolutely inside-out with the impossibly funked up and clipped ballistics accentuated by febrile chants and rave calls.
Frankly this stuff is next fxcking level. Everyone else really, really needs to take a hard look at their drum patterns, ‘cos you’re basically nowhere near this lass.
Massi Pagliara adds to his expansive collection of appearances on German labels, firming up a long-running relationship with the Ostgut family.
After minting their centenary release with some fresh Dettmann | Klock, Ostgut further ease into triple figures with this belated debut from Massi Pagliara, their Italian P-Bar resident and long-term associate. His colourful sonic palette and deep grasp of Chi-jack, disco and electro, as shown on Time And Again, make Pagliara a refreshing addition to the Ostgut arsenal. And Massi is on frisky form from the off, pairing a wiry arpeggio up with crisp Italo drums on If I Try To Forget I Will Miss You Even More, before hinting love is the chug on the title cut.
The house romance continues down below with the modern jackathon, To A Faraway Place, before discarding the drums totally on the acid-drenched simmer of A Passing Day.
The Dial co-founder graces us with a second album of low-slung beat-"mospheres" and discrete Hamburgian minimalist house.
Dial’s David Lieske returns to his dependable Carsten Jost project, scrabbling together a decades-worth of productions - some familiar, the majority unheard - for a second album. Perishable Tactics belatedly arrives sixteen years after his debut Jost LP, 2001’s You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows, and finds Lieske going down the textbook European house music album route.
Dark ambient vignettes from Misanthrope CA, Lieske’s somewhat misjudged black metal collaboration with Rob Kulisek bookend the album, with the remainder consisting of that snug, tasteful house and techno that Dial have largely come to typify in recent years.
Gabriel S. Schray is a producer and musician living Stateside in Akron, Ohio, a city of 200,000 people. He's been making and putting out music for years, though save for an LP on Bark & Hiss in 2012, most of his work has been self-released.
"For his latest album he's partnered with Last Resort, a brand new London-based label born from the NTS Radio show of the same name. *Gabriel* is a sunny, mellow record, rich with light and emotion. None of its eight tracks are easily confined to any one genre, floating somewhere between ambient, new age and whatever style or sound you'd ascribe to The Durutti Column or Talk Talk.
On a more modern tip, think Suzanne Kraft or Lord Of The Isles (minus the kick drums). Schray played all the various instruments himself, whittling down the final versions from their lengthy original recordings. The whole thing took him more than a year to complete-a labour of love assembled organically and with feeling.”
Soul Jazz dip into the killer archives of French synth punk circa 1980 with this reissue of material from Nancy duo Kas Product.
After delivering a nation-wide primer on the early ‘80s French wave of punk acts with last year’s Punk 45 – Les Punks: The French Connection, Soul Jazz square their focus on one of the bands that featured in Kas Product. Formed of Mona Soyoc and Daniel ‘Spatz’ Favre, this duo represent a classic French slant on the early synth punk formation with the former’s dramatic vocal delivery and cheap guitars offering a foil for the latter’s budget electronics. As Kas Product, Soyoc and Favre recorded several albums throughout the ‘80s that played their part in shaping the Coldwave movement in France; a fact Soul Jazz attempt to reaffirm on this compilation.
Essentially a repackaged edition of the Kas Product retrospective issued on Paris label Fan Club in 1990, Black & Noir - Mutant Synth-Punk from France leads with debut single Mind and covers the period between their first two albums. A period where Soyoc and Favre were more focussed on experimentation as opposed to the latent poppy avant-gardisms of their third and final album, Ego Eye. Highlights here include the scratchy punk funk of Seven, the bleepy electro of Party and the bizarro Talking Heads pomp of Mezzo.
Recommended - worth scrutinising if you are a fan of Ruth, Deux, Philippe Laurent!
The cult Australian trio align with Stephen O’Malley’s label for a fine new album.
After delivering a trilogy of albums for their own Fish Of Milk label, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck resurface with a new long player as The Necks on Ideologic Organ. Few other bands can grapple three decades of genre-defying musical innovation and still sound fresh, but The Necks do it with supreme class on Unfold, a four-track album pressed up on double vinyl and gifted the mastering touch of Rashad Becker at D&M.
The label state these four tracks are not numbered deliberately, leaving the listener to navigate Unfold from whatever angle they choose. All four approaches are, as you would expect, a delight; be it the arresting musical symbiosis of Rise to the brushed percussive drama and crystalline piano motifs of Blue Mountain via the clockwork free-jazz skitters of Timepiece and Overheard, perhaps The Necks’ most accomplished slice of melancholia.
The Clarity is the first new release from stoner rock titans, Sleep since their Dopesmoker (2003) classic. Read that line back, let it sink in a second, take another toke and then hit play. Mind yer neck: it’s fxxking heavy!
“A total classic from back in the days!“ – Gilles Peterson
"Recorded during the summer of 1980 and originally released in 1982 on Spotlight Records, ‘Paz are Back’ was the second (and arguably the finest) album by the London jazz collective, founded by vibraphonist, composer and arranger Dick Crouch. Known for their original jazz-funk and Latin stylings, the band held a weekly Sunday residency at The Kensington pub in Holland Park for over 8 years, becoming a fixture at many London venues throughout the 70’s and 80’s, most notably Ronnie Scott’s.
For Paz, band leader Dick Crouch assembled a group of the finest jazz musicians working in London at the time. Piano, keyboard and synth player Geoff Castle was a mainstay of the band throughout the years, as well as playing and recording with George Coleman, Ian Dury & Georgie Fame to name but a few. He also composed the highly original and energetic track ‘Moonchild’, featured on this album.
Capturing a group of prodigiously talented musicians at the height of their powers, ‘Paz Are Back’ features timeless original compositions from almost all the band members, as well as a unique cover of ‘Everywhere Calypso’ by Sonny Rollins and a truly frenetic, heavily improvised version of jazz standard ‘Dancing In The Dark’. A band who remained steadfastly resistant to being pigeonholed, incorporating a multitude of influences before ‘fusion’ became fashionable, Paz’s music stands the test of time magnificently, as evidenced by the staggering demand for original copies of this album.”
Gently mutating psychedelic house from Mike Petillo (Protect-U) and Jason Letkiewicz a.k.a. Confused House caretaker, Steve Summers.
The four tracks of Alter-Vu swim in similar, tranquil waters to NWAQ/Ross 154 at his most blunted and hypnotic, diving down into the title track’s crystalline caverns in the title track, and basking in golden pads whilst the rip-current becomes stronger below the surface of Occluded Fronts and the flipside is given to the washed out, murky electro flow of Bruised Fruit, which tilts off into unheimlich, swampy zones and the pearlescent abstraction of Entrance at the end.
Revelatory reissue of Barney Wilen’s ambitious jazz-fusion journey, Moshi (1972), presenting the legendary French jazzman and Miles Davis-sideman’s wildly ambitious effort fusing recordings of Pygmy tribes with African rhythms and stellar avantjazz leanings, sounding little like anything before or since its release.
Newly available for first time in 30 years, this faithful, deluxe SouffleContinu reissue, now including an amazing DVD documentary, is a total must-have for fans of anything from Jon Hassell and Brian Eno’s hyperstitions to Sublime Frequencies’ Saharan rock jaunts or the fantasy trips of Spencer Clark!
“In 1970 Barney Wilen assembled a team of filmmakers, technicians and musicians to travel to Africa for the purpose of recording the music of the native Pygmy tribes. Upon returning to Paris two years later he created Moshi, a dark eccentric effort fusing avantjazz sensibilities with African rhythms, ambient sounds effects and melodies rooted in American Blues traditions.
Cut with French and African players including guitarist Pierre Chaze, pianist Michel Griller and percussionist Didier Leon, this is music with few precedents or followers, spanning from extraterrestrial dissonance to earthbound, street legal funk. Wilen pays little heed to conventional structure, assembling tracks like Africa Freak Out and Zombizar from spare parts of indeterminate origins. - Jason Ankeny, AMG”
Bugged-out, fuzzy house and techno slingshots from LA’s Architect, proprietor of the yung label, Private Selection Records.
On Dither he gets down with a urgent, trippy sound primed for foggy, redlit basements - creeping up on ya with the tightly tucked and paranoid funk of Time For The Tumult, and a nastier electro rhythm named Parodist that sounds a bit like Beua Wanzer, whereas the flipside twists off two microtonal jack tracks in Spinebash and the acidic flutter of F.T.H.
Bit of a mad one, this - hailing from Gothenburg by way of an accursed village in the extreme north of Sweden, Goat have hatched one of the year's most delirious, delicious psych-rock records, fusing Afro-rock voodoo, spiralling outernational scales and spiked Krautrock with pineal vision.
In the process they've gained the full approval of everyone from the BBC to Classic Rock Magazine - basically it's an acid casualty's wet dream. Ecstatic vocals are laced to fuzzed-up and funky communal rock guitars, bleating sax and folk melodies sourced from far beyond, but arguably the defining element is the driving, swingeing rhythm section which propels their lysergic melts deep between your lug'oles where they explode with joy and worldly love. All you longhairs are in for a treat.
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
One for the believers: DJ Surgeles follows his contributions to the Something In The Sky mix CD (which we’ve only been made aware of!) with four stellar contributions to Jeff Mills’ UFO-obsessed series.
In four parts the Dutch producer marries Betty Hill’s classic recollections of extraterrestrial encounters with slick grooves that are barely indistinguishable from Mills’ originals on the series so far.
However, if there’s any difference to point out, it’s in Surgeles’ loosely fluid rhythmic meters, which underline Betty’s accounts with an undulating sort of non-linear topography liable to curve from beatless tracts to hypnotic bleeps via more chaotic star systems and elasticated downbeats in a way that you don’t often hear Mills do - although it was in effect on Free Fall Galaxy.
This may seem like a bit of a stretch but for our money this is one of the greatest pop singles of all time, presented here in a newly cut pressing from Warners featuring an extended version on the A-Side and Shockadelica (another Camille cut) on the flip.
It's hard to imagine but this was Prince's attempt at getting back in favour with black radio; instead the subversive conceit, Camille's sped up vocals and explicit lyrics went down like a lead balloon. Everything about this track is pure nexx-level genius, from the unhinged opening to some of the most inventive vocal arrangements ever captured on tape, the clipped reverb on those LM-1 snares, reverse-strings - everything about it is just beyond comprehension.
For us - this was Prince at the very very top of his game and a record that keeps on giving up new tricks 30 years on.
Bas Bron fires up his synths for another saunter through 21st century jazz funk on this new Fatima Yamaha 12” for Dekmantel.
Responsible for that misty-eyed sleeper hit of a reissue back in 2015, Bas Bron returns to the Dekmantel fold with a fresh three-track Fatima Yamaha record that finds the Dutch producer chasing former glories.
Up top, the title track unfurls into a slick arrangement of melancholic synth movements and supple drums - sort of like Flo Po covering the Drive OST - whilst the warm electro funker, Piayes Beach Bar And Grill, offers a more playful side to Bron’s risibly-named alter ego.
Face down, Bron channels his best Dexter Wansel for the more laid back moog viber Romantic Bureaucracy - one for the Dekmantel Selectors festival we imagine.
30th volume of the legendary Ethiopiques series...
“From the label “Girma Bèyènè disappeared from the Addis Abeba music scene in 1981. Miraculously, he was invited by the exiled producer Amha Eshèté to tour the US with the Wallias Band and three singers (Mahmoud Ahmed, Gétatchèw Kassa and Wubishet Fisseha). Girma chose to never return back to the military-Stalianian paradise of Ethiopian dictator Menguistou. Another six musicians followed in his steps. The freshly exiled quickly realised that the Ethiopian community in the US was too small and restrained to offer them enough work to get by as full time musicians. What followed was a chaotic life full of odd jobs which increasingly left less and less time for music.
Girma’s first return to his dear homeland happened on invitation from the 7th Ethiopian Music Festival of Addis Abeba in May 2008, which was held around a tribute to Girma Bèyènè and some other exiled saxophone players from the 80s (Moges Habte, Tilaye Gèbrè, Tewodros Meteku).
Following that invitation, Girma quietly settled back in Addis for good. It was a discrete affair, considering the huge reputation which he still held in Ethiopia, especially within circles of influential contemporary musicians. Also considering the impressive fan base he garnered with jazz and world music lovers from all around the globe through the publication of the Ethiopiques series, first in line being the members of the band Akalé Wubé.
Those who have never seen Akalé Wubé play live have little idea of the groove we’re talking about. They’re not about showy musical feats, neither about posed stage antics. They are all about good old, pure grooves, sober and lyrical, the kind to move feet and lighten hearts. They are already three albums in, three records of pure creative devotion to the cause. None of the covers played are copy/pasted, and all their ethio-grooves are revisited with liberty and passion - the best way to pay tribute and give back life to a genre of music and to a musician which has been, for far too long, put aside and forgotten…until now.
Now it is these guys that have listened, appreciated, covered, reinvented and unpretentiously invited Girma Bèyènè … and Girma was totally up for it! An unpredictable meeting that could take any direction, luckily we love risks! Girma Bèyènè featuring Akalé Wubé, or the other way round? In any case it will be a heavyweight match.”
“After the Pacific Northwest grunge raids of the early ’90s that saw Nirvana, Mudhoney, and even the Melvins hoisted up the major label flagpole, Unwound’s 1993 debut came as a welcomed reprieve for underground noise-niks everywhere. A pulsing cluster of wiry feedback, lurching bass, and single stroke rolls, Fake Train entangles the energies of frustrated backpack emo, faded Riot Grrrl back issues, and their own dash of teen spirit and unleashes it all in an earsplitting 10-song assault.”
“Comes on like an homage to Wire’s 1 2 X U as filtered through Minor Threat and a broken bottle of Robitussin - Pitchfork”
Voyage Vers L’Harmonie is a fantastically whimsical ambient oddity from France, 1983; dug out and dusted down from a warehouse full of decommissioned pierrots, rusty carousels and crazy mechanical birds (or so we’d like to imagine).
Luc Marianni’s 3rd album - whose title translates to Journey Towards Harmony - was first issued in 1983 on the experimental artist’s Parisian label, Upon Tyne, alongside his other output with Rock Critics and Jean-François Papin around that same era. Inside, Marianni plays synths, sequencers, tapes, mandolin, bouzouki and electronic drums accompanied by Jean-Marc Cougrand (electronic, church and barrel organs, glockenspiel, synths, vibes) and a host of other guests to realise a very slippery run down the rabbit hole that’s as liable to take in bagpipes and seagulls as bon tempi vibe-outs and varispeed psych rock madness.
Tip to tail it’s a total trip riddled with surreal wormholes and X amount of wild imagination, a sort very specific to the sophisticated but delirious fancy of Luc Ferrari’s concrète scapes or Heldon in a playful, pastoral mood.
Sarah Lipstate a.k.a. Noveller renders a diaphanous, absorbing vision of kosmische and shoegaze themes in her cinematic eighth studio album. Hard to believe that this was all made thru multi-tracking and effecting the humble electric guitar, such is the sense of space, layered detail and poetic articulation wrought into A Pink Sunset For No One.
“One of the most adept guitarists of our time, Lipstate returns with her signature breathtaking cinematic, experimental soundscapes. Eloquent and striking, her instrumentals evoke colourful and otherworldly imagery. Lipstate writes in majestic, emotional strokes with pieces ranging from remarkably tense environments to shimmering psychedelic rock or unravelling into something darker.”
Rustically off-kilter, cinematic themes played on a prepared Beckstein Model 9 upright piano
“While not a concept album in the strict sense of the term, the album’s title refers to a hypothetical imagining of ‘Mitochondrial Eve’, the theorised matrilineal ancestor of all living humans, reincarnated in today’s world of restricted movement. Threads inspired by this juxtaposition of division and connectedness run through the album, which drifts from plaintive piano-led passages to brisk chamber music and back again, tied together by the textured layering of found sounds and instruments that distinguishes Thomas’s music.
After tracking down an old Bechstein Model 9 upright piano for ‘Asylum For Eve’, Thomas set about modifying and preparing it with cardigans, screws and nails in order to provide the textures and timbres which characterise the album’s dense, affecting sound. Techniques employed for the album include the intricate layering of bowed guitars and ukuleles, and fingerpicked violins, banjo and charango. It’s processes such as these, coupled with Hill’s high quality composition and musicianship, that see the album at once expansive and intimate. Naturally, much of ‘Asylum for Eve’ calls to mind the universe of soundtrack composition, particularly the delicate scores of Gustavo Santaolalla and Thomas Newman. But while the fluttering, layered guitars of ‘Porpita Porpita’ and the title track might bear a passing resemblance to the former composer’s work, Thomas locates these influences in the broader contexts of both his own musical trajectory and that of the wider genre of neo-classical music.”
Raw and wincingly bittersweet, Niagara’s pendulous grooves blush like they were freshly bruised onto the vinyl in 37, the latest edition on the trio’s Ascender label.
In the wake of their São João Baptista EP for Príncipe, they carve out four parts of see-sawing hooks and crimped grooves doing the raw house thing quite unlike anyone else.
Their arrangements are practically disco in terms of live, lithe movement and lack of looping structure, leading the dance between the itchy boogie of Tó and the lushest grasp of deep fried dissonance in 12, before nodding to Jamal Moss’ cubist psychedelia with the lacquer bubbling scree and nerve-biting tone of Paradela, or the Birds Songs For Amelie vibes of Jordão.
Andrés a.k.a. DJ Dez the Detroit supremo with two 7” chops for Japan’s Rootdown Records;
It’’s probably going to kill us before we ID it, but there’s some prime soul sample wedged into the bumpy knocks of Untitled Beats A (possibly Otis Redding?? Fxxk knows the track name), whilst B-side goes on with RZA levels of ruggedness on that deadly sub touch and 16th note snare shuffle.
Odeko slings a 2nd shot of ruggedly squashed, jazz-funked grime, trap and electro mutations for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper.
Digital Botanics leans in on some kush-chromatic flex with low-riding, bumpy subs laid under a glittering but subtly distorted display of fruity chords, whereas the fwd momentum and soured chords of Construct Construct comes off like Gifted & Blessed meets DVA’s Hi: Emotions.
Beguiling debut from Rupert Clervaux, the London-based composer, musician and writer who has cropped up on excellent collaborations with Beatrice Dillon and Charles Hayward over the last few years, and before that with Sian Alice Group and Spring Heel Jack. It’s the 2nd release on new label, Laura Lies In following Native’s opening gambit in 2016.
Zibaldone I Of CVX is the first in a series of LPs from Clervaux taking their name and inspiration from the title of 19th c. Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi’s extensive notebooks, which serve as a strong analogy for the oneiric, personalised schematic of Clervaux’s music, unfolding here as a seamless, almost stream-of-consciouness collection of “sketches, vignettes and musical footnotes”, as the label put it.
Coiled in five parts over two sides, but without any gaps in the sequence, the swirling pads and mutlitracked female vocals of Zibaldone I’s entrance feels the intro to some romantic psych flick, comparable with Francesco Cavaliere’s Gancio Cielo volumes, before the rolling drums tilt into a passage of remarkably heavy, rhythmelodic swing and then diffuse into a glowing drone ether.
Sampled male voices mark time as the drums return in side B, grooving smartly and unpredictably until its all swiped away and we’re left in wide open, late night pastoral scenes, almost as if he’s just recollected and condensed a strange summer day’s journal entry into 16 minutes of music.
The combination of Rupert Clervaux’s noted studio expertise - he’s done technical work for everyone from Spiritualized to John Butcher and Space Afrika - his innate rhythmic suss, and carefully considered style of composition bely the surreal, dream-like nature of his subtle transitions and really make this album one to remember.
The fella behind the DJ Seinfeld avatar reverts to Rimbaudian for a warm and rugged batch of house nudgers and swingers on Ten Thousand Yen.
One for doe-eyed dancers at the creamiest points of the night, Letters stokes a user-friendly vibe with the flyaway jazz notes and finger-popping bob of She Taught Me How To Love, and with a ruffer push eased off by sweet keys and R&B vox in Drop It On Em.
He catches that sweeter breeze again with absorbing coos and genteel chords on I Would Do Everything I Did Again And Again, and trims back to something like a Mood Hut and Erased Tapes hook-up with I Said Goodbye To Dreams Of You At The Shore, but not nearly so smarmy.
The Trilogy Tapes grip Bass Clef rolling out on a rave tip with his first 12” shot in over 12 months.
With Entendrillar Mr. Cumbers whisks clipped rave chords into an aerated frenzy on a sloshing, whipsmart electro-swing groove (not that kind, but we could almost imagine the same crowd getting bandy-legged to this wan), whereas his Transprism dips to a lilting, Afrrhythmelodic cadence compatible with Elgato’s slippery, breezy styles.