Innovative, inventive ambient improvisations and prepared compositions dating from early ‘80s to late ‘90s - somewhere between Jim O’Rourke, Arve Henriksen and Mike Cooper. Mastered and cut to heavy vinyl at Brandenburg Mastering. Includes liner notes by the artist
“This is a collection of works from British musician GP Hall, recorded between 1994 and 1999.
For over four decades, guitar in hand Hall encountered many styles; jazz, blues, flamenco, rock, folk, and classical improvisation. All contributed to the creation of his unique style. Emerging from the British blues boom of the 1960’s, he then followed a long and winding path through various scenes and cultures. In Spain, he was Influenced by flamenco master Manitas Del Plata before touring Europe with Liverpool band Casey Jones & the Governors. He was commissioned three times (twice by The Arts Council of Great Britain) for original music and was immersed in the avant-garde scene of the 1970’s as an improviser, a pioneer of electric flamenco and a composer of large-scale ensemble pieces. During the 1980’s Hall turned his focus to soundtrack music before reinventing himself as the solo performer he is today.
With this strong foundation he branched into a tactile expression of his craft, discovering a new style which he called industrial sound sculptures. These sonic compositions are performed on electric and acoustic guitars as well as the six-string bass and are played with various techniques and implements including slides, battery fans, the psaltery bow, razors, toys, Velcro and crocodile clips which are fed through sound processors to create a rich sonic environment.”
The latest release on Peder Mannerfelt’s eponymous label is this killer debut album of crackshot, wiry and killer techno variants from Simon Haydo, composed exclusively using a Korg MS-20.
Working shades away from Mannerfelt’s less-is-more style, Haydo becomes the latest in a line of producers stretching from Suicide thru Fad Gadget and Powell to fetishise and utilise Korg’s classic, tactile little box for everything from kick drums to melodies and anything between.
However, The Illusion of an Alternative Choice would simply be an academic exercise in asceticism if it weren’t for the remarkable diversity of sounds Haydo generates from his chosen bit of kit. Like Lorenzo Senni with his Roland JP-8080, or Mark Fell with the Yamaha DX7, Haydo reveals a wealth of variation from the MS-20, revelling in its textured gradients and tweaky integers between the pulsating, viscous morph and off-kilter dissonance of Let Know to the search & destroy ‘ardcore mentasm-style licks of Not For You?, thru the dry, blocky roller The Go!, the sharp-cut jakbeat of Parade Of Unhappy and unstable cosmic fuss of Out.
In effect, by proving you can create a whole record with lots of variation, but only using one synth, Haydo also cocks a cool snook at those n00b producers with expensive banks of kit who produce the most prosaic, tepid and gridlocked house - basically proving that it’s not what you’ve got, but how you use it.
‘Freedom’s Goblin’ is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight - but first, the process will make your head spin.
"Back in the ‘Twins’ days, there was talk about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. We’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity. The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed but ‘Freedom’s Goblin’ is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities - each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing.
‘Freedom’s Goblin’ wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from LA to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F Bermudez, Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell and of course, Ty himself. The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins R&B electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape and one about his dog too."
‘Brasil’ was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 1994 with a host of legendary Brazilian musicians including Sivuca, Raul de Souza and singer Joyce Moreno and has remained one of the key defining early releases from the Soul Jazz record label. Out-of-print for over 20 years, the album has now been fully digitally re-mastered for this new 2018 edition.
"The album was recorded at the height of the first wave of interest in Brazilian music in London in the 1990s. Joyce and a group led by husband, drummer Tutty Moreno, had just been Davis (and future head of Far Out Records) to perform in front f over 2,000 new young fans. Singer-songwriter Joyce had been a living legend in her native Brazil ever since the Bossa Nova movement of the 1960s and had made her first record when she was just 20 and she was described by Antonio Carlos Jobim as “one of the greatest singers of all time.”
Joyce Moreno agreed to be involved in the project to record an album in Brazil produced with a UK sensibility and Tutty Moreno’s group signed up as the house band for the project. Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records) and Joe Davis then flew to Rio de Janeiro, searching out studios and rehearsal spaces.
During this time in Brazil more artists signed up for the project, including legendary figureheads of the Brazilian music Sivuca (who brought his own group) and trombonist Raul de Souza. Other key figures included singer / guitarist Celia Vaz, who worked extensively as arranger with the legendary Quarteto Em Cy and drummer Dom Um Romao; Wanda Sá, who played in Sergio Mendes’ original seminal bossa nova group Brasil 65 (during which time she married the artist Edu Lobo) and legendary saxophone / flautist Teco Cardoso, whose bio reads like a who’s who of Brazilian music and includes work with Edu Lobo, Dori Caymmi, Baden Powell, Joao Donato, Carlos Lyra and others.
The final piece to this Brazilian jigsaw was the addition of percussionist Pirulito, whose magically create the massive sound of Rio’s Samba Schools live inside the studio. The album was recorded over one hot summer, mixed in London and then released at the end of 1994.
Over 20 years on and Soul Jazz Records’ ‘Brasil’ album manages to capture both an important cross-cultural musical moment in time between Brazil and London while at the same time sounding as fresh as if it was recorded today. Following the original success of this album Soul Jazz Records’ continued its love affair with Brazil and went on to release a host of Brazilian albums including classics such as ‘Tropicalia’, ‘Brazil 70’, ‘Bossa Nova’, a Bossa Nova cover art deluxe book with Gilles Peterson and releases by Sergio Mendes, Baden Powell, Edu Lobo and more."
Lord of the disco diggers and editors, Chicago’s Mark Grusane shares his celebrated secret stash of personal edits with BBE, and you, after compiling the peach-packed sets ‘The Real Sound of Chicago’ and ‘The Real Sound of Chicago and Beyond’ in recent years
“A highly personal selection of modern soul, disco and a little touch of boogie, these rare tracks have all been respectfully edited, chopped up or extended by Mark himself. Apart from the odd private vinyl pressing, or occasionally handing an edit over to close friends and DJs such as fellow BBE artist Sadar Bahar, Mark has never before made these tracks available (despite the throng of people waiting around to ask each time he finishes a set).
Mark Grusane first came to the attention of BBE Music back in 2010 when he was running specialist Chicago record shop Mr Peabody. He and his partner went on to create two of the label’s most sought-after soul compilations, thanks to the unmatched combination of rarity and quality expressed in the duo’s selections. Still living in Chicago, still buying and selling records, Mark has also built up a sizable discography of edits and original productions on various labels, now finding his prodigious DJ skills in high demand across the globe.
Each track on ‘The Real Sound Of Mark Grusane’ has a tale to tell, precious treasures unearthed by one of the hardest working and dedicated crate diggers in the game. From an edit he made at the age of 21 to a record he discovered last year whilst in London for a gig at The BBE Store, this collection is testament to a life spent completely immersed in music.”
Warp original, George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax, brings up the label’s Yorkshire roots with his 8th LP Shape The Future. Currently stationed in Ibiza, the sunniest corner of Yorkshire, N.O.W. hells as close as ever to his roots in soul, hip hop and dub with a lush downbeat suite riddled by his subtle but delightful production tics and signature, “Eaze-y” vibe.
Again, N.O.W. proves himself something of a J Dilla or King Britt of UK downbeats - ok let’s just call it trip hop - with a timeless, gently offbeat style of his own, equally adept at bringing in live players as he is chopping out patterns on the sampler and blooming them to life the studio.
You can trust it’s all laid-back as usual on this one, but if you’re looking for highlights keep ‘em pealed for the deliciously slompy beat and soul aura on Tell My Vision featuring Andrew Ashong, or likewise for the dusky string orchestration and swaggering groove of Shape The Future at the LP’s core; an excellent a cappella aside, entitled and presumably starring Tenor Fly; and the Francis Bebey-like Afrobeat-electronic charms of Gotta Smile.
Ostgut Ton cough up the customary accompaniment to Fiedel’s 120 minute Berghain 08 mix - the club and label’s first mix since Function’s Berghain 07 in 2015 - with four exclusive tracks by Electric Indigo, Stefan Rein, rRoxymore, and Boris with Fiedel.
Berlin mainstay Electric Indigo indulges a severely dark techno sound with Registers, which sounds like the dry clank of the till in the toll booth at Berghain taking a night off to dance and scowl with the rest of the punters. Stefan Rein contributes the furtively hypnotic dub techno of Panther, rRoxymore joins in with the pendulous bass and animalistic prowl of Tropicalcore, while Boris and Fiedel go twos up on the spunky acid wriggle ’n jak ov Div’hain.
Dommengang, the LA-based power trio of guitarist Dan ‘Sig’ Wilson, bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem, return with the desert cruiser’s dream album ‘Love Jail’.
"Dommengang have adapted to the arid climates and imbued their particular brand of rock with a heavy dose of the best of 1970’s rock aesthetics.
The album was produced by The Fucking Champs guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newson, Wolves In The Throne Room, Fresh & Onlys, Earthless), who perfectly captured the band’s sound while creating the space of older analogue recordings.
‘Love Jail’ includes Dommengang’s most melodic and lyric-heavy songs to date - a great road trip record and a dynamic listen that is of the moment, organic and earthy with a heavy nod to the clear, lean recordings of a time long before any of its members were born."
DAF’s Conny Plank-produced 5th LP, Für Immer is the darker, stripped down follow-up to their better known early sides, Alles Ist Gut and Gold Und Liebe.
Like those LPs, it probes a fine, ambiguous line along fascistic imagery and lyrics with tracks such Kebab Träume reflecting on Germany’s relationships with Turkish immigrants, and EBM obsessions with health and beauty manifest in the title of Die Götter Sind Weiß. It’s possibly hard to think of how an act could deal with these topics in the modern day without an avalanche of social media pain.
Things were different back then, though. Or were they? Either way, check out the likes of Im Dschungel der Liebe or Verlieb Dich in mich for some proper danefloor rockets.
Heat-seeking tech-house-trance missiles from Brazil via Barcelona producer Anna.
A-side she rolls out the rutting Italo bass arpeggios and spongiform acid lines to a soaring breakdown and sawtooth-led reprise in no-nonsense, functional fashion.
B-side she cuts layers deeper with the stealthy darkside build of The Dansant, tempering hard-edged electro-trance lines into a nervy beast of a big room show stealer.
Nexx Yorkshireman Rian Treanor galvanises Warp’s Arcola sub-label back to action with a deadly twyst on hyper electro and displaced dancehall in signature, deviant style.
The Contraposition EP marks Warp Records’ timely return to its SoYo roots in a concerted refresh of bleep techno and soundsystem ballistics, rendering the original template as a corrupted 3D geometry of slippery chromatic contours and polyrhythmic chronics that feel lightyears removed from their early ‘90s and early ‘00s antecedents, yet patently in key with their stripped down design and rave-wrecking purpose.
A-side, Rian focusses a wickedly nervous 2-step energy into the pointillist shadow-boxing tekkers of Contra_A1, strongly recalling his work on two preceding EPs for The Death of Rave, before then testing out something new and dynamically different with the punchy recoil and canny use of echoic negative space on Contra_A2, which all leads to a deadly acid switch-up in the 2nd half.
On the B-side he reconfigures your swang schauung with a mad meld of skittish micro rhythms and cold as f**k Euro-techno motifs on Position_B1, then like Errorsmith describing Equinknoxx swatting a nano-drone with the incisive, anticipatory bait and slap of Position_B2.
Fans of Forgemasters, Mark Fell, Jamie Duggan, Beatrice Dillon will know exactly what to to with this one.
Johnny Jewel ov Chromatics returns with the picture postcard-perfect scenes of Digital Rain, his first new album proper since Windswept , which included his work for the recent Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack.
In the most classic sense, Johnny evokes his themes with beautiful subtlety and clarity throughout the entirely instrumental suite of Digital Rain, using filigree synthesis and a rarely paralleled feel for narrative to convey the sensation of rain on skin or hail on a roof, precisely evoking all the feelings of nostalgia you’d arguably associate with electronic music’s cinematic representations of rain, romance, and enigmatic intrigue.
It’s an ideal album for creating your own movie on the fly, acting as a sort of soundtrack to your life, likely to turn late night drives for a pint of milk into the most dramatic scenarios, or maybe turn your next commute into a Love on a Real Train (Risky Business) situation. Might want to be careful with that 2nd one, though.
One for the lovers.
The debut album from Inga Copeland, formerly of Hype WIlliams, featuring additional production from Actress
After teasing the internet with one-offs and mixtapes for the last 2 years, (Inga) Copeland (ov Hype Williams) drops a satisfyingly challenging and incisive solo debut LP proper, 'Because I'm Worth It'. Against a backdrop of forward, phantasmic dub and electronic production by herself and Actress, Copeland's vocals are a typically mercurial presence flitting between half-heard bars and spectral, detached verse such as the brilliant "with my mind over money and the other way around, cash moves everything around me/significant of what we do, say, feel, everything is just by numbers". It contains eight songs, alternating between almost-instrumental numbers and deconstructed pop.
Arriving with the prickling sonic extremes of 'Faith OG X', she posits the empowered narrative of 'Advice To Young Girls' set to Actress' oblique production, and it's not until 'Insult 2 Injury' that you're offered some sort of more conventional structure, and even then it's a flinty, bare-boned dub salved with lush Detroit chords. The furtive dub-pop collage 'Fit 1.' is the album's centrepiece, both literally and figuratively, melting Eastern accordion, Diwali-riddim claps and Burial-esque atmosphere with woozy slow techno and her most enigmatic pop vocal beside the dissolved dub meditation 'DILIGENCE', whilst 'Inga' feels like a darker parallel to fellow Estonian ex-pat Maria Minerva, and the splashing, metallic dub tang of 'l'oreal' imparts an abstract sense of urgency, numbed poise and feminine sorta dread that neatly sums up the album's paradoxes.
It's a startling, hugely enjoyable debut.
Aksak Maboul is the long-abandoned project of Konono No.1 producer Vincent Kenis and Crammed Records label head Marc Hollander.
Back in 1977 they made a fantastic album called 'Onze Danses Pour Combattre La Migraine', a strange delicacy full of keen young ideas that would even foreshadow Detroit techno and much modern electronica, with a widely scoped "world music" twist. Seriously, check it out! 'Un Peu De Lame Des Bandits' was their follow up, originally released in 1980 and infused with a far more avant garde jazz element next to the typical international influences, from African to Balkan and whatever else they fancied.
Originally intended as a companion piece to 2011’s ‘The Moonlight Butterfly’, during the writing process Sam Prekop realized this record was going to go somewhere totally new.
Those of you who heard Prekop’s incredible ‘Old Punch Card’ LP last year will already know his surprising aptitude with modular synthesizers, but it’s still surprising to hear that he used those techniques to form the basis of ‘Runner’. Synthesizer sequences became guitar parts, and even though many of the original synthesizer tracks are long removed, the fingerprint is still there in ghostly elegance. Take ‘Harps’ for example, while this still has a buzzing synth part taking centre stage, it’s easy to hear how these kind of patterns informed the growth of the other tracks, from the joyous opener ‘On & On’ to the near post-punk grit of ‘Pacific’. While the songs themselves might not be too stylistically different from any in the band’s catalogue, ‘Runner’ is a classic case of reshuffling, where by doing a couple of things differently they’ve given an adrenaline shot to their sound, and it might be our favourite record from them in a while. Well good.
Super canny return from techno minimalist Akiko Kiyama, who makes a considered change of direction toward fractured, jazzy electronic funk as Aalko for her Tokyo-based label, Kebko Music.
Perhaps best known for her inclusion on Richie Hawtin’s DE9: Transitions mix, Akiko’s new output as Aalko bears some relation to her early work in terms of precision and minimalism, but that’s where the comparison ends.
No Man Is An Island is far fruitier and off-centre than her formative work, placing quarky sounds in unconventional time signatures with a bendy, off-centre appeal maybe best compared with the likes of FAY, Burnt Friedmann or even Foodman. Gilles Peterson is a fan, but don’t let that put you off.
Ricardo Villalobos, Max Loderbauer and Burnt Friedman dismantle Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer in bendy new ways for the ’floor and afterparty
Burnt Friedman takes the brief of Microcosmoism and runs its microtonal electronics and squirming groove to the nonplace, feeds it special gasses and returns a loose, slompy groove in patented style.
On the other hand, Villalobos strips the same elements right down to bare essentials for nearly ten minutes of swivelling drum hits wrapped up in sticky syncopation with glutinous subs and ricocheting electro-dub-steppers dynamics.
Villalobos and Loderbauer then combine as VILOD for an 11 minute reshuffle of Uncertain Grace hingeing on pendulous metallic claps and a worm farm’s worth of wriggling bass, then Villalobos goes it alone with Lenina, turning in a tangle of sloshing, splayed rhythms that sounds like a jazz band playing underwater and offers pluralised possibilities for the dancers who dare to actually express themselves, rather than just do the usual line dance and finger point. You know, that Solomun move?! Fuck that and dance to this instead.
Optimo's home brewed label really comes of age with a reissue of six tracks from Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter, recorded between 1974 and 1978 and remastered for their 1st ever vinyl pressing by the man himself.
Label co-owner JD Twitch is a notoriously avid TG fan and has hand-picked these tracks from a cassette originally released on Industrial Records in 1980 (and subsequently on CD by Mute in 1991). The work of Chris Carter will be known by many of you, but for those who don't, Carter was the musical and technical inspiration behind one of the UKs most important bands of all time, bringing art and rock music into the future with his mastery and early adoption of basic equipment like the 303 (he was the among the first in the world to use one on record), and the 808, which also makes one of its 1st recorded appearance here on bonus track 'Climbing'.
So, it's safe to say that this man has serious credentials. With this in mind, these tracks really occupy a seminal space in the history of electronic music, deeply imbued with the twin spirits of darkest misanthropy and experimental endeavour, and most importantly - they sound f*cking amazing! As JD Twitch himself says "There is a beauty, an emotion and an imagination present here that is lacking in a lot of modern machine music. This music is as vital and wondrous today as it was four decades ago". Amazing music.
Northern UK-based artist Rian Treanor re-imagines the intersection of club culture, experimental art and computer music with a super smart debut for The Death of Rave.
Galvanising and accelerating garage and techno with cuttingly crisp tonal diction and pointillist percussive palette, ‘A Rational Tangle’ demonstrates Treanor’s adroit and finely-nurtured rhythmelodic instincts through a quicksilver syntax of kerned, polychromatic 2-step patterns and whipsmart, emotive jit music.
The EP’s four tracks vacillate ping-pong ballistics and recursive melodic motifs constructed in Max/MSP, dancing from pendulous, aerobic minimalism to taut, synthetic tabla grooves with grid melting nous, whilst also taking in gamelan-esque hypeR&B through wormholes of smeared and curdled harmonics, plus one dead lush section of Detroit-via-Yorkshire styled hi-tech funk.
The production is stainlessly dry and future-proof whilst Rian’s arrangements are considerately efficient, yet it’s all blessed with a pop or ’floor-ready turn of phrase that reveals new kinks, fills and twysts with each return listen.
Whichever angle you view it from ‘A Rational Tangle’ forms a rewarding introduction to the work of a very promising and distinct new voice in electronic music.
Sam Prekop, John McEntire,Eric Claridge and Archer Prewitt reconvene for another fine album together as The Sea And Cake, the band's seventh since 1993.
'Aerial' opens up the album with a blast of energy, which only seems to gather more steam as it reaches a rousing, almost epic finale. Its anthemic scale seems all very at odds with Prekop's understated, aloof whisper, yet the two elements conspire to establish a mightily effective paradox, and however big their sound gets The Sea And Cake always seem to be maintaining a low profile cool. After the typically complex, skittery rhythms of 'A Fuller Moon' (one of the most archetypally Thrill Jockey-esque moments on the album) and the sparkling guitar jangle of 'On A Letter' comes a brief synth experiment: 'CMS Sequence' shows that the band can still plunge into the avant-garde when they want to; the electronics that colour 'Weekend', and the echoic steel drum routines of 'Mirrors' helpfully divert Car Alarm away from its guitar band mainframe. Highly Recommended.
A carefully curated journey through almost 20 years of Shawn's music productions.
"The tracks collected here--the majority of which have not been heard outside of Shawn's studio--showcase a producer with seldom matched knowledge of studio techniques, while also hinting at his world renowned live performances. Having access to a vault of hundreds of unreleased compositions, we believe this is an important step in documenting Shawn's contribution to Pittsburgh and American dance music."
Optimo Music serve a proper peach with reissue of three Ted Milton / Blurt aces from lesser-known nooks of UK jazz/post-punk/electronics on a fresh new double-AA side.
Ted Milton is a ground-breaking saxophonist and frontman of Blurt since their inception. This 12” documents his work under both names, giving up the killer swerve and Hammer-esque vocals of Love Is Like A Violence, and his frothy freakbeat It’s Only Recently That Stalins Have Begun To Roost (what a title!) both from 1984, on top, then a dose of Blurt on the B-side, namely the unmissable charms of The Ruminant Plinth , featuring wickedly off-the-cuff vocals woven into what sounds like Afrobeat skronk played in a massive silo.
This one’s bound to set a lot of heads on a Ted Milton tangent!
The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity.
"In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings-not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House. Built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber-and dubbed "The Phantom Ship" by the band-the grandiose house and its edgeof-the-world-like ambience soon made their way into the songs.
The specter of California also had a powerful effect: as both dream state and nightmare, its infinite duality is mirrored in the music, giving Calexico a new direction and new edge. With less polish and more grit than ever before, The Thread That Keeps Us both honors enduring traditions and reveals Calexico's confidence in songwriting, ultimately setting a whole new standard for the band..."
First ever vinyl reissue of Kebab Und Andere Träume 
A mad cross-pollination of new wave, punk-funk, Oriental rock and hip hop, organised by social worker Winifred Nacke, and played by students of the Weisbadener Jugendwerkstatt - a group of Turkish, German, Iranian, Polish, Moroccan musicians. Very obscure, now fetches fancy triple figure sums on 2nd hand market.
Preston’s Stephen James Buckley wears a distant kosmiche look in his eye on The Impossibility, his 5th album as Polypores since A Shunned Place , and following a technoid turn as Tulketh in 2017.
In his own words: “The Impossibility was inspired by the destruction of the planet Earth by the human race, the early works of JG Ballard, Tarkovsky's Stalker, conspiracy theories, and places where the rules of time and space are brought into question.”
So, credible references in place, Buckley hurtles out an impending and often frenetic album that doesn’t really live up to its inspirations, but rather uses them as vague signifiers of mysticism propping up his rudimentary longs and arps. which are simply distracting from any sort of hypnotic vibe because of their rote homage conventionality.
Big, druggy club wobblers and Afro chug from a North London/Berlin cooperative; Jono Ma (Jagwar Ma) and Angus Gruzman (of Dreams, Die Orangen) a.k.a. “The Dreemas”.
The A-side’s A Love Trance Mission From Nk To 7s sprawls out with woozy, LFO-blown bassline and shoegazy guitars strokes opening with wide-eyed style for the duration. It’s one of those surefire Kompakt shots that will melt a room at the right moment.
Ruddy, off-kilter house wonk from Italian duo, The Barking Dogs.
Up top they rub out the strange barnyard disco sleaze of SWB, then tighten up a bit for the saddlesore electro swagger of Liquid Strategies, joined by a scatting loon and someone jamming out on a Farfisa.
Retro-vintage krautische drums meet EMS Synthi VCS3, Minimoog and Buchla Music Easel and Cristal Baschet synth drones and languid guitars from Frenchman Alexandre Bazin.
Think Silver Apples Of The Moon, Cavern Of Anti-Matter…
Dat Laurence Guy leans on Mule Musiq with three dusty deep tech house plays
Unfurling the languorous jazz-house-breaks of All I See Is Her with some unfortunately pasted-on breaks, backed with the blue keys and nipped swing of Belong, and the effervescent jazz-house dancer Then Again, Maybe Not.
What better time for No Age?
"Remember, they’re the ones who first brought you the hospital-bed feel good anthem ‘Get Hurt’ (2007). They know how to ecstatically rage and power on through pain, because what else are you going do?
‘Snares Like A Haircut’ sounds like the good stuff and smells like the buzzy burning off of an aura, the marine layer suddenly vanished, leaving a thin layer of smog over the songs, simmering sock gazing tunes, revved and displacing enormous amounts of sound soil. This is pure driving music, for the bus racer and the car driver, with too many signs, bells and little lights flashing away.
Recorded in a few days and mixed forever, ‘Snares Like A Haircut’ finds No Age in full on mode, because there was nothing else to do but go full on. In the songs inside the songs, the drums, the desperately voiced paens to determination, the churning and the stinging-but-shiny built into the structure, a promise from the 1980s echoes once again across today, for the undetermined in-between generation reality seekers.
With ‘Snares Like A Haircut’, No Age scrub the itch in the little moments, engage actively with the process and carve / plaster / shave something in an album shape that’ll last. You don’t have to drive but you can’t stay here. Let No Age do all the driving for you."
Charles Hayward does the bangs and Thurston Moore wrenches a racket from his guitar on this killer free improvisation session documented by UK’s Care In The Community Records.
Recorded at Lynchmob Studios, London, 2nd February 2017, the LP catches the duo stealthily warming up in the neck-snapping breaks and face-eating distortion of the first part, to really step on the gas with the tumultuous sparring session of the 3rd part, then climaxing with some squally helter skelter pelters on the B-side which should snag even the hardest to please fans of This Heat or Sonic Youth.
Surely one of the most ear-catching and unique reissues of the year, Christoph De Babalon’s 'If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It' is a late ‘90s neo-noir ambient and D&B masterpiece - imagine if The Caretaker made fierce, unrelenting Jungle and you almost get an idea of what’s inside - reissued to mark the occasion of its 21st anniversary to plaudits from a new generation of listeners.
Christoph De Babalon was a key member of Germany’s mutant splinter cells who fused UK rave music with more experimental, Teutonic techno, Ambient and hardedge politics to brutal effect during the mid-late ‘90s. 21 years later, this music has patently withstood the test of time, distinguished by a haunting atmospheric pallor and ruffneck way with Jungle that still makes us feel just as clammy and psychotic as when we first heard it (most likely on a trip to Berlin or via Christoph Fringeli’s invaluable C8 database).
For us, If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It really distills a feeling of that era, as the utopian outlook of rave’s early years had evidently given way to something much darker, more maudlin, perhaps symptomatic of ennui with dance music’s hyper-commercial land grab, or even a pre-echo of pre millennial tension. Either way it provided the perfect soundtrack to ravers who were spending more time developing virtual lives online, or (speaking from experience) who weren’t yet old enough to go raving, but were shelled with media images and 2nd impressions of the culture, which had by then morphed into the prevailing trends of garage, trance, and prog house, and was but a ghost of its original, loony self.
If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It therefore feels torn between extreme states. On the one hand it goes harder than the rest in killer rave moves such as the hardcore rattler Dead (Too), the epic amen + drone blow-out My Confession, or the cutthroat beast Water. But on the other, he goes darker, more haunting than the rest of his field with remarkable cuts such as the 15 minutes of billowing dark ambience that open the LP in Opium, or with the sublime, Gas-like suspension system of Brilliance, and the funereal, bombed-out bliss of High Life (Theme).
De Babalon effectively plotted out terrain that bridged DJ Scud’s rugged jungle breakcore with soundscaping more commonly associated with Thomas Köner or Deathprod, and in the process set the ground for myriad contemporary producers and sounds ranging from Raime and Blackest Ever Black to Demdike Stare, Pessimisst and beyond. If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It was, and still is, a deadly statement of intent, whose rhetoric and aesthetic still strongly resonate with subcultural concerns in 2018.
C L A S S I C
A substantial, hugely immersive release from a true drone shaman, 'Cocon & Oiseau De Nuit' is one of our favourite O'Malley releases and is here pressed (in updated form) for the first time on vinyl following a limited cassette release several years ago.
The album was originally created and explored as a thought experiment leading up to O’Malley’s work on SUNN O)))’s Monoliths & Dimensions sessions throughout 2007-2008; those recordings were then revisited and developed fundamentally in 2010 for the initial cassette release and again in 2017 for this vinyl edition.
It's similar in form to his 'Keep An Eye Out' LP for Table Of The Elements and the 'Salt' album for iDEAL, wresting the blackest sub-harmonics and inherent micro-tonal shifts from ultra-minimal guitar technique. The effect is utterly immersive whether experienced on headphones or speakers, saturating your surroundings in scarred and bruising amp feedback below dry, dull clouds of ferric interference.
As the piece evolves O'Malley generates ever-more hypnotic swells of visceral, churned feedback conducted with stoic, instinctive control, flooding the space with abstract shapes and ghostly apparitions.
Mumdance, Logos and Shapednoise remerge The Sprawl for a banging, incendiary second EP in their trilogy inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer - the 1984 sci-fi novel which uncannily presaged The Internet and aspects of AI which have since morphed from fiction into reality.
EP2 is about ‘Data Flow’ and thus catches the trio in flux between flashbacks of noise as information overload and brutalist techno chronics seeming to emulate the sensory obliteration of full frontal temporal sickness.
Each producer’s individual characteristics are parsed and consolidated in a fractious transfer of energies, placing themselves as cybernetic semiconductors in a quantum network of emerging AI consciousness, pooling corrupted memory banks of physical and pharmaceutical ecstasy, excess and synaptic muscle memory to manifest premonitory visions of future hardcore rave as hyperstitious, viscerally IRL.
The A-side picks up directly from EP1 with the invasive strategies of Burning Chrome - so titled in reference to Gibson’s short story which first coined the term “cyberspace” - fulminating pure sound designer noise in bruxist shockwaves punctuated by lush pads, before the cyberpunk terror of Black I.C.E. hacks into the nervous system with sickening, arrhythmic dynamic, strung out between chest bursting ecstasy and stomach churning panic.
That’s all seemingly in preparation for X System, a 150bpm bunker breaker lodged on the B-side with a cold fusion of lamping bass drum and slithering plasmic timbres sounding like some Dutch or NYC ‘90s techno bomb dialled in via a faulty ISDN connection, which makes for a stark contrast with the emotive pathos of Online Seance, a searingly transcendent vision of cinematic synth noise modelled on occult hivemind behaviours and redolent of moments from Leyland Kirby’s Intrigue & Stuff volumes.
Les Disques du Crepuscule presents an expanded edition of classic festive album Ghosts of Christmas Past, featuring favourites from the original 1981 and 1982 editions now joined by newer tracks by Crepuscule artists.
"Sometimes witty, sometimes melancholic, the original version of Ghosts of Christmas Past in November 1981 featured exclusive contributions from luminaries such as Tuxedomoon, The Durutti Column, Paul Haig, Michael Nyman, Aztec Camera, Thick Pigeon and The Names. Subsequent editions in 1982 and 1986 added songs by Antena, Mikado, The French Impressionists, Pale Fountains and Winston Tong.
For this new double CD version in 2015 Crepuscule have now added more chantons noel by Blaine L. Reininger, Section 25, The Wake, Marsheaux, Deux Filles, Stanton Miranda, Virna Lindt, B Music and Ultramarine.
“Crepuscule's Christmas cracker is here to rescue the festive season from the fogies and bores"(Melody Maker); "Aztec Camera's Hot Club of Christ is a busy, Django-esque run through a few well-known Christmas ditties, Michael Nyman's Cream or Christians is a silly but loveable fragmented organ collage in a typical English eccentric tradition, Tuxedomoon are in playful Residential mood” (NME)
Cover art by Jean-Francois Octave.
TGF’s End Of Times in Dub style, rendering their single’s title cut in a trio of alternate versions:
A radiant Golden Dub with eccie-triggering harmonic swells; the uptempo Silver Dub for peak dark room times; and a stark Drone-Apella featuring a cold but sensuous Penelope Trappes vocal for the cannier DJ and mindful dancer.